Summer solstice, 2005

21 June 2005

York Minster west front, evening, 21 June 2005

This
year I went for a walk into York on the evening of the longest day, and took my camera with me, to mark the summer solstice with some photos of York’s buildings reflecting the evening sunlight.

7.55pm

I’m not sure how many people care about the arrival of the summer solstice. I don’t remember caring, or even noticing, when I was younger.

 

Sparkly Minster windows, evening on the longest day

Maybe it’s since I started making a garden – to be horticulturally successful you need to be aware of seasonal changes and day length and the quality of the light. When the light is high in the sky in the middle of the year, it reaches further into the garden.

It also lights up the west front of York Minster, and makes it sparkle, late into the evening.

7.59pm

 

Modern office building, by Lendal Bridge

This
office building, by Lendal Bridge, is one of those modern buildings that
some people admire and others dislike. I took this photo during a rare moment
when Lendal Bridge was clear of traffic, and realise I like the building
because it’s so bright, with all that pale-coloured stone reflecting all
available light. There’s so much light now, at this time of year, that it’s
almost glowing.

8.03pm

 

Collared dove perched on stone figure – Micklegate Bar

After
crossing Lendal Bridge – (isn’t it good that we have all these bridges,
and don’t have to rely on a ferryman to get us across, as they used to in
the old days?) – I went up onto the city walls, heading in a westerly kind
of direction, towards where the sun would be setting, eventually. At Micklegate
Bar I noticed this collared dove, perched on the head of one of the carved
stone figures. Both similarly coloured, and both appearing to be soaking
up the warmth of the sun.

8.22pm

 

Rooftops, pigeons, and St Mary's tower

In Priory Street, having descended from the walls. An interesting jumble of rooflines and building
materials. A lovely curvy brick chimney, and above the slate roofs, the
ancient tower of St Mary Bishophill. And if you look to the more pointed
slate roof on the right, two wood pigeons perched on the top, back to back,
apparently warming themselves in the sunlight, like the dove on Micklegate
Bar.

8.29pm

 

Rock Church building – detail

I realised that as the sun got lower behind the buildings, there would be
fewer buildings still lit by the sun that I could photograph. On Priory Street a surprise highlight was this detail
on the front of a place of worship I’ve never thought of as particularly
handsome. But the glorious golden-ness of the longest day light has brought
out these details perfectly, on this Victorian building, now known as the
Rock Church.

8.31pm

 

Holy Trinity Church, Priory Street doorway

And Holy Trinity Church, with that same
summer evening glow. Old stone – don’t you just love it? I hope so, as there’s
more of it coming up.

8.33pm

 

Railway offices, in evening sunlight

Back
towards the riverside, passing our grand old railway offices of York, a
hundred years old now and still very impressive, as they no doubt were when
built. It isn’t just those pale coloured limestone buildings that look good
in the evening sunlight.

8.39pm

 

Spire of All Saints church, North Street
All Saints' spire, in evening sunlight

Oh
what a beautiful thing. The light is sinking, but All Saints’ spire is still
all golden and glowing.

8.42pm

 

Guildhall, York

The Guildhall, on the side of the Ouse, facing the right way to pick up the sun’s late rays. Those red boats look brilliant here, against the stonework. I sat on a bench opposite and watched the river cruise boat drifting by, and worried about my camera, which didn’t seem to like the new memory card I’d just put in, and I thought this photo might not have been saved, and I was really annoyed, but then sat a bit longer, and looked at all this, and decided that it was all so beautiful that nothing mattered much at all.

 

Lendal Bridge – detail

And
as the sun set, its glow was rather spectacularly absorbed by the ironwork of Lendal
Bridge, which is very ornate, and painted in bright colours. I don’t
think though that I’ve ever seen them this bright. And look at that sky,
still blue.

8.53pm

And still light for a while yet.

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