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A slice of light: Photo essay of shadows transforming city streetscapes

A pedestrian passed an unoccupied storefront on Westminster Street in downtown Providence.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Who knows what lurks in the heart of the city? The shadow knows.

The sun never climbs high after fall descends into winter, penetrating the glass canyons of downtown Boston like a suspicious glance. The resulting ambiance, extremes of light and dark, hides more than it reveals.

While the human eye perceives detail simultaneously in the deepest shade and brightest sunshine, our cameras must choose, biased toward one — or fair to neither. We’re left with shafts of intense illumination and mysterious void, like a miner’s headlamp in the coal seams of high-rise architecture.

The planet’s axis remains tilted away near dim solstice, forcing light into our lives sideways until spring arrives. For now, it is far better to focus a lens than curse the darkness.


Sunlight reflected off windows threw abstract designs on a High Street wall. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
With the fading sun nearly below the horizon, runners passed a pump house as they loop around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Cyclists rounded the corner of Washington and Water Streets downtown, swathed in a shaft of late afternoon sunshine.Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Construction scaffolding on High Street framed a pedestrian passing through a small shaft of reflected light. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
A pedestrian on Congress Street in downtown Boston is illuminated by afternoon sunshine. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
A pedestrian on Bromfield Street passed through a sliver of light. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Shafts of sunlight fell on empty parking spaces in a downtown Providence, R.I., garage. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Pedestrians strolled along Washington Street in Downtown Crossing in late-afternoon sunlight. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
As North Beacon Street runs beneath the Massachusetts Turnpike, a shaft of light played on a passing car. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
A shaft of late-afternoon sunlight illuminated a pedestrian on Westminster Street in Downtown Providence, R.I.Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Shafts of late afternoon sunshine played on the corner of Franklin and Devonshire Streets downtown. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Pedestrians left deep shade on Franklin and Federal Streets for a moment of warm sunshine. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
A shaft of early morning sunshine struck pedestrians on Brighton Avenue in Allston. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
A pedestrians on Washington Street in Downtown Crossing traveled through the glow of morning sun. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Late-afternoon sunlight striped the bricks of Winter Street as a dog with a human companion visit Downtown Crossing.Lane Turner/Globe Staff
A shaft of sunlight marked a dramatic stripe on the pavement at the corner of Beach and Knapp streets in Chinatown, illuminating a delivery man's wheeled produce. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
A shaft of sunlight illuminated a pedestrian on Lansdowne Street near Central Square. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Sunlight scraped the side of a building and illuminates a pedestrian - on Oxford Street in Chinatown. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Lane Turner can be reached at lane.turner@globe.com.