Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024

I was fortunate to visit Brighton as part of a conference.  My hotel was on the seafront and in between sessions, I was able to head out with my camera and take pictures.  The promenade is great for pictures, as with care and respect, it is possible to get some interesting street photos.  The Lanes is also a good place for street photography.  They are narrow and patches of light are everywhere.  Once again people are accepting of what seems to be tourists taking pictures.  However one person did show their displeasure at my camera being pointed in their direction whilst another passerby complimented me on my Fujifilm.  As I mentioned earlier, take care and try not to harass people. Here are a few pictures taken on the streets suing my stay in Brighton.  I did not hear any sounds such as a Brian May Queen guitar solo whilst I was photographing!

Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Pale body on the beach.
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
At the pier
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Which way now?
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Brighton Cafe
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Brighton rescue
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Beach fun
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Fun on the beach is over
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Underneath the 360
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Watch out for the cyclists
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Entrance to Car Park has classical music on loudspeaker.
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Sights on the streets
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Welcome to the Lanes
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Window shopping in the Lanes
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Open window restaurant
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Late night gourmet food
Brighton, Street Photography, June, 2024
Rise and Shine

Enjoy this blog? Then you might like to see Edinburgh Street Photography.

Square to Park, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet walk, May 2024

With the long summer nights upon us, the IgersbirminghamUK team came up with the idea for a photowalk that started at St Paul’s Square and finished at St Philip’s Cathedral. Along the way we could photograph interesting views of Birmingham. The walk went down Ludgate Hill, over the Pedestrian Bridge towards Church Street finally arriving at St Philip’s Square affectionately known by locals as Pigeon Park.  The call went out a week before on social media and on the evening a group of photographers assembled outside St Paul’s Church.  A list of some interesting places and buildings had already been circulated on our social media channels. Many of these suggestions were taken up by our band of photographers. I usually have my iPhone and my Fujifilm x100vi on any city walk. I just find these two cameras so useful to tell the story of the streets as they are easy to carry and use. They also take good pictures.

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The walk started with lovely warm sunshine and St Paul’s Square looked good in the evening light.  As we moved down Ludgate Hill towards the Birmingham Canal, the sky clouded over but it did not stop us taking pictures of our favourite Brummie locations.   

Square to Park, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet walk, May 2024
Steps on the canal

The canal passes underneath the BT tower. There is graffiti and concrete posts yet the canal locks blend in well with the surroundings. Further along, the pedestrian bridge is always a favourite photography location. The light was dimming so it was possible to practice a few long exposures of the traffic passing underneath.  

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As we approached St Philip’s Square along Church Street, we could see the recently installed Big Wheel lit up against the late evening light.  Then came the rain. Just as we reached the square, the heavens opened and we got very wet.  Some of us were fortunate as we had brough a water proof coat or umbrella. Others were less lucky.  We first thought that this was going to be a miserable end to a good evening of photography.  After the initial heavy downpour, we saw that the rain had created reflections on the surrounding pavements. The Big Wheel was lit up in different colours, and the resulting images with the reflections gave a range of interesting effects.  Also people were walking past with umbrellas casting their shadows in the puddles. The picture opportunities were unending. After a while no one minded the rain or the fact that they were soaked through.

Square to Park, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet walk, May 2024
Part of the ramp from the bridge. Not the best part of Brum.

Those of us that were left behind after braving the rain finished our walk at the Wolf pub on Constitution hill. During our well deserved refreshments, the IgersbirminghamUK team planned our next adventure.

Square to Park, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet walk, May 2024
The Wolf Pub

This are my own pictures from the @IgersbirminghamUK walk. If you want to see the pictures of all the other talented photographers that took part then follow the link #igbUK_meet_sq2park

The walk back from the Wolf pub to Snow Hill station was short but interesting and here is a set of five pictures showing how the light and reflections after the rain can create a wonderful range of colours.

Square to Park, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet walk, May 2024
Looking across the street at Old Snow Hill
Square to Park, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet walk, May 2024
Warm lights on Water Street
Square to Park, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet walk, May 2024
Under the arch
Square to Park, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet walk, May 2024
Lights and reflections on Lionel Street
Square to Park, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet walk, May 2024
Puddles at Snow Hill Station

If you have got down to here then there are other IgersbirminghamUK meetings to read about on my blog. Enjoy reading about our activities. The team at IgersbirminghamUK look forward to seeing you at one of their future meetings.

Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024

The appearances of poppies near to where I live is becoming unpredictable.  Typically, poppies flower around the beginning of June.  However, poppy fields are more difficult to find as farmers are changing their farming practices to be more competitive.  The once large poppy fields around Worcestershire are undergoing a slow transformation into Heathland under the supervision of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.  This makes finding the location of a flowering poppy field challenging, but with the help of friends and careful monitoring of social media, a few fields were reported near to Kinver Edge in South Staffordshire.  The next challenge was the weather and to find a time when there would be a good sunrise or sunset.  I prefer sunrises in the countryside especially for poppies.  The light is clearer and cool but the biggest advantage is the lack of other photographers and people.  If a field is popular then spectators and photographers will flock to the area.  Morning is preferable.

Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
There was a mist over the fields before sunrise.
Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
The beautiful colours of a poppy field
Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
The white and red mix of wildflowers

Setting the alarm clock for 3am, I made the 45min drive to Kinver in South Staffordshire.  There was some delightful early morning mist and I quickly stopped in a nearby village for some pictures of the misty landscapes.  Arriving at the field, I met Simon Lea, an old friend, who takes some beautiful woodland and landscape pictures.  We quickly caught up on news and then looked to our photography as the sun was ready to make an appearance.  The field was south facing with a gentle slope towards where we were standing.  The land is near to Kinver Edge and so there is an undulating landscape. I had been advised to take my 400mm zoom lens and I am glad that I did.  The owner of the field had fenced the surrounding perimeter with barbed wire and did not wish any trespassers on their land.  

Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
The view of the poppy field landscape

The field was nearing its peak and the poppies were set back and interspersed with a mix of white feverfew and purple vetch.  Just before sunrise, the light was cool and the poppies took on a dreamy feel in the mist.  I took several pictures at this time.  Once the sun had risen the light became intense.  

Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
Poppies in the sunlight
Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
The heat glare of the sun burns off the mist

Most of my pictures were taken with my Canon 5D MKIV with a circular polariser.  I also had my x100vi with me which I used for a sunrise picture and hoped for the best. The picture taken with the Fujifilm was good and is the front cover of the blog.  As the sun became brighter, I walked, with my tripod and camera, further up the road where there were several pictures still to be taken.  There was one of three poppies against the barbed fence that provided symbolism of previous wars.  The sun catching the petals of the many poppies provided some further pictures.  

Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
Poppies behind a barbed wire fence.
Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
An abundance of poppies

Then it was time to go.  The mist in the distance was still lingering and I found a place near to Kinver to take more landscape pictures.  My Waze satnav took me back over a sleepy backwater of the canals along Windsor Holloway.  Then it was back through Churchill onto the main roads and home for breakfast at 7.30am.  On such summer mornings, one is left with the feeling that you have experienced two days.  The first a magical sunrise and then a day where I return to my normal life.  

Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
A view of the Staffordshire canal
Poppy field, Kinver, June, 2024
Mist over the Staffordshire countryside

I have included a link to last year’s field in Bewdley which sadly is not there this year.

Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024

On the Regent’s Canal, sitting outside having lunch at the Ragged museum and life is good.  The sun is shining and sitting back watching people rowing on the Regent’s canal.  This spot in Stepney is a favourite place of mine for photographs.  On the bridge with its spikey railings, one has a wonderful view of Canary Wharf.  The juxtaposition of old versus new is quite dramatic.  Before sitting down for lunch with Peter who was accompanying me on this recent photographic walk, I took a picture down towards Canary Wharf and posted it on BBC Weather watchers.  The picture was featured on the lunchtime news and by then I knew then it was going to be a good day.

Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
On BBC London Lunchtime News
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Under the bridge
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Boats alongside the canal
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Over and under the bridge

Limehouse Basin is always active and with the DLR trains passing overhead and the buses and traffic nearby. the place is buzzing.  We walked around the basin taking pictures of the sights. At one point as Peter was talking, I managed to get his attention and we looked down towards the lock gates.  There was a heron patiently waiting for their catch of the day.  The spot has water rushing in from the basin and this was the place to fish.  Herons are beautiful creatures but lethal predators and several fish were caught whilst we were watching the bird.  The Limehouse basin has everything you wish for in photography. There are reflections, symmetry and colours around the canal basin and we lingered in the area for a time.

Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Boats and trains in Limehouse Basin
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Reflections
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
… and more selections
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
A heron just waiting for the moment.

The basin links with the Thames and the path through the town houses leads to the Canary Wharf estate.  The tide was out and the river bank was accessible so  I went down to the water’s edge and then looked back.  There was a great view of the tall skyscrapers reaching for the sky overlooking the Thames. These high rise buildings reminded me of New Age sentinels that are keeping watch on everyone.  

Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
The skyscrapers of Canary Wharf
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
People living amongst the giants.
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Canary Wharf station
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Red in-between the carriages.

The private owners of Canary Wharf have put much effort in promoting artwork around the site. This is much better than having to look upwards as there is an awful lot of skyscrapers. Whilst some of the architecture did look interesting, there is an overwhelming feeling that the steel and glass is very repetitious.  One of the high points was the “captivated by colour” tunnel designed by Camille Walala which proved to be a great place to take pictures of people.  I stood centrally and lifted by camera up to get some good views of the tunnel. A group of lads came through and had a great time acting up for the camera.

Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Colourful circles
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Time waits for no-one
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
A story in the tunnel

Walking through the estate there were several reflections of the buildings in the water that provided good pictures. I did look up at the occasional skyscraper did catch my attention as seen by my pictures.  Our final destination was a favourite pub of mine, the Gun.  The pub is on the banks of the Thames overlooking the O2 arena.  There is a lot of history attached to this Grade II building not least that Horatio Nelson secretly met his lover Lady Emma Hamilton when he was in London.  We sat down in the outside Gin area and compared notes on our pictures. The view over the O2 arena has changed since I last visited with ugly blocks of flats suddenly appearing and obscuring the view.   A long day walking and taking photographs and yet another chapter to my London Times. Finally a picture of Alfie and Bill who were sitting next to us and asked us for a picture of the two of them. Whilst I had a train to catch, Peter stayed on for the golden hour which is always good with the light catching the glass and water.

Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Motorbiking
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Water and skyscraper reflections
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
The oppressive nature of all the building taking place in Canary Wharf.
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Legs and reflections
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
The Gun
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Alfie and Bill taken at the Gun.
Regents_Canal_Canary_Wharf, May, 2024
Under the flight path

Hope you enjoyed this blog and there are more “London Times” Blog entries and you can start with the one below.

Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.

Leamington Spa has streets of white tall elegant buildings. All are fine examples of Regency architecture. Away from the Regency style avenues, buildings in the old town have become canvases for stunning street art several courtesy of the Brink Leamington Mural festival. The train station is a good starting point for exploring the streets of Leamington being close to the old town and the Grand Union canal. On the corner of Crown Terrace and the High Street, a mural advertising the Brink contemporary arts community is displayed. The cartoon character, Gru supervillain turned secret agent, greets you as your first introduction to the artwork that follows. Street art is always fun to photograph but ensuring the artist is always credited can be a challenge. Therefore if I have missed anyone out, I apologise and refer you onto the Brink Contemporary Arts links including a map of the art work and their Instagram page.

Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
Future Synth by Void One
Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
Royal Leamington Spa by MIG 29
Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
Phone Home

The street mural next to the rail arches on Clement street is an attention grabber and at the other end near the canal is the Leamington Spa mural. We identified the Micro Pug, a small pub next to the canal, as a good place to visit and started a circular walk back to the pub. Part of our route would take in the Lady of Shrubland Street. This mural reflects the Victorian architecture of nearby Shrubland Street Primary School and was created by Tim Robottam. I have used filters for the colours and a Flickr friend to pose for the picture. The old part of Leamington has streets with character and this mural enhances the look of the area . Near to the mural stands the Green Man pub where the Lenny Henry TV series “Three Little Birds” was filmed.

The circular route back to pub took in the murals around the disused factory area which may be approached via Eagle Recreational Park. The murals line up alongside the Grand Union Canal and the path leads to steps and a footbridge taking you over the canal. As you go up the steps a glance to left reveals the stunning art by the artist N4t4. The canal was busy and a narrowboat passing by the graffiti strewn factory was an added bonus. We headed back to the Micro Pug for a drink and to plan the later part of the day.

Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
Canal Boat passing by.
Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
Figure and face.

We took a general walk through the Regency half of the town. Jephson gardens was looking good in the sun with people enjoying the fine weather. The usual “honey spot” pictures of Jephson Gardens, the Parade and Clarendon Square were taken before finally it was time to go home.

Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
Enjoying the water fountains
Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
Mind your Head
https://damienwalmsley.com/leamington-street-art/
Bridge over the River Leam
Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
The architecture of the Royal Priors
Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
Busy roads in Leamington Spa
Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
Phone boxes
Silicon Spa Street sights, Leamington Spa, May 2024.
The beauty of Clarendon Square

I have completed another chapter in my photographic blogs which feature Leamington Spa. My last blog picks up many of the other murals that are present in the town. Finally why the moniker Silicon Spa? The town has exploded in the digital world and is a hub for computer game developers and other computer software programs. The streets maybe lined with code but the artistic community is keeping up by painting the walls with colours.

Finally the “we” and “my Flickr Friend” is JohnBrum69 who kindly guided me around the streets of Leamington.

Aurora borealis in my garden, May 2024

So I have been to Iceland but did not see the Aurora Borealis as it was too cloudy.  I did fly from Portland, Oregon to Reykjavík and saw the lights somewhere over the Northern Territories and Greenland.  My next Aurora Borealis experience was a recreated one in Birmingham City Centre.  This event was really cool even though it was man made.

Aurora borealis in my garden, May 2024
Rays of light from above (iPhone)

The chances of seeing a full blown Northern Lights show anywhere outside of Iceland or Norway were going to be low.  Friday 10th May and the Aurora watch said chances were high but I was out for dinner and I was thinking of an early Saturday start to photograph the end of the bluebells season.  

Aurora borealis in my garden, May 2024
Beam me up Scotty (iPhone)

When we got back home, I went out in the garden and looked North as the BBC news channel instructions stated.  Sandy said I had North wrong and I should look more to my right.  I stayed out past 11.30pm and took a few pictures.  At first nothing seemed to be showing, possibly there was a faint green glow.  My camera showed some streaks on the right.  I reorientated myself to the North East view and took a picture.  At first I thought the camera was having a problem.  There were lines on the picture.  I took some more and as you will see there were some amazing rays showing up.  I looked with the naked eye and there was a white glistening cloud passing over the house.  The camera was recording pictures of an intense part of the electromagnetic storm that was passing overhead.

Aurora borealis in my garden, May 2024
Taken looking west away from the house. (iPhone)

The storm moved over the house from the East to the West.  I continuously took pictures with my iPhone and occasionally used my Canon D5mkIV.  The patterns were changing and at times the scene over the house looked like rays being emitted from a heavenly body.

Aurora borealis in my garden, May 2024
Burst of light from the sky (iPhone)

When I posted the pictures around midnight, I found the Socials were going mad.  Many of my photographic friends were posting pictures of the Aurora and I was entering a massive chatroom as everyone exchanged their views on photographs that had been taken.  

Aurora borealis in my garden, May 2024
Green for Oxygen molecules, red for Nitrogen. (iPhone)

Reflections.  I never thought that I would see the Northern Lights from my back garden and that it would be so spectacular.  I was so pleased to have the chance to see it and photograph the light show. I never made it to the Bluebells fields the next day!

Aurora borealis in my garden, May 2024
Intense red colours (Canon 5Dmkiv)

Technicalities.  All iPhone pictures were taken on a tripod which gave lots of detail.  Settings for the Canon were f/2.8, s15 secs and initially ISO1600.  The light was so intense that I dropped the ISO to 400 on subsequent photographs. The colours from both cameras were different with the Canon picking up a richer red colour to the lights.

If you want to see my Northern lights from a plane, I have a link.

Then there is Borealis, a recreation of the northern lights by the artist Dan Acher which was held in Birmingham.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024

Woodland photography is one of my interests as there are several woods near to me that I love wandering around taking photographs with my camera.  The skills that are involved with taking such pictures, I have learnt by trial and error.  However, my technique is rather low key and much of what I do is point the camera and take pictures that look appealing.  The opportunity to learn woodland photography skills arose after a chance meeting at the Photography Show with Miffyohara.  Miffy is a classically trained photographer who has a great love of woodland photography.  We talked about a photography walk and the place Miffy chose to start my woodland photography journey was Hagley Park next to the Clent Hills.

Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
The outlines of these branches make a pleasing geometric shape.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
A window created by the tree branches.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
Two walkers passing through the woods.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
I included the path which is partially covered with blossom so as to lead to the light.

The park has 350 acres of Worcestershire countryside to explore with an abundance of woodland.  When I arrived, I realised that a tripod was essential.  Never go anywhere without your tripod. This was my first lesson of the day.  Fortunately the light was good and the sun was breaking through the clouds.  During our visit, the sun was diffused by cloud cover although occasionally there were long periods of sunshine. Therefore we waited for these patches of light to illuminate the woodland. Similar to wildlife photography, a calm, non-hurried approach is required.  This is so difficult for me as I do tend to rush around.  For the first 30 minutes, we observed and photographed one tree.  We slowly walked around the tree, looking at how the sun fell on the branches and leaves.  I learnt about “windows” created by tree branches that open your photographs in a similar way to framing.  This aspect of woodland photography is appealing to me as I enjoy taking a picture within a picture.   I found the opportunity to place people into the scene although I acknowledge this is not what woodland photography is about!   The bluebells were in full bloom and offered splashes of blue throughout the day.  Another learning point was the avoidance of man-made structures in the photograph and therefore paths which allow a leading line were not considered but I did occasionally break the rules.  Therefore I used the branches and arrangement of the trees to lead the eye.

Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
A tree of interest that tells a story.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
A view of Hagley castle framed by a tree.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
The imposing Hagley castle.

Hagley Park has a circular route that takes in several follies that were placed by previous owners to add a pleasing spectacle to the eye.  The structures follow classical architectural designs as may be seen in my photographs. The current ideas of the park keepers are to reduce the prominence of these follies and allow the woodland views to take centre stage.  The first folly we came across was Hagley castle which is designed to resemble a small ruined medieval castle.  The castle is an imposing structure over this part of the park and whilst it was fenced off, it was still possible to view the architecture.  Leaving the castle, the path dipped steeply down towards the stream that passed through the south of the park.  On our way there were several interesting trees worthy of photographing.  We climbed back up and then came upon Milton’s seat which gave beautiful views of Hagley Hall and the surrounding Worcestershire countryside.  This was a place where one could linger and let time pass you by.  The light was good and it was possible to view the hills in the distance.  

Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
A tree with personality.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
Fungi patterns on a dead tree.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
More patterns created by the fungi.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
Milton’s seat with a view that takes in Hagley Hall and the mountains in the distance.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
The woman in the red jacket had to be photographed.

Our next point of interest was the Palladian bridge which is very photogenic.  You are spoilt with the different compositions that arise from the bridge and the surrounding woodland. The bridge is at the head of the lake and set in a valley of trees.  There are reflections in the lake and the lay of the land offers both high and lower-level interpretations of the scene.  I settled for an eye level view taking in the reflection and the setting of the bridge along the lake.  Processing the picture in black and white provides balance and allows blending between the man-made structure and the woods.  The bridge is at the start of three lakes which lead upwards to the classically styled Rotunda.  On the way past the lakes, there is a memorial to the English poet William Shenstone in the form of an urn.  Again I was drawn into photographing the urn and the Rotunda amidst the woodland trees. There were also other interesting trees to take in and photograph.

Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
The Palladian Bridge in Black and White
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
The view over the lake.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
Shenstone’s Urn
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
A window onto the Rotunda.
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
The Rotunda blending into the surroundings.

On returning to the café, we discussed our photographs and then discussed how to process the pictures. Whilst proficient at Lightroom, I do need to revisit Photoshop and use the layers function to bring out features in my photographs.  Once again this is all part of the learning process.  

Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
Details from a fallen tree.

Woodland photography is a genre to visit.  I learnt how to look at woodland scenes, and carefully pick out areas of interest.  The need to slow down and take in your surroundings allows you to seek out new photographic scenes that you would miss if you just walked through the park.  By slowing down, you are also able to look at how the light falls on the woodland.  Looking for windows and diagonals in the branches of the trees helps your woodland photography stand out.  This walk was during the day and the woodland would naturally light up during the golden hours. I will look for future opportunities to pursue this genre of photography especially at the start and end of the day. 

Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
Tree textures
Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
Rushes

At the start, we talked to Alex one of the Park Rangers who gave us insight into the care of the park. Alex also agreed to be part of my 100 strangers project that is nearing completion. Here is a picture of Alex leaning against one of the Park Ranger trucks.

Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
Alex a park ranger at Hagley Park.

A final thank you to Miffyohara who was an excellent teacher and guided me through the skills required for woodland photography. In our discussions, subjects ranged from composition of woodland scene to a debate on giving titles to our pictures. The sharpening of my observational skills was one outcome of the day. The final word goes to Hagley Park which is a must visit location and will appeal to everyone not just photographers.

Woodland Photography, Hagley Park, Worcestershire, 2024
An iPhone picture of an interesting tree and thank you to Miffyohara for showing me the beauty of trees.

If you wish to see more of my previous woodland photography then I have added a link below. I will revisit Hay Wood with a different eye to my compositions.

Bluebells, Hay Wood, Near Baddesley Clinton, April 2024

The bluebell season is here and is earlier than normal.  Usually the flowers are in full bloom around the May Bank holiday weekend.  This year their arrival appears to be 1 to 2 weeks early.  A blue carpet of bluebells is always stunning especially when set against the backdrop of the woodland.  This year I went to Hay Wood as a fellow photographer had taken a picture of the blue carpets of flowers and the scene looked stunning.  

Bluebells, Hay Wood, Near Baddesley Clinton, April 2024
The blue carpet of bluebells.

Hay Wood is part of Forestry England and is a small wood which is near to Baddesley Clinton. The latter is an outstanding National Trust property which is always lovely to visit. We are fortunate to have Hay Wood nearby.  The bluebells appear on specific patches to the east and west parts of the woodland.  The easterly display was at its peak and even though I was there around midday, the light was wonderful.  The new shoots of green leaves glistened in the sun and the bluebells contrasted against the trees rising upwards.  

Bluebells, Hay Wood, Near Baddesley Clinton, April 2024
Light and shadows highlighting the scene.
Bluebells, Hay Wood, Near Baddesley Clinton, April 2024
Bluebells around the trees.

The bluebells to the west of the wood looked beautiful and they were still flowering.  More photographs of the blue carpet were taken.  The western part of the wood has a public footpath that links with St Michael’s church that is adjacent to the Baddesley Clinton estate.  I visited the church as there is the opportunity to take a picture of the bluebells in the foreground and the church providing the background interest.

Bluebells, Hay Wood, Near Baddesley Clinton, April 2024
A solitary bluebell plant with a backdrop of green and blue.
Bluebells, Hay Wood, Near Baddesley Clinton, April 2024
Old tree trunks add interest to the scene.
Bluebells, Hay Wood, Near Baddesley Clinton, April 2024
Muddy paths led to the bluebells.
Bluebells, Hay Wood, Near Baddesley Clinton, April 2024
St Michael’s Church, Baddesley Clinton with bluebells.

All these pictures were taken with my Fujifilm x100vi and  I bracketed the exposure of the pictures.  The 3 photographs were merged with the HDR function in Lightroom.  Some adjustments of the shadows and highlights plus dodging and burning were made.

If you enjoyed these pictures of the bluebells then please follow the links below to see previous entries in my blog.

Dublin City, April 2024

There is always new sights in Dublin even though I have been away for 6 years. The opportunity arose as a conference was held in Dublin and I jumped at the chance to attend. Lisa, my PhD student was presenting and as it happens I gave a presentation on behalf of a colleague who could not make it to the conference. Our conference hotel was in the Liberties and I had not explored this area of Dublin so much in my past visits. I was staying at the Aloft hotel which had some good views over the city from the 7th floor bar.

Dublin City, April 2024
Francis Street in the Liberties
Dublin City, April 2024
Shopping for the Clash back in 1977
Dublin City, April 2024
Whiskey testing at the Dublin Liberties Distillery.

The weather was a mix of sunshine and showers which seems to be the story of our weather for the last 18 months. Dublin City is great for street photography especially around the Temple Bar area. There are so many people taking selfies of each other that no-one seems to care about one more camera on the streets. I also took in Trinity College, Dublin Castle and a few other sites. Trinity was holding a concert and so many of the picturesque views were not possible. Also they have erected a large red box which is called the Book of Kells experience. They are remodelling the old library and how the Book of Kells is viewed, however the red box is an eyesore.

Dublin City, April 2024
Dublin tram meets Dublin bus.
Dublin City, April 2024
“Sphere within a Sphere” by Arnaldo Pomodoro must be one of the most photographed items in Dublin.
Dublin City, April 2024
Not so sure about the outside experience.
Dublin City, April 2024
Colours of the Olympia Cinema.

Whilst in the Temple Bar area, I discovered Love Lane and this hidden gem had lots to photograph. The tiles and messages were great to see and read. The artwork was conceived and installed by Anna Doran. I loved reading all the messages on the tiles and there were even lyrics from one of my favourite bands, Thin Lizzy. I looked up the lyrics to Dublin written by Phil Lynott. The last verse is quite poignant especially as Derby Square was an alleyway off Werburgh Street near to where I stayed.

And at sea with flowing hair
I’d think of Dublin
Of Grafton Street and Derby Square
And those for whom I really care and you

Dublin City, April 2024
Love Lane tiles
Dublin City, April 2024
Admiring the tiles and messages
Dublin City, April 2024
Crampton Court

Dublin City, April 2024
Reflections from Sweeny’s Pharmacy.

This was also a bittersweet photo experience as this is my last time using the FujiFilm x100v. The camera has been by my side for the last 4 years and I am now moving on to its successor. The camera has served me well as many of the pictures in this post testify.

Dublin City, April 2024
View of a Dublin morning from the Aloft Hotel.

I have pictures from my 2018 visit for you to see and compare. Following this there is a link to the Dublin Liberties Distillery.

Berkswell Windmill Open Day, Ballsall Common, April, 2024

If you love windmills then visiting Berkswell Windmill should be high on your list.  The Grade II listed working windmill is open during the summer and a watch on their Facebook page keeps you notified on the opening times.  Generally it is open every month from Easter Monday till the end of October.  I saw the Facebook notice and arranged to visit with my daughter and grandson.  The weather forecast was dire and we expected rain.  However some of the weather apps were suggesting there may be a break in the clouds.

Berkswell Windmill Open Day, Ballsall Common, April, 2024
The Morris Dancers in full swing.
Berkswell Windmill Open Day, Ballsall Common, April, 2024
An English scene with sun!

Parking is limited in Windmill lane near to Balsall Common village. The poor weather forecast may have kept some people away as when we arrived there were spaces available. A friendly greeting at the gate and a small donation to the upkeep of the Windmill and we were in. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived as there were two other photographers who I knew also taking pictures. It was good to catch up with Mark Pemberton and Melissa and chat about our photographing adventures. Then I took pictures of the Windmill which is in tip top condition. There were Morris Dancers, cream buns and tea.  What was more astonishing is that the sunshine arrived.  I was able to take pictures with nice white fluffy objects called clouds.  Most of the month of March has been overcast and wet so an afternoon of sun was most welcome.  The volunteers were showing people around the Windmill although we did not venture to the top and I will save that for another time.

Berkswell Windmill Open Day, Ballsall Common, April, 2024
Blue sky and white clouds.
Berkswell Windmill Open Day, Ballsall Common, April, 2024
Sails against the sky.

The Windmill is one of the most complete Windmills in the world but there are storm clouds literally on the horizon as the area is under threat with a large housing development being planned.  This would stop the sails from turning.  However on this day, I just enjoyed the windmill and having a lovely cup of tea with a cream scone. My grandson loved all the toy cars and slides that were available. My daughter loved sitting in the sun just taking in the scene.

Berkswell Windmill Open Day, Ballsall Common, April, 2024
Shadows from the sun.

Berkswell Windmill Open Day, Ballsall Common, April, 2024
Morris Dancers in front of the Windmill.
Berkswell Windmill Open Day, Ballsall Common, April, 2024
A beautiful spring day.
Berkswell Windmill Open Day, Ballsall Common, April, 2024
Family picture by Mark Pemberton.

If you love windmills then here are a few more for you.

This blog features Antimachia Windmill on Kos Island, Greece.