Digbeth is known for streets of light and the area looks it best when the sky is dark. But not too dark. An ideal time to take photographs is during the blue hour. The warm yellows of the streetlights reflect on the colourful buildings. I watched a PhotoPills YouTube video on the Art of Travel Photography. The guest photographer was Scott Stulberg who said if you want to get the best pictures then you have to go out at night. So my first blog of 2024 is all about Digbeth in January.
The blue hour is great but you must get up early and that is not easy unless you plan to go out in January. The sun rises at around 8 o’clock and therefore you can get into the city early and be ready for the golden hour. The rewards are many and I know this, as last year my photograph of Floodgate Street taken on an early January morning was “Highly recommended” in the Landscape Photographer of the Year awards in 2023. Making sure I was there at the right time helped. If you are lucky enough to be around after a night of rain then the streets light up with multiple reflections. My aim as always is to be different but also to fit in a few of those classic views.
Arriving in Digbeth early in January I was hoping that Floodgate street and Trinity Street lights would be on but I was disappointed. The lights were off but I guess it was a Monday morning. However Gibb street was ablaze with lights and this is where I concentrated my efforts on my picture taking. I walked up and down Gibb Street looking for pictures of the shop windows and the street art. There were a few people moving around and coming into work at the Custard Factory. My cameras were the trusty Fujifilm x100v and my iPhone 15 proMax. I set up my mini tripod for some of the pictures with the x100v and went for high ISO to catch the people moving around. I did move around Floodgate and Lower Trinity Street to take pictures as there were still some neon lights on to assist early risers to find their way to the Custard Factory.
Lingering and loitering is a good plan as I waited for people to pass through entrances. I aimed to catch their silhouettes against the street art. Some photographers advise to have your camera on burst function so as to capture several pictures. In this way you capture the moment. However, I like to take in the surroundings and press the shutter button when I am ready. Yes I miss a few pictures but I am generally happy with what I get.
The neon lights throw up some strong colours as my pictures show. I took many more pictures before the daylight overcame the night. The buildings reverted to a grey colour and Monday daytime was beginning. The time had come to move on and find a hot cup of coffee to warm me up.
Postscript – This is another of my Digbeth picture series which are a popular read. Please check them out below.