Since the Bull was unveiled in a spectacular showpiece at the Commonwealth Games in the summer of 2022, the Birmingham public haven fallen in love with him. As soon as the opening ceremony was over, the Bull was brought to Centenary Square where thousands of people came to view him. His popularity was immense, and this soon created a new problem. What to do with Bully after the games had finished? There were many suggestions but no concrete solutions and before long the Bull was moved from the square to a lock up location in Ladywood. There he stayed underneath a tarpaulin sheet as Birmingham leaders decided what to do with him. The public learnt that a solution had been found but first the bull needed to be upgraded for his new location. Time moved on and then there was an announcement of a competition to find a name for the Bull. After a public vote, the name Ozzy was selected. We also learnt where he was to be housed. In the large atrium of New Street Station. Then in early July a space was set up followed by parts of Ozzy being delivered to the station over one night in July. Commuters woke up the next day to see the construction of Ozzy. First the body, then the head and horns.
Every photographer in Birmingham rushed to take pictures of Ozzy as he is being constructed. When I visited the feet were still missing although the rest of Ozzy is pieced together. I had forgotten the size of the Bull and the distinctive head is high into the Atrium. Someone has placed a white sheet over the head of Ozzy. Brummies are unsure why this has been done as it is not possible with a single sheet to hide the identity of the bull. However the sheet does give an air of mystery to the statue.
Enjoy these pictures and stay tuned for the unveiling of Ozzy in all his glory later this month. You may also wish to see two of my earlier posts which chronicle the history of Ozzy the Bull.
For the most part of the year, Oozells square in Birmingham is unremarkable. The square is surrounded by office buildings on 3 sides and the IKON art gallery on another. This latter building is a grand Victorian building which was formerly a boarding school. There are several good restaurants in the square which have hosted family meals in the past. In spring, the square is transformed into a beautiful place by several rows of trees that burst into cherry blossom.
The event is becoming more and more famous having been featured this year on the BBC News. We went with the family to see the blossom and get the obligatory pictures. Here Noah is reaching upwards mesmerised by the blossom. Soon the green leaves will appear. Noah’s coat contrasts well with the pink.
The event is enjoyed by all ages but as you see from the pictures, my grandchildren had a fantastic time seeing the cherry blossom. The BBC News item has made the blossom event famous at a National Level.
The Photography show turned out to be a great event. I was worried prior to the event as what it may be like especially as it had been put back after a few false starts due to Covid19. The show was held in Halls 1 and 2 at the NEC and when you walked in you noticed that the stalls were set more apart than normal providing a feeling of space. There were wide walkways and amble space to pass people.
Sunday was my first day and it appeared relatively quiet. This gave me the opportunity to linger at several stands and return to take several looks at the cameras on display. I had not booked into any talks, and those that I did attend for did not live up to their titles. The quality of the PowerPoints was surprisingly poor. One talk that I did enjoy on the Sunday was by Claire Luxton. Her artwork was spectacular with wonderful attention to detail. The way she produced the photographs involved a great deal of planning. She was also a very enthusiastic speaker, and I enjoyed her presentation style.
On the stands, I handled several cameras, fell in love the Canon R5 but it is out of my price range and unlikely to be a camera that I would use that much to justify the price. I liked the new Z fc series from Nikon with its retro design but it would have to do well to be a better buy than my Fujifilm X100V. The Nikon is an attractive camera and as the person who was demonstrating the camera moved it around, the dials caught the light and it did look very attractive. There were also some very nice Fujifilm cameras that I was able to pick up and try out. The Cewe book stand display was lovely to browse through and I will use them for my 365 printed project.
during the show I met up with Photography friends Martin Kelly and Ian Lewis. We found a quiet spot and did a recording of the Photo show. It was different undertaking a live recording and not having to do a zoom. After it was finished, I went and looked at the action area where there were displays of Bike jumping, juggling and breakdancing. Once again my FujiFilm camera did a great job. The evening finished with a few drinks in a local pub and then a get together meal at a local hotel.
On Monday I was back at the show, this time to take part in a Digital Camera magazine walkabout. I had been long listed in a Garden flower competition on the Digital Camera Facebook page. Although I was not a winner, Niall Hampton the editor of the magazine inquired who was going to the Photography show. I mentioned that I would be there so he dropped me an email and I was selected for a walkabout around the NEC taking pictures for a feature in the magazine. I will cover this more in a future blog.
Whilst I was waiting, I took the opportunity to walk around the lake and was taken in by the attractiveness of the place. It did surprise me that such natural beauty existed within the concrete jungle of the NEC. I also did a walkabout in the NEC itself covering the skywalk to the far reaches of the Exhibition Centre. I have some examples of the pictures that I took.
All Monday’s pictures were done with my Canon D5 with the 24-105 lens except one picture that was taken with my iPhone. This one picture made the picture of the day on BBC Midlands today. In summary the Photography show was worthwhile, I enjoyed the two days as each was different in what I saw and participated in. There were a few big names missing but the ones that were there such as Canon and Nikon more than made up for it.
Queensway is a busy arterial road in and out of Birmingham so there is always a high volume of traffic thundering along the tarmac. With my telephoto lens and 24 to 70 mm lens, I went about taking different pictures of an area that is already very familiar to me. New building projects are always happening in the city centre and the area between the Cathedral and the Canal was an old factory site. It has been repurposed into city dwelling flats that are being built close to the canal.
The area is also a magnet for different kinds of people and as I was taking pictures, I was hassled for money, so I quickly moved on. It is something I am wary of when I am in the quieter parts of town. I know that I do have to be careful of my own safety. Still the lure of taking a few photographs around the buildings on either side of Queensway won through. I took pictures of St Chad’s Cathedral and also with my telephoto lens up past the Snow Hill buildings. After that I made my way into town for a lunch time meeting.
Parking on the top floor of Selfridges Car Park opposite the store provided skyline pictures of both the City and Digbeth, and the skyline bridge linking the two is always fun for a picture or two. I love the new covering on the Selfridges which is being put in place whilst they replace the discs on the outside. The covering is designed by Osman Yousefzada,who is a multi-disciplinary artist working in association with the IKON gallery. the pink and black geometric shapes are in contrast with the grey architecture.
It was a day of sunshine and showers and whilst I was outside there was a terrific downpour.
This then led to the bonus of several puddles for a bit of reflective photography. The puddles around Selfridges are still there and lend themselves to some nice reflections of the building as it is being renovated
On my way to New Street, there were other interesting images to capture including the queue outside Zara and the photographing of the Electric Cinema. I lingered around the reflective roof of the entrance to New Street Station. I also took a few pictures of the trams passing through which is something you have to do when in Birmingham.