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.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024

Birmingham has a long and rich history and the names of George and Richard Cadbury are linked with the story of the City  Their success in creating Cadbury’s Chocolate led to the building of their factory in Bournville.  The brothers created a Garden Village around the factory to cater for their employees.  Sadly Richard died before seeing the project completed although this spurred on George Cadbury to complete the project.  Bournville village is now run by a Trust and is a legacy which is enjoyed by both residents and visitors to the area.

IgersbirminghamUK, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
The Rest House which is at the centre of Bournville Village.

IgersbirminghamUK organised their first photographic Instameet of 2024 at Selly Manor which is part of Bournville Village Trust. Selly Manor also has a long story. The original building “Smythes Tenement” dated back to 1476. Over time, the building deteriorated and was split into separate dwellings called the “Rookery”. The house was saved from demolition by George Cadbury who brought the property in 1907 and relocated Selly Manor from Selly Oak to Bournville Garden Village. The House was rebuilt next to the Chocolate Factory in 1916 and opened as a museum. 

IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Daniel addressing the IgersbirminghamUK photographers.

Nearly 30 photographers arrived at the Museum on a bright sunny Saturday morning.  We received a welcome from staff member, Daniel, who gave us an overview of the house and then encouraged us to visit the rest of the area.  We were given a leaflet of the heritage trail that takes in all the notable buildings in the Bournville village.  We have some excellent photographers in the IgersbirminghamUK ranks as evidenced by the pictures that emerged on Instagram.  You can follow the pictures and reels from the day with the following tags and I have provided links to the relevant pages.  Please take some time to visit the pages and see the wonderful pictures. Thanks to the other members of the IgersbirminghamUK team for their organisation and help with the meeting Nicky Warwickshire, LenaMac77 and James_never_Jim.

The following is a selection of my pictures from the Selly Manor and Bournville Village Visit.

IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Guide books at the ready.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
A view of the Minworth Greaves building from a window in the Manor.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Beautiful detail of this head dress.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Civil war helmets.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
A priest hole in the attic.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Easter decorations.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Beth and Adam dress up for the day.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Easter egg hunt in the gardens (sadly not the chocolate variety).
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
The stocks are waiting for you.

Further reading on Selly Manor and the Bournville Village Trust.

Following on from Selly Manor some photographers moved onto the Bournville Quaker meeting House where one of the Quakers, Anne, was most kind and showed us around inside.  The outside of the church does have a fairy castle feeling.  Inside the large hall was impressive with light streaming through the windows.  There is a raised platform with chairs and table from the Selly Manor museum.  This, as Anne pointed out, is not used for worship as Quakers sit around in circles in the centre of the hall usually with a table.  Anne then took us up to the balcony to see the organ and from here we were able to take pictures down into the hall.  I was even fortunate that Anne agreed to be in my 100 Strangers project. 

IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Quaker Meeting House, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Bournville Quaker Meeting House.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Quaker Meeting House, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
The hall inside the meeting house.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Quaker Meeting House, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
The light streaming into the Hall.
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Quaker Meeting House, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Organ Pipes
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Quaker Meeting House, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
The command centre 🙂
IgersbirminghamUK, Selly Manor, Quaker Meeting House, Bournville Village Trust. March 2024
Thank you to Anne who kindly showed us around the Meeting House.

There is much more to see in and around the Bournville Village Trust and those photographs will have to wait till another day. I spend much of my time talking to other Instagrammers during an Instameet and do not get the opportunity to take that many photographs.  Catching up with others and seeing what they have photographed is a bonus with such Instameets.  After the meeting we headed off to the Glass House brewery by the canal in Stirchley.  We had a good catch up including talking about that elusive picture that got away!

If you are interested in the @IgersbirminghamUK Instameets then I have other accounts on my blog with the one below as a starting point.

Our beating heart, Snow Hill Square, Birmingham, March 2024

A big, revolving, mirrored heart has appeared in Snow Hill square accompanied by lights and seventies disco music.  Quite a combination when you think about it.  Such retro art installations catch my imagination.  “Our beating Heart” is a pop-up show sponsored by Colmore Business District and is free to view.  

I hurried along after a meeting at the MAC to see the latest art installation that Birmingham has on show.  Snow Hill was quiet, sparsely populated with commuters heading home.  In the middle of the square was the heart slowly revolving and lit up by lights.  The 11,000 mirrors reflected the light around the darkened buildings of the square.  The effect was pleasing and mesmerising as shards of coloured light gave a snowfall effect on the buildings.  The music was very much retro.  Whilst I was there taking pictures, songs from my youth were blasted out into the night.   Heart of Glass by Blondie and Saturday Night Fever by the Bee Gees are two examples of the disco style music.  This an open-air disco and luckily there was no rain.   

Our beating heart, Snow Hill Square, Birmingham, March 2024
View from the Station end of the square.
Our beating heart, Snow Hill Square, Birmingham, March 2024
No bikes allowed!
Our beating heart, Snow Hill Square, Birmingham, March 2024
Colour popping

Just to emphasise the fun of the evening two people were dressed up in multicoloured swap-shop jackets and were ready to engage in conversation with passers-by.  The installation was Instagram friendly and I was not alone in taking photographs.  Some serious picture taking was happening and a look at the socials shows how everyone wanted to have a piece of the action.  The heart was not the easiest object to photograph, very bright lights against the dark is tricky at the best of times.  My humble offering of photographs may not be the best but they give a flavour of the atmosphere.  There is much more information on the Colmore Business District web site and the pity is that the heart is only around for a few nights.  There was a board, where you could post supplied stickers saying how the heart made you feel.   I enjoyed seeing the heart but left bemused that a disco light shaped as a heart with retro hits has captured everyone’s imagination.  But that is what good art does by making you give an opinion.  My advice go and visit as the heart is worth seeing just for the picture taking.

Our beating heart, Snow Hill Square, Birmingham, March 2024
Multi-coloured swapshop jacket.

More information on the Beating heart designed by Studio Vertigo and the Colmore Business District.

St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024

Initially the weather forecast for St Patrick’s Day was rain but someone must have had a word with heaven. The rain stopped and the sun started to show itself from behind the clouds. Bradford Street in Birmingham is as straight as a die and runs parallel to Digbeth High street. At the top of the hill by Trinity Church, the floats, dignitaries and people were congregating.

St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
The Lord Mayor by one of the Irish banners.
St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
Getting ready to parade
St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
Ready to sing Dirty Ole Town by the Pogues
.

The entry code was you had to wear something green and St Patrick was there overseeing the proceedings. The Peaky Blinders were behaving themselves and they had brought their own police force. Irish dancers and marching bands were adding to the entertainment. There were a group of dancers who had flown in from Bolivia. Their costumes contributed to the colourful noise around them. The scooters were polished so well that you got blinded by the reflections from the chrome work and mirrors. The floats were being loaded up and the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress were greeting everyone and having their picture taken. With so many photographers around it was not long before the West Midland Mayor, Andy Street made an appearance. Everyone was so friendly and the atmosphere was one of excitement and merriment.

St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
The parade on Bradford Street
St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
The BRMB bus loaded with dignitaries
St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
The Guinness hats were everywhere
St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
Having fun was the aim of the day.
St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
Which will it be?

Then the parade was due to start so we rushed down the street to St Anne’s church. People were lining the barriers as you went down the hill towards the city centre. Even the dogs were dressed up in the Irish tricolour flag. The parade was long and varied, stopping every so often to let the marching bands and the Irish dancers demonstrate their skills. People waved towards the floats and people in the floats waved back. Everyone was so happy.

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Some of the big names in construction were there including Murphy’s and Mahoney’s. The Irish came over to Birmingham and contributed to making the city an industrial powerhouse. The parade reflected this contribution and everyone reacted to celebrating the rich history of Birmingham. These pictures are my own interpretation. At an event such as the St Patrick’s Day parade every type of photographer is out and about. BBC teams and local newspapers, amateur photography organisations and the casual mobile phone snapper were in their element. Everyone wants their photograph taken.

St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
The line up in a float
St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
The builders’ merchant (even I have used them)
St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
I am getting tired now.
St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
It was not just people who were having fun.

The BBC coverage is the best starting point for a record of the day’s events although a quick search of St Patrick’s Day Parade, Birmingham will open up many more.

St Patrick's Day Parade, Digbeth, Birmingham, March 17th, 2024
BBC account of the parade

The next parade in Birmingham will be Pride 2024 and here is my account from last year.

Joy and happiness at Birmingham Pride 2023

Fog in Birmingham, March 2024

Pulling the curtains back, I saw the fog which lifts any photographers spirits.  Fortunately, I had to be in Birmingham early and I knew that I would be able to get some good pictures of Dorridge station in the fog before it lifted.  I was even more pleased that the fog had not lifted by the time I got to Birmingham city centre. The fog was still around the Bull Ring and Moor Street turning normal street scenes into atmospheric and mysterious places.  The silhouettes of commuters provided the focus to many of the pictures. The majority of the photographs were taken with my iPhone15 which were then converted to black and white to take advantage of the contrasts available. I used Silver Efex Pro and I like the fine art processing or occasionally the overexposed settings that are provided. I also include pictures from the start of my journey in Dorridge where the fog was even thicker.

Fog in Birmingham, March 2024
Commuters outside Moor Street station and Selfridges.
Fog in Birmingham, March 2024
Riding a bike through the fog.
Fog in Birmingham, March 2024
Waiting for the train at Moor Street.
Fog in Birmingham, March 2024
St Martin’s walk with buildings obscured by the fog.
Fog in Birmingham, March 2024
Looking foggy at the Rotunda
Fog in Birmingham, March 2024
Reduced visibility
Fog in Birmingham, March 2024
Enjoying the morning commute.
Fog in Birmingham, March 2024
A lone figure crosses the Bullring

Dorridge station in the fog.

Fog at Dorridge, March 2024
The platforms shrouded in fog.
Fog at Dorridge, March 2024
Driving in the fog

I do like foggy mornings as these blog posts show.

Oozells Square, Birmingham, March, 2024

Oozells Square has featured on my blog over the years.  The appearance of the pink blossom on the trees heralds the start of spring in Birmingham. The square becomes a riot of pink colour and is a magnet for photographers.  This year, the blossom has arrived very early by about 2 weeks.  The warm wet winter has enabled the blossom to flower at the beginning of March.  Whenever the blossom appears then people flock to the area especially at the weekends.  On a bright sunny Monday morning, I had the square to myself bar a few people passing through. The sun was low enough to catch some of the blossom with its rays producing lovely colours. As luck would have it a few people passed by dressed in pink which matched the blossom. Taking photographs in the square is very competitive as many people will arrive over the next few weeks to get a picture. People dress up specially and families bring picnics to sit out and admire the blossom. The IKON gallery is an ideal backdrop to the blossom.  Please feel free to visit my other posts on the blossom.

Oozells Square, Birmingham, March, 2024
The Sun catches people walking through the square.
Oozells Square, Birmingham, March, 2024
Standing under the blossom.
Oozells Square, Birmingham, March, 2024
Time to move on.
Oozells Square, Birmingham, March, 2024
The blossom will be around for the next few weeks.

The blossom story from over the last few years.

2023 – Birmingham Blossom Watch

2022 – Birmingham Blossom

2020 – Blossom in Oozells Square

2018 – Cherry blossom experiments

University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024

This set of pictures features the University of Birmingham at night.  I was fortunate to be staying at the Edgbaston Park Hotel which is on campus.  After the conference dinner ended, I headed out with my iPhone and Fujifilm camera.  I used my travel tripod for some of the long exposure pictures of the Aston Webb building.  The iPhone was ideal for the pictures of the newer buildings around campus.  The sensors on the iPhone give a very good rendition of night colours.   

University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
Leading lines in the night.
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
The Entrance to Chemical Engineering.
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
The Medical School open all hours.
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
The expanse of the Green Heart.
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
The Walkway to University Centre.

The University has so many different venues that lend themselves for photography.   I did a brisk walk around several of the main buildings and paths.  Even though it was late, there were several people moving around.  Unsurprisingly the busiest area was the University Library.  The advantage to using the iPhone is that it is less conspicuous to using my camera.  Even with my long exposure pictures on a tripod, I did not attract that much attention and was very much left to myself as I moved around.  I hope you enjoy the pictures. Old Joe was telling the time at just before 8pm but that is not correct! Hopefully he will be sorted soon. The clock face is illuminated in purple colours for World Rare Diseases Day.

University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
Table Tenis table outside the School of Sport Sciences.
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
Steps to Univeristy Station
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
The new entrance to University Station.
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
More of the Aston Webb
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
Old Joe has a purple clock face.
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
The ornate gates of the University main entrance.
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
IRC Net Shape Laboratory always looks mysterious
University of Birmingham at Night, Edgbaston, March 2024
(UN)intentional camera movement – can you guess where I am?

If you enjoyed this blog then have a look at the University Campus in the Summer and the Autumn.

Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024

There have been many demonstration marches across the country calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. A large Palestinian demonstration march for the end of hostilities in the Isreal-Gaza war took place in Birmingham in January 2024. These are my pictures of the march as I watched on as the demonstrators passed through the streets of Birmingham. The march came through Digbeth and finished at the end of Edgbaston street near to the Indoor market.

Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
Flags flutter in the wind.
Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
A father with his child at the demo

The war between Israel and Hamas has led to innocent civilians being killed on both sides of the conflict. My only wish is that there is peace and this is done by diplomacy not by the bullet. Whatever happens people will eventually have to sit around a table and negotiate. The January demonstrations in Birmingham on behalf of the Palestinian people show the depth of frustration. This anger will spill out into other areas of life both here and aboard. Rather than looking for peace, the spectre of further warfare will remain.

Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
If you look carefully not everyone was happy. Luckily the incident did not escalate.
Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
The stewards maintain control and the demonstrators move on.
Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
Many signs asking for the world to listen.

I was in Birmingham for another meeting which finished in time for me to take pictures of the rally. My pictures are in black and white. Why did I do this? When I first saw my pictures, the colours of the Palestinian flag whilst so important to the story telling swamped the visual appearance of the event. By using black and white, I was able to concentrate on the people and show their frustrations. I left the rally with one thought, there must be a ceasefire followed by diplomatic negotiation.

Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
Flag on my back.
Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
All right bab!
Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
The mannequins look on
Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
Marchers with flags.

Whilst I did publish Black and White photographs, I do have a cheeky colour picture of two police officers. Just as I was taking the picture, one of the officers turned around and looked at me. I had been clocked.

Pro Palestinian Rally, Birmingham, Jan 2024
I have been clocked!
Digbeth, Birmingham, January 2024

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.

Digbeth, Birmingham, January 2024
Early workers walking down Gibb Street

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.  

Digbeth, Birmingham, January 2024
Iconic Digbeth

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. 

Digbeth, Birmingham, January 2024
Shiny Digbeth

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.

Digbeth, Birmingham, January 2024
Changing Street Art – this is Mike Skinner and the Streets by Robbie Jeffcott. Those eyes…..
Digbeth, Birmingham, January 2024
Details on the railings.
Digbeth, Birmingham, January 2024
Details on the walls
Digbeth, Birmingham, January 2024
Blinking of an eye on Floodgate Street

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.

Digbeth, Birmingham, January 2024
Looking back along Gibb Street

Postscript – This is another of my Digbeth picture series which are a popular read.  Please check them out below.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023

Birmingham Botanical Gardens have been an important part of my life in Birmingham. I have attended many student balls and other celebratory events at the Hospitality suites. When I was President of the BSSPD Dental society I held my annual dinner at the Botanical Gardens during Spring 2013. The after dinner speaker that evening was Birmingham’s very own Don Maclean. We held our pre-dinner drinks on the London Terrace. Other memories include attending the Luminate night time light show during a previous Instameet. However I have not taken the opportunity to view the gardens in more detail. Therefore, I was so pleased that IgersbirminghamUK approached the Botanical Gardens to arrange a photographic Instameet. The Gardens were very enthusiastic about the idea and we agreed to visit in the Autumn when the leaves would be turning colour.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
Exotic flowers in the GlassHouses
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
Koi carp pretending to be the Meg.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
The architecture of the Glasshouses

We arranged to meet on a glorious Saturday Remembrance Day morning. There was a good number of IgersbirminghamUK photographers attending the meeting and our first duty of the day was to observe a minute’s silence at 11 o’clock. We then entered the gardens and met Sara the CEO. Sara was so welcoming and enthusiastic about the Botanical Gardens. She gave us an introduction to the charity and then outlined the future vision for the Gardens. There are exciting and ambitious plans to remodel the site. Sara showed maps and plans of what would be done over the coming two to three years.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
Sara, the CEO, pictured in the Glasshouse.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
Details in the glass house.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
The London Terrace
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
The beauty of Autumn.

IgersbirminghamUK instameets begin with an introduction and a group photograph. Once this is completed then we are free to go out and explore the gardens. I always get caught up with talking with other Igers photographers and forget to take the photographs. Catching up with people is part of the social activity of an Instameet. The glasshouses is the first area that you encounter when entering the gardens. I spent time photographing the beautiful Koi carp in the fountain area. The narrow corridors and the layout of the plants make this area very attractive and bring you close to the plants. I forgot to capture the beautiful circular window onto the gardens but many others did not. This is one of many reasons why I will return as there are so many different features to see and photograph. Leaving the glasshouses, I had an audience with the residents of the Terrace aviary. The birds were very talkative. You get pulled along when visiting the gardens and the London Terrace naturally guides you along with its wide embracing veranda and views. Here you have to stop and take in the beauty of the scene. The rolling bank of the lawn leads your gaze out to the Lawn Aviary and the Band stand. The sunlight was bright and lit up several trees whose leaves were turning a golden brown. The light captured and intensified the colours. I found myself stuck in the area around the bandstand just taking photographs of the scene unfolding before me.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
The bandstand.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
Leaves everywhere.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
Details at the Aviary.

I looked at my watch and realised that I had only seen a small part of the Gardens. I needed to move on. The Lawn Aviary is one of the buildings that will receive a major make over and the architectural design is captivating. I look forward to when it is receives an upgrade. Walking thought the Aviary, I dropped down the bank to Wilson Walk and came across the Urban garden area. Whilst this area requires renovation, for a photographer the place was full of strong shadows and light. There is some neglect and overgrowth of the plants and this appeals to my photographic eye. Another area where I found time slowed down for me was the Rock Garden and Memory pool. Water always creates reflections and the Rock pool offered many different views. Walking back via the colourful Acer trees was a treat and I slowly realised that I had done a full circle as I arrived back at the London Terrace. After browsing through the shop and stopping to say thank yous, my final pictures were of the entrance arches. I am unsure whether these will still be around after the renovation and I took several pictures of them against the sun to create diffraction effects with the light.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
A door in the shadows.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
Reflections in the Rock Pool.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
Details on the bandstand.

Time to go back home and process all the pictures that I had taken. A big thank you to Birmingham Botanical Gardens for allowing us to visit. These are my pictures of the event and there were some fantastic photographs from other members on the Instameet. The way to find these photographs is to follow the hashtag #igbuk_meet_botanical on Instagram. You may need to delve into individual photographers’ accounts to see more pictures due to the nature of the dreaded Instagram algorithm. You will be rewarded with some beautiful views of the gardens.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, November 2023
The entrance arches to the Botanical Gardens.

The IgersbirminghamUK team have visited other sites and places and you may wish to follow the links below to see what takes place during our meetings. You are most welcome to attend our Instameets.

These are some of my blogs on our visits to other sites around Birmingham with the IgersbirminghamUK team.

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