Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024

The IgersbirminghamUK Icons walk started with a torrential downpour of rain. We met at the Five ways roundabout where we managed to shelter from the rain until we were brave enough to walk down Broad Street.  The rain had created many excellent photographic opportunities including people with umbrellas concentrating on avoiding the large puddles.  

Auchinleck
Reflections of the International Convention Centre, Centenary Square.

The underpass at Five Ways is a busy thoroughfare with both people and delivery bikes moving around.  If you stay still then you immediately look suspicious. There was a brief plan of where our walk would take us. The idea was to walk down Broad Street to Centenary Square with a short detour to Oozells Square. From then on we would visit two more squares, Chamberlain and Victoria with our final destination being the Colmore where we could discuss our photographs over a well-earned drink. I have grouped my pictures into several themes.

People

Broad street is always great for street photography with pedestrians undertaking different activities. They may be waiting for the trams or making their way to the theatres and concert halls. There is always the odd surprise such as the suited and booted men on scooters.  Surprisingly they were not wearing helmets!  Even the cyclist, I captured was not wearing one.  The health and safety part of me has seen the results of people not wearing crash helmets.  One of my favourites photographs was the picture of two women outside the Library of Birmingham practicing their hip hop dance moves in the window reflections. Other people looked very glum about the weather.

Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Sharing an umbrella in Broad Street
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Suited and booted
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Cycling Broad Street with the Octagon in the background.
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Practicing hip hop dance moves.
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Only the lonely

Signs

Letters are everywhere and a few caught my eye.  Popworld was hosting a party and Ozzie was getting wet.  There were signs of the cost of living crisis with unopened cans of food left on a bench.  A story within a story, as the unopened cans sit on a bench near to the luxury five ways hotel where people can take a Rockstar taxi into the city. Head over to #igbk_meet_icons where one of our photographers focused on the lettering he encountered during our walk.

130406_365_Steps and candles, White Palace
Ozzy’s signature
130406_365_Steps and candles, White Palace
Popworld
130406_365_Steps and candles, White Palace
Taxi rank on cobbled stones
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Contrasts with tins of food and taxis

Icons

There are so many icons on the route and the Black Sabbath bridge over the Birmingham Canals is deserving of your attention.  In Centenary Square, there was the obligatory shot of the golden boys statue.  The Birmingham family holds a central position in the square and divides popular opinion. My picture shows that the overriding message is about love.  The Iron:man by Antony Gormley regularly gets photographed as it is placed at the intersection of many walkways including the tram stop and Town Hall.  Finally the Birmingham icon, Benjamin Zachariah, is the subject of an exhibition of his life and works.  The pictures and living history of this influential poet and writer are set up near to the New Street entrance to Victoria Square. Biodiversity bear has also taken up residence in the same area. This is a busy place with the trams passing by in their distinguished blue livery.

130406_365_Steps and candles, White Palace
The Birmingham family is about love.
130406_365_Steps and candles, White Palace
The Golden Boys
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Pictures of Iron:man
130406_365_Steps and candles, White Palace
Victoria Square Icons

Architecture

Birmingham is noted for its brutalist history and love of concrete.  The start of our walk at the Auchinleck walkway provides an example of this.  However spirits are raised when walking towards Field Marshall Auchinleck’s statue and down Broad Street.   The high rise living apartments dwarf the street level buildings and lights.  Older buildings fight for space with the newer blocks of architecture. Oozells Square still has presence, even though it is most famous for two weeks of the year when the cherry trees blossom.  The reflective pool in Centenary Square was clear of any activity and with the recent rain, the classic picture of the Rep, Library and Hall of Remembrance was taken. A new icon, the Octagon, is rising in the background. The approach to Chamberlain square has a certain grandeur as the buildings on either side guide you to the Council House with the Chamberlain clock and the 103 Colmore Row skyscraper in the background.  The security were kind to us and we were able to take photos on this privately owned part of Birmingham without hassle. Reaching Victoria square there is a mixture of construction and exhibitions taking place. Local Brummies will quip, “Birmingham will be good when it is finished”.

Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
The brutalist architecture of Auchinleck underpass at Five Ways
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
View of the top of Broad Street.
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
The old and the new.
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Classic view of Oozells Square.
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Reflections of some Birmingham Icons.
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
The approach to Chamberlain Square
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Victoria Square and the Benjamin Zachariah exhibition.
Birmingham Icons walk, IgersbirminghamUK, July 2024
Tram lights
There were signs of the cost of living crisis with unopened cans of food left on a bench.  A story within a story as the unopened cans sit on a bench near to the luxury five ways hotel where people can take a Rockstar taxi. 
A regular sight on the streets of Birmingham.

At the Colmore, we had great discussions about our pictures including those that got away.  As we left the pub on our way home, the night was coming down allowing the neon lights to feature more in our pictures. The big wheel by the Cathedral invited us to take a few final pictures and then we caught the train home.

There were signs of the cost of living crisis with unopened cans of food left on a bench.  A story within a story as the unopened cans sit on a bench near to the luxury five ways hotel where people can take a Rockstar taxi. 
Lights from the window.

If you liked these pictures and want to know more about IgersbirminghamUK then please follow us on Instagram. Here is a previous blog describing another of our recent Birmingham walks.

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.

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.

Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024

I have been up the Shard and visited the Monument.  Both buildings have their charm and give unparalleled views of the London skyline.  I have seen Westminster and beyond from the London Eye where your excitement builds as the wheel slowly turns.  Eeventually when you reach the pinnacle of the journey, you have a super view of the Houses of Parliament and the Southbank where cars and trains move around like they are part of a model village.  There are many others that I have been fortunate to visit over the years and all provide an assortment of bird eye views of London.  Do I need to visit another high-rise viewing platform?  

Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
It is a long way down.
Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
Diagonal lines created by the sun streaming into the viewing area.
Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
Walking away from the view.

My recent visit to London was to undertake a planned photowalk organised by my photo-colleague Peter Thompson, that would take in the Regent’s canal and Shoreditch.  We covered most of the itinerary during the day. We were nearing the finish and about to reward ourselves with a cup of tea before heading off for our trains home.  We had walked the streets and towpaths of London and my feet were hurting.  I was weary.  Peter Thmpson suggested Horizon 42 as our final place to visit before that much needed cup of tea.   I was not sure what to expect from another high rise viewing platform.  Visiting the viewing platform is free but demand for tickets on the Internet is high.  Arriving at the entrance door to the building, the sign display indicated that tickets  were available.  A quick visit of the Horizon42 web site on my iPhone followed by downloading of the tickets, and we were through security and taking the ear popping lift to the summit. 

Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
The view with the Shard and the walkie talkie building.
Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
The view west
Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
Looking east – Canary Wharf.

The Horizon22 viewing platform is simple but effectively designed.  There are split level floors and there is little to no décor on the white painted walls.  This maximises the light reflections and creates few distractions when taking and reviewing your picture taking.  Looking down from the upper platform, I noticed how the sun streams into the area creating shadows.  People are free to move around the spacious area and interact with the large windows that are present.  The day I went the weather was clear and the London landmarks were easy to spot.  The viewing platform looks out over Tower Bridge and the Shard.  I was able to see Canary Wharf and other places quite clearly.  I had my polarising lens cover on my Fujifilm x100v which minimised but did not completely eliminate the reflections in the glass from the strong sunlight.  In spite of this my pictures turned out well and I appreciated the view in between using my camera.

Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
Looking East – Tower Bridge.

I enjoyed my visit to Horizon22,  the experience was good and I found the attendants to be pleasant and helpful.  I was not allowed to take my mini tripod up to the top but the security ensured that it was carefully looked after and I picked it up on my exit.

There is a photography bonus in the plaza as you exit the building.  You are able to  look up to the top of the building which makes for a good picture composition.

Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
Looking up at Horizon22
Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
Talking skyscrapers
Horizon22, Bishopsgate. London, March 2024
Taking time out for a phone call.

Would I recommend going up Horizon22? Definitely! The skyscraper is probably a better experience than the Shard which requires the purchase of tickets.  In comparison Horizon22 is completely free and a link to the website is below.

https://horizon22.co.uk

Having read my blog then you may find my account of 103 Colmore row in Birmingham interesting. Another viewing platform in yet another skyscraper.

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.

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.

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!
Riffe Lake, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023

Thanksgiving is a special time in America.  Having enjoyed our visit to Washington State, we made the decision to repeat our time there this year.  Last year, we stayed in a Cabin on the foothills of Mount Rainier but my in-laws have now moved south to an area around Riffe lake.  Their house is idyllic nestled into the deep evergreen forest of Washington.  The house is equal distance between Mount Rainier and St Helens. The nearest town, Mossyrock, is 20 minutes away and further provisions require another 20-to-30-minute journey.  Their residence is adjacent to Riffe Lake a large reservoir which curves around the valley.  The reservoir was created in the 1960’s by Tacoma Power and there are several submerged villages under the water.  

Riffe Lake, Northern Lookout, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
The View of Riffe Lake from the road view point near to Mossyrock
Riffe Lake, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
Deep in the Evergreen forest around Riffe lake.

The area has many features that are brilliant for photography.  In 2017, the authorities lowered the reservoir level by 30 feet as there were worries that a seismic event in an area with several active volcanoes could lead to catastrophic flooding.  Consequently the shoreline has exposed many trees that were cut down to make way for the original reservoir.  The remnants of the tree trunks are stripped down and the roots are exposed.  When exploring the shoreline these cut down trees look like alien beings which are ready to walk away.  The word triffids comes to mind as one moves around the lake shore getting close up to these tree trunks.

Riffe Lake, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
Walking down to the Lake Shore.
Riffe Lake, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
The exposed roots and tree trunks on the shores of Riffe Lake.
Riffe Lake, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
This tree and roots looks like it is on the move!
Riffe Lake, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
The landscape is eerie and looks very strange.
Riffe and Mayfield Lake, Washington State, USA, November 2023.
Overlooking Riffe lake

Adjacent to Riffe Lack is Swofford Pond which is an oasis for fishing and wildlife.  The road passes the shores of the pond and provides a scenic view of the area.  On one side there is a bank from the start of green mountain and forms a scenic border to the surrounds of the pond. Everyday I passed by Swofford Pond and everyday I grew to love the area even more.

Riffe Lake, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
Swofford Pond is adjacent to Riffe Lake.
Swofford Pond next to Riffe Lake, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
An autumnal tree looks out over Swofford Pond.
Swofford Pond next to Riffe Lake, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
A storm passing through the area of Swofford Pond.

Riffe lake feeds into Mayfield Lake which in turn is another reservoir.  This lake has several camping areas and the main boating town of Mayfield is at the southern head of the water.  Whilst a popular boating resort in the summer months, during the winter the place is deserted which adds a degree of charm with the piers empty of boats.  In Mayfield there is an island providing views up the lake with a miniature lighthouse that must be popular in the summer months.

Mayfield Lake, Washington State, USA, November 2023.
A view over Mayfield Lake.
Mayfield Lake, Washington State, USA, November 2023.
Empty jetties waiting for the summer months.
Mayfield Lake, Washington State, USA, November 2023.
A lighthouse on the lake island at Mayfield island.
Mayfield Lake, Washington State, USA, November 2023.
A very quiet, Mayfield village during the winter months.
Mayfield Lake, Washington State, USA, November 2023.
Another view over the lake.

The reservoirs and the pond around Mossybank are picturesque and there are many trails to explore. I will be back again to enjoy another view of the area. Whilst I was visiting, there were many residents that I came across whilst I was traveling around the area.

Mayfield Lake, Washington State, USA, November 2023.
A Texas Longhorn we met on our daily commute. Love those horns.
Mayfield Lake, Washington State, USA, November 2023.
An inquisitive song sparrow.

This is my second visit to Washington for Thanksgiving and I post a picture of my sister and brother in law together with Sandy enjoying our Turkey dinner.

Thanksgiving, Washington State, USA, Nov 2023
Happy Thanksgiving 2023

If you are interested to read about my previous visit to Washington on 2022 then please follow the link below.