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!

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Starling Murmuration – Metal print

“There is likely to be a starling murmuration on Sunday night. This metal print is a dimensional and high-quality piece…

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.

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Starling Murmuration – Metal print

Starling Murmuration – Metal print

“There is likely to be a starling murmuration on Sunday night. This metal print is a dimensional and high-quality piece…

West Midlands Police Museum, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet,Birmingham, September, 2023.

IgersbirminghamUK have been busy during the year organising a range of Instameets. Following on from our visit to St Chad’s Cathedral, we were contacted by Alexander Beard, the Heritage Officer of the West Midlands Police Museum. Alexander offered us two Instameets at the former Lock up in Steelhouse Lane thus giving the photographers of IgersbirminghamUK a chance to see inside a popular museum venue. Having visited the WMPM on a previous occasion, I decided to focus on the details of the prison. Here are different views of doors, ceilings and the metal structures. I converted all the pictures to black and white. This gave some consistency to the pictures but also overcame the difficulties with managing the low light in the lock up. The museum is a must visit attraction and can be seen at many different levels as my pictures attempt to show.

West Midlands Police Museum, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet,Birmingham, September, 2023.
West Midlands Police Museum on Steelhouse Lane.
West Midlands Police Museum, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet,Birmingham, September, 2023.
Patterns in the Lock up
West Midlands Police Museum, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet,Birmingham, September, 2023.
A window in the lock up.

West Midlands Police Museum, IgersbirminghamUK Instameet,Birmingham, September, 2023.
The DNA cupboard.

A full account in colour of my last visit to the WMP museum is included below. I also made a study of the light in the museum on my Instagram pages. The WMPM pages are also fun to visit.

Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023

Queen Mary University of London is on the Mile End Road and adjacent to the Regent’s canal.  Part of the campus borders the canal and there is easy access from the University entrance.  I was at QMUL for a conference but took the opportunity to explore the tow path.  My first tow path walk was in the early morning and took me down to Limehouse basin and onto the river Thames.  My second walk was northwards up to Victoria Park and took place in the late afternoon.  Both walks allowed me to photograph people, boats, wildlife and buildings along the way.  This is my photographic account from those walks.

Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Underneath Mile End road running northwards.

From QMUL to Victoria Park.
 
There was a break between presentations and the evening dinner which gave me the opportunity of exploring the northern part of Regent’s Canal from the Mile End Road to Victoria Park.  This was another busy stretch of the towpath and Mile End Park is also adjacent to the towpath.  The first interesting feature was what is known as a portrait bench which features three well known figures.  The statues are in cast metal that then rusts giving an authentic look to the artwork.  There was a casting of Ledley King, a professional footballer who grew up in the area and spent his entire playing career at Tottenham Hotspur FC.  Nearby is a statue to Sylvia Pankhurst, the suffragette campaigner who worked on improving living conditions for destitute mothers.  Finally there was a canal horse commemorating the animals that towed boats along the towpath.  The park was lit up in patches as the sun broke through gaps of the high living flats on the other side of the canal.  There was more art work with the Bow Bottle and fish tail sculptures further along in the park.  These random pieces of work are intriguing and add to the charm of the canal.

Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
A working canal horse.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
Sylvia Pankhurst and Ledley King in the background.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
The Bow bottle


There was an interesting cut called the Hertford Union Canal.  This short canal links up to the Lee Navigation in Tower Hamlets.  The start of the canal looked attractive but my walk was to carry me past this canal to the nearby Old Ford Lock. 

Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
The canal on a late September afternoon
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
The Hertford Union Canal Cut
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
Peace at last on the canal.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
The Old Ford lock
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
Boats and reflections.

The area has been renovated and with the low sunlight highlighted the beauty of the place.  I then encountered Victoria Park where many people were enjoying the sunshine on this hot September Day.  Although I only touched briefly on the park, I came across the bridge at Bonner gate. The bright blue painting of the iron work contrasted with the greens and darker colours of the canal which was in the shade.  Other interesting features I saw were the Dogs of Alcibiades and have a fascinating history.  The statues were donated by Lady Regnart in 1912.  I got lost in the history of the dogs that were described on the accompanying board.  Victoria Park looked inviting but time pressed on and there was a conference dinner to attend.  The park was also full of police as they searched for an escaped prisoner and so I left the beauty and the noise retracing my steps to QMUL.

Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
Lazy sunny afternoon in Victoria Park.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
Sun rays and railings.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
Bridge details near Bonner Gate.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
Canal in the shade.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to Victoria Park, London, Sept 2023
One of the Dogs of Alcibiades, Victoria Park.
Dogs of Alcibiades
Enjoying the towpath.

To follow up this blog, please read my earlier accounts of my walks along the Regent’s Canal.

Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023

Queen Mary University of London is on the Mile End Road and is adjacent to the Regent’s canal.  Part of the campus borders the canal and there is easy access from the University entrance.  I was at QMUL for a conference but took the opportunity when time allowed to explore the tow path.  My first walk was in the early morning and I followed the canal down to Limehouse basin and onto the River Thames.  My second walk was northwards up to Victoria park and took place in the late afternoon.  Both walks allowed me to photograph people, boats, wildlife and buildings along the way.  This is my photographic account from those walks.

From QMUL to the river.

I was up early for this walk and was moving on the towpath by 6am.  There were still many people out and about at this time.  The day before had been hot and whilst there was a morning coolness temperatures were forecast to rise above 30oC.  There was a slight mist around the canal which diffused the light.  Several species of birds were moving around in the water.  The canal was heavy with algae and the ducks made tracks in the green covering.  There is a mixture of old industrial decay alongside both modern designs of buildings.  I took several pictures of the juxta positioning of the buildings and where the canal was algae free caught their reflections in the still water.  

Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
A chimney is part of the old industrial heritage along the canal.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Colourful old narrowboat
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Millionaire row
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
The algae adds a green foreground whilst the shine buildings of Canary Wharf are lit up by the early sun.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Wildlife coping with the canal.

On the streets there were abandoned hire bikes.  Colours were appearing as the early sunlight started to reach the taller buildings.  I soon reached Limehouse basin and this coincided with the sunrise.  The area has lots to see and quick decisions were made as to the best place to stand for the photographs.  I used my phone to take a few quick pictures that let me quickly see and plan the pictures with my Fujifilm x100v.  One of my first pictures worked well and set the standard that I needed  for future views.  

Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Abandoned bike.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Limehouse Basin
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
The sun rises over the basin.

After spending time photographing the sunrise , I made my way along the final part of the canal to the Thames.  This area is very popular with local commuters due to its proximity to Canary Wharf.  The quality of housing is of a higher standard than where I started in the Mile End Road.  The journey does take you through a range of housing.  The Thames looked good in the early morning light and I took several pictures around Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Kitchen restaurant. I followed the commuters as they walked along the road and then onto the pedestrian walkway next to the Thames.  This was a chance to practice some street photography as sharp contrasts between light and dark were created by the sunlight rising between the buildings.  

Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
The Thames in the early morning sun.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Looking out towards the Thames
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Sunlight.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Running the Thames walkway.

After a while, I realised that I had a conference to attend and I made my way back to QMUL following the Limehouse Cut. This took me past the Sea Mission and I eventually caught up with the Regent’s canal again.  The light had shifted and therefore there were different takes on pictures that I had taken on the way down.  One picture that I enjoyed taking was of two swans who were tucked into a recess of the canal wall.  The picture with the reflections in the background shows the beauty of this canal.

Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
On the cut and through the railings.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
The rush over the cut.
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
The majestic “Mission” building
Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Swans on the canal.

My final picture is of black and white architecture. I saw this block of flats as the canal turned after a railway bridge. The reflections immediately caught my eye. I converted the picture to black and white and I was pleased with the result. I entered into the weekly #fsprintmondays competition organised by FotoSpeed on Twitter and the picture made the top 4 for that week.

Regent's Canal, QMUL to the Thames, London, Sept 2023
Black and white architecture on the canal (with reflections)

If you enjoyed this blog then there is an earlier account of my photographic journey from Kings Cross to Camden along the Regent’s Canal. This waterway has such a varied landscape which makes it ideal to satisfy my love for photography.

Colwith Force, Little Langdale, August 2023

Our family holidays took place at Lowfield House in Little Langdale, the Lake District. I will cover several days out in the area and the first subject of my writing are my photographs of Colwith Force on the river Brathay. The waterfall is hidden in the woods behind the road leading to Little Langdale. There had been a lot of rain the night before and therefore the water was rushing down the river. In the morning, the family took a walk on the road side of the river and then in the afternoon, I crossed the road bridge to follow the woodland path where there were several good viewing points. Safety was the main issue and whilst these pictures look spectacular, I made sure that I was on firm ground and not putting myself or my camera into a dangerous position. These pictures are a mixture of long exposure with and without filters.

Colwith Force, Little Langdale, August 2023
Colwith Force waterfall after the heavy rain.
Colwith Force, Little Langdale, August 2023
The water flow slowed down by long exposure.

Settings with camera body Canon 5D Mark IV
Cover Picture – lens EF24-70mm f/2.8L, f/16, 2secs, ISO100
Picture 2 – lens EFLens EF 16-35mm, f/11, 20secs, ISO100 – Lees Little Stopper
Picture 3 – lens EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, f/11, 120secs, ISO100 – Lees Big Stopper

______________

Links to the complete series of my blogs around our visit to Little Langdale in the Lake District in August 2023.

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Starling Murmuration – Metal print

“There is likely to be a starling murmuration on Sunday night. This metal print is a dimensional and high-quality piece…

Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023

The Colmore Food Festival provides a great opportunity to sample food from some of the best restaurants in Birmingham.  I was determined to visit and sample the food at the festival.  There was one drawback, the rain.  Waking up on Saturday, the forecast was not good with the prospect of a soggy day ahead.  Motivating the family to go into Birmingham on such a wet day was not easy and the train strikes compounded the problem.  Once I had convinced everyone, we set off for the city centre.  Parking turned out to be straightforward and we made our way from New Street station to St Philips Cathedral.  The area around the Cathedral is known as Pigeon Park and in the northern quarter nearest to Snow Hill station, the Colmore Food Festival was set up and in full flow.  

Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Enjoying the food on offer.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Queuing up for soft drinks
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Eating whilst sheltering from the rain.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Lots of colours and tastes.

So was it worth the effort to get there?  The answer is Yes.  We enjoyed the festival.  There was so much to like.  The choice of food outlets was excellent and for the family we were split between Asha’s and Purnell’s.  We went for dishes from both and were not disappointed.  The food was well cooked and so tasty.  There was a chance to wash it down with a glass of Purity’s session IPA from Purecraft beer stall.  Once the main course was finished, we browsed the other stalls and kept going back to Miss Macaroons for dessert.  The brightly coloured meringue-based sandwich cookies were in many different flavours.  Our choice included the following Pistachio, Rhubarb and orange, strawberry, and caramel. There were many more there.  We all agree that the food stalls were excellent and I apologise that I cannot review more of what was on offer but there is only so much we could eat.

Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
The Festival was well attended despite the rain.

My grandson was spoilt rotten.  He received a free spiderman face paint, free drawing materials, a book, and a balloon. He was very happy which also made mum and grandparents very pleased.  This was the detail that made the food festival a success for the family.  Not only was the food good but the children were well looked after.  The music was good as well even though dancing on the wet ground was a challenge.  Everyone was in a happy mood despite the rain.  I am already looking forward to next year’s food festival and I don’t think it will be a problem motivating the family to go whatever the weather.

Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
A happy grandson with Spiderman faceprint.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Enjoying ourselves in the rain.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Singing in the rain.
Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Happy vibes.

I hope you enjoy the pictures which were all taken on my Fujifilm x100v.  The camera is weatherproofed which makes it ideal when the weather is wet.  I even had someone come up to me to ask about the camera as he liked the look of it so much. 

Colmore Food Festival, Birmingham, 2023
Making sure we all enjoyed the day.

Finally a big thanks to Colmore Row Business District for organising the food festival.  I have provided a link to CBD and the food festival so you can make a note of the event for next year. 

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Starling Murmuration – Metal print

Starling Murmuration – Metal print

“There is likely to be a starling murmuration on Sunday night. This metal print is a dimensional and high-quality piece…

Winterbourne House and Gardens, The University of Birmingham, May 2023

As the weather improves and spring is well established, there are lots more opportunities to photograph gardens. One of the best gardens to visit in Birmingham is Winterbourne House. This Edwardian house and garden have a captivating charm. The House was originally owned by the Nettlefold family and has a long history. The House and Gardens are owned by the University of Birmingham. The house has been restored to what it would have been like at the time of the Nettlefold family. The gardens that surround the house are an example of Edwardian living and several acres are planned out to take advantage of the lay of the land. There are several areas including the walled garden, a lime walk, a rhododendron walk and a glass house area. At the furthest end of the garden is the Japanese bridge and sandstone rock garden. All through the gardens is the influence of the Edwardian approach to design and then there are quirky structures created by the University of Birmingham during its ownership.

The Gardens

Winterbourne House and Gardens, The University of Birmingham, May 2023
The classic view of the Edwardian house from the Nut walk.
Winterbourne House and Gardens, The University of Birmingham, May 2023
The Japanese garden bridge in Black and White.
Winterbourne House and Gardens, The University of Birmingham, May 2023
A place to rest and admire the garden.
Winterbourne House and Gardens, The University of Birmingham, May 2023
The bluebell walk adjacent to Winterbourne.

Glass Houses and Alpine Garden

Winterbourne House

The house has been restored and the rooms reflect how an Edwardian family will have lived their lives in the building. There was ample opportunity to view the bedrooms and admire the collections of belongings including children’s toys.

Winterbourne House and Gardens, The University of Birmingham, May 2023
Top of the stairs

More views around the Gardens

Winterbourne House and Gardens, The University of Birmingham, May 2023
Colours in the water of the sandstone rock pools.
Winterbourne House and Gardens, The University of Birmingham, May 2023
Detail in the greenhouse
Winterbourne House and Gardens, The University of Birmingham, May 2023
Pathway to the garden.

There were around 20 IgersbirminghamUK photographers and we all enjoyed taking the photographs and also meeting each other to have a chat and catch up on the world of photography. Many of us met at the terrace for a cup of tea and a chat before moving on to the rest of the weekend. These are a selection of my pictures and I would encourage you to view other photographers pictures which are posted on Instagram.

Follow the tags #igersbirminghamUk, #igbUk_meet_winterbourne and #winterbourneHG.

I have two other posts on Winterbourne one written before the Pandemic and the other when the house reopened after the Lockdowns. They give more insights into this wonderful place in Edgbaston.


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Starling Murmuration – Metal print

Starling Murmuration – Metal print

“There is likely to be a starling murmuration on Sunday night. This metal print is a dimensional and high-quality piece…

Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.

My challenge for this week’s 52 weeks project was black and white photography. As I was in Birmingham for my research work, I took the opportunity to wander the streets of the city looking for pictures of buildings. Armed with my trusty Fujifilm x100v, I stepped off the bus at the O2 arena stop. On the opposite side of the road, there are new high raised buildings going up. All are aimed at the residential market. These skyscrapers are going up all over and the city looks unfinished or going places depending on which way you think.

Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
28 floors with 154 residential apartments being built on Essex street.

My next stop was the square area of buildings that house the Holiday Inn, 3 Arena central and the Alpha Tower. Many shapes, angles and lines as the tall buildings are all clustered together. The Library of Birmingham and the Town Hall were also the subjects of my study on black and white architecture. Finally the rain, which had been falling heavily all day, got the better of me and soaked through, I headed towards Snow Hill Station for my train home. I still managed to get a few pictures of the Snow Hill skyscrapers.

Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
The edge of the Alpha Tower.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Clustering of building lines.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
The Radisson Blu in Black and White!
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Surreal reflections of the Library of Birmingham.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Tram stop in front of the Town Hall.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Tram passing by the Snow Hill Buildings.
Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
Three SnowHill

My processing was a mixture of simple black and white or enhanced work with Silver Efex. The results were interesting and I was surprised that I captured so many buildings in different ways. I reflected all this was done without the need to photograph those iconic Birmingham buildings of the BT Tower, the Rotunda or the Cube. I will probably give the ones that I missed the black and white treatment another time. Meanwhile enjoy the ones that I have in this blog.

Black and White Architecture, Birmingham April 2023.
A conversation outside Birmingham Town hall.

If you enjoyed this blog then how about a splash of colour with your architecture.

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Starling Murmuration – Metal print

“There is likely to be a starling murmuration on Sunday night. This metal print is a dimensional and high-quality piece…

Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, IgersbirminghamUK, April

There is a hidden gem close to Birmingham city centre and must be ranked as one of the places to visit.  Martineau Gardens is a beautiful community garden just off Priory Road in the middle of Edgbaston.  After getting off the 61/63 bus that leaves the city, cross the Bristol Road and make your way up the hill on Priory Road.  After a short walk, Martineau Gardens is on your right.  There is a wooden entrance hut that leads you into two and a half acres of beautiful gardens.  Martineau is a mixture of traditional gardens and a woodland towards the back of the property.  The hub of the gardens is the Pavilion, so named, as there were originally tennis courts here as part of the land.  The building, which will be renovated in the coming year, is a welcoming centre for the gardens.  There is the opportunity to sit out on the table and chairs and share a cuppa with the volunteers and other visitors. 

Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, IgersbirminghamUK, April
Nine iPhone pictures from IgersbirminghamUK Instameet

IgersbirminghamUK run Instameets where we invite local photographers to a venue.  We tag our pictures and share them both on Instagram and also with the venue who kindly allowed us to photograph their property.  At the start of the meeting, we were met by Jenni Fyer, CEO of Martineau Gardens who gave us an introduction to the gardens.  Jenni outlined the history of the place where it was once used by teachers to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.  Now it is a community garden and is maintained by volunteers.  The gardens pride themselves on being a therapeutic environment of organically maintained land, close to the city centre.  The environment helps the community and supports people from different backgrounds especially those with various special needs. Jenni invited us to roam around the gardens, which were just waking up from the winter months, to take as many photographs as possible and then to join her and the volunteers for a cuppa at the Pavilion.  After the obligatory group photograph of the IgersbirminghamUK participants, we were then left free to wander around the grounds. 


I do love Instameets as it is a chance to catch up with old friends.  Therefore there was much chatting with people before the real business of the visit; the photographing began.  I made my way to the entrance and then into the formal gardens.  There were spring flowers around and the buds were only just appearing on the trees.  Next was the herb garden and the orchard.  The sun was out making shadow play on the greenhouse glass and the wood of the garden huts. The shipwreck play area looked fun, and a mental note was made to bring my grandchildren back to see the place.  Whilst the wildflower area was not yet up and running, I enjoyed taking pictures of the wheelbarrows, watering cans and the potted flowers.  I then moved onto the woodland walk and was immediately surrounded by tall trees and foliage.  

Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, IgersbirminghamUK, April
Peaceful scene
Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, IgersbirminghamUK, April
Cacti in the greenhouse.
Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, IgersbirminghamUK, April
Butterflies and Robins.
Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, IgersbirminghamUK, April
Apple orchard

This part of the gardens is Designated a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation (SLINC).  Jenni Fryer had mentioned that this area is teaming with wildlife and is a welcome green corridor amongst the urban conurbation that surrounds the gardens. There was a pond that looked a great place for dragon and damsel flies over the summer months.  Next along the path was a Sacred Circle for meeting on a common ground and then a collection of beehives.  There was much activity in the hives so I did not get too close!  I slowly wandered back as I found myself content just strolling through the gardens.  There was the occasional sound of tennis balls against rackets as we were neighbouring onto the Edgbaston Priory Tennis Club but otherwise you could lose yourself in the environment.

Upon returning to the Pavilion, one of the volunteers made me a lovely cuppa.  Then there was time to chat talking about the photography and the gardens.  Before saying my goodbyes, I purchased some apple and mango chutney from the shop. Something to remind me of the visit later.

Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, IgersbirminghamUK, April
Jars of Apple and Melon Chutney and Honey available to purchase.

I started off this blog saying that this is a hidden gem.  It is no longer hidden to me and this will be a place to visit in the future with the family. Martineau Gardens is a place to visit to meditate, to unwind and let the stresses of life fall away.  There is so much to enjoy and see.  


Finally thank you to all the volunteers and staff and thanks to Jenni Fryer for welcoming us and to Sarah Hill-Daniel at the gardens for arranging the date and timing of the IgersbirminghamUK visit.

Please follow these tags on Instagram to see more photographs by the talented people @IgersbirminghamUK.
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Martineau Gardens, Edgbaston, IgersbirminghamUK, April
Dammodammo (picture by Jack Babington)

If you wish to discover more about the gardens then please visit the Martineau Gardens Website. There is also an informative leaflet plus map of the gardens.

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