The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024

The Floodgate featured in one of my favourite pictures which was taken in Floodgate street during the early hours of morning.  Although I had never been inside the venue, I have passed the front entrance on many occasions during my photographic visits to Digbeth.  When I heard that The Floodgate was closing then I knew that I had to photograph the place before it closed.  On a Friday afternoon, which was the penultimate day of the venue being open, I ventured into the place and brought a drink at the bar.  I asked the staff whether I could take photographs of the inside and they kindly said that I could go ahead. So a big thank you to them for this blog.  

The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
Baseball cages
The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
The Floodgate Raceway
The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
Beth who works at the Floodgate with artwork in the background.

The Floodgate is one large games entertainment venue with curling, baseball, table golf and model car racing amongst the sports that punters can take part in.  I met Beth who worked in the Floodgate.  Beth explained that the Floodgate was closing due to the sky-high rent.  When Beth told me the figures that they were being charged for rent then it is no surprise that independents are struggling.  Digbeth is undergoing changes and the early success of independents has attracted larger businesses who want a slice of the action. Digbeth is becoming a very popular part of Birmingham (if it was not popular already).  There are plans for several high rise residences to be built in the vicinity.  Many of the old warehouses and industrial units are being earmarked for demolition with a complete revamp of the area planned.  Already the Boxpark franchise will be pumping 5 million pounds under the nearby railway arches that will create bars and restaurants.  The independents have difficulty in matching this sort of investment.  

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The Floodgate had only just opened for the evening and apart from a few customers playing curling, I had the place to myself for taking pictures.   The Floodgate has one large bar area situated in the main warehouse.  Table tops are in the form of baseballs and colourful murals adorn the walls. There are baseball cages and an impressive model car racing track.  The latter has a set of seats complete with steering wheels where people can control the model cars they see in front of them around the track. 

The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
You never know who you will meet in the dark
The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
With a little help from my friends
The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
Hole 18 – Table Golf
The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
The Trotter’s car and other lights.

 Leading off from the main warehouse, there are two games areas . The walls are covered with colourful graffiti art that glows in the UV light.  The area is a psychedelic experience and the Jimi Hendrix song Purple Haze came to mind. I enjoyed taking pictures with both my cameras, the Fujifilm x100vi and my iPhone.  This is where the new Fujifilm with IBIS worked well.  Such pictures taken in low light with this camera would have been impossible without a tripod in the past.  The iPhone is well known for its low light photography,  The curling lanes were surrounded by lights and a ceiling of springs.  The table golf set up looked impressive when set against the graffiti. The area was a little spooky with no people present. Beth did tell me that there were stories about ghosts in the warehouse and occasionally I felt a presence as I wandered around the darkly lit areas of the table golf rooms.

The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
Outside Curling
The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
Glory Days
The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
NHS Angel wings in the light
The Closing of the Floodgate, Digbeth, July 2024
Under the arches

The outside area has more curling lanes and baseball cages that are set against a backdrop of the towering railway arches.  The cameras now had to deal with strong light and harsh shadows as for once it was not raining.

My final shot was of Beth and other staff in the bar area.  It is sad to see such places closing but I guess this is progress.  The early charm of Digbeth with venues taking advantage of the old industrial warehouses is slowly disappearing.  The Floodgate is an example of creating different types of entertainment.  Such places will disappear and be replaced with new shiny establishments that will cater for most of the new residents that will be entering Digbeth.

My final shot was of Beth and other staff in the bar area.  It is sad to see such places closing but I guess this is progress.  The early charm of Digbeth with venues taking advantage of the old industrial warehouses is slowly disappearing.  The Floodgate is an example of creating different types of entertainment.  Such places will disappear and be replaced with new shiny establishments that will cater for most of the new residents that will be entering Digbeth.
Beth with the Floodgate bar in the background
My final shot was of Beth and other staff in the bar area.  It is sad to see such places closing but I guess this is progress.  The early charm of Digbeth with venues taking advantage of the old industrial warehouses is slowly disappearing.  The Floodgate is an example of creating different types of entertainment.  Such places will disappear and be replaced with new shiny establishments that will cater for most of the new residents that will be entering Digbeth.
Floodgate Street

If you enjoyed this blog then please take a look at my other Digbeth entries starting with Digbeth Art from July 2020

Norwich Cathedral and the Close, June 2024

The close is a small village of houses within Norwich Cathedral walls.  The area is also home to Norwich School and during the day there is an influx of tourists who visit both the Cathedral and the Close. My school friend, Tim, lives in one of the Cottages in the Close.   It was a good to catch up with Tim who I had only seen once since we both left school and went our separate ways over 40 years ago.  As I wished to see the Time Horizon installation at Houghton Hall, a stop over at Norwich looked a good idea. 

Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
A typical tourist shot of the Ethelbert Gate leading to the Close.
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
So good to see the sun shinning.
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
A picturesque view of part of the Close
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
An afternoon view of the Cathedral.
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
Night view
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
Nearly time for the gates to close
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
People still around in the warm evening.

 I arrived on a glorious sunny afternoon and the Close was busy with people.  In the evening the doors are shut at 10.30pm and at around 9pm the area is relatively quiet.  The next day, I got up early and wandered around the close.  The sun was also rising in the sky and again there were several good photographs amongst the light and the shadows.  I also met Tony was sitting quietly against one of the walls with his lenses pointed up to the spire of the Cathedral.  There are two nesting peregrine falcons and the City news is wrapped up with their well-being.  Last year there were no chicks and this year only one has survived.  The picture shows Tony taking his picture and if you look very closely you can see the young peregrine bird on the masonry. I did not have my long lens so this is a digital zoom.

Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
Early Morning people
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
The gates are open. A view of the cathedral through the Erpingham Gate
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
Tony photographing the peregrine falcons.
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
Into the cloisters.
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
The sun is rising
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
Black and white view of the cloisters
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
A leading line from the Labyrinth in the centre of the cloisters.
Photographing Norwich Cathedral and the Close
Inside the Cathedral

The cloisters were impressive and I learnt that some of the Harry Potter movies were filmed in the cloisters. Also I realised that I missed several opportune views of the cloisters as I read up about Norwich Cathedral after my visit. Furthermore, I did not get the chance to explore other parts of Norwich so another visit beckons.

On a photographic note, I am finding my Fujifilm x100vi is working well now that I have set it up with a back focus button. The IBIS makes the night photography straightforward although I do have to remove the noise in Lightroom for several pictures. I have also purchased a “shimmer” for the lens and this adds an attractive effect when shooting into the sun.

Looking back into my archives and I find that I photographed Cologne back in 2019. As this is another Cathedral City, it is interesting to compare my blog postings over the years.

I also provide a link to the official Norwich Cathedral website.

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.