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.

Borealis in the Bullring, Birmingham, February 2024

The Bullring centre is hosting a light show called Borealis for one week in February.  This production by the artist Dan Acher is on display every evening during the week.  With a mixture of dry ice smoke and laser beams, the “northern lights” are recreated in the centre of Birmingham.  The performance is accompanied by haunting music which sets the scene and cranks up the atmosphere. When you stand still and look up at the colours, you are transported to a magical place where the northern lights are happening. Borealis is a photographer’s dream. As the laser beams crisscross through the smoke, colours are created and these are highlighted by the surrounding buildings.  The gentle breeze in the area moves the smoke around leading to pleasing patterns against the backdrop of the Selfridges building and St Martin’s Church.  

I arrived there just as the sun was setting and the golden hour followed by the blue hour provided a changing backdrop to the scenes being created.  The hypnotic music added to the atmosphere.  The smoke adds to the surreal atmosphere and produces a haunting appearance to the area which is part dreamy and romantic at the same time. As it is half term week there are many people in the city shopping.  The area around St Martin’s was packed with onlookers gazing into the sky. There was one child dressed in white who seemed to be leading the crowds in a service for the Borealis. The imagery could be appreciated either close up or at a distance allowing everyone to take in the spectacle.    

Borealis in the Bullring, Birmingham, February 2024
The lights over St Martin’s Church with a construction crane leading the dance of the colours.
Borealis in the Bullring, Birmingham, February 2024
There was a golden sunset that enhanced the colours of the laser show.
Borealis in the Bullring, Birmingham, February 2024
There were packed crowds along St Martin’s way.
Borealis in the Bullring, Birmingham, February 2024
The show caught the attention of everyone even this child who is leading the crowds.

Using both iPhone and my Fujifilm x100v, I had fun taking pictures before heading off for an evening meal in town.  After dinner, I dropped by to see Borealis on my way to the train, the night was dark and there was a different take to the light show as the powerful laser colours shone through the smoke layers.  I stayed around for a few more pictures. Even at that late time, there were people out and about enjoying the show.   

Borealis in the Bullring, Birmingham, February 2024
The light show created a calming atmosphere with the lights and the music

Here is a link if you wish to know more about the work of Dan Acher.

The last light show in Birmingham that I visited was in February 2020 when the world was still very young and the idea that a virus would force us all indoors was a fanciful idea.  My record of the festival light from 2020 is outlined on a previous blog. 

About the picture taking.
I was fortunate to have a dinner booked in town at 6pm. This gave me time to see the Borealis early and late in the evening. I always have my iPhone with me and wherever possible my Fujifilm x100v. When I arrived, my mind already starts to think how can I tell a story about the show. There were several things that caught my eye. The smokey atmosphere was one. Standing at the top of St Martin’s Walk looking downwards to the Church is a popular vantage point and captures the haze above the crowds. I moved closer to take in the sunset and the source of the smoke and lasers. My photographic mind is thinking about the big picture and then the smaller things that make up the view. What amazed me were the crowds of people, so I knew that I wanted them in the picture. I swap from iPhone to compact camera when taking my pictures. The iPhone is so good but I find that it wants to adjust the shadows and compensate for the darkness. Meanwhile the x100v requires a very high ISO and wide aperture to let the light in. Fortunately post processing is done with Lightroom and the “denoise” button is a dream to use. This has rejuvenated my night time use with the Fujifilm and I am not afraid to crank up the ISO. Selecting images proved a challenge and I limited myself to just 8 pictures. As always on social media, there were some very good pictures taken by other photographers. Seeing them, I think to myself, if only I had taken that photograph but I know that they also challenge me to adjust my view of the scene when out taking photographs. A selection of them may be found on the Beautiful Productions Instagram page.

Reflections in Birmingham

There have been many opportunities over the last couple of weeks to take pictures that rely on reflections. Surface water from all the rain leads to puddles on footpaths and pavements that are a good source for taking reflective pictures. Modern cameras have a flip screen that allow you to get low and take the picture without having to get too uncomfortable on the floor. The placement of the lenses has to be very low to take advantage of the reflective split. On the iPhone 13, the positioning of the lenses allows you to get closer to the water. However take care as in doing this you will find your mobile phone getting a little wet! Straight after the rain, I am always looking for a new angle for my photography using reflections from the water and here are a few examples. Most of them are taken with the iPhone camera. However during the visit to Upton House near Banbury, I discovered a very large reflective pool in the garden that provided a wonderful opportunity for a reflection.

Upton House March 2022
The reflecting pool, Upton House and Garden.
This was featured on the lunchtime weather news of BBC South.

There was some local and national successes with several of these pictures being picked up on Instagram by both National Geographic Traveller and BBC weather watchers. Some were successfully featured in local instagram pages. There are explanations behind all the images shown and whilst you are reading this blog post, I am still on the look out for reflections.

Reflections taken in Birmingham
Taken on a wet night in Birmingham looking up towards the Bullring.
This was featured on the Birmingham.City Instagram pages.
Reflections at Umberslade Estate
The line up of trees at Umberslade Estate becomes the perfect setting for a puddle reflection.
Reflections at Moor Street Station
Waiting for the train home and I happened to catch these puddle reflections which were perfectly placed for the picture.
Reflections in Birmingham
A classic view of the IKON gallery in Oozells Square. The “river” of water provides the reflection.
Reflections in Birmingham
A puddle in Gas Street Basin provides a great reflection. He looks like he is walking on water.
This was featured on the National Geographic UK traveller Instagram pages.

It is said that somewhere at the turn of the century, a horse and cart loaded with Treacle upended and the cargo split all over the streets. The treacle was immediately scooped up by the locals and the term “Treacle Town” literally stuck. Now Macclesfield is a thriving market town famous for many other important historical facts. In 2010, the Treacle Market was established on the last Sunday of every month and people travel far and wide to the market. It is a craft market with lots of energy including live music and street food. There is a large range of craft stalls selling many different often unusual goods. You can check out the web site to find lots more information. Treacle Market

We were visiting friends and the weather was inclement but that did not stop either the traders or the shoppers from packing the town centre. I loved the day as it was a gold mine for street photography and the collage is just a few of the many pictures I took. If you are ever around the area when the market is on then definately worth a visit.

Here are larger pictures of the above gallery

Centenary square has a new water feature and it is a very large reflecting pool. It offers photographers the chance to take some beautiful pictures. Whilst it has been opened there is still work taking place on the square and it will be even more spectacular when it is completed. If you search Instagram there have been many pictures already taken with children splashing in the fountains or late night shots with sparkling lights. I am sure that I will return with even more pictures over the year to come. When I posted my pictures on Twitter, some one suggested that it could be a ready made advert for Birmingham in a similar mode to the Thames TV iconic reflected picture. I rose to the challenge and made one with Birmingham on the picture. If you are reading this then you must visit Birmingham!!

The library
Reflections to the cube
The ICC and the Rep
A lovely looking reflection
The Rep theatre
Doing the walk with your reflection

I have occasional meetings in London and I always plan to get down early and plan a photographic walk. I have never been to Little Venice so I jumped onto the tube and made it to Warwick Avenue. From here I got on the canal. It was a beautiful morning and the light was just pouring out of the sky. Reminds me of one of my favourite songs “The light pours out of me” by Magazine. There was a wonderful haze around the canals. I had my wide angled lens with me which I find pulls in all of the scene into the camera. I moved through Little Venice into the Paddington branch where many people where moving around on their way to work.

Little Venice
Onto Paddington
Hazy sun

Bridges and people

Lines of lights
Buildings and water

Looking down the canal

There was plenty of opportunities to take pictures where water, people and sun interacted. When I got back home, I immediately converted them into black and white and found that I had captured much more than I had hoped. I will be back to visit again in the future.

Little Venice in Colour

Johannesburg is a city of contrasts, there are sharp differences between the rich and the poor. I was there for a conference and my first impressions were favourable as the train to the hotel was straightforward and moved through a fascinating landscape.  There were old fashioned power stations and houses scattered well into the distance.

Our hotel was in a well protrolled shopping area which would not be out of place back home. However when taking the coach to the University of Johannesburg we could see a great deal of begging taking place at the traffic junctions. We did get a chance to see the area including the townships as one of the lecturers Kris showed us around. He had a great knowledge of football and took time to show us the townships around Spohia Town where several premier footballers started out.  Sophia Town also had the chilling history of being one of the first sites where people of different colour were moved to the townships.

Christ the King – Sophiatown where many anti apartheid rebels sought sanctuary from the Government

This wonderful statue was on Constitutional Hill.

Another interesting place was near to Melville and it was called 27 boxes. It was a container village that had become a centre for arts and crafts. There were many small businesses located there.


Our conference reception was a very interesting affair and we were greeted by a lady playing the violin in a plastic bubble. There was even someone dressed as a table serving desert. These were students of the Hospitality and tourism and they were eager to please.

At the official dinner we were treated to some fantastic African dancers.

Although there was work to be done in the conference, we did have a day out to visit Soweto and visited the Hector Pieterson Museum and Nelson Mandela’s house, 8115 in Soweto. All very memorable places to visit. On the final day after the conference finished, we jumped on the hop-on and hop-off bus.  It gave use the chance to visit Constitutional Hill and the Apartheid Museum both of which raised stirring emotions not only of the period of British rule but also the past transgressions of the White government that imposed the evil of apartheid. The present society is fractured but it is trying its best to rectify itself and move forward.  I left with some incredible memories of a place that is so different to normal cities that I have visited.

Nelson Mandela House

Typical Houses in Soweto

Sunlight in the roof of the Freedom Square Monument, Soweto


These children look well dressed but looking closer shows a different story

A tour guide at Nelson Mandela’s house tells of the events that took place here