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.

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.  

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.

You will have gathered that one of my favourite places is the area under the arches of Snow Hill Station.  I usually get to wander around Birmingham early in the morning and I finds this time the most inspiration for photographing Birmingham.  I planned my visit by not getting off the train at Moor Street but waiting till Snow Hill.  I then used the Livery Sgreet entrance and made my way down to the arches.  The city council have installed lights that illuminate the subterranean space.

There are gated arches overlooking the canal where I presume they used to keep horses.  The iron gates are designed with bars that create geometric patterns as they are lit from the inside.  The light casts interesting shadows onto the wide tow path by the canal.  

A cyclist makes their way through the area which resembles a giant eye.

To access the area, there is a unique white iron staircase that leads down to the tow path.  It is very quiet there in the morning and in spite of the bright lights you do feel quite vulnerable.  There are the occasional runners and cyclists who make their way through the area.  There are also commuters starting to pass over the bridge that crosses the canal.  The area has graffiti and evidence of habitation by homeless people.  

On one wall is the word ORALE which someone explained to me is an exclamation in Spanish which is used to express approval or encouragement.  Very fitting for the scene that greets you in the morning.

The word ORALE

Down to Photography maters.  I had my normal camera set with me.  I carry my iPhone for the quick picture and also my Sony DSC-RX100M5 camera which is very quick.  I generally have my Sony on a program stetting to ensure that I get a quick picture.  I do use on manual when I am after slow motion pictures but the program feature is very useful.  For this morning, I also had my Canon 6D with a prime 40mm lens attached.  This provides a crisper picture and brings out more detail.  

Having said that the iPhone and Sony do produce some very good quality pictures in their own right.  The prime lens makes me move around and this makes me “see” different views and angles.  The Sony has a flip screen and this helps with those shots where I need to get down low.  Not only do my bones creak nowadays but the tow path floor is dirty and muddy.  I moved out to get a picture of the total reflections and it did give the appearance of a large eye. 

The larger picture of the area

A nice set of photographs which gave many people much enjoyment when seeing them on my social media channels.  Always worth a look and the post code is B3 1HA if you wish to visit yourself.

Finally the cover picture was selected for England’s Big Picture which was a nice conclusion of my early morning visit to this interesting place.