Cherry Blossom, Oozell's Square, Birmingham, March 2023

For the most part of the year, Oozells square in Birmingham is unremarkable.  The square is surrounded by office buildings on 3 sides and the IKON art gallery on another.  This latter building is a grand Victorian building which was formerly a boarding school.  There are several good restaurants in the square which have hosted family meals in the past. In spring, the square is transformed into a beautiful place by several rows of trees that burst into cherry blossom.  

Cherry Blossom, Oozell's Square, Birmingham, March 2023
The IKON gallery emerging from the blossom that surrounds the building.

The event is becoming more and more famous having been featured this year on the BBC News.  We went with the family to see the blossom and get the obligatory pictures.  Here Noah is reaching upwards mesmerised by the blossom.  Soon the green leaves will appear. Noah’s coat contrasts well with the pink.  

Cherry Blossom, Oozell's Square, Birmingham, March 2023
Noah reaching out towards the blossoms.
Cherry Blossom, Oozell's Square, Birmingham, March 2023
Lily, Noah and Chloë, my grandchildren with the blossom in the background.
Cherry Blossom, Oozell's Square, Birmingham, March 2023
Lily, Noah and Chloë, my grandchildren with the blossom and the IKON gallery in the background.

The event is enjoyed by all ages but as you see from the pictures, my grandchildren had a fantastic time seeing the cherry blossom. The BBC News item has made the blossom event famous at a National Level.

Cherry Blossom, Oozell's Square, Birmingham, March 2023
The IKON gallery with cherry blossom trees and admiring visitors.

Birmingham cherry blossoms draw spectators and photographers – BBC News March 2023

Here are some of my past entries on Oozell’s Square.

Birmingham Blossom
Blossom in Oozells’ Square
Birmingham Gems (3rd Edition)

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Snow in Knowle, Solihull, March, 2023

The snow came in March and for many it was wonderful to see. The snow fell midweek and the majority of schools stayed open. Not much time to get the slides out for some toboganning. The snow was great for taking photographs. In the evening rush hour through the village, I found that my iPhone enabled me to get some atmospheric pictures. Headlamps and snow flurries against the old buildings is a good mix for composition.

Early evening snowfall in the Village.

In the morning, the scenery was bright and white. More snow had fallen overnight and I went out again with my camera. The trick with snow pictures is to crank up the exposure compensation so as to counteract the camera wanting to underexpose. On the iPhone the Camera+ app allows you to adjust the exposure setting. Several of the pictures in the Nature area of the park worked really well.

Snow in Knowle, Solihull, March, 2023
The park with a blanket of snow.
Snow in Knowle, Solihull, March, 2023
Knowle park in the Snow.
Snow in Knowle, Solihull, March, 2023
Christmas card scenes in the village.

I also took some pictures of the High Street. We have a red letter box and telephone kiosk. The colours set against the white snow work really well. I was also very lucky that several villagers decided to wear red that morning. The colour co-ordination made for some very good pictures that proved very popular on my social media feed.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures and now let us hope that spring returns in the following weeks.

Snow in Knowle, Solihull, March, 2023
A lone tree covered in snow.

Here are some pictures from 2017. Looking back, I should have done some better adjusting of the exposure settings but even so they show the village show bound

St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023

St Paul’s church is situated in the Jewellery quarter and is a picturesque escape from the busy city centre which is only a stone’s throw away.  The square has so much character and is always a delight to visit.  I was dropping off my picture with the RBSA gallery and happened to have half an hour to spare.  I wandered around the perimeter of the square.  Immediately I saw that there were some early displays of daffodils on the east side of the square.  The picture of the daffodils with the church in the background is one that I have tried before.  This time the picture caught the imagination of social media.  The image was featured in England’s Big Picture and Independent Birmingham Instagram and Twitter pages.  

St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023
The church interior with the central picture of the Conversion of Saint Paul.

As I walked around to the church entrance, I noticed that it was open and so I ventured inside.  I have been inside a few times before but never with my camera.  The sun was streaming in through the windows making a lovely scene of shadows and light.  The pictures of the church, which is a grade I listed building, show the features.  The East window has a enamelled stained glass window depicting the Conversion of Saint Paul.  The organ has a long history including when it was built and a list of organists over the years.  The pews have doors to them and there is a sign indicating that Mathew Boulton had a pew in the Church as the photograph shows.  

St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023
Mathew Boulton worshipped at Saint Paul’s Church
St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023
The organ has a long history.

The Millennium window caught my eye. This was sponsored by the Birmingham Assay Office. There was a competition and the winner was Rachel Thomas with her stained glass window ‘The Angel’s Crucible’ based on Job 28.  

St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023
The Millennium stained glass window is worth a visit in its own right.
St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023
The splendid eagle lecture.
St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023
Beautiful light inside the church.

There is much much more including the Eagle pulpit, the organ with its history and the balcony surrounding the inside view. There is so much to write about and once you have looked at the photographs then be sure to visit the webpages of the church and more about the history. I will leave you with a few photographs of the outside of the church including the resident pigeons.

St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023
This couple is walking past the church towards the Jam House onto the skyscrapers of Snowhill
St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023
The residents of St Paul’s Church and Square.
St Paul's Church, Birmingham, Spring 2023
A view of the church in-between the trees.

Every year this arguably unremarkable square bursts into a riot of colour which is provided by the blossom on the two rows of trees on either side of the square. I am being harsh about the square, as it does have the IKON gallery which is an imposing building at one end. The blossom and the white pebbles of the square are beautifully offset by the IKON gallery. This display only takes place for a few weeks of the year. It is enjoyable taking the pictures and my iPhone picture of the square was featured on the late night news.

Sunny morning in the square
Tree shape
Great start to the day
A row of trees

The canal through Knowle is one of my favourite places to visit. If it looks as if the light will be good then I look for the opportunity to visit. There are always boats on the canal and the sun sets nicely on the top of Knowle locks. There are some water reeds at the top lock and for a few minutes as the sun sets, the light catches them nicely. I used my Canon 100-400mm lens to save me having to cross over the lock with all my camera equipment. Once that picture was done then I settled back to catch the sunset over the water. I always enjoy the picture taking here and also used my Big Stopper to see if that would give a nice effect.

Ripples, reflections, long boat and the tow path
Locking towards the bridge and Knowle Locks
Peaceful evening
Long exposure of the sunset
Sunset over Knowle Locks

A cold week for the UK in general.  Personally, I picked up a bad cold which coincided with the onset of very cold weather. Keeping motivation at work was the main priority. Initially the week started with clear skies and cold nights.  There were some lovely sunsets and exciting sunrises but then the cold and grey set in.  The snow showers were insistent and the final part of the week was snow and cold weather.  It is at this time that you also find that there are many other very good photographers.  I enjoy watching the television or reading the papers and seeing some of the pictures that people have taken around the country.  

It is the start of spring and it is difficult that we have such bitter cold weather to contend with.  Hopefully in the coming weeks, the cold weather will be largely forgotten and we will be able to enjoy the start of spring.  I did manage a few pictures that will serve as a reminder of the week for me.

The Beast is coming

A lone figure in the Birmingham Markets

A cold entrance to Selfridges

Spring is trying to break through