I had the opportunity to take pictures during a recent visit to the streets and canals of Utrecht
Utrecht in the Netherlands was the base for the Ultrasonics Industry Association conference. My research group were presenting at the international conference and I was there to support their activities. We stayed in the Karel V hotel which has a picturesque view of the adjacent canal. There were many opportunities in the early morning or during conference breaks to explore the streets and canals. This Dutch city is very photogenic and I had brought along my Fujifilm x100v to accompany my iPhone13 for the photographs. For the readers of this blog, I will just show a selection of the many pictures that I took during my short stay. At the end of the blog, I have provided some links to Utrecht which provide ideas for your travel to this ever-surprising city.
So many pictures of this city and here are some more from both iPhone and camera.
I always enjoy visiting a new city and I was excited that such an opportunity arose through my research work. The City was Southampton. Arriving in the city via the train station, it is quickly apparent how much of it is new and there is little in the way of old pre-war structures. Blechynden Terrace is one of several reminders of the German Blitz during WWII. Whilst interesting, it was not in a great state and there was a large metal ring which held the wall together. The ring was a memorial to the past but the park was neglected and a refuge for the fringes of society rather than remembering the past.
The Southampton civic centre features on many photographs of the city. The buildings are set in a public area and serve several functions. I did not have time to visit inside the Civic centre and made my way around to the Guildhall Square. Next to the square there is what appears to be an old department store building called the St James Mathews Building. It is owned by Southampton Solent University and the part that I liked is all the Street Art on the outside of the building with some of it being very colourful.
I only had small parcels of time to get any photography done and, on the morning of the meeting, I got up very early and went down to the Mayflower Park to see which cruise ships were in. these floating cities are quite monstrous in real life, and one wonders how they float yet alone sail. My pictures show the Spirit of Adventure in the early morning light.
The meeting finished early, and I had a few hours before the train home. I walked down Portland Terrace setting off from the Civic Centre. The street is very non-descript with a range of shops and facades that would make you think you could be in any city. I passed through Bargate and discovered more of the old city wall. There is the Arundel tower of the old city and the forty steps. I particularly liked the statue of one of the former mayors of the city looking over the old walls.
The next point of call was the remnants of the old town and the Tudor House and the church of St Michael the Archangel. Another part of the old area of Southampton and although only small in area full of history. There was a passageway that led down to the Pig in the Wall pub and other interesting artwork including the outlines of merchant ships Western Esplanade and memorials of the voyage of the Mayflower. I was now back at Mayflower Park and saw another of the big ships was in with the Spirit of Adventure.
Time to catch my train home and as I walked to the station, I passed derelict areas where planners of large shopping centres had not realised that a change of tastes and economy would make them quickly redundant. Southampton is a city to visit but it does portray a history of a changing city.
Pictures were taken mainly with my Fujifilm x100v and Silver Efex was used for the black and white conversions.
Lockdown 3 is easing and in early April, I found myself back in Digbeth to take a look at what was happening. One reason was to look for the new Street art project by @Fokawolf but more of that later. I parked the car in Coventry street car park and made my way to Digbeth. I love the Suki10cc artwork by street artist Gent 48 It features the up and coming black stars in Birmingham. The house is so colourful and is great to photograph. It was one of my pictures that was featured in my recent Amateur Photography magazine feature. This visit, I decided to do some unconventional pictures by getting close to the mural.
Walking down Bordesly Street, I experimented with some street photography. It is my first venture out with my Fujifilm x100v and I was a little self conscious trying to use it. However when I reached the Custard Factory, the camera comes into its own. A few pictures on the bridge over the River Rea, and then into Gibb street where there were a few people moving around. I took a few pictures of the colourful artwork (as you do when in Digbeth). I was pleased with the one I took by the street artist 0707 as it was very colourful especially with the bicycle on the colourful bike rack.
My next stop was to see the artwork by @fokawolf. It is a larger than life blown up picture of Pat Butcher from Eastenders and it is underneath the railway arch on Heath Mill Lane. It is such a random bizarre mural. The character is not associated with Birmingham and why it is placed here is not known. What it does do is provoke comment and debate. That makes it all worthwhile. My picture shows how tall the mural is with the couple next to it. I also took a picture of the balconies on the Custard Factory and posted it on the BBC weather pages. The architecture always looks good especially when the sun is shining on it. Fortunately for me, it was featured on the local BBC weather news.
Still in a wandering mood my next destination was Lower Trinity street taking pictures along the way of some of the more interesting street art. By the time I had reached Bordesley station, I thought it would be good idea to see the canals. It is very quiet around there and I worry about my personal safety. However it seemed ok so I carried on taking pictures. I like the colour of the graffiti and in fact one of my favourite artists, Lucy McLaughlan‘s art work is under the Deritend road bridges. My first attempt at a long exposure for 3 seconds with the Fujifilm x100v gave a pleasing result. As I moved back into Digbeth along the canals it became much quieter. I did meet a friend Mullerbiker from my Slack British Tech Network who happened (as he was) passing through the canal network. After chatting for a few minutes, he left but then my courage failed me and I retraced my steps out of the system and walked along the road back into Digbeth again.