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Lesser Kestrel, Mountains in Kos

The album “Reach for the Sky” was released by Sunderland Brothers and Quiver in 1975.  The cover is very evocative and has an eagle flying across the sun.  My picture of the Lesser Kestrel flying over the valley between Kardamena and Pyli reminds me of that LP record.  It is one of many pictures taken on a day out with the wonderful photographer Sarah Longes (Twitter @miradordesign).  With my 200mm lens working to its limit, Sarah taught me to be patient on taking photographs. Not one of my strongest virtues but I am learning. 

Lesser Kestrel, Mountains in Kos
A pair of lesser kestrels take a rest from hunting
Lesser Kestrel, Mountains in Kos
If you look closely, a bee is following the kestrel as it sets off in flight.

Sarah spotted where the lesser kestrels were hunting on the edge of the valley.  The view from our photography spot was spectacular and one of the interesting features were the large number of bee hives scattered across the landscape. Sarah has a sixth sense of where to find wildlife. I have known her virtually for a few years now and luck would have it we were both on Kos at the same time. She is a super photographer and teacher.

Gecko lizard in the mountains of Kos Island
A gecko lizard out and about.

We left the Lesser Kestrels hunting in the mountains and moved onto Pyli to walk around the village.  Pyli features a natural water spring.  Although it was the heat of the day, there were several people filling up containers with spring water.  It was quiet when we visited, although two coach tours did descend on the area whilst we were having lunch in a local restaurant in the square.  

The water fountains at Pyli, Kos Island
The water at the springs in Pyli is particularly sought after for its mineral content.
The water fountains at Pyli, Kos Island
Yannis, a local resident, filling up containers. The water will be taken to restaurants throughout Kos.

Following lunch, we made our way to the Alikes Salt Lake that was next to the town of Tigaki.  The lake was teeming with wildlife in spite of the serious levels of pollution present.  The salt works are no longer operational and are visited by a few tourists and locals.  More interest is from the paragliding sails that pepper the horizon.  The salt lake was interesting with graffiti on old abandoned buildings,  several varieties of birds and even some turtles swimming around.  It was here that once again I learnt to be patient, as I photographed the birds, resisting my natural temptation to rush forward to get as close as possible.

Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Evocative image of the Black winged Stilt flying over the salt lake.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Turtle and Bird not talking to each other.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
No talking please whilst flying.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Looking out for food.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
These legs were made for wading.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Nice reflections.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Amy Whitehouse looks out from the abandoned salt works.
The salt lake was so hot and this dramatic view of the mountains puts it in perspective.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Heading out for the paragliding.

Our final stop was the Traditional Windmill of Antimachia.  This is a restored windmill and the intricate sails were quite magnificent as they turned around.  I chatted to the owner of the Windmill and accompanying restaurant/bar and showed him Chesterton Windmill near Leamington Spa.  The owner was very interested, and I hope that I have forged an international link between the two windmills.

Antimachia Windmill on Kos
The striking Antimachia Windmill on Kos

A memorable day and thank you to both Sarah for allowing me to accompany her on her photography tour and Simon her husband for chauffeuring us around Kos.  Hope you as the reader enjoy the pictures.

If you want to know more about Kos then there are two sites I would recommend,
Visit Kos Island Greece
Visit Greece

For the pictures of Sarah Longes then I would recommend her Twitter feed as she regularly posts there. Comment on her pictures and Sarah is sure to reply!

Sarah in photographic action in the mountains.

If you want to discover the song “Reach for the Sky” by Sutherland Brothers and Quiver then there is a YouTube link with the lyrics.


Fargo Market, Coventry

Just off Sky Blue Way next to a street called Far Gosford, there is a trendy village called Fargo.  The area is an up and coming part of Coventry and it is the place where a craft market is held at the weekends.  I first heard about the FarGo market when I went along to meet my daughters there. 

Fargo Market, Coventry
What a cool robot!
Fargo Market, Coventry
The variety of stalls in Fargo Market.
Fargo Market, Coventry
Iconic design and colours.

My youngest daughter was helping her friend Gemma on a stall. Gemma is an excellent baker and she is the owner of Love Lane Brownies.  If you are a lover of brownies then I would recommend the blondie version, so a visit to her stall is a must.  The FarGo craft market is a busy friendly place and I took the opportunity to buy some of the produce there. My main purchase was a locally produced Gin from the Warwickshire Gin company.  I did not forget to buy my Love Lane Brownies although most of them had already been brought by an appreciative public.

Fargo Market, Coventry
There is some great street art at Fargo
Fargo Market, Coventry
Something for everyone

I enjoyed my visit to the FarGo market as there was much to see. The market is decorated by colourful graffiti from well known local artists and there is a rather cool looking robot ready to great you in the front yard.  There is a riot of colour on the walls which I have captured with my camera.  There is a pleasant atmosphere to the place and if you are looking for a different style of gift then the market will not disappoint.  If you are interested in craft markets and produce with some spare time on your hands then I do recommend FarGo market. Enjoy the photographs and hope to see you at there as well the next time I visit.

Fargo Market, Coventry
Market going well
Fargo Market, Coventry
The street art of Fargo
Fargo Market, Coventry
Lady Godiva rules
Fargo Market, Coventry
Love the colours on this car

If you want more information about FarGo market then just click away. If you like Brownies then visit Love Lane Brownies Instagram page @lovelanebrownies

Hi-Vis-Festival, Digbeth 2021

From my social media feeds, you would think that the whole of Birmingham was at the Hi Vis Festival. The date was released with much anticipation and then the BBC Midlands today programme ratcheted up the excitement several notches more by featuring Panda of Graffiti artist talking about the festival. Big Artist names were released and social media was overflowing with comments about the weekend activities.

Hi-Vis-Festival, Digbeth 2021
n_4_t_4 and his astral traveller. Loving the blue colours and the reflections

The festival was held over the Saturday and Sunday in September 2021. I could only make the Saturday which meant that I would be viewing much of the artwork in its early stages. Still that means another visit later in the month to see the finished artwork. Visiting Digbeth always provides photographic opportunities and the Hi Vis festival was no exception. On arrival my first stop was at Milk street where a few artists were working. Surprisingly one of the bouncers at the local club asked why I was taking pictures. I must have looked suspicious! I moved onto Floodgate street – so many artists out painting the walls. People walking around, hen parties, loud noisy cars cruising and street artists. Many of them were intent on what they were creating and were happy to have their photos taken. The street was full of cars but they made for great reflections.

Moving onto Gibb street over the gangway that spans the river Rea. More people plus music and generally great vibes. There was so much to describe and taking pictures with the camera was on overload. Skateboarders provided a gritty backdrop to the arches. Seeing the artists close up and watching them work allowed you to get a good perspective of their approach. Watching @cryola1 paint a vibrant portrait was a highlight.

As you walk into Gibb street, you enter the heart of the Custard Factory and boundless energy is pumped around the cafes and shops. Weddings are taking place at the Old Library and people out enjoying the sunshine. I walked around the arches onto Heath Mill Lane and caught a picture of Panda on his scooter! Thanks to Panda and his team bringing together such variety of street art onto the streets. On Digbeth High Street, there were many more artists painting walls and billboards. Just great to see them in action. I moved back into Floodgate street and saw other well known local artists such as n4t4 and Snub 23 painting. I know I have not credited all of the street artists but I can add names if requested. There was a focus of activity down Little Ann street and there were several artists working including I.am.sprite with her mural of Tiny Roar.

Hi-Vis-Festival, Digbeth 2021
I.am.sprite with Tiny Roar

Ladders and even mechanised platforms were being used to ensure that the painting quality was enhanced. I find it amazing that the street artists are able to keep the bigger picture in mind whilst painting the smaller details. The Pop Art nature of the pictures is a colour frenzy and stand out against the old factories that are a feature of the Digbeth architecture.

Hi Vis Digbeth 2021
Hi Vis festival by plague

Overall the walkaround was very enjoyable, I met several friends, people were friendly and the atmosphere lifted the spirits. There will be a post script on the Hi Vis Festival and all the finished pieces of street art when I get the chance to get down there again. It you are interested in street art then there are a few other blog posts on the street art that I have done including Digbeth Street Art and Digbeth, Digbeth. There is also some pictures of the Bristol scene which I visited in 2020. As you can see, it is a fascinating subject.

Postscript – Digbeth High Street and Selfridges

As I moved back to the car, I thought to myself, “let’s spend 5 to 10 minutes looking around Digbeth High Street” which will include a few pictures of Selfridges in its high visibility cladding. The high street is making way for the tram so it is being dug up. The traffic was stationary and there were pink reflections in the car windows. I was unable to capture the scene well and made do with a couple of pictures of Selfridges.


Digbeth

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. 

Digbeth street art
Best in Birmingham
Digbeth Street Art
Meriden Street

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.

Digbeth
Bridge over the River Rea
Digbeth
The Custard Factory
Digbeth
Street art by 0707
Digbeth
Colours of Gibb Street (so many street artists here, Philth, Gent 48, n4t4 etc)

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.

Digbeth
Pat Butcher by Fokawolf
Digbeth
The Custard Factory as featured on the BBC local weather

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. 

Digbeth
Purple umbrellas
Digbeth
No Parking
Digbeth
The Night Owl
Digbeth
Thinking I should be somewhere else
Digbeth
Life and Death
Bordesley
Bordesley station in the light
Bordesley
Lucy McLauchlan Monochrome in long expsoure
Digbeth
Grafitti on the canals
Digbeth
In Digbeth
Digbeth
Custard Factory

Do you want to read more about Digbeth
Digbeth Lights
Digbeth Art
Lockdown in Digbeth


Reflections in Digbeth

Should I be worried? Should I ditch my big camera? My most popular photographs are all taken by an iPhone. My most recent one of Gibb Street in Digbeth has been published by several outlets including BBCMidlands, Independent Birmingham, IgersbirminghamUK, Bhamupdates and Source investments. All very pleasing but I would like to talk about my aperture and shutter settings. The camera ISO and how I held it to take in the picture. No all I did was dip the iPhone into a puddle and the resulting picture then gets a life of its own. Getting down low certainly led to more impact to the picture. However, I am pleased that I can brag about my composition and that it caught the spirit of Birmingham!

Digbeth is the new Shoreditch is a saying on the Internet.  I have not been to Shoreditch for a long time and I know that Digbeth is modelled on itself not on any other town or city.  It has been a while since I had been to Digbeth. Furthermore, I wanted to get there early so that I could see the pretty street lighting that I often see from the train in the morning.  The cultural centre of Digbeth is the former Bird’s Custard Factory which was always awash with light. Now the surrounding roads such as Floodgate Street and Lower Trinity Street have street lighting that criss-crosses the road.  It gives a nice effect and entices the visitor into the area to discover more about the charms of Digbeth.

Grafitti is a feature of Digbeth
Floodgate Street – Under the arch down the Road
Robots on the wall
A puddle reflection in Floodgate Street

I took my Canon camera with wide lens with me and also had my iPhone and Sony compact.  The streets were relatively quiet with a few early workers out and about.  I took a selection of pictures including the graffiti and the lights.  I even walked into the centre of the Custard Factory to look at the sculptures and art work.  It is always a rewarding experience moving around Digbeth during the early hours.

This way to the Custard Factory
Smoking on the walls in Lower Trinity Street
Early workers at the Custard Factory
More lights in the square
It’s raining people
Art on display
Ranking Roger
Art and food and a bike
The Cat and the Mouse – who will win?

I love the colours of a good artistic graffiti painted on a wall or derelict building.  I am not a fan of “tagging” such as scrawling letters or child like drawings scribbled around bridges and walls.  Digbeth in Birmingham is regenerating and the focus is the old Bird’s Custard Factory.  The streets in and around Digbeth are full of clever street art.  Here are a few examples of them.  They have been taken with my Canon, Sony compact or even iPhone.  There is a fish eye lens used in a few of them.  The artists I particularly like are Annatomix and Golden Boy but there are countless others on the scene.  I have included a few here that I took on my early morning walks around Digbeth.

Made in Birmingham – Car Park, Bromley St End

Custard Factory – Floodgate St entrance

Fish eye effect – Floodgate St entrance to Custard Factory

Fish eye effect – Custard Factory

Scary teeth (look like they are lower incisors in the upper jaw) and staring eye – Floodgate Street

Grafitti Map of Digbeth – Little Ann Street

Flying Fish – Meriden Street

Dig those sunglasses

Street Scene, Digbeth with Golden Boy

Golden Boy Details

Custard Factory Grafitti

Four ghost like images and a real human – Custard Factory

Windows and tie – Custard Factory

Digbeth Coach Station Car Park

 

I work in town on a Wednesday morning so I take the opportunity of pacing around the streets with my camera. The Custard Factory proves to be a happy hunting ground for pictures. The graffiti is very colourful and there are several interesting nooks and crannies that provide interesting views. Here are a selection taken from one of my Wednesday walks.

Walking down Bordesley Street on the way to the Custard Factory

A few muddy puddles on the way

Interesting window stickers

The best of Digbeth

I do like the way they are staring at you

Back Wednesday and the artist, Annatomex, came back the next day to finish it off.

Cool Graffiti

Colours of the Custard Factory

Highway through the factory

Colour

Reflections

One of our flamingoes is missing.

No entry x2

Searchlights and antenna