Christmas Tree - Great Western Arcade - Birmingham

There are many lovely Christmas trees around Birmingham this year. They are more prominent as they are not competing with other decorations or events where there are crowds of people such as the German Market. However, they do look lonely as the numbers of people in the City centre are down and the Christmas trees are left to look after themselves. I have taken pictures of those trees I have seen on my travels including the one in Knowle where I live. Merry Christmas Everyone and hope you have a lovely time over the next few days.

Christmas Tree - Victoria Square - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Victoria Square – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - St Paul's Church - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – St Paul’s Church – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - Great Western Arcade - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Great Western Arcade – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - The Bullring - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – The Bullring – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - St Phillip's Square - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – St Phillip’s Square – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - St Phillip's Cathedral - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – St Phillip’s Cathedral – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - Mailbox - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Mailbox – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - Mailbox - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Mailbox – Birmingham
Christmas Tree - Knowle - Birmingham
Christmas Tree – Knowle – Birmingham
Knowle Park after the storms

The months of August are hot during the day and often very muggy at night. We have been through a spell of very hot weather and experienced some dramatic thunderstorms at night. Unfortunately I slept through the worse ones even though I had my camera set up to take some pictures. The next day I was up early and when I got to the park, I was not disappointed as there was a mist over the area. There were were also layers of colours present. What was remarkable was the continual change as the sun rose higher burning off the mist. The mist provides opportunities for rays of sunbreaking through the clouds to be highlighted. With my trusty iPhone I was able to take several photographs of the scene. These were immediately given some post processing via Snapspeed and then uploaded onto the BBC weather site. When I got back home all the pictures were run through Lightroom and then put up on Twitter and Instagram. I received a great deal of acclaim and lovely comments on the pictures and also featured no BBC Midlands weather.

Knowle Park
Knowle Park after the storms with a lone dog walker
Knowle Park after the storms
Magical mist, Sun and light
Knowle Park after the storms
The clouds were very dramatic
Knowle Park after the storms
This picture was shown on BBC Midlands weather
After the storm Knowle Park
This picture was popular on Instagram

I like taking pictures as you gather and I needed some inspiration to make the daily exercise more interesting. When the Visit Knowle site published a close up of one of the buildings in Knowle then I knew this was an avenue I could explore. So we have a series of images below all taken in the village of Knowle near Solihull. I hope you like them and you might even want to guess what some of them are if they are not that obvious. The lesson learnt from photography is always try and look at everyday objects with a different eye. You will be surprised what you get to see. There are examples of textures, materials, architecture and decay. All give a different but also uplifting views of my home village. The pictures are here to provide some of the character old and new of the village. I also found a reflection picture of the local church which was pleasing.

There is a sense of achievement when BBC England select your picture to be included in the England’s Big Picture Gallery. This is the second one selected this year. It had quite a reaction on social media amassing lots of likes, if that is a good indication these days 🙂

This picture is taken during my exercise walk in Knowle, Solihull.  It had been raining the night before leaving some puddles on the path.  I bent down and dipped my iPhone into the puddle and got this reflection of the trees in front of me illuminated by the Sunrise. 

If you click on this link you are taken to the BBC England site where my picture is included for pictures taken from 30th March to 5th April

There is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  It is the feel good factor that thousands of children across the country have drawn a rainbow and put in their front windows.  Other children have drawn the rainbows in chalk and they brighten up the pathways outside houses.  These are a few examples from our village of Knowle near Solihull.  Chasing the rainbow brings much hope to people and is a way of connecting everyone through this terrible crisis.

The Corona Virus has rapidly engulfed us. Pubs, bars, restaurants and Gyms were closed on Friday (20th March) with full lockdown announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday (22nd March). We can go out for one form of exercise, food shopping and essential medication. I have got into a routine of going for a walk just before the sun rises and I have put down a selection of pictures from Knowle village and the places I walk around in the morning. These are very strange days as you will see.


The main High Street in Knowle Village is deserted on a Saturday Morning


Restaurants, Bars and Shops are closed except for the convenience store

Loch Fyne is boarded up


If you go shopping then you must keep your distance and this is done by yellow crosses on the floor.

It is so reassuring to see the supermarket deliveries being made.
Eric Lyons the butchers are doing home deliveries which is a much safer option.


By far the most sensible and safest activity that you should practice is Stay at home. Here Sandy shows how it is done.

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

I went to one of favourite spots for picture taking. Knowle Locks offers all the necessary ingredients. Water reflections, perfect setting sun, trees and a high vantage point. Add some clouds and you have the chance to take a great picture. I took all the gear, tripod, DSLR camera, filters and a range of filters. Whilst I was there I snapped a quick picture with my iPhone and tagged it with #englandsbigpicture on my twitter handle. Should I be surprised that the iPhone picture was the one that made the BBC website.

Here is the link to England’s Big Picture

September is always full of surprises and this year it has been no exception.  But we now reach the last days of the month and autumn is around the corner.  I am training for the Great Birmingham Run half marathon and I use the canal towpaths for my training runs.  The bridge on Kixley Lane is a picturesque place and I noticed that the trees has started to turn colour.  I decided to go back in the evening when there was enough light shinning on the trees.  I packed all my lenses and I had a window of 30 to 40 minutes.  I got some good pictures.  The people on the long boat passing through asked if there was a photographic competition as they had noticed many people taking photos.  I asked if I could show their picture on my photographic site and the man said jokingly yes I could if I cleaned his boat!!!!

A view of the bridge with symmetry from the reflection

As the light fades there were some deep colours coming through

A runner caught in the light

The boat I have to clean for taking the photograph


The rich colours of Autumn

The Super Moon or the Super Blue Blood Moon was visible on 31st January.  I missed the early stages of the moon when you do see the magnification.

I took my photographs with the moon outside Knowle Parish Church and then in the morning on top of one of the car parks in Birmingham.  There were dozens of good photographs taken by many people.