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Tag Archives: night photography

Travel agent working from home

Keeping life varied is the key to getting through the Lockdown and night time walks add a difference to the routine.  I am fortunate to live in a typical English village with a high street and local shops. During Lockdown the traffic flow has decreased although the cars do travel through at speed.

Knowle High Street at Night
Knowle High Street at Night
Car lights in the High Street
Car lights in the High Street
Waiting for someone
Waiting for someone
Bus with a few passengers
Bus with a few passengers

Many of the village shop lights are on and there are a few people moving around.  The busiest places are the chemist, the 24 hour convenience store and Tesco.  All the restaurants are offering takeaways.  A click and collect meal may make a difference to breaking the monotonous existence of lockdown.  However, it is an expensive one, compared to making your own meals at home.  A feature of the weather is the amount of rain that we have been having. The rain has been intensive leading to major puddles in the street.  My new camera has a tilting screen making it easier to take photographs with when bending down.  The iPhone does a great job but with absence of a flip screen you have to get quite low to see the screen.  These days I find one of the problems is getting back to a vertical standing position after crouching down. 

Picking up a takeaway
Picking up a takeaway

The shop windows are pretty, and some still have the Christmas decorations in them as people are not inclined to do much during the pandemic.  The lights at night are fun to photograph and some of the shop windows like the travel agent remind you of times gone by.  I also walk towards the level crossing at Bentley Health and the footbridge is a perfect place to take pictures of the trains going into Birmingham.  I tend to go out walking with the dog and he does not always appreciate the waiting around for the trains to go by. The picture I took was of a train into Birmingham.  The term “Night Train” came to mind and I saw that Steve Winwood had a song by that name on one of his albums. 

Footbridge over the railway
Footbridge over the railway
The night train to Birmingham
The night train to Birmingham
Train approaching the level crossing
Train approaching the level crossing

There was a picture that I saw on Instagram from one of my contacts taking pictures of petrol stations and wondered why would they being doing that?  Here I am taking pictures of the Shell petrol station at night. 

Esso Petrol station at night
Esso Petrol station at night

I have to say it does have an interesting almost timeless atmosphere about doing such photographs.  The bright lights against the black sky give it importance.  A staging post of interplanetary travel maybe?  I found the change of time for my lockdown photography made the difference.  It was a different challenge taking the pictures at night. No light trails in this set of photographs but I will look to do some later in the month.

Photographic tipThere were two or three pleasing photographs.  The reflected puddle one was interesting as the woman came out of nowhere and made the story.  I am not sure if she did have the takeaway with her.  The night train picture was after a lot of hanging around waiting for the trains to appear.  The petrol station was an idea that I copied from someone else.


There are many photography projects to do during the Lockdown and Star Trails is one that I fancied doing. I have an App on my phone called Star Walk and it shows the sky at night. There are many stars out there but with light pollution is not possible to get particularly good images. I have always liked seeing the stars and wondered if there was a simple project to get started in this area. Star trails looked just what I needed. Using a long exposure technique it is possible to record the moving stars. I read my Digital Photographer magazine and also looked over several articles on the web. I discovered that my Canon 5D had an auto setting that would continuously take pictures. So I set up the camera on a tripod and using the Star Walk App located Polaris the North Star. I took my wide angle lens Canon EF 16-33 mm and used the largest aperture of f/4. The focus was set at infinity. The camera was pointed directly towards Polaris and the neighbour’s house and my Magnolia tree were used to frame the picture. The exposure was set at 30 seconds. Also the auto was set to take a picture every 30 seconds. There were a few false starts and then once I was happy, I let the camera run on automatically. Then 167 pictures later it was time to go to sleep so I processed all the pictures in the morning in a program called StarstaX which blends them together. I learnt a new synchronisation technique in Lightroom as well. The final picture was very impressive although there is still a lot of light pollution around as the trails should be more intense. The picture got a lot of interest on Social media and I was pleased with the final result. I will have to go out again and do some more picture taken of the stars!

I had another chance to visit Dubai and see the Campus which is now open for business. The City is still fun to visit although as I mentioned in my last blog it is sand, concrete and steel. A year later and I noticed a lot more new buildings. In some cases the photographs I had taken in 2017 would not be possible now. Fortunately there were new possibilities available and a selection are shown in my blog. I took my trusty travel camera the Sony RX100v5 with me. As you can see it is very versatile and offers the ability to capture the sight and sounds of this amazing city.

This is an impressive view showing the mix of recreation with high rise living.
A view from a hotel window and the tint is the same one used in the new Blade Runner film.
I had to wait until it was clear of people taking selfies with this sign in the background
Capturing the moment of the dancing water show.
The beach at night
The University of Birmingham Dubai Campus entrance.
Looking up towards the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower at present in the world.

It is cold in January and as I was in the City for an evening meal, I took the opportunity to take a few pictures around Gas Street Basin and Brindley Place in Birmingham City Centre.  In a highly photographed area of the City, it is a challenge to take pictures that offer a different perspective of the area.  As I wandered around I did not realise how cold it was and it reminded me to get some special gloves that cover the hands but allow you to use the camera controls.  When I got to meet everyone in the restaurant, my hands hurt as the blood began to recirculate.  At least I had some pictures to look back on and some of them looked worthy for entry into my blog.  The majority of the pictures were done on a manual setting and I used railings and walls as my tripod.  It is difficult to balance the bright neon lights and some of the pictures were cropped to remove the distracting glare.  I enjoy night shooting in the city and I will miss the shortened days as spring is around the corner.

Broad St Canal Tunnel

Window patterns over the Broad St tunnel

Strolling and Cycling along the canal

Colours of the Mailbox

Brindley Place

Towpath to the Mailbox

Neon lights the way

Reflections

Under Broad Street