Amongst the trees JQ

I love the area around St Paul’s Church and in Autumn it starts to look colourful with the leaves on the ground.  It was one of my stops on my way to walk.  The sky was also very colourful with the sunrise and rain clouds making pretty patterns. 

Livery Street and it is only “A matter of opinion”

I took a picture down Livery street which is a very long street/road.  There is a Brummie saying that you look like you have “a face as long as Livery street”.  There are some good sign posting on the buildings in the area.  A matter of opinion has been up for a while and is shown on Livery Street. 

Compared to what
Compared tp what….

I noticed at one of the corners of St Paul’s Square that there was more signposting with the words “Compared to what…”  They add a fun element to the streets of Birmingham. 

St Paul’s Church in the Jewellery Quarter

A picture of St Paul’s Church was well received on social media.  It is a a very photogenic church.  Taking a picture of both the spire of St Paul’s and the BT Tower is another photo opportunity. The area is very pretty and it was after discussion on social media that I realised that there are more hidden squares around the Jewellery Quarter. It is a place to return to time and time again.

St Paul's Church and BT Tower
St Paul’s Church and BT Tower

The Jewellery quarter is one of my inspirational places for photography. Affectionately known as the JQ, it contains so much history wrapped in its character. Old and new blend together with interesting details including churches, shops, doors, alleyways and jewellery shops. Arguably the centre piece is St Paul’s square with the beautiful Church in the centre. The spire is taller than the building making it difficult to frame for the photograph. However, there are a few areas where you can frame it correctly using the surrounding trees. I wandered around the square and then down Bennett’s Hill on a quiet Sunday morning. The only company were cyclists and joggers. A few people were sitting on the benches taking in the early sunshine. These are a few pictures taken around the square and down the hill.

There are a few places that are active on social media including the Soda Bread Cafe and up and coming photographer Rebecca who posts lovely photographs of the JQ skyline. It is sad to see the Jam House as I have many happy memories of nights out there. It will be a while before it opens again. The square holds many happy memories for me. It was here that one of my photographs first got featured as a BBC Midlands picture of the day. The Jam House, Andersons and St Paul’s House all have special family and work memories. So a quiet Sunday in June was spent not only taking photographs but reliving memories of a favourite Birmingham spot. Don’t let me have it all for myself why not visit it yourself but remember to take your camera with you.

This has been a week of rain and the days have been dull. Even though it is wet there are still great opportunities to go out and take photographs.. My early Wednesday walk from Snow Hill took in the canals that run underneath Snow Hill. The arches under Snow Hill are a favourite haunt of photographers and one can always find a good place for a picture. With the rain there had been condensation with rain collecting on the tow path near to the ornate gates which used to hold horses. Now the activity on the tow path is bikers commuting into work and runners making the best of the early mornings. I settled my camera down on the dirty floor at the edge of a puddle and started to take some pictures. It was difficult to control the bright light of the centre of the picture and the dark recesses of the tunnel. I could see on the first few shots that there was a perfect reflection that made the exit look like an eye onto the outside world. Just then a runner came past. It gave me an idea and by trial and error I set the camera at a shutter speed of 1/100 and f/6.3. I hiked the ISO up to 640. I set it for rapid shooting and then waited for the next runner. Soon enough one appeared and I took my pictures. I had to pick up the shadows from the RAW picture and also do a bit of dodging of the runner. The picture came out very well and was well received on social media.

The train station over the canal

After this I wandered over to St Paul’s square and took a few pictures of the Church and the tree lined paths that criss cross the square. The early commuters were oblivious to the camera and I took several pictures of the area. The black and white treatment suited the day, my ideas for the pictures and set off the charm of that particular area of Birmingham. Here are a selection of the ones that I took.

St Paul’s Church
The paths around St Paul’s Church
The Jam house with 3 Snow Hill towering over it
Commuting down Ludgate Hill to the City

St Paul’s Spire between the trees

A few views of St Paul’s Church, Gas Street Basin, the Library and the Cube.  The sunlight always gives the local landmarks an added boost.

Light, leaves and windows.

St Paul’s Spire in the trees

Sun flare over the long boats

Early commuters with the reflections in the water

The Library reflected in the International Convention Centre’s windows

A favourite picture of mine with the Cube in the background and the boats arrange in an arrowhead point to the distance.

Early worker getting his long boat ready for the day

The Birmingham Gems calendar features pictures from 4 photographers in Birmingham and it is the idea of both Daniel Sturley (@iconic_exposure) and Jonathon Bostock (@birminghamweare ). The email telling me that i was going to have my pictures selected for the calendar was unexpected. After I had sent in a few examples of my photographs, they selected New Street Station, my view of the Civic buildings in Birmingham and my sunrise of St Paul’s Church. The latter one was my first picture that was selected for BBC West midlands today. I was also in good company with Tim Crornbill, Simon Felton and Ellie all photographers whose work I do admire.

There were many emails discussing the project followed by a celebration evening at Priestly Wharf where some of my family attended. There were poets, musicians and artists present and there were my pictures which I found so exciting.

The Calendar duly arrived and it was a high profile sell across Birmingham. All participants used their numerous contacts to spread the word. The proceeds from the Calendar are for Barbados, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and St Basils. All worthy causes for the proceeds of the calendar sale.

An exciting project and one that I was so pleased to have been invited to be a part of.

Website address:- Birmingham We Are 

Charities supported by the calendar

Barnardos   Queen Elizabeth Hospital  St Basils 

St Paul's Church