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The pool in Brueton Park Woods

When the snow first fell the skies were overcast and whilst there was a some beautiful snow scenes, I longed for a blue sky to provide some colour. The next day the sun shone and there were no clouds in the sky. I planned my walk to take me over fields to Widney Road allowing me to approach Brueton park and the nature reserve from the west.

Lea Wood in the snow
Lea Wood in the snow

My first stop was Lea Wood nature reserve which I had not visited before on my travels. The wood used to be a tree nursery and the trees now fully grown are aligned in lines. This creates many leading lines along the paths in the wood. There were several walkers in the wood so I was able to compose some eye-catching pictures with leading lines towards the silhouettes of people . The low level of the sun also produced lovely light that I was able to shoot towards the sun with the trees as a backdrop. I hung around for some time fascinated by the trees and the patterns caused by the light.

Sunlight in the woods
Sunlight in the woods
Sunlight on the tree branches
Sunlight on the tree branches
A leaning tree
A leaning tree
Snow on the trees
Snow on the trees
Trees on the way to Breuton Park
Trees on the way to Breuton Park

Finally I moved onto Brueton Park proper. It was very muddy despite the frozen ground. When I got to the river Blythe, I made the decision to go into the old Wood on the west bank to the River Blythe. The place was deserted and following the muddy path, I threaded my way deep into the wood. I arrived at the north end of the water pool which interestingly is unnamed on the map. The sun was shining brightly but the thick canopy of the trees diffused the rays. The path led around to the south side and here I was able to get close to the water’s edge. With the light low, bright and just right a beautiful scene opened up. I was so pleased with the pictures of the water and the framing from the trees. It was a richly rewarding photo walk with many different variations of the snow lying on the ground reflecting the sun. It was a much different day than yesterday and very productive.

The river Blythe
The river Blythe
Path around the pool
Path around the pool
The pool in Brueton Park Woods
The pool in Brueton Park Woods

Photo tip. Don’t be hasty in taking your pictures and try and slow down. I was very excited at first especially in Lea Wood. Then with time I started to enjoy myself in the woods and came away with many different pictures. I had my iPhone, large Canon camera with lenses plus my Fujifilm x100v. Yes it was a bit over the top in terms of photographic equipment but I was glad that I had all of them with me.

More pictures of local parks can be found on my blog
The photographic delights of Umberslade Park
Coombe Abbey Country Park during the Golden Hour
Watching the sun go down by Bracebridge pool, Sutton Park

More information
Brueton Park and its sister, Malvern is on the Solihull Council Website
Malvern and Brueton Parks
or check out Trip Advisor



Natasha Wedding

The corona virus almost scuppered Natasha my daughter’s wedding plans.  She and Rob wished to tie the knot on the Island of Kos in August.  The planning started at the end of last year and everything was in place, hotel booked and plane tickets all sorted.  What could go wrong?  The rest of 2020 does not need an explanation but it did cause the family much stress and anguish.  The government were opening and closing travel corridors to different countries.  Luckily Greece had a low infection rate and the wedding was on.  It was touch and go and there were causalities as some of the family were unable to come due to work restrictions.

Natasha Wedding
Proud Mum and Dad with Natasha
Natasha Wedding
Natasha with her Bridesmaids Kirsty and Sian

Kos is a beautiful island and we were booked into the Akti Beach hotel complex on the south near to the village of Kardamena.  It was very safe on the Island as most hotels and restaurants were lightly booked and there was not a large number of tourists present.  The weather was glorious and every day, it was on the right side of 30oC.  

Natasha and Rob Wedding
The wedding took place on the beach
Natasha and Rob
Natasha and Rob
Wedding on the beach
Undying love on the beaches of Kos


Natasha and Rob’s Wedding took place on the beach.  There was a small secluded part of the beach that was set up with chairs and a horseshoe decoration.  The scenery could not have been more idyllic.  Following the simple but moving ceremony, there was a short walk up to the reception.  This took place in the Malibu Beach Bar. There were only 14 close family that attended the wedding and we had the Beach bar to ourselves.  The setting was very tropical with bar and swimming pool. Following the cutting of the cake there was the bridal meal consisting of tasty BBQ food.  There were the speeches and a video collage of well wishers of people who could not get to the wedding.  This had been put together by Kirsty, Rob’s sister and there were some surprise guests included.  Following some fleeting fireworks, most people took a dip in the swimming pool and enjoyed the rest of the evening.  Natasha was so happy as she finally had her wish come true.

Natasha Wedding
Natasha and Rob on their wedding day
Malibu Beach Bar
Wedding Cake
In front of the cake
The wedding Dance
The first dance being recorded

After the wedding? I went banana boat surfing on the sea which is an exhilarating white knuckle ride.  We also made it to the Sunset tavern restaurant in Zia on top of one of the highest mountains in Kos.

Night at Kos
Moon, Saturn and Jupiter over the sea

As for the travel.  It was a weird experience wearing facemasks on the flight there and back plus all the quarantine form filling that had to be done.  Everyone got there and back safely without any infection from the corona virus.  On reflection it was a highlight of 2020 and we were so pleased that we could be there to celebrate Natasha and Rob’s big day.  I was pleased that I was able to take my cameras out to the event and was happy with my unofficial photographs.

If you enjoyed this post then you can view the wedding of my youngest daughter Sian who was married in Solihull with a reception at Tanworth in Arden a few years ago.

I am very pleased as one of my pictures featured in the wexmondays shortlist (January 21st 2020). This weekly competition requires you to tweet just one image that was taken in the previous seven days. You need to use the #wexmondays hashtag.

I have been attempting to get onto the shortlist for the last 3 years with little success. My image was neither a milky long exposure nor was it a spectacular landscape photograph. I quietly dispaired that I would ever reach the dizzy heights of being shortlisted. In my line of work, I know that you have to have lots of perseverance and keep putting the work in and perfecting your photographs. It is not easy and many times I have thought of giving up. Therefore today I am very happy to be shortlisted for #wexmondays and will bask in the glory for a couple of days. However I know that you are only as good as your last photograph and so I will try again to see if I can get on the coveted shortlist. I hope you enjoy the photograph as well.

I was in transit from work in the City centre back to my Pebble Mill base. It was a glorious day and before jumping on the bus, I decided to go to Selfridges and see if there were any good shots of the Birmingham Icon, Selfridges.

Black and white suits this photograph
(You can see a missing disc which has been a recent problem with the structure)

There are two entrances that overlook St Martin’s church and I approached the deck around the upper one. I immediately noticed the puddles and then the bright sun. I knew that there would be some good pictures to be had. The pictures are a mixture of my Sony and the iPhone. As you will gather the iPhone gave the best picture as it was possible to get the lens down close to the water in the puddle. It only took a few minutes but the sun and the puddles combined to give a great set of photographs.

The clouds add mystery to the picture
Some great reflections in the puddles
Discs rising out off the ground
The iPhone picture that went mad on my social media

A misty start is a great opportunity for photography. The last Saturday in March provided both the sunrise and the mist so I headed it out. I planned to go to the canals but passing through Packwood House, the combination of the sun and mist caught my eye. I stopped and started to take pictures. The line up of trees leading away from the house provided some good pictures. A couple of early morning walkers provided suitable inclusions in the pictures that I took.

I also discovered the “Welly Walk” around the grounds. By this time the mist was disappearing but there were still photographs to be taken. One of the sun streaming through the trees, a spiders web and some lambs taken in the sun. It was a magical hour of photographing in ideal conditions.

The Golden Morning light
The gates of dawn
The  eerie mist
The sun in the trees
A walker in the mist
A figure approaching the gate
Packwood House
Towards the gate
Beyond the gate
Morning light in the woods
Spiders Web
The Warwickshire Countryside
A friend on the walk

The sun came back after a really dull week and so I jumped into the car down to one of my favourite locations for photographs.  Kingswood Junction is near to Lapworth and is where the Stratford-upon-Avon canal meets the Grand Union canal via a small connection under the railway bridge.  I played around with long exposure, long focal length lens and an old fish eye lens that I have.  All good fun and long may the sun shine.

A small boat in the marina

Which way?

Via the Grand Union

The connection between the two major waterways

Long exposure

Long exposure with black and white treatment

The Fish eye view

A pleasant sunny day

Dubai is a fascinating city and there is a great deal of sand, concrete and glass.  There are beautiful buildings punching upwards towards the sky. The Burj Khalifa tower is the tallest building in the world and its design is complimented by the also impressive Jumeirah Emirates towers.  In the morning, there is a haze as the sun rises and the buildings look like marooned giants searching for their way home. 

During the day the sun burns out the structures and it was fortunate that I brought along my UV/polarised filter which helped cut down the glare and bring colour back to the pictures.  You also are not able to stay out in the heat for too long either as it saps your energy.

Jumeirah Emirates towers during the day

View from the Emirates Towers

The Skyscrapers look like needles.

As the sun sets the colour returns and the buildings reflect the reds giving a warm glow to the concrete and steel.

Sunset over the towers

It is fleeting as dusk followed by the night arrives.  However the neon takes over and there are many opportunities to take night shots.  I visited Wafi where the buildings have an Egyptian theme and there is an evening light show.

Wafi

View of the Raffles Pyramid

 

Future site for Phase 2, The University of Birmingham. Just Sand at present.

My visit was part of my work with the University of Birmingham so many of the pictures were taken when the opportunity arose during the day. It is an exciting city and look forward to seeing how the University of Birmingham develops there.

The iPhone is so versatile and useful to have on you.  So I always bring it with me when running as you can often capture interesting pictures.  This series shows a few I did on a recent run.  I did see a couple of Herons but the iPhone was not the right camera especially when they flew away.  However there will be other opportunities with another camera.  I remember someone saying the best camera is the one you have with you.  Never so true a statement.

Copt Heath Golf Course

Under the M42

Bottom of Knowle locks

Grand Union Canal