View of the City May 2021

Queensway is a busy arterial road in and out of Birmingham so there is always a high volume of traffic thundering along the tarmac.  With my telephoto lens and 24 to 70 mm lens, I went about taking different pictures of an area that is already very familiar to me.  New building projects are always happening in the city centre and the area between the Cathedral and the Canal was an old factory site.  It has been repurposed into city dwelling flats that are being built close to the canal.   

The area is also a magnet for different kinds of people and as I was taking pictures, I was hassled for money, so I quickly moved on.  It is something I am wary of when I am in the quieter parts of town.  I know that I do have to be careful of my own safety.  Still the lure of  taking a few photographs around the buildings on either side of Queensway won through.  I took pictures of St Chad’s Cathedral and also with my telephoto lens up past the Snow Hill buildings.  After that I made my way into town for a lunch time meeting. 

Parking on the top floor of Selfridges Car Park opposite the store provided skyline pictures of both the City and Digbeth, and the skyline bridge linking the two is always fun for a picture or two.    I love the new covering on the Selfridges which is being put in place whilst they replace the discs on the outside.  The covering is designed by Osman Yousefzada,who is a multi-disciplinary artist working in association with the IKON gallery. the pink and black geometric shapes are in contrast with the grey architecture.

It was a day of sunshine and showers and whilst I was outside there was a terrific downpour. 

This then led to the bonus of several puddles for a bit of reflective photography.  The puddles around Selfridges are still there and lend themselves to some nice reflections of the building as it is being renovated

On my way to New Street, there were other interesting images to capture including the queue outside Zara and the photographing of the Electric Cinema.  I lingered around the reflective roof of the entrance to New Street Station. I also took a few pictures of the trams passing through which is something you have to do when in Birmingham. 

So enjoy the pictures and it is good to see Birmingham as it emerges from the pandemic.  The only down side is the weather which is atrocious rain and so unlike May.

I planned to go into Birmingham on Sunday as it is quiet and often there is the chance of getting some interesting pictures. As I planned for the trip into the city, I thought what if I matched up some new pictures with old ones from my Flickr collection. Going into Birmingham is not pleasant as there are many homeless people around who are desperate following on from the Coronavirus. I did not take any pictures as they were aggressively asking for money. Therefore I was very careful getting my camera out to take the pictures. I took most of the pictures around changes caused by the tram network. I did take a few pictures of the new library but for some unknown reason, they were corrupted and I will have to do return and take a new set of photographs on another day. Once again as a photographer during lockdown it is wise to remember the strict security around buildings. When I went up the ramp to take the picture downwards, I was immediately spotted by security guards and asked what I was doing. I did feel bad as I am putting the guards under unnecessary pressure by checking on me. However the empty picture of the ramp was perfect. The pictures of the trams are shown in the gallery below.

In front of the Town Hall
On Pinfold Street
Taken on the ramp
Weaman Street

The past Birmingham views were chosen where I had some old photographs taken roughly in the same spot. These are lined up below. I realised that it was not until 2011 onwards that I really started to take pictures on the streets of Birmingham. In retrospect I should have done more but hindsight is a wonderful thing 🙂

Taken on January 11, 2012
Taken on July 1, 2019
Taken on February 9, 2012
Taken on November 7, 2013

I made the images the same size and then used layers in Photoshop to align the pictures and with a mixture of altering the opacity, rotation and altering the colours, I came up with 4 composite images.

I have had some nice feedback from them on social media and I will go back to do some more in a few weeks time. I wished I had done more old pictures but my photographic interests have certainly changed over the years.

I just thought I would share four of my recent photographs that I have taken so far in January with a story of how they were taken

Another perspective  – The family went for a cup of coffee in San Carlo Gran Café in Selfridges. (Incidentally the coffee there is very nice). I went outside with my grandson and looked up from the entrance to the top of the building. I saw a reflection. After a few goes I realised that the iPhone camera would give the best view. After posting the picture I received so many likes that I knew it was a popular photograph.

I called this the Selfridges Clam although others likened it to a pair of giant lips or a smartie

Metropolis – fun title for this picture of a West Midlands travel tram ready to go into Birmingham. There is another tram coming out of Birmingham and in the distance you can see the latest Snowhill building No3 and the rest of the city. I used my 40mm pancake lens on a Canon 6D. The lens makes you work for the view and it also gives a very crisp image.

The light from the St Paul’s station on the tram contrasts with those form the City

Sunrise over the Green Heart – The Green Heart is a spectacular open area in the centre of campus. This picture was taken on my iPhone and I wanted to catch the colours of a sunrise with a new view of the Chamberlain Clock Tower. The lights from under the benches provided a nice touch so much so that the picture will be featured by the University.

A new view created by the open space of the Green Heart.

Two sides to every picture – The Edgbaston tunnel on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal has been recently renovated and the towpath widened. Taking the photograph meant leaning over the railings and carefully holding the camera to get the picture. Picture taken with the 40mm and Canon 6D. The picture looks as if it is in two halves almost split down the middle.