I’m always finding new little places I haven’t been to before, even in the areas I think are so familiar to me. In the city centre yesterday I had been trying to get a shot from the side of the old library looking towards Victoria Square and suddenly realised that some people were walking along behind a wall to the back of me…so I decided to go for a little explore to see what was there. Apparently, it’s a place called paradise.
I’ve certainly never imagined paradise to consist of concrete brutalist architecture. For those of you not familiar with Birmingham, the inverted ziggurat building in the background is the city’s old library. It was once famously described by Prince Charles as ‘a place where books are incinerated, not kept’. I can’t say that I was ever very fond of it.
I’ve walked past the front of the building hundreds of times but seeing it set amongst other concrete structures, and seeing the stark lines of the library against the curve of the stairway, I found myself actually appreciating the building for the first time. Luckily I got there in time because the site is soon to be demolished.
It just goes to show that it’s always worth looking around more at the places you think you know well because, more often than not, you’ll stumble across a new perspective that will surprise you :)
This blogging stuff is quite hard work sometimes isn’t it? I feel like I’ve had a nice little blog holiday in May, although I’ve missed catching up with everyone’s posts and photos. In my free time I’ve been out and about with my camera around Birmingham, but have also taken opportunity to completely redecorate my office at home and it’s a much nicer place to be blogging from now. Decluttering is definitely the way forward :)
I’m always much better at photography when I have a project to focus on and so I’ve been busy thinking of ideas to give me a focus for the next few weeks. I’ve got a particular project in mind inspired by a recent trip to London, so if I can work it out I’ll be heading back to the capital for a few day trips to give it a go. I’d really like to visit some other places this summer too; in particular I’m determined that we’ll get back to our university seaside town one day soon. On a sunny day it’s so colourful and lovely to photograph (but not so much on a rainy day, of which there are many at the moment).
So what else is new?
Firstly, I’ve decided to close my Facebook page that is associated with this site. I think you only benefit from Facebook pages these days if you’re willing to pay up, which I’m not! You can still subscribe to post updates via the sidebar or by following me via Bloglovin.
My 365 eBook is available again in store following a few small updates. The updates reflect the changes to the Flickr/Getty images information now that the two are no longer linked. If you’re thinking of starting a project on 1 June then head here for more details.
I’ve also made a few updates to my store which is currently selling Lightroom presets, digital photography files and a couple of prints (including a cotton giclée print of kite image above).
Finally, I’m looking for new contributors for my Six Questions guest posts. Please get in touch via the contact page if you’d like to join in. You can read past posts here.
Just dropping in with a couple photos from the last few days…Spring in the English countryside is just glorious when the sun is shining :)
I’ve only ever seen rapeseed fields from a distance from motorways and trains, so it’s been really nice to be able to get close and have a stroll through the fields with my camera. I took a few shots of the whole field as a landscape but the shape of the hillside didn’t lend itself to making a nicely composed photo. Instead I thought I’d wander down one of the tractor paths and try and capture the abundance of blossom down either side (I used my 85mm f1.8 lens to create a shallow depth of field).
While I was photographing this field, I also noticed that the field across the lane was absolutely full of dandelion seed heads that hadn’t blown away because the air was so still. It looked like a crop of little lollipops :)
Not far away was the forest and it was lovely walking through the trees as the light from the late afternoon sun was peeking through. I switched back to my kit lens so I could get as many trees in the shot as possible. The 85mm doesn’t have the width needed for big landscape shots at close range.
Hello! Finally I managed to get out with my lovely working camera this weekend. It’s been so long that I’d almost forgotten how to use it :)
Yesterday was the first in a new series of photo walks run by (Matt & Pete’s) Photo School and I was glad of the opportunity to have a stroll and get back into the swing of things. The aim of these walks is to visit eight different stretches of the Queensway and explore the areas around them, taking a peek down all the little side streets and alleyways that are often ignored. There is something quite lovely about stopping to look closely at the detail that is often bypassed, and it’s even more interesting to see how a group of people capture these same things on camera.
Yesterday’s walk focussed on the area around Smallbrook Queensway (that’s a Google street view link so you get an idea of what it’s like). It’s an area that I often dash along to get to the train station or cinema, but often take no real notice of. I’ve never really found the 1950s/1960s concrete that appealing and I really didn’t know what I’d take photos of!
For the first time, I actually looked closely at the buildings and in the shop windows and there were lots of little treats in store :) There are so many things around us that we miss because we’re in too much of a hurry to notice them: reflections, patterns, signs, colour. The area is so much more interesting than I imagined!
As well as going at a slow pace, I enjoy that the photo walks are informal and that it’s not about the camera that you’re carrying. I took quite a lot of shots on my DSLR, but also enjoyed snapping away with my VSCO Cam phone app. I usually enjoy using my prime lenses as these allow me to get more creative with my shots, but yesterday I decided to only take my kit lens and shoot things just as I immediately saw them. The results are photos that are different to my usual style, but I really enjoyed the freedom of being a photo tourist :)
My favourite finds were the postbox that’s having some kind of identity crisis, and the drainpipe full of little dotty stickers (which you can see in the Instagram shots above). The originals and remainder of my photos can be seen in the flickr set here (this is my new Birmingham photos flickr account for creative commons photos: my regular flickr account is here).
At the end of series of walks, Pete’s aim is to create artwork using the photos submitted by participants and I’ll look forward to seeing what he comes up with. You can check out all the photos so far in the Photo School flickr group.
So there we go. I’m back on it and back to blogging. It’s very nice to be back again :) Cheerio for now!
Hello! It’s time for another Six Questions post and this week it’s Lauren Hanson’s turn to tell us what motivates her as a photographer. Lauren blogs at A Girl With A Gypsy Heart where she aims to help and inspire others, and you can also find her on Facebook.
SO HOW DID IT ALL START? I have been taking photographs of… pretty much everything since I was a child. I purchased my first camera when I was 11 and ended up babysitting and doing extra chores to pay for film and processing. I just love capturing beauty and masterpieces.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY? I have to say I have three favorite types of photography… all pretty different. I love portrait photography. As I said earlier, I love capturing beauty, especially in a woman who maybe has had trouble seeing herself in that light before. I love travel/landscape photography as I love to explore and am constantly amazed at all the wonders our world has to offer. And last, but certainly not least, I love food photography. I could eat my way around the world easily.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION I find inspiration in phenomenal lighting. Mornings are my favorite, but I find myself catching daydreams and beautiful images most often when I’m out and about just enjoying life. I find inspiration in laughter. I find inspiration around the table. I find inspiration in new life. I guess my inspiration just depends on the day and the moment!
WHAT PIECE OF CAMERA EQUIPMENT CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? I have come to love and depend on my Canon EF 50mm Lens. It is so simple, yet so dramatic!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PHOTO FROM YOUR COLLECTION? My favorite photo from my collection is a photo of a friends 9-month-old daughter with this mischievous grin on her face. She entered this world at a whopping 4 pounds with little to no hope from the professionals and possibly as a result to such a beginning has developed quite the sassy little attitude. The photo captures her personality, beauty, and zeal so well.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY PHOTOGRAPHER IN HISTORY, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? If I could spend a day with any photographer in history it would be Sue Bryce. I have always been drawn to her work and have read her blog and watched many of her videos religiously. I love and appreciate everything that she stands for. She is an incredible businesswoman, but furthermore is unbelievably talented and selfless. Her passion for others shines through in everything she does.
Thank you Lauren for taking part in the Six Questions post. If you’d like to take part, drop me a message via the contact page :)
Well I’m still missing my DSLR while it’s in for repair so I thought I’d try something new while I was away for a long weekend in lovely Wales. I kept seeing hashtags for VSCO Cam on Instagram and wondered what it was all about, so this weekend I thought I’d give it a whirl.
I downloaded VSCO Cam unaware that it is much more than just a camera app; I wasn’t expecting it to be such a lovely photography experience :) The camera is straightforward to use and there are some great filters in the editing tools (some are in app purchases). I like the range of cropping sizes that are really easy to set, and the square crop is perfect for sharing photos via Instagram. The strength of the filters you apply can also be edited so it’s really easy to get a look to suit your shot.
Photos can be shared to the usual networks or saved to your phone gallery, and they can also be posted to your own VSCO grid for which you’re given a web URL (mine is here). The grids have a simple, clean design and can also show a photo description if you choose to add one.
As well as your own photo library, the app also contains a regularly updated journal of tutorials, reportage and featured photographers, and I also enjoy looking through the curated grid/featured grids of photos which are full of inspiration. You can also find this content on the VSCO website if you want to have a browse.
Despite it being a large app (the largest I have on my phone), I’ll definitely be keeping it and using it regularly. I tend to use my phone camera for quick snapshots but this app has inspired me to try and take phone photography a bit more seriously.
As for the photos above, I snapped them yesterday on a family stroll along the coastal path and around the streets of Beaumaris, Anglesey. They are places that I know well and am very fond of, so it’s nice to capture the every day sights as memories of a nice trip :)
Let me know if you have a VSCO grid! x
p.s. The ice cream was delicious, just in case you’re wondering :)
Just some quick news about two new items in my Etsy store :) I love sending little cards to my friends just to say hello and thought it would be nice to get some of my own photos printed as postcards. I loved taking photos of the love padlocks in London and thought they’d make great little cards.
I received the first little batch today and they’re looking ace :) They have a glossy finish, with the usual postcard markings on the back for your message, address and stamp. Read more about them here: Urban Love/We Are Infinite
As for photographs, I daren’t take my camera out in this incessant rain so am hoping that it’ll be a bit nicer this weekend. I heard rumours of a worldwide Instameet and there’s a group meeting in Birmingham on Saturday. I haven’t joined one before but I reckon it could be quite fun :) I’ll see if it stops raining first!
Hello! I’ve just been looking through some of the photos that I took over the Christmas holidays and thought I’d share this one with you :)
Despite looking serene, this photo was taken in gale force winds! It was so windy on the beach that it was difficult to stay standing at times so I was only able to get a few shots. The sky is a bit blown out as the sun was really bright but I just liked how the rays were spread across the water.
Another Place is a series of 100 life sized iron cast sculptures of Antony Gormley’s (the sculptor) body which are scattered across the bay at Crosby, near Liverpool. At low tide they’re all revealed and they gradually disappear under the water as it rises. People go to great efforts to decorate them and I’ve seen them wearing hats, scarves, tinsel and knitted on leg warmers!
I hope this brings you a little bit of escape, especially everyone who has gone back to work today…booooo!