40 best photos of the last tax year (2012-13)

It always falls in April, my annual pick of the best/favourite photos from my Flickr uploads. Like my tax return, I’m late sorting this year’s out but here they are – featuring kittens, pigeons, flowers, volcanic Gomera and Lanzarote, a steampunk wedding, Spaghetti Junction, Loaf’s Tom Baker, backward clocks and a dodgy looking fiancé in a fez. Slides below or Flickr set for scrollers. Previous years here.

 

Birmingham’s Blooming Town Hall

Modern stories of Victoria Square, Birmingham #1 – here is the first of three photographic narratives I, ahem, carefully planned today in Victoria and Chamberlain Square in central Birmingham, courtesy of stories week at Matt & Pete’s Photo School. They’re also running a Spaghetti Junction photo walk and picnic on 29 July, if anyone fancies joining.

Went for three different focuses, zooming out. Could also work in reverse, I guess. Hopefully it brings out the idea that Brum is not the concrete jungle many think it is.

Blooming Birmingham 1
Continue reading “Birmingham’s Blooming Town Hall”

Abstract Birmingham

Photo School abstracts lamppost

This Sunday sees the fourth and final session (for me) of Photographing the City – Matt and Pete’s sociable, how-to photography course set on the streets of Birmingham and featuring a pleasant mix of arty/techy teaching, walking, socialising, photographing stuff (more egs below) and peer review.

More adventures from Photo School… Continue reading “Abstract Birmingham”

My favourite 15 photos of 2011-12

Every year, around the time of renewing my Flickr account, I pick out my favourite shots. I don’t know if I’m getting more critical of my work, or not taking as many good shots, but last year I selected 75 for the final cut; this year it’s just 15. So what’s in them?

Well, seven water-based photos (eight if you count snow), two dogs, one swan, a flock of seagulls, three Petes, one Michael Grimes and a famous Berber. Two I included for reminding me of painters: a Vermeeresque hound and a Turneresque sunset. Two more are a direct result of Matt & Pete’s Photo School. Enjoy the slideshow (or the static set)!

PS. I think this one is still my favourite. It speaks of spies going to secret rooftop rendezvous, or is that just me?

Photographing the landscapes of Birmingham

Photo School Landscapes-23

So today was week two (of four) of Matt & Pete’s Photo School. Last month, we played with finding the decisive moment in street photography, this time it was landscapes and creating huge panoramic vistas using the iconic buildings of Birmingham.

More adventures from Photo School… Continue reading “Photographing the landscapes of Birmingham”

Black Swan Sunday

Today was one of those chilled blue Sunday afternoons, perfect for going walkabout with cameras: destination, the concrete jungle of central Birmingham. Scenes from Black Swan, which we saw yesterday at the Electric, must have embedded themselves inside my mind but when I uploaded the images I found out just how much I had focused on windows, reflections, shadows and mirror images.

Look into my eyes

I love me

Len Lye post office film 2

Len Lye post office film 3

Window self-portrait

Reflected reverse ziggurat

Birmingham Central Library windows

Snow Hill Station in reverse

Windows

Here’s the full set of photos from today’s photowalk on my Flickr. Pete was on an FM2 so will have to await processing in the good old-fashioned way.

The new Stirchley Village in pictures

I took a photowalk down my local Stirchley High Street on Friday to log the growing diversity of shops I’d been noticing there of late, including a new pop-up tearoom…

Stirchley pop-up tea toom-17

There are lots of independents in Stirchley Village (as it now seems to be have been renamed), such as: P Browell Tobacconist, Wards greengrocers, Pandora’s Music Box, Skinnys Ink tattoo parlour, Music Exchange, Maginnis Opticians, Wolseley Sausage Company, The British Oak pub and others.

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Stirchley Village-85

Stirchley Village-21

Stirchley Village-7

This is NOT a homogenous high street – and all the more interesting for it. For example, how many other Birmingham high streets can boast a European consulate?

Stirchley Village-63

There are quite a few clusters of businesses, too: hairdressers, hydroponics shops, carpet stores, junk shops, nail bars, balti restaurants, Chinese takeaways and a growing number of estate and letting agents – a sign that things are changing for Stirchley.

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Stirchley Village-67

Stirchley Village-61

Stirchley Village-46

But the most interesting shop for me was the pop-up tearoom on the corner of Ivy Road. It’s only open for another month or so before it moves on like a magical moveable feast to Hodge Hill – but it’s a lovely little place to go and hangout for a bit.

There is free tea served in bone china cups, free biscuits, art, craft and storytelling projects, community conversation and someone to reminisce about Stirchley with – in my case a former lollipop lady, who summed up Stirchley as having it all – except for parking spaces.

The tearoom events progamme is here. Some evening events are also in the pipeline, possibly a film screening and more tea-tasting sessions with Karen (pictured top).

I intend to revisit Stirchley’s high street evolution in more detail in a future post, namely because I wrote my first ever published article on the breakdown of shops here. But for now here’s the slideshow, or see the full set on Flickr.

My 50 best Flickr photos 2010

Ooh, just realised I can create a slideshow on Flickr. So while waiting for today’s Traditional Edwardian Fete photo set to upload to my favourite photo-sharing platform, here are my top 50 photos (imo). It’s a personal pick since joining Flickr in September 2008. And if you don’t fancy the slideshow, feel free to browse through the 50 Favourites set on site, photo by gloriously random photo. 😉

For those who need a reason to scoot through, there are pics here from:

  • The desert where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed
  • The murder of crows in my local park
  • A haunted furnace in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Light-painting with an illuminated gyroscope
  • 24-hour Scalextric
  • Rice representations of human populations
  • Birmingham Flickrmeets
  • And neon No Farting sign in a pork ribs shack

And who should open the show but, natch, the lovely Pete Ashton, who was the one who pointed out how easy it is to do a Flickr slideshow. Full circle.