Centenary Square Birmingham 2019

A few years ago, Birmingham City Council decided that the famous and popular Centenary Square needed a revamp. The project started in 2017 with some controversy, not least the chopping down of Birmingham’s oldest tree.

Since then, the square which is one of the main attractions of Birmingham has been out of action, replaced by endless chaos caused by construction.

Fast forward to 2019, the square is finally reopenned!

I didn’t find that out through the news or anything. What happened was my twitter feed was full of pictures of the new square tweeted by my fellow photographers. You guess what happened next? How can I resist?

So I woke up very early one morning. I figured out there will be less people walking around in the early hour of the morning before the rush hour. However, what I didn’t realise was that one of the main features of the square, ie the foundation wasn’t turned on that early! Anyway, I was able to take some photos which I thought was fine but not great. I am sure I will be back there again taking more pictures.

Brewdley Poppies Field 2019

A few weeks ago, I went to a poppy field near Kidderminster and took some photos which I thought were quite good. I was pretty satisfied and wasn’t planning to go search for one anymore.

Since then, I had been seeing countless of poppy photos popping up on my twitter feed. These are mostly from local photographers and all were taken from the same place! It is the famous Brewdley poppy field, the place I failed to find in my last outing!

Learnt my lesson, I asked for specific location from a fellow photographer Chris Fletcher on Twitter and went there the day before I was planning to go photographing it. On arrival, I met another photographer who was going to the same place. It was a bit of a walk from the parking site and I was ever so grateful that I met this photographer. Otherwise I would have never found it.

And then the next morning at 330am, I reluctantly got out of bed, had my very early morning coffee and headed to the field. It took me 35 minute to get to the car park and further 15 minutes walk to the field. It was still dark when I arrived at the car park. To my delight, there was another photographer who has just parked his car and was heading to the same place! Again, I followed him on the dark woodland path to this amazing poppy field. What I saw afterward was nothing short of spectacular.

I spent around 2 hours there and it was such a great experience. Here are a selection of photos.

Poppies 2019

I can’t believe after living in the UK for nearly 15 years, I have not been to a poppy field. Officially a type of weed, Poppy has a very important symbolic function. To keen photographers, a big field of blossoming poppies is like a heaven.

This year I have decided to take a few hours off my busy schedule to hunt for a poppy field near where I live. I first went to a location suggested by a friend but to my disappointment, there were only a few flowers there. I then blindly drove around the area and to my great delight, I found a big field near Kidderminster.

At the time, the sun was almost gone and I had around 30 mins of sunlight left. It was also very windy which made using a small aperture for a larger depth of field impossible. I didn’t even get to use the tripod I brought with me. With a 28mm lens, I was able to quickly grab a few handheld shots before the sun fully set.

As poppy blossom only lasts for a few weeks, and it has been raining heavily for 1-2 weeks since I took those picture and it is forecasted to rain further, I don’t think I have the opportunity to go back there again this year. I am so glad I made the trip. I will definitely plan it better next summer.

Around Birmingham City Hospital

I was working on one Saturday and got bored of facing the computer all morning and decided to take a walk around City Hospital during my lunch break. I have my X-E2 in my work bag (I have been making an effort to have my camera with me all the time) and I decided to take it with me for the walk.

Here are a few snapshots I took.

Lunch time walk about around Birmingham City Hospital

Lunch time walk about around Birmingham City Hospital

Lunch time walk about around Birmingham City Hospital

Spring is around the corner

The last picture is the one I like most. It is not technically challenging or perfect, but it really means something. This is the first time this year I saw wild flowers. It is the signal that spring is around the corner! To me, this is the best time of the year, especially after a horrible rainy winter.

Hailstorm Aftermath

My backyard - HDR

After a short hailstorm, the hail on the ground of my back garden looked really nice. There were still lots of cloud on the sky. I took out my wide angle lens and tripod to try to capture the moment. However, the dynamic range was too high and I was not able to get a properly exposed back garden without overexposing the Skype and losing the details of the cloud. I ended up taking 3 pictures at 3 different exposure settings and combine them using Nik software. I am quite please with the result. What do you think? Your comment is welcomed.

Birmingham Mailbox

Birmingham miscellaneous snapshot

Coming out of the car park lift, I was heading towards Rodizio Rico, my favourite Brazilian restaurant in the Mailbox, Birmingham. With my camera with me all the time, I always look out for photographic opportunity. As I was walking towards the door, I thought the light effect can make a good black and white photograph. I was planning to just take picture of the door with some restaurant tables and chairs as foreground. When I looked through the viewfinder, suddenly to my surprise I saw a group of people walking into the building. There were males, females, kids and adults. Wow! Without hesitation, I took a few shots, trying to include part of the restaurants on the sides to give it a bit of context. It was not easy to get enough details of the inside without losing details of the building outside but I think eventually I have a good balance.

27mm, f/3.6, 1/60s, ISO 250.

X-E2 with XF18-55mm in London

Just spend a short weekend in London with my wife and I took my X-E2 with the 18-55mm lens with me. I was amazed with the low light capacity of the camera. Here are a few pictures I took.

Short trip to London when Ching and my X-E2

Short trip to London when Ching and my X-E2

Short trip to London when Ching and my X-E2

Some photos taken in the British Museum really show this camera’s low light ability.

Short trip to London when Ching and my X-E2

Short trip to London when Ching and my X-E2

Short trip to London when Ching and my X-E2

Playing around with the Toy Camera advanced filter.

Short trip to London when Ching and my X-E2

We really have fun time and I enjoy shooting with this camera.

Short trip to London when Ching and my X-E2

Short trip to London when Ching and my X-E2

 

I found that I shoot with mostly in 23mm-27mm (35mm to 40mm equivalent) range. My 27mm pancake is on its way and next time I will probably just take that with me so I can slot the camera into my jacket pocket.