Early bird

I’ve always tended to get up early in the morning but when I’m away from home I like to get out and explore what places are like as city life begins to wake up. Cities feel different at different times of the day and what I like when you wander around some cities in the early morning is that they sound so different, in the case of the Northern Quarter in Manchester you can heard quite a lot of birds, something that is totally obscured during the day. In some places you can even see some birds too…

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Also, I found Wally, he’s in Manchester.Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

A few hours later and this street will be full of people walking around, cafes spilling out onto the streets, creating a very vibrant part of the city. Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Time is money

There’s a new cafe in the Northern Quarter in Manchester, Ziferblat –  it’s different from usual cafes, you pay for the time you spend there rather than what you consume.

“Everything is free inside; except for the time you spend”.

Ziferblat Manchester

Ziferblat Manchester

I didn’t have time to go inside on this trip, but I’ll be back.

Many many mushrooms

We recently bought a grow-your-own mushroom kit from GroCycle, a social enterprise that has been growing mushrooms from waste coffee grounds. Despite how easy it looked on the website I was skeptical about how easy it would really be to grow mushrooms. Well it turns out it is incredibly easy and very satisfying. After just over a week this is what they looked like!
Grocycle Mushrooms

And just before we harvested the first crop…Grocycle Mushrooms

Grocycle Mushrooms

I would highly recommend anyone who would like to have a grow at growing their own mushrooms to give them a try. They taste great too!Grocycle Mushrooms

Returning to Manchester: Sun, streets and photography (2)

I took rather a lot of photographs in my trip to Manchester so I decided to split them into two posts. As I mentioned in the last post, it was pleasing to see the popularity of the street food market in Piccadilly Gardens.
Manchester 2015

And there was a place to get waffles!Manchester 2015If you look closely you can see the worker bee symbol of Manchester on nearly all the rubbish bins in the centre of the city. Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

And if you need a radical vintage shop, Manchester has one!Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

One of the many coffee shops in the Northern Quarter.Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Then there are some signs posing very serious questions. Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015
Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015


Manchester 2015

I forgot about the ‘Monument to Vimto’ sculpture on south campus.

Manchester 2015

 Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Of course, Queen Victoria is not only covered in pigeons, but also a traffic cone. Manchester 2015There’ll be a few more shots from Manchester over the next week. I made a real effort this time to try and shoot scenes of the city to include people, something I tend to struggle with. I’m keen to try and capture more of the human side of the city as well as the buildings, streets and physical components. This is something I’m going to work on this year.

Blue Skies in Coventry

Even though I’ve now been working in Coventry for nearly a year I realised I’ve never really taken the camera out with me, and on our recently walk to check out Fargo Village I started to started to build what will inevitably be a growing collection of Coventry photograph.

The main square, with lady Godiva on her horse. The legend is that around the 11th or 12th century an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman rode naked through the streets of Coventry in protest over some taxes – and somehow it has become a symbol for the city.

Coventry

With the arrival of a few warmer days the city is becoming more colourful by the day. Coventry

Coventry

Coventry

And with some blue skies and shiny buildings its a chance to add to my collection of ‘Reflections’ photography. Coventry

This is part of the campus of Coventry University – and importantly the building on the left is a place to get coffee. Coventry

As the academic teaching year draws to a close there is going to be a  degree show, ‘This Creative City‘ to display some of the creations of  the art and design students at the University. Coventry

Coventry

Coventry

IMG_8952

Something I really value about photography is that it makes me look at places in more detail. I walk down this street nearly every day and I know the wall is covered in this ivy plant but it took until today with a camera in hand to really look at how the plant is taking over the wall. Coventry

Coventry

Coventry

More signs that Spring is finally here. Coventry

Coventry

Coventry

The elephant symbol appears a lot in Coventry – I’m still looking into the significance of it, and there will be a blog post to follow soon. Coventry

 

Returning to Manchester. Sun, streets and photography

This week I was back in Manchester for work and it was great to see the sun shining (not always the case in Manchester). I deliberately only took the 40mm lens with my Canon camera in an effort to try and make me see the shots that would fit the lens rather than just take pictures and worry about the framing later. It’s been a while since I’ve really had time to think about photography, or even had the to wander about in a city to take photographs.

Manchester 2015

Piccadilly gardens, as busy as ever. Good to see the wheel still there too!Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

When the sun comes out, please will go and sit on the grass. It makes Piccadilly Gardens seem an even more vibrant area of the city. Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

As with many cities these days, there’s a giant Primark in the background. Manchester 2015

Good to see there is a street food culture alive and well in Manchester. You might not be able to see too well in this shot but the brownies from this stall looked awesome! Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

I must have dozens of shots of this part of the Northern Quarter – the art changes quite often – this time it’s all about the small things making a big difference. So true!Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

Manchester 2015

There’ll be more from Manchester soon.

Discovering Fargo Village

Since moving to Coventry we have been wanting to visit Fargo Village, a creative village close to the university. It describes itself as a ‘one stop Village for independent shopping, unique food, amazing coffee, incredible art all in amongst artist’s studios, creative workspaces and unique markets to boot’. Fargo Village opened last year and is still developing, but it is definitely a place to go and visit if you’re in the area. We headed straight for the Urban Coffee Company which not only does great coffee, but has some interesting ideas about room decoration, as you can see below.

Fargo Village Coventry

One of the things I really liked about the place was the range of decorated spaces on buildings – as seen here with the elephant.
Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village CoventryUrban Coffee Company are an independent coffee chain in the region. I’ve been to their branch in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham and was pleased to find they were located in Fargo Village too.

Fargo Village Coventry

And I totally agree with them here!Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village Coventry

Literally what it says here – there is a lovely book shop with comfy places to sit, have coffee and eat cake. Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village Coventry

The other half of Oblique Exposure helpfully posing for a portrait shot…Fargo Village Coventry

A different kind of map of Coventry. Fargo Village Coventry

Fargo Village Coventry

Having this place down the road from where I work is great – and I look forward to seeing it develop as more of its gets completed and the creative hub grows!

Many many wheels – Coventry Transport Museum

In an attempt to explore our new home city we made a trip to the transport museum located in Coventry City Centre. A few of the exhibits were closed off on that day (an excuse to go back) but from what was there it was fascinating to see how various transportation vehicles developed over time – some of the early vehicles do not look comfortable.

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum

We even had a patch of blue sky as we left too. Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport MuseumIf you’re in Coventry and looking for something to do, the museum is good place to try, it’s free admission – and there’s a good cafe attached too.

Coffee in Brum

The art-déco themed Yorks Espresso Bar, in Birmingham.

_DSC1552Apparently they have cold coffee on tap; I didn’t try it. The espresso, however, I can vouch for. Give it a go.

Monotone Birmingham

On another visit to Birmingham I decided to experiment a little by taking a few shots and converting them all to black and white. I’ve missed getting out into the streets for photography – there has been far too much work recently and not enough respite. This is something we are working on and hopefully there will be a resurgence of Oblique Exposure activity soon.

Birmingham UK

Part of what I love about taking photographs in cities is that there is so much going on, more or less all the time – everywhere you look is more snapshots of life to be captured. Birmingham UK

I limited myself to the 40mm lens which made capturing the tall buildings more challenging.Birmingham UK

Birmingham UK

Birmingham UK

This bird helpfully flew into the shot for a little extra contrast. A classic view of the bull ring. Birmingham UK

Birmingham UKI’ve visited Birmingham more in the last few weeks more than I have in my entire life, and the visits are likely to continue. If you’re a photographer from Birmingham or know the area well, where do you like to explore?