On Sunday, myself and a pack of other Birmingham bloggers were invited out for a pretty cool event. Goodman Business Parks sent us off on a mission to photograph some of Birmingham’s best architecture. The lovely Simon from Iguana Photography took us on a tour around the city, teaching us some tips and tricks to get the most out of our cameras.
It’s going to be a picture heavy one folks, so buckle up and stretch those scrolling fingers!
Our first stop was Birmingham Town Hall, where Simon taught us some basics of setting up a shot. He asked us to think about what striking features we noticed about the building and how we’d transfer them to a photograph. Getting down from the building like this highlights it’s size and status, and getting right in the centre of it shows that it’s symmetrical (apart from the tree in the way…). I was still working on auto mode at this point, but we started messing about with the manual settings pretty soon.
Next stop was Birmingham Library. At this point I was messing about with the shutter speed, but hadn’t figured out to change much else. With only half my manual settings being swapped, I couldn’t get the best shots, but I was starting to understand what I was trying to do. The white buildings are over exposed because they aren’t the focus. Your camera can’t have the right exposure for everything. If the white buildings were white, the library, which is what we’re focussing on, would be too dark and you’d lose the detail of the circles on it. You can balance the levels out later with Photoshop, if needs be. Interesting stuff.
We took a pause for lunch and headed off to Jamie’s Italian. Simon encouraged us to take pictures of everything, talking us through how to work the manual settings as we went. What he was talking about finally began to make sense for me. This is the first picture I’ve ever taken entirely on manual. Everybody settled down to take pictures of menus, glasses and each other, in between a batch of tweeting and instagramming.
This, by the way, is what happens when you go anyway with bloggers en masse. Giant cameras all over the table, and everybody busy on their various Social Media addictions. Pretty sure bloggers are the only people are entirely unbothered by this sort of behaviour.
I went for a Risotto from the specials list, cooked with a lot of beetroot (hence the super pink rice) and salmon, and some sort of white fish I have forgotten. It was beautiful; creamy with huge chunks of fish, and a dash of pepper for some kick. Serious yum.
Bellies full, we were off again. This time, it was to the iconic Selfridge’s building.
Here’s Hannah from A New Addition clearly having a lovely time playing with her camera.
Selfridge’s is surprisingly tricky to photograph. The silver discs bounce the light around a lot, and snapping it without getting in the not so pretty balcony and surroundings is awkward. When you get a good shot though? Satisfying!
I got caught up playing with the mirrored surface at the bottom of Selfridge’s. At first, I started arty, playing with angles to create a cool play between clouds, silver discs and the same clouds reflected. In true blogger form though, I soon slipped into selfies.
Last stop was the centre of the Bullring, up by the Bull. Simon set us loose to photograph whatever we liked. This was the most challenging ask of the day. The centre was really busy and choosing a shot without getting half the shoppers in it was tricky. I got right under the Rotunda and tried to practice getting the sense of scale into a picture.
I learnt HEAPS from Simon (he was a cracking laugh too), and I’ll definitely be getting my practice in to keep working on the new skills I learnt on the day. Thanks for the invite Goodman. It was brilliant.
If you’d like to read more about the day, you can check out the #goodmanmeetup tag on Twitter and Instagram, or you can read Goodman’s blog about the day.