New Year's Resolution - Jay Birmingham

New Year's Resolution

Happy 2018! I've made it my new year's resolution this year to take even more photographs, and so far I have been out every weekend of January taking some pictures, both locally and further afield. 

Curves and Light

The Derwent Reservoir is famous because the RAF practised flying Lancaster bombers and dropping bombs there in preparation for the Dambusters raids on the Ruhr dams, and is the middle of three reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley. This has an aesthetically pleasing overflow, so I couldn’t resist visiting after rain to take a shot of the powerful wall of water.

On the same trip in the Peak District, we visited Ladybower Reservoir, a little further down from Derwent Reservoir. It’s a large reservoir, so it doesn’t often overflow, but when it does, two enclosed bell mouth overflows (plug holes!) take the water from Ladybower and send it into other streams and the River Derwent. Usually these plugholes are well out of the water (we often check!), so we had to take advantage when the water level rose high enough. They are quite an arresting sight, and definitely worth viewing if you are there in the right conditions. Ladybower itself has an interesting history, as underneath it are the ‘lost villages’ of Derwent and Ashopton which were submerged in the 1930’s. Apparently, the remains of the Derwent village are sometimes visible in drought conditions, but not since 2003, when I didn’t have a camera or a car!

There are several winter photographs my wife and I have been planning for a few months. One of these is sunrise in Birmingham. There are a number of architecturally-interesting buildings, including of course the iconic Bullring Shopping Centre. The market itself first opened there in the Middle Ages, and the current shopping centre opened in 2003. It is certainly recognisable (its design was apparently inspired by a Paco Rabanne sequinned dress!), and in winter the sun is in the right position in the morning. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry though, and a few buildings had been built where we wanted to take our shot over the city. However, we had fun taking sun star shots and silhouettes, and a ‘Bill’s’ breakfast in the Bullring is always welcome!

After the sunshine of the week before, the next weekend the weather was grey and flat, so we decided to take some photographs at night using artificial light instead of natural light - in the form of a power station. Ratcliffe-On-Soar is a coal-fired power station about half an hour from where we live. We found a wonderful place to photograph it that incorporates a lone tree into the composition - a stark reminder of what we need to protect whilst we provide power for our multitude of gadgets.

This weekend more snow was forecast, so my wife and I decided to go into the Peak District. The original plan was to go into the hills near Mam Tor, but the road conditions there were awful (later we heard they’d closed some of the roads we wanted to drive on), with cars skidding everywhere, so we turned round, put the snow socks onto the car, and drove down to Thorpe, where we were able to hike down to Dovedale.

Dovedale was amazing! The walk down was like something out of ‘Narnia’ (although sadly no-one came to offer us Turkish Delight) and for the entire walk down we had the place to ourselves, so I was pleased to find some ‘lone trees’ to take photographs of.

The winners of the Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition were announced this week.  Although my image didn't make it to the book, I was delighted that 'Fairy Glen' made the shortlist in the 'At the Water's Edge' category and I would like to congratulate the photographers from across the globe who made it into what is sure to be a beautiful book.

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