BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘night photography’

#365daysofbiking Ghost town

Sunday January 10th 2021 – I was on another test ride late and had to drop off a package to an isolating relative, so I nipped to Burntwood after tea.

This current pandemic lockdown isn’t like the first: People are having to continue working, many more kids are at school as the children of key workers and it’s just not as quiet as the first.

But right in the centre of Burntwood at 7pm on a Sunday, and it was like the proverbial ghost town.

It felt very eerie indeed.

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#365daysofbiking Looking for peace


Saturday January 9th 2021 – I’d been busy getting financial and administration things in order and dealing with a tricky bike problem all day and slid out late on a fast, quiet circuit of town and ended up at Chasewater.

There was no moon visible and the photography was poor, if I’m honest.

But I did find the peace, fresh air and solace I needed in the quiet solitude of one of my favourite places.

Even in the dark, Chasewater captivates me.

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#365daysofbiking Glad to be back

Friday January 8th 2021 – A warmer day, but not much: The snow was mostly melted and the frost slight as I headed home from work.

Between Catshill Junction and Anchor Bridge I opted to leave the muddy canal and hit the High Street.

I always like the end of the first working week after Christmas. The festivities seem an age away, it’s now not really dark until well past 4:30pm and things seem to be heading toward spring. Of course, the pandemic is a huge worry, as is Brexit and problems it’s causing at work, but I think we can endure.

It’s actually nice to be back in my routine.

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#365daysofbiking Remember I was vapour

Wednesday January 6th 2021 – We’re in the midst of a bit of a cold snap right now, which makes a refreshing change from the relentless rain of the last few months.

One of the things that fascinates me about modern life in cold weather are the plumes of steam emitted by the vent flues of gas boilers. Nowadays emitting little more than water vapour, on cold nights they catch the light and look absolutely stunning in the right light.

Here at Pier Street in Brownhills the heating in the former Senior Citizens day centre was running, and blowing out a fair old plume – as were the houses in line with it further down.

Captured with an iPhone, not a bad pair of photos, I think.

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#365daysofbiking Quick Silver

Tuesday January 4th 2021 – A better evening commute, but I was in a hurry to get home. We’re now back in full lockdown, and the world felt that little bit more hostile to be out in, so I just swept through the Silver Street Marina area, and took some quick shots looking up the canal to the Watermead Estate.

It’s not a bad spot this, but the paving at the waterside desperately needs some love – it’s uneven and breaking up. The view is nice though, and a bit of welcome calm in a mad world. You’d never believe this was central Brownhills.

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#365daysofbiking Not fade away

Monday January 3rd 2021 – Back to work, with the country seemingly in limbo, with a government unsure whether to put us in full lockdown or not. Another year, more dire politicians.

I came home on a wet evening along a very wet canal, and hopped off the towpath at Anchor Bridge. As I rounded the corner onto the High Street, it occurred to me to try a photo of the canal – another semi-regular night photography muse I hadn’t tried with the new camera.

I love how the colours are strong here at night, and never really fade. It’s one of those timeless views I guess.

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#365daysofbiking better than expected

Saturday January 2nd 2021 – Although we’ve not had the inches of snow I would have liked, we had repeated short falls that kept it topped up. Saturday evening, it came on again, so I headed out on errands at teatime.

Coming back from the supermarket in Burntwood, I came down the Parade and through Holland Park and the Black Path, not long after and intense, but short fresh fall.

It’s safe to say it was magical.

And the best bit? The town seemed deserted.

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#365daysofbiking Not what I had in mind

New Years Day, Friday January 1st 2021 – I had this daft idea to go up Barr Beacon and catch a great, frosty winter sunset – the first of the year – with a big zoom camera. So I charged up the Nikon P990 and headed off.

I was soon up on the Beacon, it’s not far. I was pleased with myself: My fitness was well up to the long climb, unusual at Christmas. Especially with my advancing age.

Just one snag.

The sun went down with barely a whimper, and everything was dull. The photography was terrible.

Not only that, the melting snow up there had seen so many feet – it wasn’t even attractive to photograph. Cursing, I left, and did a lazy loop of Queslett, Streetly and Aldridge.

On impulse, I headed for the canal between Aldridge and Walsall Wood, and I liked the marina boats, smell of woodsmoke from stoves and soft lights. The ride was saved, sort of.

As I ploughed back towards Brownhills – the towpaths were hard going, not with ice, but unrelenting mud and sludge – I thought I’d have a go at Clayhanger Bridge with the Panasonic. Not too bad considering the lack of moonlight. A lot of colour in a very dark scene. I liked it.

Some days, you don’t get what you want from a ride, but you do get what you need. And that’s totally OK.

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#365daysofbiking Seeing it out and moving on

New Year’s Eve, Thursday December 31st 2020 – I really hate New Year’s Eve. I’m so glad it’s curtailed this year – the forced jollity and camaraderie, coupled with the ‘we will have fun!’ attitude really kills it for me.

But there is one tradition I always uphold at the year end: A reflective ride to somewhere quiet, to think about the year and in my own way, see it out.

And like most folk, I’m bloody happy to see this one out of the door in person. With bare hands, if necessary, and a large blunt weapon. It’s safe to say it’s been a terrible year.

The pandemic has been awful for us all, and the future, at least until we get the population vaccinated, looks very uncertain. Yet all most of us want, me included, is things back to normal. To be able to stop at a country cafe or pub again. To meet friends. To be with family.

In the dead, icy calm of Chasewater, we rode up the frozen snow to the top of the pit mound as night fell, and waited in the still for night to properly come in. There wasn’t a soul around apart from me and my pal: From here, we could hear the terminal seconds of this terrible year ticking away. It felt good; cleansing.

Back down at the dam, on the way back it was very cold, but the lake so beautifully peaceful: Until a raptor disturbed the gull roost which must have been several tens of thousands strong. The cacophonous taking to flight of the flock was stunning, as was the similarly swift return to peace.

My word this year has been tough – but not as tough as it has been for many, I’ve been lucky. But it has affected me and I feel it deeply. And I’m sorry, readers, that I abandoned this journal for a few months in summer. I just couldn’t cope with it at that time. I’m sorry I let you down. I promise I will not waver again.

So here’s to a new year, with maybe better prospects. Hopefully we’ll meet again this time next year – with a full year’s photos between – and recall this year as a past, distant and very bad memory.

Here’s to that thought. Happy new year to you all: Let us not dwell on the past. We must move on.

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#365daysofbiking Hardened

Wednesday December 30th 2020 – I was less keen to ride far today – overnight the partially thawing snow had frozen solid, formed hard pack-ice and I needed to gently find out how the tyres I’m currently using – Continental Top Contact II Winter – would cope.

I needn’t have worried. Not as good as studs, but perfectly acceptable without the noise and rolling resistance. A run up the canal and back through Clayhanger after night fell was enough to find out what I needed.

I think I can happily commute on these now.

The canal is partially frozen – about a IC2 on the Dra Marland canal scale.

Be nice if we had a real snowfall, I think. We’re due a really cold winter.

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