After a lazy Boxing Day, I was up with the larks on Sunday (assuming that larks wake up around 7 o’clock) and ready to try out the new camera and socks.
For footwear, I decided to utilise my Scarpa Goretex shoes which are slightly big requiring 2 pairs of socks – the next size down was too small. Wanting a variety of things to photograph, I decided on walking to Middleton Nature Reserve and the adjacent Kingsbury Water Park – similar to the walk I did on the 4th.
|Curdworth Tunnel – 1/50 sec , f2 , ISO 800|
It was very quiet out with very little traffic. I made my way to Water Orton then over the newly repaired packhorse bridge before a muddy section to Curdworth where I joined the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. Thro
ugh Curdworth tunnel I went testing the flash on the new camera.
I continued along the canal passing under the M6 Toll and the A446 at 4 miles.
|1/320 , f2 , ISO 200, EV -2/3|
Time for another photo opportunity with a shot across the canal. I took a few shots with various in-camera filters – black and white, black and white with red filter but plumbed for this one which is called ‘Toy Camera.’
I carried on along the, sometimes, slippery tow path until i reached Bodymoor Heath where I bid farewell to the canal and headed for Middleton Nature Reserve passing the Aston Villa training ground on the way.
The training ground was quiet – a shame really as The Villa could do with some extra practice at the moment – they are languishing at the foot of the premier league.
At the end of the approach road, which resembles a WW1 battle scene in places, I reached the nature reserve and taking a footpath through the trees, I came across this quaint bug hotel.
|Bug Hotel – 1/60 , f 2.8, ISO 200, EV -2/3|
On past the car park and a farm (New House Farm) where a black collie with powder blue eyes decided to join me. He walked either with me or a little in front, stopping every now and again to make sure I was still there.
Before reaching (or returning to) the canal, I tried a long exposure on a river to blur the water. A 1 second exposure, with the camera held against the bridge’s handrail, gave me the milky look I was after.
|1 Sec , f11, ISO 100|
When I got to the bridge over the canal, my canine companion was told to “Go Back” and, amazingly, he did – Good Boy.
The next photo op was an old metal girder bridge which I shot in glorious black and white with a yellow filter.
|1/85 , f2.5, ISO 200|
I had just finished messing about with the camera when a guy paddled past me in a little canoe. It was too good an opportunity to miss…
|1/240 , f2.5 , ISO 200|
After this, I put the camera away and tried to regain some of the time ‘lost’ due to my photographic interludes. My average pace at this point was around 16 minutes per mile – less that 4 mph !
I strode through Kingsbury Water Park exiting at Marston from where I made my way to Lea Marston and thence to Hams Hall. By the time I’d reached the industrial estate on the outskirts of Coleshill, my average had crept to just a tad over 15 minute miles with the last few miles done in 13:05 and 13:06.
Somewhere along this stretch, my wife phoned me to tell me that she’d been called in to work and was stuck there until 6 pm. We agreed that I would meet here at work around 6 so that I could drive her home.
From Hams Hall it was but a few miles back to Water Orton and home – total mileage 18 miles averaging just under 15 minutes per mile.
As I had agreed to meet Sue from work, I decided that I could squeeze in another few miles by walking to meet her. From home to Moseley (where Sue works) is anything from 9 miles upwards. The route I selected would be around 10 miles.
|Solar Cat’s Eyes|
From Smiths Wood, I made my way through Shard End joining the Cole Valley Way heading towards Stetchford. It was just getting dark and the solar cat’s eyes on this section of the path were just starting to glow. I whipped out the camera and took a photo and if you squint a bit you can just about make out the cat’s eyes on the edge of the path.
At Stetchford, not wanting to get my trousers muddy as a trip to the pub later was on the books, I walked along the streets until I could regain the footpath towards Hay Mills.
Nearing Bordesley Green, the headlight had to go on projecting a pool of light ahead.
The Coventry Road was crossed and after a short and noisy stretch along the Small Heath Highway, I dropped onto the Grand Union Canal towpath for a couple of hundred metres before leaving it to follow the River Cole, through Greet and onto Sparkhill.
On reaching Sparkhill Park, I knew that I only had 1 mile to go and as I was a bit early, I started to plan an short addition just as Sue phoned to say that she was ready to leave.
I abandoned my newly hatched plan and made a bee-line to meet my other half.
Very kindly, Sue suggested we nip into The Griffin on the way home (well, on the way home via a 5 mile excursion). Who was I to object?
All in all, a very good day. Two walks totaling 28 miles. Playing with the new camera, a few pints of real ale and a chinese on the way home – handsome!