The 19th August 2017 was “World Photography Day” to celebrate this I attended two IGERS Birmingham Instameets. The first was at Sutton Park in the morning, the second was at Fort Dunlop in the evening.
For those who aren’t aware, Instameets are when virtual communities on Instagram join together in real life for a photo experience. This could be as simple as a wonder round a local area or more extravagant such as behind the scenes access to locations, etc.
The IGERS Birmingham arm has two administrators; Fraser and Beth. They both do a fantastic job at organising some brilliant meets. They help pick out the photos of the day on the group feed as well.
I took my trusty Sony a6000 along with my Samyang 85mm f1.4 lens (127.5mm on a crop sensor) which I used for the vast majority of portraits along with my Sony 35mm f1.8, Sony 18-105 f4 and my Samyang 12mm f2.
So lets quickly go over how the meets panned out and how I got on.
Sutton Park Instameet:
This was an excellent meet – actually my favourite of my meets so far. It offered me a chance to have models pose for me, something I’ve never done before. The event started with a quick meet and mingle, a walk through the woods, then the group split into two. One half followed models round and took photos as we passed through, the second went the other way and tracked down more wildlife shots and tried to find the wild ponies that roam on the park. After a couple of hours we swapped round and did the other activity we hadn’t done.
Part 1: Models
This was the first time I’d shot someone who wasn’t related or personally knew me. It was different – but brilliant. I was really happy to get some nice shots of the two models and some candid ones of other photographers too! It’s harder than I expected competing with about 20-30 other people who all want a shot. But what has been amazing is the varied work that has been produced from the collective despite us all having the same model/props to pose with.
Below are a few photos of the model session:
Part 2: Wildlife and Ponies
The second part of the day worked out well for my group – the weather turned a bit, so we missed the rain during the model shoots. The ponies were however wise to our attempts to sneak up on them. They did yield a few photos between us, I wasn’t as happy with my work from this session on the whole. I managed a couple of landscape shots and also a portrait or two so felt slightly better, but I enjoyed the first part much more from a photography point of view. This was however a great opportunity to network and chat with people who shared a common interest and find out what they liked shooting, techniques, tips and just general chat.
Below are a few shots from the second half of the meet:
So with Sutton Park completed, there was just enough time to pop home and grab a snack, drink and recharge my batteries (literally). Then off I went to Instameet number two – Fort Dunlop.
Fort Dunlop Instameet:
Firstly, a little history about Fort Dunlop. This is the original tyre factory and main office of Dunlop Rubber in the Erdington district of Birmingham. It was established in 1917, and by 1954 the entire factory area employed 10,000 workers. At one time it was the world’s largest factory, when it employed 3,200 workers.
Fort Dunlop, the main building of the former factory area, is next to the M6 motorway, near to junction 5. It is a Grade A locally listed building. It was designed by Sidney Stott and W. W. Gibbings in the 1920s. The building’s use was the storage of tyres and was called Base stores. An almost identical building housing administrative and general offices was located on Wood Lane. Dunlop Tyres now occupies a small part of the building.
The building itself is 8 floors high and has some excellent views towards the city centre and also the M6 motorway – all this might not sound exciting to some – but plenty of opportunity to view some amazing spaces within the building/roof.
The evening started a touch early due to everyone arriving early (the excitement). Everyone piled into lifts to the top floor and began exploring. Most people had tripods hoping to do long exposure shots, sunsets, etc. Unfortunately the weather closed in and cloud hampered much chance of a decent sunset, there were however a few great shots I enjoyed taking.
This was my second and third Instameet and I really enjoyed the experience again. I will certainly be taking part in future events and I’ve certainly been inspired by the photos that I’ve seen from the other community members.
Find out more about the people group at the links below: