Manchester

Manchester Exchange Square Panorama

Photo of the Day

Today’s image is from my current home city, Manchester and features Exchange Square and the Manchester Wheel in the evening.

Click to see a larger image:

Exchange Square Panorama


Deserted Mancunian Way

Photo of the Day

Manchester’s city centre is surrounded by the Mancunian Way, a sometimes-raised motorway that consistently hums with a steady flow of traffic. It’s rare to find an hour of the day when there isn’t at least an automotive trickle passing along the road.

The photo below might then make you wonder what I was thinking by wandering out into the middle of one of the city’s busiest streets. Well, it wasn’t busy that morning – once or twice a year, road crews block off all traffic and perform maintenance. On just such a morning, I was able to wander along the now-clear street to do a bit of cityscape photography.

Despite knowing that I was essentially alone on the strip of road, my body remained tensed at being in a place it normally shouldn’t be. I feel like this shot was worth a bit of unease…

Click for a larger image:

Deserted Mancunian Way


Photo of the Day – Parkour Jump

While walking late one morning in Castlefield, I happened across some guys practicing parkour on the steps leading down to the canals near Liverpool Road.

I happened to be carrying a Nikon D3 and its nine-frames-per-second glory. A perfect (and lucky) match.

I got to talking with them and they were happy to have me do a few shots while they practiced their moves. They were rehearsing for a short movie one of them was making in which I eventually had a role. If you ask me, I nailed the role of “Man on Bench” and I was robbed when I received no awards.

But I digress…

I had never really seen anything like this in person before let alone photographed it, so I was in foreign territory. Looking back on it, there are a number of different ways I could have approached the situation, but I do find this method interesting.

Click to see a larger version on flickr:

Parkour Jump

The largest version is here.

With those nine frames per second blazing through the D3, I opted to follow the progress of this jumper without a tripod. I thought it might convey not only his movement, but also his movement within the environment. I’ve seen a lot of sequence shots with a stationary camera, but not as many where the camera is allowed to track the subject. I think either way could have worked and I probably would have played with both methods given the time and a more formal setting.

Putting this together in Photoshop is just a matter of getting all the individual photos onto layers, positioning them roughly and then masking off the bits you want to keep or discard from each layer.


Photo of the Day – Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral is one of my favourite buildings here in Manchester and I had already photographed it plenty of times (see my gallery of Manchester Cathedral images here). But with the opportunity to use new gear comes the opportunity to shoot old subjects in new ways.

Briefly armed with a Nikon D3 and a 14-24mm lens, I headed over to the Cathedral for a nighttime shot on a super-wide angle. Result!

Manchester Cathedral

See it it in my gallery here or in my flickr stream here.


Happy Manchesterversary to Me

One year ago today, I left my hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada to move to Manchester, England. It’s a Maniversary! I’ve made some great new friends, had some fantastic times and learned a ton. I’m happy to be entering another year here in sunny Manchester.

Cheers to everyone who has made this a good year. And another cheers to those friends of mine spread around the world – I miss you all and we’d be happy to have visitors in the Sawchuk manor.


Images of Manchester’s Southern Cemetery

Some people think it’s weird, but I have a thing for old cemeteries. I find them peaceful and beautiful and I don’t analyse it too much beyond that.

The cemeteries in Europe easily trump the ones where I grew up in Canada – their age alone makes them more fascinating just because there is so much history. Not to mention that there just isn’t the same kind of craftsmanship exhibited in newer graveyards – the quality of the sculpture here far surpasses anything I knew in my hometown.

So, in Manchester, Southern Cemetery makes for a good place for me to visit as it’s expansive and filled with lovely monuments. I took my new camera out for a test drive there and I now have a gallery up showcasing the results.

Check out the photos here.

Southern Cemetery, Manchester, UK.

Southern Cemetery, Manchester, UK.

Southern Cemetery, Manchester, UK.


Photos of Bridgewater Hall

A little Christmas present I’ve given myself is some time to actually work on a few photos. This has given me the chance to put together this gallery of photos of Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. It’s a striking bundle of glass-and-steel angles and I imagine it’s a fine concert venue. I’ve never had the chance to take in a show there, but I look forward to getting the chance sometime. For now, I will content myself with gazing upon it’s fine exterior.

Bridgewater Hall


Photos of Castlefield, Manchester

I’ve just posted a new gallery of photos. This time it is a big batch of pictures of Castlefield, the urban heritage park on the edge of Manchester’s downtown core (and a short walk from my home).

It’s one of my favourite areas in Manchester and not just because it’s close to where I live. Apart from the trains passing overhead, it’s a strangely peaceful place for the middle of a busy city. The canals filled with geese and barges are soothing. Watching the locks open and spill out their contents is a patient beauty. The sunlight bouncing from the water into the arches of the many bridges is hypnotic. And all the regenerated red brick architecture is especially pleasing in the brief moments when Manchester sits beneath a blue sky.

Add to all the sense of history that lingers at each turn. The Roman Fort’s remains, the canals, the warehouses and now the updated buildings all speak of different eras in Manchester’s past. It’s a treat to be in the presence of a past that lives on so visibly and has been so carefully integrated into the present.

Please have a look at the photos here.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.


Photos of Manchester’s Beetham Tower

With the tiniest scrap of free time, I’ve had the chance to put together a gallery of images of Beetham Tower, Manchester’s tallest building and home to the Hilton hotel.

It’s one of those buildings that seems to polarize its viewers. Some enjoy its soaring form while others loathe its discord with the surrounding area. Add to that its height and you can’t escape a view of the tower. That, however, can be a boon when, like me, you live near it and are lost in Manchester – you can always orient yourself to it’s giant rectangular shape.

On the 23rd floor, the Hilton operates a bar/lounge that, apparently, affords some great views of the city. The cocktails cost as much as a meal anywhere else, so I haven’t yet made the trip up (though I could probably get away with not buying a thing…). I’ll have to make the trip sometime though – there are few tall buildings in Manchester with any public observation floors and I’d love to see this city from above.

Check out the photos here.

Beetham Tower


Pictures of Manchester Pride Parade

Pick afros, purple speedos, gold glitter, rainbow flags and a huge party. The essence of a gay pride parade and Manchester’s 2007 festival had all of them. Though getting into the spirit of it all when you’re not dressed the part might seem difficult at first, (and I’m never really dressed for that part…), the celebrations and exuberance of the parade’s participants makes it easy to pick up a rainbow flag to wave.

Of course, the colourful characters make for some fun photos, so I have just put a gallery of some of the fun faces of the parade. Check out the photos of the pride parade here.

Manchester Pride Parade

Manchester Pride Parade

Manchester Pride Parade


Photos of St. Ann’s and St. George’s Churches

Today brings a double dose of photos of Manchester places of worship with images of St. Ann’s Church and St. George’s Church.

The former is still a practicing church in the middle of downtown, while the latter, just outside the city centre, has been transformed into apartments when it fell into disuse (and I would love to see the interior renovation some time in case a resident of the apartments is reading this and would like to invite me around).

St. Ann’s Church:

St. Ann's Church, Manchester

St. George’s Church:

St. George's Church, Manchester


Images of Urbis

I have just put up a gallery of photos of one of the more unique buildings in Manchester, the Urbis exhibition hall. Interesting angles and curves abound, images of overhead clouds dance on the glass, and the imagination soars at being able to ski down that steeply-slanted roof.

My only potential qualm with it is that it seems a bit out of place surrounded by much older buildings. While a number of these have been updated (the Triangle Centre, formerly the Corn Exchange and now a mall and the Printworks, formerly a press building and now an entertainment centre) they haven’t reached the level of modernism of Urbis’ slope. And accross the way, Chetham’s school and the Cathedral must be wondering what this 21st-century structure must be doing in the same park as them.

But on second thought, that diversity is one of Manchester’s appealing qualities for me. I shouldn’t complain about old and new rubbing shoulders when I’m such a fan of both.

View the gallery here.

Urbis


More Photos of Manchester’s Town Hall

While I already have a number of photos available here of the exterior of the Manchester Town Hall, the building’s architectural wonders do not cease once you step inside. The first two floors of the building (at least the parts open to the public) make for a particularly good wander and I now have a gallery of photos of the interior to prove it.

A couple years ago, my wife brought two of her co-workers over to Manchester for a visit. They both worked in the city hall of the small city of Ichinoseki in northern Japan and they were blown away by Manchester’s building. I’m told they turned green with envy because the Ichinoseki city hall, well, it lacks some of the grandeur of Manchester’s municipal headquarters. Not that a Victorian Gothic building would make much sense in small-city Japan… Still, it’s nice when architects give the occupants of their buildings a treat.

Manchester City Hall

Manchester City Hall

Manchester City Hall

Manchester City Hall


Barton Arcade Images

A semi-hidden gem here in downtown Manchester is the Barton Arcade shopping mall. Tucked in between Deansgate and St. Ann’s Square, the arcade doesn’t show much of itself from the outside, especially on the Deansgate side. But once you step inside, it reveals a beautiful glass and iron roof that fills the hall with light.

It’s always nice to cut through here even just for a glimpse when walking in the area.

See the photos here.

Barton Arcade


Pictures of Manchester, England

I know it has been too long in putting these up, but here they are: a small batch of my first photos from Manchester. Believe me when I say I have a rather sizable bunch of photos still requiring processing and uploading.

Manchester is my new home and, in these first few months, it has been been good to me, photographically speaking. There’s plenty to explore here in terms of architecture and sights, the accessible countryside has plenty more to shoot and the number of events that make their way through here is formidable (the only limit is my cash and time!).

I wanted to be able to deliver a few relatively complete collections of photos before I started uploading, and while I could always shoot more shots of these fine sights, I now have a few solid and somewhat comprehensive collections of images to share.

Check out a few starter photos here and find lots more in the gallery:

Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Central Library

Manchester Cathedral

Chetham Library

Victoria Baths


Photos of Funeral for a Friend

Funeral for a Friend packed as many of its fans as possible into the Manchester Apollo last Friday and the crowd was more than happy to devour every note.

The opening act, Haunt, was fairly forgettable and few of the UK fans had heard of The Receiving End of Sirens (their album had only been released in the UK since last week despite being out for a couple years in North America), so when FFAF arrived, the crowd had a lot of stored-up energy left to release for the headliners.

They put on a well-performed set with plenty of energy movement and had plenty of fun with an appreciative crowd. The photos tell the story:

Funeral for a Friend

Funeral for a Friend

Funeral for a Friend

Funeral for a Friend

And a couple of the fans:

Funeral for a Friend

Funeral for a Friend


Photos of The Receiving End of Sirens

Last Friday at the Apollo Theatre in Manchester, The Receiving End of Sirens was one of two opening bands for Welsh post-hardcore rockers Funeral for a Friend. TREOS was the main draw for me – their album, Between the Heart and the Synapse, was one of my favourites in the last couple years.

I really enjoyed their performance, but I’m wishing I would have seen them a year ago when Casey Crescenzo (now in The Dear Hunter) was still in the lineup. The harmonies just aren’t quite as powerful as they could be with his vocal there to fill up the sound.

When TREOS start working on their next release, I do hope the loss of Crescenzo doesn’t hurt the band too much, but I suspect it might. After listening to The Dear Hunter, I have a feeling he was responsible for some of TREOS’ more experimental moments and I would hate to see those disappear from their music.

In any case, I still enjoyed the show and it was great to see the Apollo Theatre for the first time. Here are a few photos of TREOS’ set:

The Receiving End Of Sirens

The Receiving End Of Sirens

The Receiving End Of Sirens


Photos of Manchester’s Dale Street Fire

I had a couple of errands to run near Manchester’s Northern quarter today, and having heard about the morning’s fire, it seemed a good idea to bring my cameras along. The blaze had been extinguished, but there was still a lot of fuss in the area.

Here are the photos from the aftermath of Manchester’s April 30th, 2007 Dale Street fire. A few more are available on my flickr stream.

Manchester Dale Street Fire, April 30, 2007

Manchester Dale Street Fire, April 30, 2007

Manchester Dale Street Fire, April 30, 2007

Manchester Dale Street Fire, April 30, 2007

Manchester Dale Street Fire, April 30, 2007

Manchester Dale Street Fire, April 30, 2007

Manchester Dale Street Fire, April 30, 2007

Manchester Dale Street Fire, April 30, 2007


Take Pictures, Build Muscles!

Whew…

For the last eight working days, a big part of my job has been the lifting of heavy gym equipment up and down stairs to a studio owned by Manchester’s Photolink Creative Group. I’m pretty sure, however, that the gym equipment was meant to get you in shape in an entirely different way. I think the treadmills expect you to run on them, not just carry them up and down stairs. The exercise bikes have seats on them for a reason. The handles on the elliptical trainers aren’t just for getting a handhold while lifting them.

At the same time, I think this regimen of junior power lifting must be doing my body some good (as long as I don’t suffer a hernia). I mean, I can’t have this much muscle pain without it being good for me, right? Soon I’ll be able to toss these exercise machines up to the second story without breaking a sweat.

As much as I might sound like I’m complaining here, that’s not the case. I’m pretty lucky to have the opportunity to work in the field I love and with some talented people happy to share knowledge with me. And if I happen to build up some muscles along the way, that’s not bad either!


Photos of Pelican

As promised in the previous post, here is the second half of the show played by These Arms Are Snakes and Pelican.

I wasn’t sure how Pelican’s long, instrumental post-metal compositions would translate to the live environment, but I was pleasantly surprised. The massive, dense songs made me think this is what whales would listen to (if whales liked to rock).

And of course the photos:

Pelican

Pelican

Pelican

Pelican


Photos of These Arms Are Snakes

Another night and another good show in Manchester. This time it was These Arms Are Snakes and Pelican. Rather than post too many photos in one entry I’ve broken this up into two. The Pelican photos will follow shortly.

These Arms opened the night and from the opening chord to the final feedback lead vocalist Steve Snere didn’t stop frantically moving on the circular staging area at the centre of Satan’s Hollow, a club decorated to resemble an evil grotto where the devil might host Playboy bunnies.

I had always liked These Arms are Snakes, but their live show took their music to another level and I was glad to see it.

And now for the photos:

These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes


Photos of Moneen and Bayside

Living in Manchester has its perks and one of the big ones it the city’s love of music. The passion Mancunians have for music contributes greatly to the vibrance of the city even though the weather can often drag people down. Really, what better than a good rock show to lift your spirits on a rainy day?

And no one lifts spirits better than Moneen. For my first show since arriving in Manchester, I was happy to have some good old Canadian content. Playing at the Roadhouse, a small Manchester club, Moneen put on their usual high-energy performance (perhaps one of their best that I’ve seen) that culminated in lead singer Kenny Bridges’ shorting of the club’s main circuit. During the finale of “The Passing of America,” Kenny’s exuberance got the better of him after he had climbed up on the stage monitors and he thrust his guitar in between the ceiling and the lighting rack. When two electrical devices made contact that shouldn’t have made contact, the whole club was plunged into silence and darkness. There were to be no encores…

Bayside and Attack in Black (another Canadian act) opened and both did a rockin’ fine job. Most of the crowd had come for Bayside and happily chanted along through the whole set. I suspect Moneen made a bunch of fans out of the folks that stuck around to watch them bounce off the walls.

Moneen:

Moneen

Moneen

Moneen

Moneen

Bayside:

Bayside

Bayside

Attack In Black:

Attack in Black


In Case You Were Wondering…

No, I still don’t have a proper Internet connection at my new place here in Manchester. The process of trying to get everything set up has been more than a little frustrating, but I’ve almost become resigned to the fact that it’s just going to happen when it happens. Virgin Media has been a large source of the problem thanks to multiple orders not being properly registered, but now the process seems to be held up by some kind of fault on the line. Not much I can do at this point except laugh a little bit (and keep going to the library and internet cafes to get online).

But, I have had the chance to be online long enough to update my site with a few photos I had lying in wait. The Banteay Srei photos are now up to tide people over. I know they’re not photos of Manchester, but I’ve had these ones ready for uploading for longer, so they go first. Shots of Manchester are well overdue though, so I’ll do what I can to show off at least a few shots of my new home city.

Cross your fingers for me that the problem with my connection is soon fixed. But don’t hold your breath – I wouldn’t want to be responsible for anyone losing consciousness…



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