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Thank you for reading my Photography Blog. Birmingham based photographer specialising in Urban Landscapes but available for all photography commissions. Ross Jukes is also a professional Automotive photographer, please see his other website for details - www.rossjukesphoto.com 

Ross Jukes is a professional freelance photographer and owns www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk and all images / photos of Birmingham on this site. All images are available for purchase either as prints or stock and are also available to license the images for commercial use.

A Foggy Morning in Birmingham

 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk

Nothing drags us photographers out of bed quicker than the chance of a bit of fog and mist. After a few busy days, I was completely ready for a lazy Sunday morning until I popped my head out of the window and saw, well, nothing…I quickly got ready and pretty much ran into town. Conditions were perfect and a bit of fog mixed with patches of light, always makes for interesting images.

I was very pleased to see plenty of the local photography community hoovering up images so keep an eye out for those. Here are a quick selection of some of mine of Birmingham drizzled in a pleasant layer of fog…

 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk
 Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham Skyline - www.rossjukesphoto.co.uk

VIDEO - Landscape Photography Wales - Fail!

I know that Landscape Photography isn't really that easy. However, on a recent trip to Wales, I found out just how frustrating things can be. In particular, when you fail to make the correct preparations!

I take a pretty 'common sense approach to all of my photography, checking weather, looking at maps and generally trying to pre-visualise shots before I go out. However, for someone completely ridiculous reason, I did none of that on this trip!

As this video shows, not only did I fail to 'scout' locations and pre-plan some shots that I think would have been worth capturing, but I completely underestimated the weather and the terrain. This was quite silly as it left both me and my girlfriend cold and frustrated with the lack of 'good' images.

Whereas the weekend itself was fun and the landscape was particularly beautiful, the lack of the real 'wow' images, left me a bit underwhelmed. Ultimately, this only came down to poor planning on my behalf and with a little bit of effort, things could have been really different.

The moral to the story? Well, it just goes to show that a little bit of preparation goes a long way. In the future, I will make sure that I have more of a plan... and more warm clothing!

Beauty in the 'Beast'...

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As the weather continues to cause havoc across the country, it's getting to that point where it stops being fun and starts getting serious. Sub-zero temperatures and treacherous conditions put those that are most vulnerable in real danger and make even simple journeys a nightmare. However, if there is anything that can be taken away from a terrible situation, it's that it makes the everyday scenes that we've all become accustomed to seem surreal. 

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This week, I have been wiped out by Flu! Not just any Flu, not even 'Man Flu', but some kind of 'I want to make every single cell in your body pay for it' Flu that even had Laura conceding that I might actually be ill. So as much as I would love to have been out with my camera, I've just not been able to.

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That was until late Thursday night, where I had to run out for an emergency. I wrapped up as warm as I could, checked the weather "Feels like minus 12" took a brave pill (Lemsip) and head out. Now obviously, I was going to take my camera with me. Even in my sickly state, I wouldn't dare leave the house without it! I stumbled my way through town, grabbing quick images as I went.

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The images that I did get were far from perfect. There is something about being laced with Flu in bitterly cold conditions that makes you forget the 'rule of thirds' or to check whether shots are even in focus. However, when I did check the images, I really liked the 'soft' feel to them and put this down as a 'happy little accident' as a great man used to say. The snow is certainly a nightmare and I genuinely feel for those vulnerable people that this kind of weather can really threaten. However, it's also nice to remember that even in the worst of it, you can still find little glimmers of beauty. 

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12 Views of Birmingham that will never be the same!

Birmingham is changing. Whether you are a fan of the waves of new development happening across the city, one thing for sure is that it doesn't show any signs of slowing up. There is always huge disruption whenever another part of the city is, closed down, blocked off and peoples lives re-routed. However, the financial benefits and the growing positivity around Birmingham is a testament to the investment that is being made in the city.

However, one thing that will change are some of our favourite views. Many will improve, some will be questioned and all will never be the same again. In years to come, we will look back at many of these images and talk about 'how things use to be'. It's strange to think that by then, we will have grown acustomed to the 'new' views and undoubtedly be surround by even more new developements and growth in our amazing city. 

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1) Boulton, Watt & Murdoch

The 'Three Wise Men', the 'Golden Boys', the 'Carpet Salesmen' - Whatever you refer to the statue as it's no longer where you would expect to find it. The lads have been uprooted as part of the Centenary Square development. Even the backdrop will change as a new building is already in development on the very spot where these influential men once stood. I wonder if they would approve of the changes happening in the city? 

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2) Three Snowhill

You can see this development from pretty much anywhere in the city, it really does dominate the skyline. The huge commercial development (the biggest in Europe I believe!) is set to completely change the landscape of the heart of Birmingham's financial district and the area around Snowhill. The sheer scale of this building is the most impressive thing and is best viewed from Great Hampton Street.

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3) Paradise Forum

Despite the ironic name, Paradise Forum always divided opinion. Many will miss the Brutalist architecture that dominated the area (myself included) and I'm sure many more would quite happily of bulldozed the place down themselves! Love it or hate it, the old has made way for the new and the modern glazed building are well and truly flying up. I'm sure we will all grow use to the new amenities but a huge piece of Birmingham's heritage has changed forever. 

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4) Centenary Square

Lying just beyond Paradise is Centenary Square and it has already it's £10m transformation. The area that was once home to the iconic 'Forward' statue and Cliff Richard's 'Flame of Hope' is now making way to a new 'urban' space that has received mixed views. One thing that will change is the layout of everyone's favourite Christmas Market, that will be adapted to fit around the all new Centenary Square. 

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5) HS2 - Curzon Gate

There is no way that I could leave this one off the list. Arguably the most important development in Birmingham in decades, the multi Billion Pound project will see a central hub dominating Curzon Street. The area pictured above has already started to change and will provide the vital link between the new HS2 station and the heart of the City Centre. This one will be huge and with phase two expected to be completed around 2032 - you can expect this one be around for a while! 

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6) Bradford Street and the view back to the city

Bradford Street provides one of the main links into the city, arriving just behind the Outdoor Markets. Major developments have already started popping up along the sides of the road and with a huge area (bottom right) earmarked for further projects, it won't be long before the view back to the city has changed forever. 

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7) - The whole of Digbeth

And whilst we're in the area, it's probably worth noting that with the arrival of HS2 and the on-going 'land grab', it's not hard to imagine that much of the historic area will fall under development. I can only hope that at least some of the old buildings and light industry are preserved to ensure that there is some nod to the past and the important part that Digbeth has played as an industrial and creative hub for the city. 

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8) The Iron Man

Another statue has grown legs and moved on (he genuinely has feet too!). Antony Gormley's famous statue has been moved to make way for the new Metro route and will be put into storage and cleaned up by Birmingham's Museum's Trust. The statue, with it's iconic rusty metal work will pop up somewhere new in the city, but for now at least, this is another view we will not see again in our city.

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9) Victoria Square

Victoria Square has seen many changes over the decades. If you search for the 'old' pictures of Birmingham, it has been transformed from a grassy, park-like spot to a very 'urban' square that wouldn't look out of place in any major European City. Whether it's the brutal bulldozing of the old Library, the new Metro that will skirt around the edges of the Square or the filling in of the Floozy's fountain, Victoria Square is constantly evolving. 

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10) The view form the old Natwest Tower

OK, so the view itself might not change much but with the demolition of the old Natwest Tower on Colmore Row, the skyline of the area will be changed forever. The new development of '103 Colmore Row' will see a new, glass-clad 26 storey tower replace John Madin's iconic structure. The new tower will undoubtedly be impressive, but the views from the top will be the real gem! 

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11) The Wholesale Markets

Another icon of Birmingham will soon be cast to the history books with the demolition of the Wholesale Markets. The history of the markets can be tracked back over 800 years and it's most recent incarnation opened in 1974. The traders will now be relocated and the buildings demolished to make way for a substantial new development comprising of commercial and residential buildings and huge new park areas.

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12) The City Skyline

With all of these changes, one thing that will definitely never stay the same is the city skyline! With many other new developments popping up around the city, Birmingham will continue to grow and change for many years to come! 

And finally...

I am not a historian, nor am I an expert on regenaration or city plannig. However, I do like to think my images go some way towards documenting our changing city. Even though it will not be to everyione's liking, it is impressive to see the money being spent in our city which can only have a positive impact. Birmingham is a very special place and I think more people are starting to realise this. We may have lost some special views and iconic buildings, but it will certainly be exciting to look back on these images in years to come and see just how much Birmingham has changed! 

London - Photography in the Capital

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You know the week between Christmas and New Year, the one where every day feels like a Sunday and they all may as well be because you have no idea what day it actually is! Well, every year I use that time to catch up on work, personal projects & the dreaded Tax Return! However, this year, I promised myself a day to myself, where I would go and take pictures just for the sheer enjoyment of it.  

I wanted to get out of Birmingham. 2017 had been great for me but I started to feel like I had walked every square inch of my favourite city and wanted to get out to somewhere not so familiar. So I picked a day, booked a 5.15am train (yes, that's AM!) and with absolutely no plan, other than to take pictures/shoot video, I set off to the capital. 

I know London well enough so had already decided to stay pretty central, maybe head over to Canary Wharf but basically, 'be a bit of a tourist'. When I got there, I was blessed with a great sunrise and pretty much didn't see a cloud in the sky all day, so I was already onto a winner. I strolled around for a few hours, hopping on & off the underground and surfacing in different spots, taking pictures and then heading back below ground.

As for London, I have always loved the place and very similar to Birmingham, I can't believe the rate of change down there. It was almost eerie how quiet it was in the morning, but it didn't take long to wake up! It was also nice just to be a bit of a tourist, and not be affraid to shoot the landmarks. However, I would strongly advise any visitors to go to the top of Monument, if you can handle the huge spiral staircase, the views are incredibly rewarding! 

It was really enjoyable to shoot new scenes, explore new streets (that aren't New Street! Brummie jokes!) and shoot without any emphasis on what 'style' or 'content' I thought people would want to see. I was just doing it for the love of taking pictures. Oh, and also shooting video whilst I had the chance because, you know, that's something I do now as well. 

Whilst we're on the subject and for all you photographers out there, pretty much everything you see, photos and video, were all shot on the incredible little Sony RX100V, I rarely took the 'big camera' out of my bag and in many ways, wish I had only taken the little Sony. I absolutely love the images and footage I got, the slow-mo from the Sony is awesome and I love some of the images. In fact, the image shot through a window in Soho of the guy drinking is possibly one of my favourite images I have ever shot! 

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All-in-all, it was a hugely enjoyable day and I loved looking back through the video and putting together the short film. I think I will be doing more of this kind of thing in 2018 and strongly suggest to everyone that you take the occasional day out for yourself, to do something that you enjoy, you've earnt it! 

Interested in Buying any of these images as prints? CLICK HERE or Contact Me.

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:

GIVEAWAY: Win two A3 Framed Prints!!!

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I still can't quite believe it's Christmas already, it certainly sneaks up on you! As this time of year is all about giving, I decided it was time for another giveaway! I regularly try to let everyone know that I really appreciate all the support I get, but nothing says 'thank you' quite like giving away some free stuff, so I'm giving away two A3 framed prints! 

The two images featured are from our recent bout of snow and offer views of Colmore Row and Temple Row looking particularly Wintery! So what do you have to do to win? Find out below...

HOW TO ENTER:

Entering couldn't be simpler, head to my Facebook page, find the post about the giveaway and either 'Like', share, comment or tag a friend (or all of those!). It's really that simple! A winner will be chosen at 6.00pm on Christmas Eve! Follow me on Facebook - CLICK HERE

PICKING WINNERS & COLLECTING PRIZES:

The winner will be picked at random using WooBox or a similar app. The winner will be contacted within 48 hours and arrangements made for the winner to collect the prize (it will be in Birmingham City Centre so please make sure you will be able to collect - though I will, where possible, help with delivery if it is easier, though there may be a cost).

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

 - The competition is open to anyone via my Facebook page. 

 - Each individual may enter once with a  'like, comment, tag or share'. Multiples, i.e. a 'like, comment and a share' by one individual will still only be classed as one entry. 

 - The prize is not open for exchange or exchange for monetary value. 

 - The competition will close at exactly 6.00pm on Christmas Eve, 2017. The winner will be chosen at random and will be notified within 48 hours of the competition closing.

 - Delivery - Where possible, I will try to assist with getting the print to the winner. However, I accept no responsibility for the cost or condition of the framed prints being delivered. Where possible, I can arrange to meet individuals in Birmingham City Centre to hand deliver the prints. For national & international shippings, delivery will be arranged by the recipient at their own cost. I am happy to provided reasonable packaging for the item but any further costs will be accepted by the winner. 

 - The competition is in no way endorsed or run in conjunction with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Youtube. the competition may be suspended or terminated without notice at the discretion of Ross Jukes Photography and no alternatives offered.

 - The competition is for the prize documented and no alternative or cash alternative will be offered. 

 - By entering the competition, you are automatically deemed to accept these terms & conditions.

FINALLY...

Thank you once again for all of your support, I hope you have an amazing Christmas and good luck!

VIDEO: Birmingham - The City Under Snow

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It has been a crazy few days here in Birmingham with a deluge of snow and cold weather gripping the city. For us photographers, the wintery weather has been a real treat, making for some great images!

With rain forecast and temperatures finally due to rise (a little!) the snow should finally be on it's way. For many, in particular, the emergency services, this news is very welcome. However, I thought I would run out and grab some video before it goes! 

I only had a couple of hours to spare so I headed to Edgbaston Reservoir with the hope of a nice sunrise, and I wasn't disappointed! The reservoir looked great, lined by snow-covered trees. Best of all, due to it being around minus five (that's what my phone said at least!) I had the place practically to myself, well apart from the wildlife!

After exhausting every shot of the reservoir possible, I jumped on a bus and headed to the City Centre. Thankfully, many of the main roads/paths were now clearing making moving around a little easier. However, there was still enough snow & ice around to keep you on your toes (or your back if you're not careful!).

The snow has been fun but like many, I'm looking forward to it melting so we can get back to some kind of normality! Though judging by all of the great images I have seen on social media, it may feel a little boring without it! See the full video below and don't forget to click the link to YouTube and hit Subscribe to see more videos from me! Stay safe & warm ;) 

Important Christmas Information

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Does anyone else feel like the years are getting shorter? Christmas is once again upon us and that means the inevitable rush to get everything finished off and sorted so that we can finally calm down and enjoy this festive time of year!

Last day for Print orders:

If you are considering buying a print, then you don’t have long to place an order! The last day for placing a print order to ensure delivery before Christmas is Sunday 10th December 2017 - Any orders placed after that may not be ready in time to be delivered before the big day.

Can’t see what you’re after?

As always, any of my images can be made available for print so if you can’t see an image you are after on my shop page, don’t despair! Just contact me and I will be happy to make alternative arrangements for you!

How about 2018 calendars, Ross?

Well, I had planned to do a calendar this year and had even started mocking up images etc. However, life did that nasty thing of getting in the way and unfortunately, finding somewhere to live and going through the subsequent move meant that I did not get the calendar finished in time! So, I am afraid there will not be a calendar in 2018. I promise I will start prepping 2019’s calendar from January 1st!

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Alternative gift ideas:

Please also be aware that I also offer a range of 1-2-1 tutorials and also do a gift voucher, so if you are looking for alternative gift ideas to prints, there are some other options! If you would like to use one of my images for an alternative use, such as printed on a mug or maybe a cushion (if the mood takes you!) then contact me and I can work something out!

I have also teamed up with the good guys from the Culture Card to bring you a very exclusive offer, which you can find more details about HERE

One last thing…

I will do a proper ‘end of year’ post but I would just like to say a massive ‘thank you’ for all of your support. It keeps me going and it goes without saying, it is much appreciated! Have a great Christmas!

The end of an era...

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St Paul's Square is, for me at least, one of the most beautiful parts of Birmingham and I have been very fortunate to call it home! However, this weekend that all came to an end as Laura (my girlfriend) and I moved out. We haven't gone far, less than a five-minute walk, but for me, it may as well be a hundred miles away. 

Six years ago (almost to the day) Laura and I got the keys to our first home together a little less than a year after meeting. As soon as the apartment came on the market, we snapped it up and have been enjoying the views over St Paul's Square ever since.  The place was almost perfect for us. However, it wasn't ours and we wanted somewhere of our own. 

So why is all of this important? Well, for the last few days I've felt really down about the move and the more I started thinking about it, the more I understood why. We had been through so much there, good and bad. We had made a home for ourselves and it was the impetus for me to get a new job and certainly made me take my finances more seriously! It was like a security blanket for me after losing my Mom and is possibly the only place that has ever felt like 'home' since leaving my childhood home. 

Most importantly though, it was one of the main reasons I ever picked up a camera! Many people probably know by now that I started out a little over four years ago as a car photographer. Yet it was my 'practice' shots of Birmingham that really got me motivated to push my photography further. Many of my first images were of St Paul's and are still some of my most popular. 

So needless to say, I am going to miss the old place. I am going to miss the views and waking up in the morning, looking out of the bedroom to see 'what the sky is doing' and deciding whether to go out and take pictures! However, the new place may not have the same views or the character, but it sees us move deeper into the heart of Jewellery Quarter and is undoubtedly a great move for us and one we are very fortunate to be doing! Obviously, I will still be taking pictures of St Paul's Square, but it will always have a certain special place in my heart... Here are just a few of my favourite images... 

Random Rally fun and a little-known fact about me...

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Earlier this week I got the chance to go to the DayInsure Welsh Rally preview day. As many of you will know, I am also an automotive photographer - you can see more HERE - so I often get invited to this kind of things. However, this one was particularly special as I always wanted to be a Rally Driver, but never could because my eyesight isn't good enough! In fact, I don't actually drive for that reason (I know, I know - car photographer that can't drive, what a joker!). 

However, there was also another good reason why this was special to me, as I got to meet a childhood hero, Nicky Grist, who had played co-pilot to some of my all-time rally heroes (and incidentally, nearly ran me over some twenty years prior at the RAC Welsh Rally with a certain Mr Juha Kankkunen!). All-in-all, it was a great day out and I would love to go back for the actual rally itself, but here is a little highlights video of my day....

Read all about the day at Dayinsure Welsh Rally