Photography experts pick their favourite locations for stunning sunsets and sunrises in Birmingham
Ok, so today (20 June) is the Summer Solstice, AKA the longest day of the year. From here on in the dark nights are drawing in (approx 6 seconds less each day!) – Happy summer everyone!
With this in mind we have put together a guide of where you can see some dramatic brumsets and brumrises (I stole this) in our fair city. We also asked local photography gurus Tim Cornbill and Verity Milligan to recommend some of their favourite locations for a great photo (interspersed with our laymen choices) - you’ll see some of the fantastic results in their work below.
Unless you are a keen photographer / whimsical you're probably going to find it a struggle to get up for sunrise - at this time of year it pops up at approx 4.44am! Having said that the majesty of a beautiful sunset is well worth the initial pain - here are our picks…
Eastside City Park
(Obviously) – The clues in the name people – East is where the sun rises. This city centre park is a good choice to set up camp for a great sunrise photo – the industrial backdrop of Digbeth will add some gravitas to your image. Verity has taken this sunrise shot looking over Digbeth…
This shot is from the top of Moat Lane car park. It’s a little difficult to get the same shot these days as the vantage point is obscured by fencing, but if you can shoot through the railings, especially at dawn, the ‘Hundred Thousands Welcomes’ sign adds some great foreground to the sprawling expense of Digbeth behind. - Verity Milligan
Tim recommends this location as it has a fantastic panoramic view of the Birmingham skyline.
Bullring, looking past St Martin’s and Selfridges
Both Tim and Verity have said that this location offers a great vantage point for a sunrise. The backdrop of St Martin’s church makes for an ideal photo. You can also get lovely effects off Selfridges spun aluminium discs, as seen in Verity’s picture here.
Probably one of Brum’s most iconic buildings, the architecture is unmistakable and contrasts with the classical feel of St Martin’s in the Bullring. During the deep mid-winter, the sun rises between the two (at a fairly reasonable hour as well), illuminating both. This shot was taken on a foggy morning as the weather lifted and the sun broke through. - Verity Milligan
Grand Central Car Park
Another of Mr Cornbill’s recommendations, he pointed out that many of the city centre car parks are great locations for photographers – they’re also convenient for parking.
At Visit Birmingham HQ, dusk is one of our favourite parts of the day – and Birmingham looks especially splendid at this time. In the photography & film industries dusk is known as the magic hour, as it looks so gosh darn beautiful (see any Terrence Malick film for examples of this in practice).
(Obviously) – The clues in the name people – West is where the sun sets.
Park Regis’ Rofuto Bar and Cocktail Lounge
Luckily for us, the new Park Regis Hotel with its 16th floor panoramic bar (the highest in the city) has recently been constructed in Westside. As well as fine food & drink you can get some great views of sunsets.
N.B the loo is also great for a (pan) oramic view of the city – a (bath) room with a view if you will. If you take a moment to look left, you'll see one I took.
The Library of Birmingham
The Library’s outdoor terrace is a fantastic location to see the sun drop behind Broad Street – unfortunately it closes at 7pm so unless you’re Spider-Man you’ll have trouble – Verity took this one...
The Library of Birmingham provides some excellent opportunities at sunset, provided you catch it at the right time of year. During those short winter days, it’s worth a trip up to the two gardens to catch the last cool rays of the day. Not only do you have the busyness of Centenary Square, but the architecture of the library also offers some marvellous opportunities. - Verity Milligan
Rotunda Staying cool
We were lucky enough to spend an evening once atop this iconic venue ( you can read about that here, if you so wish) and the views of both the sunset and sunrise were magnificent. Make sure you’re on the right side of the building or you will be cursing! As you can see by the wonk – this was not taken by our professionals.
Ok, here's a much better one taken by Verity....
Wow. This place. I appreciate that it’s a bit of a treat, and I’ve been lucky enough to appreciate the view from their penthouse more than once, but when you experience the city from this height, you never see it the same way again. The light drapes over the juxtaposing architecture of our fair city, and just for a moment you experience the urban landscape as a whole. - Verity Milligan
Birmingham Museum & Art gallery
Of course you can always catch a fantasic sunrise or sunset at any time of the day in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery - here is Oil Painting - Le Pont Boieldieu à Rouen, Soleil Couchant [The Pont Boieldieu at Sunset]
One of Tim’s recommendations - The sun sets right at the end of Newhall Street and lights up the entire location in a fantastic display of colour. It's such a great spot that Tim even hosted an event called #BrumHenge here with the sole purpose of catching the sunset.
Have we missed anywhere? Did we have the sun in our eyes? Probably! Post your suggestions and photos using #summerinbrum
To see some more of the fantastic work by our photography experts see here…
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