Sutton Park is one of my favourite places in Birmingham. Yesterday evening Ed and I went for a walk around the Bracebridge lakes. It’s my favourite part of the park because of the horses, and we got lucky because we saw them. If you want to see the Sutton Park ponies but find them a little bit illusive, the best time of day to go seems to be early evening, around 6pm or so. The Sutton Park horses keep to themselves in the woodland when it’s very busy, but tend to graze on the open heathland to the north of Little Bracebridge Pool when it’s quiet. If you arrive and can’t see them, scan the treeline across the heather – with your eyes not your feet – because sometimes they’ll be in twos and threes and are a little harder to spot. As with all of the posts I share about the Sutton Park ponies, it’s important for me to repeat the following: please don’t feed them, touch them, or stand too close to them.
Yesterday was the seventh Sunday of physical distancing restrictions, and we woke up to grey skies and 12C after a week of sunshine and warmth. Whereas Minou spent the whole day on Saturday asleep on the bench on the balcony, yesterday she curled up on an armchair indoors and refused to move. Rather than stay in and listen to de Pfeffel babble on and wave his hands like a mad man, Ed and I got in the car, put Spanish Love Songs’ Brave Faces Everyone record on to play, and drove down to the Lickey Hills for an evening walk. The contents of the speech had been leaked anyway, so there was nothing to be gained from watching it live.
Minou is such a sweet, kind, gentle cat. She puts up with all of my nonsense, and just accepts that life with a photographer and filmmaker involves lots of posing for photographs and light tests. I’m working on improving my off camera lighting at the moment, and since Ed is in school this week, I asked Minou to stand in and model for me.
I dug out my flash trigger the other day. After finding a new battery for it I convinced Ed to sit for some portraits so that I can improve my off camera flash technique. While I’m used to and comfortable with off camera lighting for filmmaking, off camera flash for photography is a different beast and I have found it quite intimidating in the past. It’s hard when you can’t see the light you’re shaping, and there’s a lot of trial and error. I decided to set up in our living room to take some portraits this afternoon, not thinking that I’d come away from the mini shoot with anything to show for it, but I surprised myself.