Manchester... once more.... / by Neil Alexander

View over Manchester with the Cathedral in the foreground (Click for larger)

Having found my feet again after my little jaunt to Portugal last week (more images here), I've been going back through my images of Manchester that I'd shot so far this year after a request from a client for a particular image. It turns out that I have over 1500 frames still waiting to be edited! I knew there were a few, but I hadn't realised that there were that many.....
I've been doing quite a lot of work lately for interior designers of various sorts and my images of Manchester have been quite in demand, which is nice. With that in mind, I'll be focusing on my "home turf" for the next couple of weeks to try and rack up some fresh images - why schlep overseas when you can work in your own back yard eh?
So to today's images; both of these were taken late July early one Saturday morning. Early weekend mornings can be a good time to shoot in cities. There are normally not too many people about and you can get an "empty" feel to the city if that's the vibe you are going for. You do need to be wary of the stragglers from the previous nights revelry though - on more than one occasion I've had to make a hasty retreat from a cool location and miss a great image to avoid confrontations with half cut loudmouth youfs. Tend not to get that so much on weekday mornings..... I've found that standing my ground and trying to ignore them tends not to work too well and they'll come and mither me, or worse, anyway. So a sharp exit is often the best tactic. Fortunately the nights are starting to get longer and dawn is that little bit later each weekend, meaning there are fewer and fewer stragglers around at dawn. In Manchester in June, sunrise can be as early as 4:30 - around the time that a lot of the clubs are chucking out, which can make life very awkward indeed.
Both of these images are made from shooting 5 different frames at different shutter speeds and merging them in Photomatix Pro to produce High Dynamic Range images. I've been trying to get a good image of the view down to Shudehill station for some time, but with one of the new yellow trams in the frame and the scene devoid of people - trickier than it sounds and to date I still haven't managed to get it nailed. As for the top image; I really like this image apart from one thing.... the massive Sky advert with the Barcelona player! I'd seen this scene a few months back and they had a similar Sky advertisement but with Paul Scholes which would have made far better sense given the context but alas the light had been dreadfully grey. I guess that's not going to happen again! Maybe they'll replace him with Rooney or Ashley Young over the next few weeks.......

Looking down High Street Manchester towards Shudehill bus and Metrolink station with the CIS Tower in the background (Click for larger)