Birmingham Anti-Cuts Protest March – Saturday 26th February 2011

ND – Hello 🙂

On Saturday 26th February…
…In Birmingham City Centre, we witnessed another Anti-Cuts Protest March against the government and local Birmingham City Council, the largest council in the UK.

I previously covered an earlier rally (Here) that took place in October 2010 during the Conservative Party Conference here in the city centre. That march reportedly numbered about 6000-7000 people, probably ten times the size of this latest gathering on a wet February afternoon.

The crowd gathered in St Philips Square for 12 noon, heard several speeches, and then marched for about thirty minutes around the city centre, peacefully protesting, banners waving, to reconvene back at St Philips Square for the final speeches.

Mrs ND and I, along with many other photographers, were there for the whole event, and here are some of the pictures that I took. All pictures were shot with a Nikon D700 and the Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR AF-S, and post-processed in Apple’s Aperture 3 on an iMac. My resolve to look more seriously at purchasing a Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 VRII for such occasions has grown!

Here are some of my images:

‘Fight the Cuts’

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 140mm, Exposure 1/320 @ F4.8, ISO 400, This is what the march was about - Normal people, Simple message.


Masked

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 250mm, Exposure 1/250 @ F5.6, ISO 400, The usual 'Masked Bandits' were evident, however they were massively outnumbered by those who had come in peace, and apart from some minor swearing and suspect rhetoric early on, were subsequently invisible and invalid. Thankfully.


Hold Up

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 95mm, Exposure 1/320 @ F6.3, ISO 400. The march unapologetically crossed Corporation Street during a busy Saturday lunchtime. The traffic was held up completely for probably a quarter of an hour.


Protest Outside Barclay’s Bank

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 70mm, Exposure 1/40 @ F20, ISO 400, The march stopped at each of all the major high street banks that it passed, shouting and taunting those inside. There was a noticeable police presence at this first bank, but it tailed off pretty quickly as the marchers reached the string of banks on New Street. There were many shots that I was fighting with getting enough Depth of Field and also keeping the shutter speed up to catch the rapidly moving situation. The Heavy F2.8 lens that I would like would not have solved that, but as I don't do this sort of photography every day I wasn't thinking on my feet fast enough to push the ISO up to mitigate my sometimes sluggish shutter. Of course, if I had been a pro photographer then I would have been carrying two cameras, one with that F2.8 monster, and the other with a nice wide-angle zoom like the Nikkor 14-24. Both cameras would have been preset to the types of photography I would have grabbed them for relative to those lenses.


Barclays Protester BW

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 70mm, Exposure 1/30 @ F20, ISO 400, I didn't need to be as wide as F20, and could easily have pushed the ISO up to 640 or 800, but things were happening quickly and I just didn't have time to re-jig the camera settings to ensure the shutter speed was high enough. This photo is a bit more blurry than this small JPG admits.


Two Faces of Capitalism 1

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 200mm, Exposure 1/30 @ F20, ISO 400, This is a Nikon D700 operating in broad (though overcast) daylight. Why didn't I just set it to ISO 800 to give me a faster shutter speed to cope with these sorts of images? Somehow I think I'll have more opportunity this year to get it right!


Leader Marching 1

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 170mm, Exposure 1/320 @ F5, ISO 640, I struggled to isolate this guy from some of the distractingly bright jackets around him in this tight crowd. I must admit it was fun running backwards, sideways up New Street, chasing the marchers, trying not to lose Mrs ND who was doing the same thing around me, trying to capture the shots that I wanted. It was a very dynamic, but safe, situation.


Community and Youth Workers

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 70mm, Exposure 1/320 @ F9, ISO 640, I don't remember boosting the ISO but it happened and I guess the resultant faster shutter speeds helped freeze moments a bit more successfully.


Coloured Banners

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 185mm, Exposure 1/400 @ F8, ISO 640, Uphill on the return leg to St Philips Square.


Banners

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 140mm, Exposure 1/400 @ F9, ISO 640


Two Faces of Capitalism 2 – Bentley with Parking Ticket

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 70mm, Exposure 1/400 @ F9, ISO 640, How much did I luck-out with this shot? I couldn't have set it up better 🙂 The marchers, chanting slogans and waving banners to persuade that the cuts should not happen, jobs should be saved and the ordinary people are paying for the fat-cats' mistakes, walked right past a £100,000+ Bentley parked illegally and booked with a parking ticket that the owner will no doubt brush off without caring. I did notice the Bentley got a lot of envious looks from many marchers.


Two Faces of Capitalism 3 BW

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 70mm, Exposure 1/400 @ F8, ISO 640


Two Faces of Capitalism 4

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 82mm, Exposure 1/80 @ F20, ISO 640, I've cropped the number plate out of these images to avoid the owner embarrassment.


Two Faces of Capitalism 5

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 102mm, Exposure 1/60 @ F20, ISO 640


Final Speeches 1 BW

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 300mm, Exposure 1/400 @ F5.6, ISO 640, I might want that big Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 lens, but the extra reach of this 70-300mm VR is sometimes the better tool in broad daylight when you can't reduce the distance to your subject as you're already standing on the nearest park bench to get a view over the crowd.


Final Speeches 2

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 300mm, Exposure 1/400 @ F5.6, ISO 640


Laughing at Cameron

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 300mm, Exposure 1/400 @ F8, ISO 640, This is a fun shot with a serious underlying point!

I want to end on John…
…John is a great character and we spoke for about 10-15 minutes. He’s been around the block a few times, and was a fun and very interesting guy to chat to. In amongst the many things of interest he had to say he did point out that the protesters and those others that they protested for had it lucky, because there was a time, not that many decades ago, when there was no welfare state to fall back on, where it was harder to get jobs just as a general course of life, that we individually and collectively have never been so well off on the whole. Some people struggle in sheltered housing with provided amenities at what we may consider a base level for humane living today, but people have lived much worse than this for sizeable chunks of the previous century let alone before.

I would like to add to that as well that on this day of peaceful protest in an otherwise rich democracy, the news was reporting the death total during the protests in Libya had passed 1000.

I think we are very lucky really.

John

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 70mm, Exposure 1/250 @ F6.3, ISO 400, This was just a quick snap that I quickly flipped the flash out for - clearly evidenced by the sparkle in his glasses.

Have fun,
ND

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(c) Nakedigit 2011

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About nakedigit

I have legs and a camera. I also occasionally use a passport. The camera with my brightest lenses can almost (almost) see in the dark. So the only thing stopping me from putting it all together regardless of where and when i am is, well, me really! However, when i don't completely muck it up the results may end up here on this blog and also my Flickr page. I now Twitter and a website is coming... ND August 2010
This entry was posted in Birmingham, Birmingham UK, Event, Faces, Nakedigit, Nikon, People, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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