Photography studio, gallery and training complex

There’s a 4am?

Many many moons ago I blogged about the (now international) phenomenon – The 4am Project – the brainchild of the mightily astute and creatively canny Karen Strunks. To cut an old story short, Karen’s nocturnal photographic expeditions have inspired individuals, and groups of individuals from all over the world, from Brum to Bangladesh, to periodically push aside the duvet, take a hit of espresso and head off into the night with camera and tripod.

The Custard Factory at just after 4am. In the rain.

The Custard Factory at just after 4am. In the rain.

Karen originally started the project in Birmingham and we were lucky to (at last) have her to speak to our two clubs (THE CLUB and f2) this month. I knew that Karen would be shooting in Nottingham so in order to represent Birmingham in our own way, I decided to invite members of THE CLUB and f2 to participate in the event scheduled for the wee small hours of Sunday 25th November. I also (fearing a poor turnout and worse weather) decided to also make this an official Instameet for the Birmingham Instagram Group for which I am co-administrator. As far as I know this is the first time that an Instameet has been combined with the 4am Project, officially anyway.

So as I sat in my car at 3:45am last Sunday, wrapped up like a… wrapped-up thing, watching the torrential freezing rain bouncing off the windscreen I admit to having wondered if this was the wisest thing I’ve ever done. But reluctantly I climbed out of the car, cradling my camera, tripod and iphone and by the time I’d reached the meeting place at the Custard Factory I was already pretty well soaked through. I waited as one, then another, equally soaked, equally crazy, tripod-wielding yeti scuttled out of the shadows. In all, from 2 clubs plus the combined might of the West Midlands Instagram-using community, and despite a plethora of “Yeah, count me in!” and “Sounds like fun – I’m there!” messages recieved, the final number of brave expeditionaries amounted to… five. Yes, FIVE. Under the circumstances, this was actually a reasonable turnout – or so I kept telling myself.

Amother bit of the Custard Factory just after 4am. Also in the rain.

Amother bit of the Custard Factory just after 4am. Also in the rain.

After loitering around the Custard Factory for a while, fending off the attention of various drunks, club-leavers and security guards, we headed up Digbeth High Street towards the iconic Selfridges building. Looking like survivors from the rain-forest leg of the Shackleton expedition, we somehow struggled forth into the horizontal rain. Walking the other way, were hordes of t-shirt-wearing club-goers apparently oblivious to the somewhat inclement conditions.

Before long it was 5am and time to put the cameras away until a more civilised photographic assignment. But it was actually great fun! Many thanks to Jonathan, Geoff, Andrew, and Ken for being my partners in crime.

The images here are just the iphone images. I’ll post the DSLR images when they’re edited and all of them will go onto the 4am Project’s Flickr group. Read more about the 4am Project at

Would I do it again? DEFINITELY.

Yep, still raining.

Yep, still raining.




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