Say cheese

THE BIGGEST PHOTOGRAPH EVER TAKEN OF BIRMINGHAM

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Not our words, but the words of one of the finest philosophers of the modern era: Ferris Bueller. Maybe take five minutes to heed his wisdom, right now, because the biggest photograph ever taken of Birmingham's cityscape is live, here, and you might want to stop and look around.
The whopping image, known as a gigapixel photograph or "Deep Zoom" is a super high resolution panoramic of the city taken from the Staying Cool penthouse suites of the Rotunda. An interactive photo, you can sweep across the city's skyline almost 180 degrees and zoom into tiny details. It was commissioned by John Lewis in the build up to the launch of their new Brum store, which opens on September 24. 
The zooming capability is, like muffins, incredibly moreish and is achieved thanks to four rows of 33 separately-taken shots stitched together - that's (*gets calculator out*) 132 individual photos. You can peruse, up close, the aircraft warning lights atop the BT tower (pictured above) and the floodlights of Edgbaston Cricket Ground (pictured below).
Perhaps our favourite find, though, is a hot air balloon far in the distance over on the extreme left of the shot, that was completely invisible to the naked eye, but can be seen above the tree tops up to 15 miles from where the photographer was standing. 
To capture a shot of this resolution you need - besides one hell of a camera - good stable weather with low wind speeds. The photographer, panoramic specialist Will Pearson, didn't always have that: "It was a long wait. I arrived at the Rotunda in a storm that lasted into the night, but was lucky to have the perfect conditions at dawn."  You can even see people taking in the morning sunrise from atop the Cube.
Weather wasn't Will's only conundrum. The photo is conclusive proof of our long-held theory that seagulls are the idiots of the sky. "They were everywhere," said the snapper. "Seriously. You'll see them dotted all over the photo. At one point around 6am a flock of gulls came in like a rowdy bunch of hoodlums, completely ruining the shot.” 

Idiots. Every last one of them.  

NOSH & QUAFF:
TAKING BOOKINGS


Want to be among the first to try Aktar Islam's new city centre lobster house? Thought so. Nosh & Quaff is now taking online bookings, and when we checked, there was prime time availability from Monday, August 3 and throughout its first week of trading. And if lobster isn't your idea of just about the best time a person can have, you'll be wipe-your-brow relieved to hear that ribs, wings and a burger also feature on the opening ticket. Though note the deliberate selection of the phrasing "a burger" - the mains appear to include a conservative seven options. And with everything on our wish list in the £18+ category, added to a slightly stingy 90-minute table retention policy, it's probably the unbridled joy that Fiesta and Raja engender that has us keeping the faith.

OWLS TAKE THE CITY, CONSPICUOUSLY


There's no such thing as a coincidence and you're not imagining things. The Big Hoot, together with its brood of 89 individually designed owls and 122 owlets, has arrived, and from Soho House to Twycross Zoo, the region is going a little bit barmy for the variegated bunch. Apart from Temper's toe-ring clad G'owl'd owl, our pick so far is probably the JQ's Bejewelled Owl (pictured) and that has precisely nothing to do with the fact that we were eating a sandwich from the Eight Foot Grocer when we first eyed it. On display until September 27, find out where all the owls can be found with the assistance of the team's rather attractive trail map right here. And we're pretty confident there's an owl-based pub crawl in it. In fact, we're game if you are.
Venue: Praza, 94-96 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, B16 8LU praza.co.uk  Choice: Masaledar Samundari Khazana (£16.95) Chooser: Bash, Waiter

We need to talk about scallops. And great though they can be, we're not talking pan-fried with an array of aesthetically driven crumbs and smudges. As part of one of the city's most texture-filled curries, these meaty little beauties have been sautéed with coarsely chopped onions, garlic, coriander and a punch-tastic blend of punjabi spice. They've also been introduced to a king prawn or two, plenty of squid and the deft touch of head chef, Bishal Rasaily, who would sooner hang up his chef's whites than overcook his most precious of cargo (Praza uses the same fishmongers as Simpsons, don't you know). By the people behind Broad Street's pick, Pushkar, Praza boasts a grown-up menu, with grown-up cocktails. And though the decor oscillates somewhere between chintzy and airy, there's a marked charm to the welcome and to the service.

HAVE YOUR HOUSE
CLEANED FOR £1


By the very nature of the award-winning weekly email magazines that you read (you only read the one, right?) we can tell that you're a busy Brummie. As such, we've teamed up with online market place for cleaners, Hassle.com, to offer 200 of our readers a two-hour house clean for £1, so you can reclaim your free time and explore the city that smidgen more. Hassle allows you to find, book and pay for your cleaner’s time via its online platform - it's dead easy. They charge a flat rate of £10 per hour for cleaning, with the cleaners getting paid up to £8.50 per hour. To book, just click here and the discount code will be automatically added, then set up an account which takes about a minute. T&C apply

MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
SOUTHPAW


Jake Gyllenhaal has been going through a purple patch in recent years, and it may be climaxing with this performance. The film around him may be unsubtle at best and bludgeoning at worst, but Gyllenhaal’s commitment shines through – he’s bulked up almost beyond recognition, all the more impressive given his scrawny turn in last year’s Nightcrawler, and he genuinely convinces as a boxing champ who loses everything after the accidental shooting of his wife. A brace of strong supporting performances (even 50 Cent is good) and dynamic fighting sequences – for once, boxing actually looks like it hurts – save things, and it’s a pleasure seeing Gyllenhaal get the showcase he deserves.
  • If Thailand is a bit of a stretch this Saturday, hit up Digbeth, where you'll find a floating market to call your own as part of the Warwick Bar Summer Fête. Head to Fazeley Street from 12pm
  • Members of the rather splendid National Youth Orchestra will be appearing across the city on August 1, everywhere from Soho House to the Cathedral. Follow them for precise timings
  • This Sunday, get acquainted with five-courses of Carters' finest, adeptly matched with British beers selected by Connolly's. Kick-off is at 7pm and £65 will secure you both food and drink. More here
  • In advance of their Edinburgh Fringe run, comedic sketches, songs and monologues are coming to the Mac in the form of Good Kids, a show about Brum and growing up here. August 2
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"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it." 
- A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen
IMAGES: Simon Harper (Big Hoot)
I CHOOSE Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA

Copyright © 2015 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.


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