Tuesday 21 October 2014

Home Was... in Sheffield

Just a quick post to say that yesterday, the "Home is..." show came down.  It was a good experience for us, not just having an exhibition after a few years of only contributing to group events  or open calls, but also in having a big project to focus on again, with a deadline.
With the props and set back home, and a nice body of work built up to form the bulk of the series, we will be shortly commencing with Phase Two, with some more complex location shoots whilst Ben has some extra time-off over the winter.  A lot of the ideas and locations we scouted were unsuitable within the limited timescale before the exhibition, but we have the chance now, and the enthusiasm to keep shooting pics.
A big thanks then to Karen, Graham, and everyone else at Cupola Contemporary Art in Sheffield for giving us the chance to develop "Home is..." from the initial concept art, and to exhibit the resulting project.  And thanks of course for everyone else who assisted with Phase One, for modelling, for lending us props, for helping us on location, and for letting us use their country homes, railway stations, etc, for our shoots.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Keighley Abstract Landscapes

Going back a month to September, and a little set of pictures that we didn't get round to posting.  On the walk to work, I (Ben) thought I'd try for a quick snap of a KWVR train, at a location I discovered last year.  The light wasn't brilliant though, and confused the camera quite badly, and I didn't get the shot I wanted.
On the walk back though, I thought I'd make the most of the weird light, and take some abstract, long-exposure images, something I like to do anyway.  So in the alleyway alongside an old factory, I tried some zoom, long exposure shots, with some not too bad results.
The diesel was coming back, so I relocated to another spot a little further down-river, with a photogenic bit of old industry.  Again, weird lighting was mucking up the camera, and the shot of the train was uselessly blurred.
However, with the river low, it seemed a good opportunity to have a bit more of a mess around with zooming and exposure times...

...not to mention reflections and odd orientations.  I quite like messing around with abstract photographs when bored, and this passed ten minutes on the walk to work.  Something a little more focussed, thematically speaking, in the next post.






Monday 13 October 2014

The KWVR Autumn Steam Gala


The weekend just-gone provided the chance to spend a couple of days properly enjoying, and taking lots of photographs at, the Keighley and Worth Valley Steam Gala.  Well, with the railway literally at the end of the road, and with us having local resident discount, it seemed rude not to take advantage of it all.
Friday dawned bright, early, and fairly disastrously from a photography point of view.  Having done an improvised shoot the evening before, I went out on the Friday morning to catch the light-engine move of the Coal Tank 1054 (a lovely survivor from the 1800's, and owned by my current employers, the National Trust).  Having got into location, I suddenly realised that I had left the memory card for the camera plugged into the computer.  A quick dash home got the card, but by then I was out of position and the loco whizzed past before I had got back, but I did manage a slightly blurred shot, above, from right at the end of our road.
Catching the return from the post-apocalyptic, neglected location which is the Worth Valley Country Park, I was lucky to get my usual spot ahead of a few other photographers.  I don't know if its my imagination, but in recent years there have been many more photographers turning up on gala days, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find locations free of other photographers.
The D90 was definitely struggling with the lighting conditions, but I managed the above shot of 'our' loco, running with some very nice vintage coaches.
The 90 was still struggling when the next train passed, so I went for a deliberately arty pic.

A stop off at home for brekkie, and then me, Amy, and the youngest headed over the road to Ingrow station.  The first train to arrive was a shuttle service, headed by the Coal Tank again, being piloted by the very nice, but rarely used, tank loco "Nunlow".  This is such a rarely-used little engine that I always make the effort to photograph it on gala days, but I think the above might be my nicest shot yet of the engine.

Another shot with the autumn sun shining down on Ingrow station.

Onto the first, heavily loaded, service to Oxenhope, and I couldn't resist getting a few shots out of the window.  Travelling on the trains on a gala day is quite a novel experience for me; usually I just go line side as it seems a bit pointless riding by myself, but with Amy off work at the moment and with one of the childs in tow, it was nice to be able to experience the trains from on board.

A novel shot for me, from one of my favourite locations, Mytholmes Tunnel.  Usually I try and take a pic from line side showing trains erupting out of the tunnel, so its nice to get a shot from the inside.
As it would turn out, circumstances meant I wasn't near any of my 'usual' photography locations this weekend, the nearest I got being the field between Haworth and Oxenhope.  Surprisingly none of the other dozen or so photographers present chose to go this side of the line, being up on the hill on the other side.  I prefer the low angle, without the telegraph wires however.  Very happy to get a shot of the 4F double-heading with the recently restored "City of Wells", despite the sky looking so blue it appears photoshopped.
There was only one really late train scheduled, so with the kids in bed and Amy wisely deciding to stay in the warm indoors, I trekked back down the road at 9pm to get a shot.  However, the street lights were a bit too glaring, so taking my life in my hands I went into the Worth Valley Country Park without the aid of a torch, and set up next to the river, trying to keep as quiet as possible just in case any dodgy characters from my estate were lurking there.  The Worth Valley has a hell of a poaching problem too, so I was wary of attracting the attention of either armed men or the police who occasionally hunt them hereabouts.
"City of Wells" came storming through about 30mins late, but looking spectacular.  The above shot was what I had intended...
...but a quick pan got the more dramatic image.  I've been toying with an image like this for a while as a mini-project now the nights are drawing in, and these shots have convinced me to try a few more. 
Saturday provided an opportunity for more travel on the trains, but I thought I'd have a crack at photographing the early morning goods train.  I found a nice location, but again, the D90 just couldn't cope with a moving target in these lighting conditions.  Annoyingly, my currently-dead, 10 year old Cannon 350 has proved repeatedly the best at this sort of shot, so I may have to get it restored soon.
Most of the day was spent not taking photos, instead enjoying the experience and the atmosphere of riding the busy trains with most of the immediate family with us, but I did try for more tunnel-shots.
"City of Wells" again, in the loop at Damems.
A final tunnel-shot, in the Ingrow Tunnel near our house.
Our last train of the day was a beautiful vintage train of Victorian carriages hauled by Nunlow, giving the opportunity for a rainy, platform-level shot of Nunlow in Ingrow station.
Final shot of the day, on the walk home, and "Big Jim" storming through the remains of the old mill at Ingrow, so recently, and in somewhat half-finished fashion, demolished by Skipton Properties who seem in no hurry to finish the demolition work or clean-up.  Assuming they finish what they started, a lot of the locations near our house will disappear soon.
Final shot of the day on Sunday, when other family concerns quite rightly took precedence, but I had the youngest with me again on a walk back from the local shop and she insisted on seeing the trains, so a very lens-flarey shot of the WD rumbling out of Ingrow.
All in all, a nice few days photography, in beautiful weather.  The gala was well attended, and it was a pleasant change to actually ride the trains for a few days, and feel like we were supporting the railway.  I always feel slightly guilty just freeloading from the line side.  I also got to make more of the local photography angles near my house, rather than the usual haunts around Haworth.  My only regret was that the D90 for some reason is proving increasingly problematic at photographing moving targets, and I will have to go back to the Cannon 350 in future...

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Back to taking train pics

A little break from blogging (taking a breather after the exhibition), but something of a backlog of images to put up, so back to it...
After a while away from the subject, Amy has started taking train pictures again, and a pleasant little stroll a few weeks ago along the Worth Valley whilst they were running a limited service (whilst rebuilding a bridge near Oakworth), meaning a nice mix of steam and diesel trains every half hour or so.

Anyway, the pics are something of a taster, the Worth Valley Steam Gala is this weekend, so probably a bumper crop of images coming up from the event at some point next week.  Before then though, all being well, some updates on recent visits to Blackpool, York, and a couple of other locations for shoots...