Friday 6 March 2015

A winters evening at Ribblehead

An update from a few weeks ago, an afternoon off, and a mass family trip out to Ribblehead to see/photograph a steam excursion coming over the Settle-Carlisle railway.  Lovely weather for a feb afternoon too, and a pleasant walk which the kids enjoyed. 

With Ingleborough in the background, a northbound passenger train passes slowly by...

...with the Cumbrian Winter Mountain Express coming the other way.

A little annoying; the D90 continues to prove it cannot cope with moving subjects in low light conditions, and also the loco was approaching from the less-dramatic direction.

Much better backdrop for trains coming from the south.  Empty coal freight heading towards Scotland.
The sun setting between the arches of the viaduct.

An absolutely beautiful sunset over the mountains.
Pen-y-Ghent catching the fading sun.

Final shot of the day, as the sunset backlights the trees in the car park in Horton.


Thursday 5 March 2015

KWVR Feb steam gala

Last weekend was the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Steam Gala.  As usual, it managed to coincide with my (Ben) going back to work, but luckily the railway has trains on the Fridays of their galas so there was some opportunity there for photography.  One difference of going on these events now we're fostering is that on the one hand there are less opportunities for standing around in a field for an hour waiting to get the 'perfect' line side shot (with an impatient three year old in tow), but on the other hand it means opportunities to properly ride the trains and get some different shots.  In any case, given the increasing number of line side photographers in recent years to have to compete with, maybe its no bad thing, and at least riding on the trains helps financially support the line.
So the Friday began with an attempt at a line side shot on the walk from the house to the station.  As I mentioned above, there seems to be a lot more line side photographers around than there used to be, and my usual spot, in the scrubby, semi-abandoned country park at the end of our estate was firmly staked out when we got there.  A little surprising given the locale, but maybe there are more railway photographers on our estate than I'd previously realised... or maybe, like me, they only dare go out taking train photos on weekday mornings when the roaming gangs of teenagers who rule our estate are at school.  In any case, I ended up at the bottom of our road, and a location which would be quite nice if only Skipton Properties would finish the building work they started four years ago then lost interest in...
Being as this was another 'home fleet' gala, it meant extensive use of the Coal Tank, which is owned by the National Trust, and looked after by the Bahamas Locomotive Society and kept on the railway as its 'base'.  As an employee of the Trust I rather like this loco anyway, though I do wish the NT would make a bit more of it, at least publicise it a bit.  Nicely the Vintage Carriages Trust had some of their stock in use with it for the day, meaning a nice opportunity to ride in something other than a 1950's MK1 coach...
The train we caught was hauled by the newly-restored Standard 4MT.  The world and his dog was out to photograph this loco, but I managed to get a few shots at Oxenhope, going for the usual dramatic low angle.  Not quite the shot I wanted, but then there were about fifty people on this end of the platform crowding round the loco.
A quick cup of tea at Oxenhope whilst we waited for the vintage train to come back.
Back on the train to Haworth, a quick journey but in style, in an ex-Metropolitan Railway compartment coach.  Very comfortable, and with a slight air of being in an episode of Poirot.
After lunch at "The Fleece" in Haworth, we got back on a train to Oxenhope for a round trip to Oxenhope then back to Ingrow (we could have stayed on the trains all day were it not for the need to get back for the school run).
Last time we did the gala, I spent a while trying to do shots in the tunnels, and generally there were too many photographers window-hanging this year to get space, but on the last train back home we were happily near to a window, so I had a go at Mytholmes.
The 4F and the US Army S160 loco, seen from inside the tunnel.
More window hanging for the last train of the day at Damems loop, and the 'Spam Can' "Wells" waiting to go to Oxenhope.  I'm yet to get a shot of this loco that I'm really happy with, but maybe this summer I'll manage one.

The next day I was at work, but happily the railway was running the newly restored 4MT on a demonstration goods/parcels train, which was running ridiculously early in the morning.  Luckily it was about half an hour before my shift was due to start, meaning not only could I pop down the road and photograph it, but better still, there was no other photographers to compete with at this time of the day.  Shame about the overcast sky though.

On the way home from work, a quick attempt in the failing light to get a shot of the Spam Can, but the light was too poor for a good shot with the D90, so I tried a zoom-abstract, without much success.


Sunday, and at work again, but once more just before the shift I was able to nip down the road, this time just over the river from the last shot.  Taken from the observation platform built at the end of the 'footpath to nowhere' near Damems station, amidst the vandalised picnic area.  Looks nicer in the photos than it does in reality, and I'm rather pleased with the shot.  Then a race off to work. 
So that was that.  Not too bad, and more photos than I was expecting to get.  The growing problem of the last few years, that even the less pretty line side locations are being staked out by photographers, was in evidence again... not that it should matter too much, but I do send photos off to the magazines, even though most seem to pay very little attention to the KWVR in general, and there seems to be a clique of three or four photographers who regularly get their shots of the line in print, so its doubtful and of my pictures will end up in the mags with so many other snappers around.  A nice day riding the trains though, even if it was just the home fleet of locomotives again, and I'm looking forward to better weather and less bare trees as settings for future photographs.