Monday 12 December 2016

Last railway pics of the year?

Little update from a couple of weeks ago.  Having assumed there would be no more railway photography this side of the New Year, because of rubbish weather and a lack of trains, the last Saturday of November dawned bright with sunshine and blue sky.  The Worth Valley were running their Santa Special train service, so me and the Eldest Child nipped out to get a quick snap or two.

Thanks to the dogs/dog shit/ scary hooded youths which populate this wood a lot of the time, I avoid the place after about 1 in the afternoon, but early in the morning it seemed rather nice, and was happily deserted.

The only annoyance was a lot of the frost had gone by the second train of the day, but the upshot was the sun was in the right place.

The main loco was my favourite from the Worth Valley fleet, the American S160-class "Big Jim" suitably bedecked in tinsel.

Normally I prefer a lower-angle shot here, but it involves wearing wellies and standing in the river, and it was carrying a bit of floodwater today so we avoided it.  The shot has been published online twice so far anyway though, so obviously a few people like the angle.

The rarely-used Class 25 diesel as tail-end Charlie. 

So a nice little  unexpected chance for some train shots there in a location which I haven't been down to for a while.  Probably no more train shots this side of January 2017 anyway, so it was nice to end on a sunny shot.

Saturday 10 December 2016

Chief Scout Award Presentations, Bradford City Hall

Another older shoot from the backlog, from mid November...  We're both Scout Leaders, and one of our regular gigs at this time of year is to shoot the Chief Scout Award Presentations.

These take place at the City Hall in Bradford, over two nights, with the Lord Mayor presenting the awards.

Obviously we cannot show the pics from the actual awards on here for privacy reasons, so lots of shots of the set-up phases instead in the beautiful council chamber.

City Hall is a pretty impressive venue for this sort of thing, and actually as a location it tends to turn up in lots of TV stuff (for example it was the High Court in London during the recent version of the Great Train Robbery.  On the second night we were there, they were filming an episode of Emmerdale in the building).

Lots of cabinets full of ceremonial silverware and similar.

Back in the room, lighting was a bit of an issue, because the new bulbs in the light fittings are ridiculously bright whilst the backgrounds are ridiculously dark, which confuses the hell out of the lighting sensors.  Luckily the new SLR manages to cope, but it took a lot of trial and error to get the flashguns on the right setting.

On these occasions we both end up taking the photographs, as they do presentations from both sides of the Mayor's seat.  At least it means there's lots to do with no sitting around when it gets going.

Both shoots went well- nice to be able to combine our voluntary scouting roles with our photography stuff.  Now just the vast process of editing and getting pics printed and mounted...

Thursday 8 December 2016

Birmingham, Hobby International, and Cake...

Right, now the Wonderful World of the Tax Self Assessment is done and dusted with, time to clear some of the backlog of posts to put up.

Back last month, we headed down to Birmingham and to the Hobbycraft and Cake International Show at the NEC.  We had a list of a few arty bits we needed to pick up, and the cake show is always worth a gander.

We knew from past experience the place gets rammed, so we were in early doors on a ludicrously busy intercity from Sandwell and Dudley.  Once we'd survived the stampede of determined-looking middle aged women charging like the Pamplona bull-run down the corridors, we got in to the hall.  No pictures from the art and design section because we were too busy bargain hunting.

But the cakes though, oh the cakes... With the usual mix of fasciantion at the quality, and terror at how easy it would be to knock some of these things over, we browsed the displays.

Steampunk horse- our kind of thing.

Brilliant flowers.

Xenomorph cake.

Not sure what was used for the water, glycerine perhaps.

How is this a cake?!  Gorgeous bit of colouring work, apparently done with an airbrush.

Lovely bit of mesh on this one...

Even more intricate here.

Leaving the crowded hall, by contrast the rest of the NEC looked like a set from 28 Days Later.

Back into Birmingham, after the niceness of the art and cake show, by contrast it was time for a reminder of why I (Ben) had moved away from the place...  First of all to the Grand Central Shopping Centre which has a rather large train set inconveniently located in the basement.  God, anybody would think it was a major transport interchange.

After being wonderfully patronised by the Sales Creature in a branch of a well-known camera shop, who seemed to be amazed that Amy was the Lesser-known Female Who Could Use A Machine and I was an Idiot Who Could Be Sold A Lens Which Was Ten Times More Than The One I Actually Wanted, Amy was equally patronised by a different Sales Creature in a branch of a well-known cosmetics shop.  Feeling somewhat depressed, we headed further into town. 

Mood perked up a little when we found something for a sculpture build in the excellent Ian Allen Book Shop down by New Street Station.

Quick pic of one of the slightly-unsettlingly pink public transport options, on the tramway extension in the centre.  My Little Midland Metro... 

Our mood was considerably improved by a trip to the Ikon Gallery for tea and cake, then home to the parents and The Childs, so overall the negatives of central Birmingham were outweighed by the snackage in the afternoon and the show in the morning.

Up next in the clearing of the backlog, a shoot at the City Hall in Bradford...