Monday 30 April 2018

Blackhills by early evening

A few weeks ago we ended up out for the evening at Blackhills woods, near Bingley, for Scouts and ended up getting a few snaps as the sun set.

The lighting was interesting, though it was surprising how quickly the light faded.

Climbing tower in the distance, thought it looked suitably mysterious.

And finally a campfire once the sun had dipped below the horizon.

Saturday 28 April 2018

Llanberis Abstracts

Kicking off the pics from Wales, yet another trip to the Llanberis Slate Museum.  We were mainly there for a walk around the grounds, but we popped inside for a little look around.  We have (photographically speaking) done the place to death in recent years, but thought a little abstract photography of some of the exhibits might be worth trying.  Out with the phone camera to get nice and close in the pattern store...

The phone camera coped well (especially given the variable lighting), so we might return to do more of this sort of thing in the future...

Tuesday 3 April 2018


Final selection of pics from the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway steam gala, this one with some of the more experimental pics.

The dodgy alleyway (it has a ruder name in graffiti proudly sprayed on the bridge by the local teenage denizens) near Ingrow, somewhere I wouldn't usually venture into except first thing on a weekday, like this, and even then warily.

This is a shot I've been wanting to do for a while- moody, black and white, with a slightly blurred train passing by.  Vintage stock above...

...and more modern.

"Oliver Cromwell" passing by.

Speaking of moody black and white shots, on the Friday afternoon I took the opportunity of the goods train being stopped on the approach to Keighley to get some equally moody shots (deliberately quite heavily exposed and dark).  7F on one end...

...and 85 on the other.

Finally, playing around with long-exposures in the tunnels whilst we were on the trains.  Ingrow tunnel for this shot...

...and Mytholmes for these.  One day I will perhaps nail this shot, but I do like how the above one has come out.


More from the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Gala...

Saturday dawned wet, miserable, and thanks to the 10 miles of walking during Friday on what would turn out to be a far-less healthy chest than I'd been led to believe (minor NHS cock-up with the results of a scan, hey-ho) I slept through the first couple of trains.  Some sort of engineering emergency had occurred anyway, so the timetable was all over the place in any case.  Heading to one of my usual spots saw the 7F arrive, but in my haste to get to the location and snap a shot, the lens ended up covered in somewhat-inconveniently located rain drops...

I managed one half-decent grey scale shot in such dull lighting, before giving up and heading home.  Hopefully Sunday would provide better opportunities...

Sunday dawned bright and better, with "Oliver Cromwell" pictured at my favourite bridge.

At Ingrow Yard, the Coal Tank was getting ready (in atmospheric fashion) to work down to Keighley.

Whilst waiting for "Cromwell" with our passenger service, 85 passed-by with a goods train.

One round drip with "Cromwell" later, myself and Eldest Child hopped off to get some pics at Keighley.

The 4F was sat in the platform with the goods train, so we got some pics.

"Cromwell" working hard to lift a heavy train out of Keighley- the Pullmans on the front for Mothers Day, but we decided to be common, not pay the upgrade for 1st class and stay in the regular end of the train drinking beer instead of fizz.

Finally, a shot of the 7F I was happy with, back at Keighley.

"Cromwell" and the 7F working a train at Mytholmes in the afternoon.  The rest of the day was spent just enjoying the ride.

The final shot of the gala for me, "Cromwell" passing in fading light with the second-last train of the weekend, a freight heading for Oxenhope.

All in all, a very enjoyable weekend, and a top gala by the railway.  The next post will have a few of the more experimental/arty shots from the gala.

Monday 2 April 2018


The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway held their annual winter steam gala recently, and whereas in previous years I (Ben) haven't been able to attend much due to work commitments, the advantage of working from home (and needing to build my exercise levels back up with my chest problems) meant I could give it a lot of time this year.  So after dropping The Childs off at school, I raced down to the valley to get the first train of the day.

Actually the first picture of the day would be this slightly haunting silhouette of a squirrel, which was creepily watching me from a tree.

The first train, hauled by USATC 5820 "Big Jim", was a demonstration goods train.  It was a little disappointing, the loco (which is admittedly a personal favourite) standing-in for one of the visiting locos, which I had hoped to photograph.  Then again, the lighting was brilliant at this time of the morning anyway, so no harm done...

Moving slightly, I tried for a new vantage spot for the Coal Tank on a light-engine move.  For this shot, and the one below, I ended up climbing up a retaining wall to get a line side vantage point.  Standing on a foot-wide shelf of stone, hanging on to a metal fence with one hand, did make me think that shelling-out for the line side pass and high-vis jacket would have been easier, but then I do enjoy the challenge of finding publicly-accessible line side spots.

No.85 drifting back with the goods.  Again, not good lighting this early in the morning.

Another favourite spot for visitor "Oliver Cromwell", disappointing though as the new houses built since last year cast a shadow which wasn't there previously, and I didn't have time to get anywhere better before the train arrived.

More luck up the line towards Damems, mainly because the world and his dog had staked-out my usual riverside locations.  Even then, after climbing through some brambles to get here, another photographer tried in vain to squeeze-in beside me before giving up, largely because he, I, or both of us would have ended up in the river...  Coal Tank again on the goods...

...and the return with 85 on the other end.  I didn't have my wellies on so couldn't get out into the river, so ended up squatting on the river bank holding the camera low to clear the trees overhanging the river.  Didn't do my poorly chest much good.

Taking the advice of the doctor to get some exercise to strengthen my chest muscles, I hiked up to Haworth, and feeling vaguely like I was about to die, took the excuse of "Big Jim" leaving the station to pause for breath.

Ebor Lane is another spot I like to visit, and there was nobody about when "Big Jim" and the 4MT headed back towards Keighley.  This shot over the wall looked promising, but there was another spot nearby I wanted to check out.  That was clear, but I decided I ought to go for this location, over the wall instead.  And sods law saw it staked out by half a dozen people when I got back there two minutes later.  Oh well.

The shot I really wanted, finally a head-on of "Oliver Cromwell" at Ebor Lane.  Another favoured spot, and it was happily clear when I legged it back there.  A nice waist-high wall meaning an unobstructed view, and the sun was out in a blue sky for once that day.

"Cromwell" made quite an impression, up so close.  A magnificent bit of engineering, unfortunately about to be withdrawn for 10-yearly overhaul.

Walking back down the valley, I was able to catch the third visitor, Ian Riley's 'Black 5' 44871, at Damems Station.

Waiting for the signal, I got an unusual look up at the loco, stopped right beside me.

Back down the river, I guessed everyone else had gone for lunch, so I got the tower in the park to myself, shame the train hauled by the two visitors (the broken 7F having been returned to service by this point) was facing the wrong way.

With no bridge at this point, I had to head back up to Damems Station, then back down the other side to the riverbank opposite the tower.  I made it there before any other photographers appeared, and got "Big Jim" yet again on a goods train.

Back through the housing estate, to a viewpoint offering a shot of the tunnel.  The 4MT blasts out of it on the way to Keighley in the afternoon.

Back down to the alleyway where I started the day; not a spot I would usually trust this late in the afternoon (the debris and graffiti showing this is the place to hang out if you're a teenager looking for drink and substance abuse, amongst other activities, ahem) but there were so many other photographers around I felt there would be enough witnesses if I ran into the local troublemakers.

The 7F put in an appearance on the goods, but the lighting and location wasn't brilliant again.

Getting close to school pick-up time, I headed down the path and got the goods on it's way back into Keighley.

So not a bad day photography-wise, and I walked a good 10 miles which I felt ought to please my doctor (had I realised at that point they'd made a mistake with my results, and walking that far was something of a risk, I'd have stayed at home but I digress).  It did mean I hadn't got a shot of the visiting 7F I was pleased with, but I'd have the chance of a couple of line side pics before my commitments with The Childs on Saturday, and we'd be riding the trains anyway on the Sunday, so plenty more chances...