Friday 20 December 2019

Ffestiniog Victorian Weekend 2019

Back in October we took one of our last visits to Wales, for the Ffestiniog Railway Victorian Weekend.  Partly because we wanted a holiday, and partly because I (Ben) needed some reference pictures of the England tank locomotives "Prince" and "Palmerston" for a model build/article that's under way.

This is the fifth or sixth of these events we've attended, and we've yet to hit one with decent weather, so everything was tuppaware sky and occasional showers rather than autumnal splendour.

Again, murky lighting at Porthmadog.

All in all a nice weekend on the trains, and I got the reference pics I needed, but hopefully next year will see a bit better weather for it.

Friday 13 December 2019

Calming pictures of flowers...Bodnant Gardens, 2019

Back to the early Autumn for tonight's blog, and a trip to Bodnant Garden in North Wales.  Well, it felt like we needed something calming on here, and with the rain and the cold outside, and everything looking dead, it seemed an opportune time to look back at some pictures of flowers.

Early Autumn at Bodnant… would be nice to go there just as the leaves are turning.

There's some rather nice water features, so we decided to have a play with some long-exposure, abstract shots.

So that's that.  Just some pretty pictures of a garden and some waterfalls.  We've entered some pics in for another exhibition and had some more railway pictures printed this month, so maybe some info on that in the next post.  Until then, we bid you adieu. 

Friday 6 December 2019

Blackpool 2019

Sorry for the gap in blogging recently, we've been preparing some bits for open calls and writing some articles.  Anyway, back to earlier in the Autumn, and one of our regular trips to Blackpool for some of Amy's photographs...

The trip was for two projects; to get some pictures of trams for possible publication, and to get a few more abstracts for the "Light Trails" projects.

Happily, the illuminated trams were out in force on the night.

Blackpool Tower wasn't quite fully lit-up for the night... perhaps they're a bit short of brass, or couldn't find a shilling for the meter...

We didn't end up doing as many pictures as Amy had planned, as The Childs were a bit tired and we ended up bailing out at Tower.  Hopefully we'll get another crack at it next year.

This illustrated one of the problems we were up against; the modern LED lights which are appearing aren't as easy to capture, and unless there is a lot of playing with the settings, can easily white-out the exposure.

Still, all said it was nice to be back at Blackpool again, and for Amy to keep her hand in with the "Light Trails" which has picked up a bit of interest again this year.  Hopefully we'll get back there again next year, but there may be another experimental development with the project early next year...

Friday 15 November 2019

DMU time again on the KWVR

I (Ben) have always had a soft spot for Class 101 DMU's, probably as a result of getting a Triang 00-gauge one which had been my dad's for my train set when I was young.  The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway have a class 101 which gets a great deal of use, and is probably in fact they're most consistently-rostered train.

With engineering work finished on the KWVR, the popular Railcar Wednesday timetable came back into use briefly for the Autumn, and I made the most of using the line as public transport to run errands on a couple of the Wednesdays, and got a few pics before the greenery fell off the trees and the weather turned.

Not a lot else to say really- sometimes it's nice to just keep my hand in, as it were, with railway photography, and it's certainly nicer to ride one of these units than use a bus for public transport locally (the buses are nice, and frequent, but as a rail enthusiast I'd prefer this anytime).

Managed to get a picture into the November Railways Illustrated too.  As I type this, I need to edit some more pics shot on the KWVR of their other diesel railbus, which has just returned to service... wish the weather had been this nice mindyou.

Friday 8 November 2019

Anything Goes at the Middleton Railway...

Going back a bit to September, and yet another visit to the Middleton Railway, which fulfils my growing liking for photographing industrial locomotives.

For their September gala, they were operating pretty much anything that ran, and the main attraction (beyond a nice day out with The Childs in Middleton Park) was to photograph "Courage", above, probably the most unusual locomotive I've personally come across.   

The loco was mainly operating on the Balm Road branch, which itself is a location I love to take pictures on, just for its sheer eccentricity.

Me and Middle Child took a stroll down to the far end of the branch, a first for me, to stand beside the really dedicated photographers who didn't seem pleased to be joined by us, as we got the impression that we were very much on 'their' turf.  Having seen (later in the day) how most younger people act at this spot -we were on a train which was stopped by a hooded idiot standing on the tracks, so his mates could ready to pelt it with bricks- maybe I can understand why they'd be off about younger people rocking up out of the trees.

We rode up and down the line a bit, and had the traditional walk up through Middleton Park for an ice cream; the refurbished playground was FINALLY open (4th visit was the charm) which pleased The Childs.  I took a few snaps of another favourite loco, the very old LMS Hunslet "John Alcock".

Another enjoyable day at Middleton (well apart from the teenagers trying to stage a Wild West storming of the train), and proof once again that the Middleton Railway have a weather control machine; it doesn't seem to matter when we visit, we get sunburned.

Surprisingly given the number of other photographers knocking around, I managed to get several pictures in print; I was surprised that they were mainly of "John Alcock" which is a line regular, rather than one of the rarer locomotives, but pleased so many pics got selected by different mags.  Railways Illustrated for November above...

...Rail Express...

...and The Railway Magazine, also November.  Happily a shot of "Courage" got picked there, probably my favourite shot of the day too.

Oh and because it won't fit anywhere else, a shot on the miniature railway at Clayton West on the Kirklees Railway; as a family we spent a lot of the summer visiting miniature railways to get magazine pics whilst out and about...

Thursday 31 October 2019

Exhibitions and Publications, Autumn 2019

A little round-up tonight of some of our recent exhibition entries and similar, starting with one for Amy above;  Falling Walls.  Themed around the anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down, Amy submitted a close-up shot of the above bits of smashed concrete, genuine bits of The Wall gathered when she was out there camping as a child.  This is a group show of postcard-sized images, amongst other work on the theme.

The exhibition breaks new ground for us, starting as it does Down South, in the John Street Gallery, Stroud Valley Artspace, Stroud, Glos. (moving on to the Nau Gallery in Cheltenham later).

Moving on to another Amy piece, a shot of a butterfly taken in Poppleton, York, during the summer becomes...

...a practise bit of experimentation with photoshop techniques, something she might spin-out for a future project.

Another project by Amy, for another open call; an older project from last year using the same techniques once used to make technical blueprints.  More details in a future post, if she gets selected.

Finally, one for me (Ben); one of my Inflate-Deflate (underwater) series pics, published in the Liverpool-based 'zine "Wotisart".  

There's some other stuff in the pipeline too, a couple of miniatures projects, and some railway pictures due to be published as well.