Sunday 23 May 2021

Middleton Railway- moving the goods

The opportunities for railway photography have been frustratingly (if understandably) limited in 2021.  The Middleton Railway in Leeds tends to be one of our usual haunts in non-plague times, and we've missed visiting them.  Though at this point when these photographs were taken they hadn't reopened to the public, stalwart loco "Slough Estates no.3" was about to be withdrawn from service and the railway sent out an open invitation to photographers to see it running a few special goods trains from the lineside.

The weather was lovely- there seems to be something about the Middleton where it has its own weather system.  In about a dozen visits over the last few years, we've never had anything less than sunny weather.

So a Sunday afternoon saw me (Ben), Elder Child, and Father-in-Law taking a stroll from Moor Road to Park Halt on the footpaths that parallel the line, getting some shots as the goods train trundled back and forth.  Normally we ride the trains, rather than lineside, so it was nice to find some new angles.

It also allowed me to get some shots for a possible railway-modelling article I might be working on.

An interesting feature of the line is the lack of lineside fencing (due, admittedly, to them often getting nicked; the perils of operating an urban preserved railway, sadly).  It does mean you can get some nice shots of the trains through.

Final shot of the day- nice to be able to get some more shots from the Middleton, we'll definitely be back once they reopen.  It has such a unique atmosphere for a preserved railway.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

A Bank Holiday on Anglesey

On a day where the weather outside is fairly horrendous, and the increasing number of Covid cases locally seems to be threatening the easing of Lockdown, here's a nostalgic look back to the start of May where we actually managed to get away to the seaside.  

The first May bank holiday saw us head to Anglesey, our first trip to Wales since Yorkshire went into the Tier system at the start of last August.  No particular project in mind for this visit, it was just nice to get a few general landscape shots with the cameras whilst we were having a socially-distanced visit to see family there.

Lunch on the beach, on the northern coast of the island.

Walking back inland, we thought we'd have a play at getting some more abstract shots using these pylons.  Just playing with the camera really.

So not a 'proper' shoot, but relaxing to just get out and take some nice pictures.  Hopefully we'll get chance to do a bit more of this, this year, all being well...

Tuesday 4 May 2021

Steampunk Monorail Station- a competition winner...

We're rather into Steampunk here at Ribbon, and every now and then a project comes along that gives us a chance to incorporate it into our work.  RMWeb (the railway modelling forum) restarted their Cakebox Challenge at the start of the year (to model a railway scene in a standard size cakebox dimension of 8x8x6 inches), and I (Ben) got in on the action.  The Steampunk Monorail was something that had cropped up in the show I did for the Bradford Industrial Museum about a decade ago, but whilst a station had been sketched, I never had time to build it back then.

The rules of the competition were that it had to contain at least a couple of bits of repurposed scrap or rubbish, otherwise it was open to the imagination and interpretation of the model makers.  The majority of the scene was produced with scrap offcuts, and made extensive use of our laser cutter, but I'll do something more detailed for the Model Blog at some point; I just thought I'd put a post up with the results of the two photoshoots I did when the model was built.

Oh for a proper studio...  Still, shows the techniques used for the pics- the batteries fit under the platforms when I'm taking pics, the Humidifier sits below the platform next to the tracks, and the sheet of mirrored acrylic helps visually extend the set.

One lot of pictures were taken on a nice sunny day, whilst we were locked down waiting for some Covid test results.

The figures were about the only things specially bought-in for the project (apart from the lights), and are intended for re-use in another project later in the year too.  The posters were custom-made for this build, or repurposed images from past projects, to give the station a bit of life.

Top hat and monocle- peak Steampunk?

I was very happy with the daylight shots, but the intention had always been to have working lights and do some night pictures too.

If anything I prefer these pics, they seem to fit the atmosphere of Steampunk a bit more closely.

To my frank surprise, it won the competition, up against some very good and imaginative model-making.  The Cakebox tends to bring out some excellent and creative work whenever the competition is run, but this year in particular bought about some brilliant work from people (I think Lockdown seems to have been focusing peoples talents).  I genuinely thought this would be too left-field for the majority to take to, but I'm pleasantly surprised it caught peoples attention.

All in all then it was a very fun, nicely contained little build that allowed me to finally do some ideas I'd had a way back, though a few people are asking me when I'll be doing a bigger layout on the theme.  Tempting, but Steampunk doesn't tend to suit the limited amount of space I have to hand at the moment, so it might have to wait...