Thursday 24 June 2021

A day in the Spring Sunshine at Grange-over-Sands

Back in May, we took a trip to Grange-over-Sands, a pleasant seaside village in the southern Lake District.  It was partly a business trip -Ben was photographing some railway remains at a nearby village for a possible article- followed by pleasure, a family picnic in the park before we headed back to Yorkshire.

Not a bad spot for the sarnies, the well-kept pleasure gardens.

Grange-over-Sands station, a very well-kept spot.

It was nice to finally be able to get here- this visit had been planned for early 2020, but the various lockdowns, Tier travel restrictions, and general Doom had kept us home, so it was nice to embrace the relative freedoms of lockdown-easing to get out to the place.

The flower gardens along the promenade are beautiful, and we took the opportunity to get some pics, partly for Amy to do some more of her close-up/abstracts.

Surviving semaphore signal on the promenade.

Still quite novel seeing the 'modern' (already over a year old) trains, especially in a pretty, old setting like Grange.

It must have been nice arriving here by rail for a day at the seaside, before the estuary silted up and the beach disappeared.  It's still a lovely spot, and we like stopping off here when we get chance.

With that, a walk up and down the promenade, it was back home to Yorkshire after a nice day out, and a couple of photography projects nailed down.


Friday 18 June 2021

First go with resin casting...

I (Amy) have been having a bit of a play with something new to me, resin casting.  I've been wanting to try this for a while, and had the opportunity recently to acquire some materials to finally have a go.

First step, out to the garden, to pick some bits of foliage, which were then pressed flat.

I bought a set of silicon moulds for the test, to make some trinket boxes for the kids.

There were also two moulds for making rings.

After leaving it all to properly set, here were the results.

The square boxes came out quite nicely...

...but the more interesting designs seem to be the most eye-catching.

Box on its own...

...and with a lid.  There have been the odd problems with air bubbles I didn't manage to get out of the mix when it was setting, but then this is all a learning process for me.

The rings were a little more difficult to find a use for, but then we decided to have them as purely decorative items outside.

Again, a slight problem with air bubbles, but something I'll be keeping an eye out for on the second batch.  Otherwise though, this was a fun first test with the resin casting, and I'm looking forward to trying something more complex next time.


Tuesday 8 June 2021

Railbus by night- long exposures with model railways

With there only being limited opportunity to get in any railway photography a couple of months ago, I (Ben) was feeling the need to do get some pictures, and generally have a play around with some unusual shots.

In normal times, I occasionally try to get in some long-exposure shots when the KWVR are running their evening services in the winter.  I quite like taking these abstract, stylised pics just as something to play around doing, but Covid times have meant it was rare to get evening trains running.  It also tends to involve lots of stumbling around woods in the dark, hiding from poachers and groups of stoned teenagers, and as I get older, it frankly has less and less appeal.  With the country only slowly easing itself out of lockdown, it seemed a better option to try and do something with miniatures instead.

My new toy, an LGB Wismar Railbus.  I've wanted one of these since I was about 11/12 and saw one in a model railway mag.  January saw me manage to make a bit of disposable income off a few publications, and that coupled with an all-clear diagnosis for a fairly serious health problem, led me to treat myself to a competitively-priced second-hand example.  The plan is to use it for a couple of articles I'm working on, but in the mean time, I thought I'd make the most of those wonderful working lights.

I don't actually have a garden railway, so it called for some improvisation.  This is the alleyway down the side of the house, the 'railway' is four lengths of G-scale track on some planks, on two boards, with some hanging basket liner.  An extension lead run from out the front door provided the power to the tracks.

I added a Playmobil level crossing to create a focal point for some of the shots.  The Land Rover is a scale toy, but really needed the working headlights on.  The trouble is they only come on when the button is pressed, creating a very loud horn-honking and engine sound, and I was already getting enough funny looks off the neighbours (who were all out celebrating the first weekend without lockdown, with the aid of loud music, barbecues, and a lot of booze) without having a noisy toy care blaring away too.

Greyscale experiment using my phone, as opposed to the SLR.

The phone also allowed me to get one of my patented 'ridiculously low-angle' shots that I like doing with my real railway photography.

Back to the SLR, and having a play with the setting for some long-exposure shots.

I enjoyed doing the night shoots, so the next sunny morning, I thought I'd try some daylight shots.  I needed something suitably large-scale, and so I dug out a Dapol O-gauge class 08 and a length of track on a board I'd built for a shoot about a decade ago.

Not sure how well the background works in daylight, the tree at the end of the alleyway is too obviously overscale, though the houses up the hill look quite nice.

Again, trying for a more vintage look with some greyscale shots.

Out with the Wismar railbus again.

Here I was playing with the filters on the phone again, trying to create the air of a 60's/70's photograph.

Trying for a slightly different angle, with the aid of an Alpine plant held near the lens.

The last shot of the morning, mainly because the neighbour who owns that large garden I was using as a backdrop doesn't seem to like me, and when they spot I'm out taking pictures, they have a habit of rushing out to light bonfires and things, or garden (in stony silence) right next to the wall to put me off.  Still, I was rather happy with how the pictures came out, so I'll probably end up having another crack at this at some point.