Saturday 28 August 2021

Ffestiniog Railway in the summer sun

Having spent a lot of time this year photographing the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, it's been nice to go a little further afield and get some pics back on the Ffestiniog in Wales.  The fact the area has been named a Unesco site for the heritage of the slate industry gave me (Ben) all the excuse I needed to nip out one afternoon and get some pics...

First stop was up at Tanygrisau, where me and Elder Child headed up the road to the hydro-electric dam for a shot of one of the recently-reintroduced services to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

We headed down to Tanybwlch straight after, mainly for a brew and some of the wonderful cakes from the station cafe.

Replica/new-build "Lyd" was running-round when we arrived.  Haven't seen this loco for a while, so it was good to get some pics of it in the sunshine.

We hung around for the arrival of "Blanche" (one of my favourite locomotives) with an afternoon trip from Porthmadog.

Not bad for a quick afternoon out, the Ffestiniog can usually be relied upon to provide an interesting variety of trains to be photographed, and the fact the weather was so nice really added to the day.


Wednesday 25 August 2021

More Flower Abstracts for a sunny afternoon.

We're editing some pics today, and enjoying a day in the sunshine, so for today on the blog, here's some more of Amy's flower abstract project shots.  These digital manipulations of flower photographs she's taken have been exhibited a couple of times, in fact the open call project down at the 'Artists Responding To...' pop-up show in That London is this week, featuring a shot from this project.  In the meantime, here are some more pics from the set on this nice sunny afternoon- some new shots, some modified edits of the older ones.

Hope everyone is having a nice, safe summer- hopefully some shots from a trip to the zoo next, or perhaps some more underwater pictures, depending on what gets edited first...


Thursday 19 August 2021

Vintage Trains on the Embsay Railway

The Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway is one of those local lines I (Ben) don't tend to visit often, which is a shame, because it's a characterful little line with an eclectic selection of trains.  It's a tad tricky to get to by public transport on weekdays (especially when you have to race back to do the school run, the timings are just too tight for comfort), and we haven't been free much at weekends.  But I had a need to photograph industrial tank engines on vintage stock as real-world inspiration for a garden railway project, so May and June saw me making repeated visits.

The first visit was a bit of a recce- the normal weekday services don't use the vintage stock, but I wanted to try a location I hadn't visited for a bit.  It was a pity the Austerity tank was facing bunker-first; we (me and Father-in-Law) were chasing the Blue Pullman up on the Settle-Carlisle and there wasn't time to hang around for the return.

The next attempt was a Saturday shortly afterwards, and again, we were racing off somewhere else on a jolly day out, and again, the loco was bunker-first.  Pretty poor weather too.

Illustrating the problem with this location; that annoying telegraph wire overhanging the scene.

Rather better conditions when the ex-Keighley Gasworks no.2 was visiting from the Tanfield Railway.  There's something of a shortage of accessible spots to see and photograph this railway where you can park, and not have to negotiate fields of livestock.  I was a little irked that, after taking 2 hours to get here from Keighley due to roadworks, and having sat on the bridge for 25 minutes waiting for this train, two other photographers raced up and shoved-in, clearly irritated I was there.  Not much attention to Social Distancing...

After some shopping (to make the most of the day, what with the debacle of a journey to get here via Eldwick and Ilkley), we tried another spot, on the B-road out of Embsay where there was a tiny bit of parking.  Again, another photographer raced up at the last minute and seemed irked we were parked there.  Anyway, not a great shot; into the sun, and if I'd realised, I'd have bought a zoom-lens.

Not too bad for a train-in-the-landscape shot.

Having to head back via Ilkley again, we caught up with the train near Bolton Abbey, so I dived into a layby for another couple of distant shots.

I didn't do too badly I suppose, I got the shots I wanted for the article, but it could have been much better.  I had planned to return for the gala, but never got chance, so I might have to try a return run in September before the scenery starts to look too bleak.

Wednesday 18 August 2021

KWVR diesels in the Spring sun (and rain. Mostly rain...)

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway gradually returned to normal operations over the Spring (well, as close as anybody can get to 'normal' in these times), which has meant we've been able to return to properly riding on, and photographing, the trains.  The line have been giving their diesel fleet a fair bit to do, which is handy as I (Ben) tend to do reasonably well at getting pictures of diesels published in the mags, and on the KWVR website.  There seems to be more photographers interested in the steam services, so I tend to be competing with more, and longer-established, snappers with steam shots.

Not that the weather was brilliant when Spring started, with some very wet days...

...contrasting with some occasionally very warm ones.  This is Vulcan, on a chance-shot whilst I was out for a walk, repositioning some of the stock moved for the filming of the Railway Children sequel.

We managed a couple of days of riding the trains (alongside me using it as a more pleasant alternative to the bus on a few occasions).  20031 tended to operate the first couple of trains of the day at the weekends.

I seemed to have a knack for this; whenever it was a Saturday I was free to either ride the trains or visit to take pics, the weather would be utterly awful.

Nothing like standing around for 20 minutes in heavy rain just for a pic.

"Vulcan" again, in rather better conditions.

20031 at Bridge 11.

Not often my pics get photo-bombed by wildlife!

Trying for something a little more creative, angles-wise, to compensate for the dull white sky.

37075 down by the river at Ingrow.

With a shot published in Rail Express Magazine, one of several shots from these sessions that were used in mags or on the KWVR's roster emails.