Monday 31 October 2022

Miniatures Shots at Tanygrisau

This one should probably be on the Model Making Blog, but being as that is in the middle of a rather major reboot, I (Ben) thought I'd put it on here.

There's something to be said for working during a heatwave- outside under a gazebo, cup of tea to hand, and paint and glue drying-times nicely accelerated by the warm weather.

I'd set myself a target of doing a kit per month (the Monthly Mindfulness Minikit), trying to do a kit for around, or under, a tenner.  I'd build it, then do something creative with it.  The kit this time was one of the wonderful Binnie Kits tipper wagons for 32mm scale.  I blew the budget on the kit, so the track was very much built from scraps...

Visual reference from the Slate Museum in Llanberis.

The wagon wasn't even undercoated; all I had to hand were some Wilko test-pots, so various shades of brown were sponged on, then some drybrushing added, before it was hit with gloss varnish.  Scraps of plastic strip from the spares box provided the rails, offcuts of hanging basket liner, and lolly stick sleepers.

Ground cover was from slate, and on the way back from a day out in the north of Wales, I called in at Tanygrisau, and with Elder Child assisting, scrambled up to one of the abandoned slate tips.

Greyscale test, to help try and blend the bleached-out grass of the hanging basket liner with the slightly more lush actual greenery at the location.

I really like this sort of thing, shooting miniatures out on location, particularly doing forced-perspective photographs.  I'm tempted to try some more of these next year.

Thursday 27 October 2022

The Blue Pullman at York

A September trip to York, to the open day at Poppleton Nursery was followed by a trip by train into York for lunch and an afternoon at the shops.

No railway photography was specifically planned, and we didn't even have an SLR with us.  We hadn't bothered to check Real Time Trains for anything running and were therefore pleasantly surprised to find the Blue Pullman set waiting to leave with an excursion (Scotland via Leeds and the Settle-Carlisle line).

Even better, whilst crossing the footbridge back from seeing the Blue Pullman, a whistle announced the arrival of "Scots Guardsman" with a train from Scarborough to Liverpool.

York really is a superb station, and that roof really suits railway photography.

Trying to fit both excursions in one shot, not easy, especially with only a phone.

The Blue Pullman set really is very pretty, we'd love a ride on it at some point.

There's something to be said for the quality of cameras on modern phones- whilst we both prefer an SLR, these shots wouldn't have been possible a few years ago if we'd left the proper cameras in the boot.  It also shows how out of practise we are with mainline-train photography; next time, we'll be nosing at Real Time Trains before we set off...


Tuesday 25 October 2022

A hot day on the Great Orme

A particularly hot summer day saw us, with the extended family, in Llandudno.  It was sweltering down in the town, but we'd decided to take the cable car up to the top of the Great Orme for a change.

The views from the cable car were wonderful on such a clear day- drone-style photography without the expense of buying a drone.

We didn't have much time at the top before needing to come back down, sadly (the cable-cars weren't running for long during the day, with over an hour queuing at each end).  Lesson learned, next year we'll do the tram which was more frequent with less waiting times.

Honestly, the lighting and weather were superb up on the tops.

Two of the shots were picked for publication, oddly enough slight variations on the same angle (I make a point of not sending the exact same image to multiple mags).  The Railway Magazine, above, and Trackside, below.


Sunday 23 October 2022

The Glaslyn Pass, Summer 2022

Towards the tail-end of the summer, we went to the Glaslyn Pass near Beddgelert, partly for a walk, partly to get some underwater pics in the crystal-clear waters of the river.

Well, it wouldn't be one of our jaunts without some train pics.

This used to be a decent photographic spot, but always a bit tricky in the morning with the lighting, and it's starting to get a bit too overgrown now for shots.

The path up the side of the gorge is as lovely as ever though.

The water level was low after a summer of hot weather- the last time we walked here, last year, it was thundering with water.

We stopped for lunch in Beddgelert itself- "Vale of Ffestiniog" trundling past on the WHR.

Then it was back down the pass to the car park.  We'll do a separate post with the underwater pics soon.


Thursday 20 October 2022

Anglesey Model Village, a return visit

In 2019, we took advantage of Bens sister moving onto the island of Anglesey to pay a visit to the Model Village on the island; apart from just inflicting yet another photography trip on The Childs, the plan was to write a piece for Garden Rail magazine.   

It was published immediately before the first Lockdown in 2020 (which, as I've pointed out to the editor, yet again demonstrates my impressive knack for timing).  Still, even though the article encouraged people to visit a place that was suddenly closed on threat of arrest, nevertheless the editor, and the staff at the village, seemed happy with it.

The Model Village survived the Lockdowns and such, and the staff have spent two years continuing the refurbishment.  They'd done a full refresh on the malfunctioning railway, so it seemed a good excuse for a follow-up piece.

This time we arrived en-masse, not only the both of us and The Childs, but also Bens parents and sister too.  The place was pleasantly busy (which meant it was quite tricky to get pics without folks in the backgrounds, we thought it better than worrying about model release forms when these shots were destined for publications.

Whilst the new trains might not have the character of the bespoke originals, apparently reliablity has been dramatically improved.  I'll probably go into more detail on the Model Making Blog at some point.

A bit of shameless pandering to the Editor, who's a VW fan.

It was a nice afternoon out; there's a possibility of a third visit next year for another piece, as the Model Village are talking about having open running days for visitors to bring their own trains.