Wednesday 30 November 2022

Blackpool Illuminations, October '22 (Amy's 'Light Trails' project shoot)

After visiting the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, we headed down to Blackpool for our annual visit for Amy to add to her stock of images for "Light Trails".

This time around, we were without The Childs, so we could focus rather more on the photography than we would normally.  We decided to book accommodation near Bispham so we wouldn't have to worry about being tired for the drive home; we had a nice picnic on the seafront at Bispham as we waited for the sun to set.

We walked down from Bispham to just past the central pier and back; the trams were busy, it was a nice, unseasonably warm night, and we decided to get some excercise.

The LED lights everywhere seem to really suit Amy's new SLR, and give some interesting effects compared to the traditional bulbs on our earliest visits back in the late 2000's.

One of the things Amy was interested to try was more curving shots, panning around whilst standing on the spot.

As well as the more abstract shots of the Tower and general illuminations, Amy took the opportunity to get some shots of the lit-up trams.  Probably too abstract for the mags, but a nice change from the more static subjects.

It was a very successful night; Amy's new SLR coped magnificently with the lights, and she was able to add a good mix of shots to the project.  We'll probably be going back in a few weeks (as we write this), being as the lights will be up until January, and this time we'll have The Childs with us; hopefully we can add some more shots to the collection.


Monday 28 November 2022

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, October '22

Early October saw us on a packed weekend of shoots, where an evening in Blackpool was preceded by a ride on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway at the lower end of Windemere.  In the past we've only got the odd photograph of the line from within a kayak on the nearby river.

The chunky saddle tank "Princess" was rostered, and is seen when we arrived at the impressive station at Haverthwaite.

The sun was out when we arrived for lunch at the cafe.

After some food, we boarded for a round trip to Lakeside.

A good spot for some reference pics was the end of Haverthwaite station.

The rock tunnel is particularly impressive, and with a miniatures build on the cards for next Spring which needs something very similar, it was great to be able to get some shots.

The weather turned later in the day, which was a bit annoying from a photography perspective.

Still, switching to monochrome for some more unusual angles helped.

A nice day out, and we're planning on making a return during a Gala event next year.


Friday 25 November 2022

Underwater Photography around Snowdonia; August '22

The nice summer led to a chance to get some more underwater pictures; basically we've been toying with the idea of getting a kit to convert one of our old SLR's, and wanted to have a fresh play using our old underwater-compact to get our heads back in the game, as it were.

The first lot were taken at Aberystwyth, whilst on a day out.

In the end, being as we didn't have the right clothes with us for going in the sea, we settled for some shots in among the shingle.

Rather better was one of our regular haunts, Llanbedrog.  Here the sea is ridiculously shallow (seriously, you can walk about half a mile before it goes above your waist).

The end of the week saw us out in the Glaslyn Pass for a walk and some pics, with the gin-clear waters of the river being too tempting to pass up.

Our humble underwater camera; it's probably 8-10 years old at this point, but still does the job.

Amy's had some success in exhibitions before with these sorts of shots, and it was nice to be able to lay in some new pics for her collection.

A good few days worth of photographs, and a good job we did as well; by the time we went back to Wales in the Autumn the rivers and seas were somewhat rougher, carrying more water, and it's frankly less appealing going for a paddle in November than it is during a hot August...

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Severn Valley Railway... back at Easter '22

A last batch of pictures from back at Easter (to be honest, we'd missed a couple of folders which we'd drafted but hadn't posted earlier in the year).

We stopped off at Kiderminster on the Severn Valley Railway, with a Sunday to spare, because it was their Spring Steam Gala and they had A4 Pacific "Sir Nigel Gresley" visiting.  Having only seen it in bits at York, whilst it was being mended, I (Ben) really wanted to get some shots of it in steam.  We arrived at Kiddy in time to get some shots around the station, whilst we waited for the A4 to arrive.

Lighting was a tad tricky, so we went for some monochrome shots and close ups.

This shot, incidentally, prompted the project later in the year with close-ups of steam loco running gear, which ended up in the D31 Exhibition at Doncaster.

Visiting Austerity tank loco "Welsh Guardsman" and resident Pannier 7714 (which we'd photographed at the KWVR earlier in the year).  Photography angles were tricky, not helped by the fact the railway wouldn't sell us any platform tickets; I can kind of see why they'd want to maximise revenue, but as we only had an hour before heading back to Yorkshire, we couldn't justify the expense of £22 in tickets for a one-stop return each just to stroll onto the platform for a couple of shots.

Something of a contrast in steam motive power.

On the way out of town, we stopped off at Falling Sands for a couple of shots.  At least the weather was behaving here.


Sunday 20 November 2022

Hot Metal in Motion; Magna, Sheffield, Summer '22

We took a visit in the summer to Magna, in Rotherham, Sheffield; something ironic in hiding from a heatwave inside a steelworks, but a big echoing dark metal shed turned out to be a perfect escape from the sunshine.

It's an impressive place, a museum dedicated to the four different elements, inside the old Templeborough Steelworks.  There's plenty of the old industrial legacy of the place left inside, with a fascinating light and sound show around one of the old furnaces.

Having grown up near the (derelict) Round Oak Steelworks in the West Midlands, it was fascinating to walk around a place like this.  It's pretty awe-inspiring to walk around.

In places it's actually hard to gauge the scale of the place; it almost looks like a miniature set in some photographs.  Look at the size of the roof compared to the steps and gantries.

Within the building were separate areas dedicated to each of the elements; this was the Water area, with lots of interactive elements which Younger Child in particular got stuck-in with.

The fire tornado was particularly impressive.

We're going to be paying a return visit to the place; we also got plenty of reference shots, Ben in particular, as there was plenty of inspiration for industrial (or even science-fiction themed) miniature builds.