Saturday, 7 August 2010

Crash, Bang, Wallop ... What a Photograph!

31108 arrives under barbeque skies at Wansford.

After the frenetic activity of last weekend at Wansford, this week’s duty on Saturday was an oasis of calm by comparison.  Not that the journey down to the Nene Valley was quite as tranquil, however.  I was following a flatbed lorry, and around the Stamford area a large chunk of wood fell off the truck and bounced into the path of a car that was travelling in the outside lane.  This duly ricocheted across into my lane and hit the nearside front headlamp unit, which promptly disintegrated in a shower of glass.  I wasn’t best pleased, although had the wood bounced a foot higher then it would have been through the windscreen and I don’t suppose that would have been a pretty sight.  Cheaper, mind you – windscreens are replaced free of charge under my insurance policy but headlights aren’t covered.  You can quote me unhappy on that clause.  Once at Wansford I promptly undertook emergency action – get a good photo for my Facebook page.  I’ll worry about repairs later, but let’s get priorities sorted out for now.

Amazingly, all the lights still work!

My shift today was Booking Office, and things were rather quiet although the second train filled up nicely.  The steam ban is still in force, because although there’s been some rain of late it tends to descend in short, sharp bursts but evaporates in the heat rather than have the opportunity to soak into the ground where it would be of some use.  Consequently we were running Austerity 22 on the Wansford – Yarwell segment, with trusty 31108 on the main leg down to Peterborough.  The loco change caused delays as expected, so that the last train ended up running a good 45 minutes late.  People generally seemed happy enough, and the mood was good.

I had a brief chance to try out my latest purchase towards the end of the day – a Canon EOS DSLR camera.  My interest in photography has evolved throughout the year and I’m keen to learn more and improve my technique.  I used to have a Canon in my old film camera days, so I chose the brand this time round hoping to get a piece of kit that would match the results I last got in the late 90’s.

The camera came from Ebay, as new camera prices range from ridiculous to the truly sublime.  It’s an American refurbished model sold by a firm specialising in such things – but seems new in every aspect when opening the box that was delivered the day after ordering.  As it’s for the U.S. market the battery pack has the American two-prong plug fitment, but the company thoughtfully provide a UK adaptor free of charge, which is a nice touch.  I duly charged the camera up last night and packed it ready for today, so had no time to read the book or try out any settings – charge it, pack it, drive!

By late afternoon when I had the opportunity to nip out for some pictures, the sky was leaden in between short but frequent downpours.  I managed a few shots around the yard before a shower drove me back indoors, and also snapped off a few shots as the last train departed from Wansford.  Difficult to assess the performance from these hurriedly obtained photos, but I did get some half decent shots, which weren’t bad in the conditions.

No. 22 has been exchanged for 31108
which prepares to depart from Wansford.

This isn’t the end of my trusty Panasonic TZ6 by any means!  Although it’s a point-and-shoot it’s an amazing camera and was used throughout for my recent foray into model photography – the results of which may be seen here.  Once you explore the various settings and menus, it can cope with a huge range of permutations.  It’s also my default video camera, and being pocket sized makes it ideal to take with me on NVR shifts so that I can always record interesting moments.  The Canon is for proper photoshoot days; an opportunity to learn more about creative photography skills and to capture scenes that are beyond the capability of point and shoot.  The Fuji S1500 is destined for Ebay as I’ve never really got on with it and recent shoots such as the Bus Rally were disappointing.  I tried some scenes with Sian the model at Wansford and it just seemed to give up, resulting in the TZ6 carrying out the entire session on its own.  Not that my description on the auction site will say that of course – it’s a truly wonderful piece of kit that I’m reluctantly selling so that ‘er indoors can buy a new pair of shoes.

So I have my first set of pictures – and what a picture, but shame it took a crash, bang, wallop to get it!

Looking the other way from Nene Bridge presented this reflective scene.


  1. The photo at the top of this post is sheer genius...what a shot! Good to hear that you have moved into the rarified stratosphere of "proper cameras" your case this is a good investment as the new camera will compliment your already superb photography skills, and the Canon is a superb bit of kit.
    Petra and I were asked to move aside at Blaenau recently by a man with a big camera, because we only had little cameras, and his shot was more important than ours. Never mind that we were there first, he had a big lens. Petra said that he probably had a tiny...oh, never mind.
    Looking at posts after this one, I can see the difference in your photos...brilliant!

  2. Thanks Iain, these shots were literally point and shoot on auto as I played around, and I was impressed with the way the Canon captured the thundery sky.

    I've certainly met the big camera small (never mind) photographer before, particularly on gala and event days. I was openly sneered at during the Great Central gala when I put my diminutive Samsung P&S onto the tripod whilst they prepared to shoot an epic - I've literally seen film crews turn up with less kit.


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