Steam train photographs: 92220 Evening Star ‘the Pines Express’

steam train photographs: Evening Star

For some reason I enjoy taking steam train photographs even though I do not have any knowledge of trains and can’t ever really remember seeing steam trains on the mainline tracks. I suppose I just appreciate the form and design, much like I enjoy looking at an E-type Jaguar or Austin Healey 3000, and I absolutely adore trying to recreate a nostalgic image of Britain in the 1950s. For me, authenticity is the key to the image; I really don’t want to see a modern car in the frame and I definitely do not want to see pylons, TV aerials or satellite dishes anywhere in the picture. I suppose this is the beauty of the digital world of photography in that I can and do remove these distractions but I will do my best to position myself so that they don’t appear in the shot in the first place.

My most recent foray into the world of steam train photography was to join a group of enthusiasts on the Great Central Railway in Leicester to photograph a 9F locomotive dressed to look like the last ever steam train to run commercially in the UK – 92220 Evening Star. This train ran on the south coast in the late 50s to early 60s and was also known as the ‘Pines Express’ due to it passing through the pine studded heathlands around Bournmouth (I had to Wikipedia this info ;¬) ). As we had the train chartered for the day, there was plenty of opportunity to get lineside shots as the drivers did multiple drive pasts in front of a phalanx of cameras. I have to confess to feeling a little out of my depth in terms of knowledge, some of the anoraks in the line up had more than an unhealthy knowledge of the train! What was interesting for me is that I approached the shoot purely as a photographer trying to create some images that pleased me, whereas many of the others were steam train enthusiasts with cameras trying to record the images of the train for their photo lists. I’ve seen many of their shots on Flickr and, while there are some that have artistic merit, there are many that are just record shots taken in full auto mode on their cameras.

The mixed weather made exposure tricky during the overcast morning with bright, featureless skies, but later in the day we had some mixed cloud and sun that gave amazing rain skies and sunlight, especially towards the end of the day. My approach was to use my trusty Sekonic L758 to take multiple readings of the highlights, shadows and mid-tones to give me an exposure for the engine to make sure I had detail in the train and I let the skies slip towards zone 8 or even zone 9 as I knew I could recover the highlights more easily. I shot everything in manual exposure mode and simply concentrated on getting the angle I wanted – not always possible due to the amount of other photographers who clearly had been on many of these shoots before and knew exactly where to dash to once they dismounted the train!  Finally, in post, I gave the images more of a painterly feel and used fonts and muted border colours to try and recreate the feel of the old steam railway posters of the 50s which were so iconic in their style.

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Wakefield portrait photographer: Nick, Hayley and Minnie

Wakefield portrait photographer : Nick and Hayley brought Minnie to the studio today for her first photoshoot and she was an absolute gem to shoot with not a tear or glum face throughout the entire session. Minnie was just able to sit up so long as there was a steady hand nearby just in case, so she was at the perfect stage for the photo session and her big smiles made life easy for me. We did a combo of images with all the family, plus individuals and, of course, lots of shots of Minnie giving me her best poses. Her are a few from the shoot.

To book me for your family photoshoot, just call the studio on 01924 229800 for a chat.

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Wakefield Commercial Photographer: Optegra Eye Care 

Wakefield commercial photographer

Optegra Eye Care were looking for a Wakefield commercial photographer to undertake a press shoot to appear alongside an article in the Mail on Sunday which would give some visual images to go with their story about how the removal of cataracts had also had a remarkable cure on one person’s insomnia! A local Wakefield lady had been in for a routine cataract operation and realised within a day of having had the operation that she was no longer an insomniac but slept like a log! The double cure is apparently caused because the cataracts filter out blue light and it is the blue light spectrum that causes drowsiness! Once the cataracts were removed, the patient was subject to the onset of tiredness just like everyone else!

The shoot was a quick and easy one for me. I just nipped along to the house at Newmillerdam and met the client who had a beautiful large and well lit conservatory which was ideal for the shoot. By using the soft daylight as fill and using an SB800 into a small octabox as key, I managed some good vibrant images that depicted the subject engaged in her two favourite pastimes – painting and needlework – both made easier since the successful operation!

Wakefield commercial photographer

Photography workshop: Ballet & Boudoir

photography workshop Wakefield

Today I was shooting some promo images for a forthcoming ballet & boudoir photography workshop that I will be running in the studio in the coming months. I brought Scarlett over for the shoot as she is a trained dancer and is very good at ‘en pointe’ and is very flexible and able to create some fabulous ballet studies. The workshop will include some figure studies and will also provide an opportunity to shoot some boudoir images. This will be a great opportunity for those photographers who don’t have a great deal of experience in this field but would like to have a go at the genres. I used my new smoke machine for some of the images to see what effects I could achieve. I have to be honest, it generated way more smoke than I imagined and soon the studio was thick with smoke making it very difficult to shoot anything! I think I will switch the smoke liquid for fog liquid as this is much more dense and sits on the floor rather than drifting around the studio!

The workshop will appear on the workshop pages as soon as the dates are finalised but you can also register your interest by sending your details via the contsct page above. There’s no obligation but registering will guarantee you get the earliest notification of the workshop.

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Wedding photographer Black Swan Helmsley: Lyndsay & Richard

Wedding photographer Black Swan Helmsley: I first met Lyndsay when she came to the studio for some new headshots to submit to casting calls which, I’m glad to say, helped her land a part in the Jack Whitehall film ‘Bad Education’. However, after meeting Richard just over  a year ago, things have moved on rapidly and the couple have moved to the SW of France to start a new life running a guest house but they decided to tie the knot in England during a Christmas visit. And so it was that I found myself at the Black Swan Hotel to photograph their wedding in front of a small group of family and friends in a very Christmas atmosphere. The wedding wasn’t until 4.30pm by which time the sky was ink black and, having photographed weddings at the Black Swan in the past, I know the hotel is tight for space inside when it comes to photography. However, Richard and Lyndsay weren’t a traditional bride and groom and had been staying at the hotel over the Christmas period which meant they were both getting ready in the same room. Not only did this mean I could get shots of both the bride and groom getting ready, but it meant we could get outside before the wedding for a few shots in the fading winter light!

We began outside round about 3.30pm but by the time the registrars had finished with Richard, the light had all but gone for shots with his best man, Andrew and the boys. After the wedding we managed the formal family shots in the corridor between the reception room and the lounge, dodging waiters, wedding guests and bar staff as the hotel was packed to capacity. We managed the shots and were almost straight into the reception before we knew it. We ended the session with a quick shot outside the hotel before leaving them to enjoy the evening with their friends and family.

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Venue: Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley 

Event Photographer Wakefield: Beaumont Legal at the Hepworth

Event Photographer Wakefield: I’ve been commissioned by Beaumont Legal on many occasions now as their Wakefield commercial photographer and tonight they booked me to shoot an event at which they were to launch a new venture by becoming the first UK partners of huge US law firm Legal Zoom. While the name is not familiar to many in the UK, Legal Zoom is a household brand name in America and they have been looking to get a foothold in Great Britain for some time. In order to mark this momentous oocasion, a large launch party was held at The Hepworth which was complete, but welcome, surprise to all the staff. The evening was marked by floodighting the Hepworth’s exterior with Beaumont Legal colours and logo and, following a champagne reception and the official announcement, the party went into full swing with magicians, virtual reality games, DJ awesome food and, the highlight of the night, a live appearance of the male group Collabro – winners of the 2014 show ‘Britain’s got Talent’.

Although I had with me a bank of Profoto B1 units, I ended up shooting the whole event using a Nikon speedlight due to the restrictions on space – so many people were crammed in – it wasn’t possible to use a studio flash and softbox combo. I also managed a really good selection of the sculptures which had been painted with light for the occasion and this is something that has not been done before but it made a super backdrop to the evening’s event.

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