Sunday, 30 March 2014

Steam Train Specials

Why is it that there are very rarely any special steam trains running in the north east, but when they do arrive, like buses, there are two of them?  Yesterday saw "The Wansbeck" topped and tailed by two locos, 62005 and 61264, and "The Hadrian" hauled by 46115 Scots Guardsman.

The weather was horrible, totally unsuitable for photography, with mist, dullness, mizzle and not at all very warm. I stood for an age perched precariously on a wall in Chester-le-Street to capture the Wansbeck crossing the viaduct, and it arrived 30 mins late. By that time I had just about lost the feeling in my fingers, but managed to press the shutter. Having got the excuses out of the way, here are a couple of shots.

K1 2-6-0 62005 heads the train

B1 4-6-0 61264 brings up the rear

And so to Hexham to catch the Hadrian. The light was very slightly better and the train arrived a bit early, which meant that it was stopped in Hexham station to allow a local passenger service to get through. Unfortunately this meant that power was cut off before the station so my vision of a dramatic exhaust filled sky shot evaporated with the steam. However...

(Zuiko 50mm f1.8)

Royal Scot class 4-6-0 46115 Scots Guardsman

I enjoyed watching this powerful loco accelerate its heavy train away from the platform, sure footed without a trace of wheelspin,  from the viewpoint of the footbridge.  

Sony NEX 6 Pentax 28mm K f3.5 and Zuiko 50mm f1.8

Monday, 24 March 2014

Newcastle upon Tyne Panorama

I had seen the opportunity for this shot earlier in the year, but then the sun was too low in the sky to illuminate enough of the middle distance.

I had taken a few test shots and decided that the best strategy was to stitch a series of vertical format images together. I have a good solid Manfrotto tripod with both pistol grip ball and pan and tilt heads, but this journey was by bicycle and I selected instead my aged and lightweight Velbon unit. I normally use it to support a flashgun for product shots, it's not in the same league as the Manfrotto, but neither is it too heavy to carry on a bike!

As always with panoramas, I used manual exposure to help ensure even tones across the image and, on this occasion, shot using a 2 second time delay. From memory I think 5 photos were stitched together to produce the panorama.

I would have liked to have included more of the High Level bridge, to the left, but it is obscured by trees from this viewpoint.

The original is 9642 x 4953 pixels, giving a print 32 inches long at the optimum 300 dpi printing  resolution, but, for practical purposes and sensible viewing distance, it would print probably more than double that size.

Actual pixels crop, just a touch of CA but good definition

Sony NEX 6 Samsung Schneider D-Xenogon (Pentax) 35mm f2

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Tyneside Bike Ride

Trying to shake off a persistent cold, I decided to go on a circular bike ride, from Washington to North Shields, across the Tyne ferry to South Shields and along the coast to Sunderland, and so home along the Wear valley. The first part of the journey to Gateshead and across the Millennium footbridge passed without notable incident.

This is St Peter's basin, a modern marina on the north  bank of the river Tyne to the east of Newcastle that occupies the site of the former Hawthorn Leslie engineering works where I was once employed. Coincidentally I met an ex colleague here, and agreed to share e-mail addresses.

An offshore structure being constructed at the Hadrian yard of Offshore Group Newcastle.

Men working perilously high on the structure.
Pentax 75-150 f4 M

I believe that the cylindrical things attached to the main structure are sacrificial anodes, designed to reduce corrosion of the steel work.

The observation tower at the Roman site Segedumun at Wallsend. (Roman or Hadrian's wall's end!)

The graceful Victorian iron railway viaduct over Willington Dene
Sigma 19mm f2.8

The marina at Royal Quays (The Albert Edward Dock) in North Shields.

Taking the Shields ferry I crossed from North to South Shields. The open air market in South Shields

I had a brief chat with this lady selling copies of the Shields Gazette. She told me that her contemporaries based in Newcastle had recently been paid off. I bought a Gazette and took her photo. It transpired that her brother had taken a photography course and she knew not to stare at the camera.

For the last few miles I had become aware that all was not well with my Brompton bicycle, there was an ominous thud coming from the rear wheel. Inspection revealed a swelling of the tyre, which caused me to abandon my original plan and take to the Metro, which carried me to South Hylton about 3.5 miles from home. On arrival there the tyre was completely flat, with a large tear in the casing. A phone call  brought my wife to the rescue and home in the car.

Sony Nex 6, various lenses.