Learning how to photograph steam trains brings some technical challenges which we explore on our Photography Experience Days with the East Lancashire Railway.
We asked our principal tutor Tony Holt to explain the thinking and preparation behind how this fantastic image was captured.
Preparing a shot like this starts a long time before you take your camera out the bag. Working with heritage railways is challenging and very rewarding. You need to have quality time with the staff and volunteers who will ensure you are in the right place at the best times and can place yourself in safe behind the scenes locations, where you won’t be jostled by crowds.
Our featured shot was taken at the listed Buckley Wells Sheds, which are normally closed to the public, as The Flying Scotsman returned to The East Lancashire Railway from the main line.
We have exclusive access to parts of the railway which are not open to the public which means that our delegates can not only get unique images of some of the best known vintage locomotives in Britain, they can do it without worrying about someone else getting in the way of the shot.
DSLR, with 16-35mm F4 Lens. Shutter speed 1/160 and f6.3.
Knowing the time of the Flying Scotsman’s return to the yard, I positioned myself safely to the side of the track in front of the shed main doors to capture the Scotsman as it was gently moved past the two steam engines and then into the shed. I kept the lens at 29mm which was wide enough but didn’t cause any distortion of the engines.
Shutter speed was kept at 1/160 to allow a sharp enough image but importantly also show something of the movement of The Scotsman as it approached me.
I used centre weighted metering to let the camera meter mainly off the engines and help balance the light. It was getting a little late in the day so iso was 640.
All in all, a nice opportunity and unique image.
For dates of forthcoming photography courses on the East Lancashire Railway visit the ELR website at http://www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/packages-experiences/photography-experiences.aspx