Joe Cornish, the great British landscape photographer, advocates taking most of your photographs no more than thirty minutes from your home. So, here's my blog featuring pictures either thirty minutes drive or walk away from my front door or from the place where I'm staying for a few days. I'll also be writing about photography in general from time to time. Please enjoy!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Storming North

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I grew up with steam trains... as a small boy my bedroom window overlooked a quite busy line and I was always fascinated by the sight and sound of a steam locomotive. In the late 1960's as the steam locomotive was phased out railway photography was radically changed from the sunlit front three-quarters view of a clean engine to a more realistic dirty, gritty, rainy one by the likes of Colin Gifford, Ian Krause and many others. They didn't go for pretty locations; the industrial north with its decaying buildings and lousy weather became the backdrop. And often the train was secondary to the location. I photographed many steam trains with my little Halina 120 camera during 1967 and to the end of July 1968. Sadly, the negatives were lost in various house moves.

Whenever it's possible I still get out and photograph steam trains. This is 71000 'Duke of Gloucester' at Coppenhall Moss just north of Crewe working very hard; I've treated this to a monochrome conversion, a severe crop and added some Giffordesque grain.

Two books that I can recommend are Gifford's 'Decline of Steam' and 'Each a Glimpse' and Ian Krause's 'Steam', which show how steam railway photography changed in the mid- to late-sixties.

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