Thursday, July 23, 2009

Models and the real thing

click photo to enlarge
Looking through some storage boxes a while ago I came across a Fleischmann Model Steam Engine. It's the stationary type that requires fuel to be placed below the water-filled boiler, ignited, and the resulting steam pressure operates a piston and crank. A quick spin of the flywheel is required to get it started, but once under way it chugs merrily along, demonstrating the principle of steam power to good, if somewhat limited, effect. The engine was given to me by a friend when my sons were small. We fired it up a few times, but, in truth, once you've seen it go, tooted its whistle, and wondered about what it could power, well that's about it!

During my own childhood I was familiar with these model steam engines: they were the sort of thing I'd have liked to own, but never did. The ones that particularly appealed to me were those that were based on the old traction engine, because in them steam power drove the vehicle as well as provided a take-off drive for powering other things. A friend's father owned one, and through him I discovered that they appealed not only to small boys, but to the small boy that still resides in many grown men. This particular man went on to indulge his interests to a much deeper level, making a large-scale working model of the "Flying Scotsman" steam engine using a lathe and a blueprint, and finally constructing a full-size Auster aircraft from a kit that the manufacturer sold!

I've recently been going through my photographs and have selected a few from last year that are probably worth posting. This shot was taken at an event where a number of traction engines were gathered. I posted an image of this enthusiast with his pride and joy last year, in which he obligingly held his pose for me. The image above is more of a candid shot, showing a bit of delicate, adjustable-spanner work being undertaken. I liked the concentration on the face of the owner here as he carefully undertakes his adjustment, rather like a surgeon giving a final tweak to his handiwork!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 400
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On