Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trains, cars and photography

click photo to enlarge
I've never been a car buff, I've always preferred my bicycle. Though I do own a car it's with reluctance and I've always seen motor vehicles as destructive, things that have wreaked havoc on planning and urban settlements. However, I've also found them an undeniable source of humour as regular readers of this blog will know. With this outlook, as you can imagine, my conversations with other men about cars don't follow the usual path. My wife pretty much shares that outlook. And yet it is her proud boast that in the 1980s she could identify most of the cars seen on Britain's roads. How so? Well, our oldest son, from the age of two and from the vantage point of his pushchair, wanted to know what to call each one he saw, so my wife had to read the names and then tell him. He would delight in spotting further examples and tell my wife about them.

But, I am not a complete transport illiterate, and I do have some expertise in locomotive identification, particularly those that travelled the lines of British Rail in the 1980s. You might have guessed that I gained it from the same source. My son's interest in things transport-related expanded to trains and I learned the names alongside him. So, I can tell a Deltic from a Class 37, a Class 47 from a Class 50, and the minutiae of the Class 8 shunter is no stranger to me. However, my interest continued only as long as it took for my son to learn more by himself, and so I have little knowledge of subsequent developments. Consequently, when I came to give a title to the photograph of the diesel multiple unit (DMU) in today's photograph that I took while waiting at Grantham station to meet someone travelling on it, I had to look it up.

Of all the specialist photographers, those photographing trains are some of the most driven. Invariably (and unlike me) they do it in support of their hobby or interest, and with a dedication that is a marvel to behold. Moreover, they document each image with a level of detail that few other photographers match: name of type of loco, specific name, number, location, route, time, specific variables of one sort or another, camera details etc. My poor effort doesn't match this level of care and attention.* It was an "opportunity shot", and is only the third train photograph to appear on this blog. My other efforts are here and here.

* In the spirit of a real train photographer I should say that this photograph was taken on Wednesday 21st September and shows a Class 180 (No. 109) First Hull Trains DMU on the 10:30am Hull to King's Cross service at Grantham station, Lincolnshire. It had departed 20 minutes late and arrived at Grantham at 12:19pm, 18 minutes late, due to a line problem.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/800
Exposure Compensation: -0.66 EV
Image Stabilisation: On