Trains

As I’ve just up uploaded a new website gallery ‘Trains’.  Here is an account of some of the images.kh209-mv1 copy copy copy.jpg

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Over the years I’ve had the privilege of photographing trains both commissioned and for  my personal portfolio. In 1988 whilst on a portfolio project in New Zealand I stumbled upon a preserved railway station in Lake Wakatipu, which housed a steam train by the name of the ‘Kingston Flyer’. There it was adjacent to the water tower in its full glory . I needed a break from just shooting landscapes of which New Zealand is extraordinary blessed. The Kingston Flyer was my muse. The romance of a steam engine in a beautiful landscape beckoned. I knew I could create a nice image at the station but the real challenge was to find the perfect position with a stunning background with a mass of sheep! or maybe a few flocks. After walking up and down the 14km preserved line with my equipment, shooting 5×4 polaroids I found my ideal spot which happened to be a 2 or 3 hundred yards from a farm house. Even better; a sheep farmer. After a mug of tea and a nice chat (about sheep shearing )  I explained my project with the farmer and his son who were willing to provide 50 – 100 sheep, but when I showed them my polaroid they pointed out that it was not their land and that I would have to be 100 yards further up the line . That 100 yards would compromise the aesthetics of the shot in that the railway line curved and would not see so much of the mountains, so I ditched the idea of the sheep, which I believe was the correct decision. Not only would they be a distraction and as I wasn’t hiring the train, it was only going to stop for a couple of minutes so my ‘focus’ would be on the train and the man on horse with the dogs , so getting a hundred sheep to position themselves in that time limit was too risky despite our shepherd’s skills.

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Once the train driver was happy with the plan I had to wait a few days for repairs to the train. Upon my return to organise the shoot, he wasn’t to be found (no mobiles then) but while waiting for his possible appearance a coach load of Japanese tourists turned up on the platform and started to arrange photos of me with various groups, so whilst a bit confused I suddenly realised they thought I was the train driver!

The next day was to be successful . I shot the train in the   landscape, exposing ,5×4 sheets of colour transparency and black and white film. Then shot the ‘Flyer’ back at the station by the water tower. I used the train in the landscape as a promotional poster which was delivered to all the creatives and art buyers in all the major ad agencies in London and worldwide. It was selected that year for the noncommissioned landscape in the Association of Photographers awards. Whilst showing my portfolio to a nameless art buyer and giving her a copy of the poster she preceded to call me ‘Lake’!  as in the title of the poster ‘Kingston Flyer – Lake Wakatipu’ causing great amusement to the an art director who still to this day calls me ‘Lake’.                                         

 

Type 59 Polaroid

 

 

Promotional poster.  Original soft and moody version                       AOP awards book

On many occasions a portfolio or a particular image can create a commissioned job and with the ‘Kingston Flyer’ image, it attracted Art director David Bell at Young and Rubicon Advertising agency London to choose me to shoot 2 British Gas ad’s. One of them was to shoot a steam train. After a bit of research and with a lighting crew and a generator truck  from Samuelson Lighting in London, we travelled to Haworth West Yorkshire, my favourite county for many commissioned ads during this early period of my career. The main commissioned shot for this press ad was for British Gas showers, so you can see  the association of the steam train shot being replenished by the water tower along with the steam. The raking low sunlight mixed with our HMI daylights was a sight to behold . Once David and myself were happy that this brief was achieved nothing was going to stop me from shooting more at different angles and viewpoints which was now in darkness . Only the lighting crew could stop me from shooting masses of sheet film in which they did eventually politely  ‘pull the plug’ as overtime fees would be required.

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IMG_1846              Colour steam train copy copykh183.tif

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More new website galleries

Since my last post I’ve now uploaded ‘North Africa’ and ‘Scandinavian icescapes’ with , Animals , New Zealand, Brazil, Cuba, Trains and Bloomsday to follow soon. Here are two from ‘North Africa’ and ‘Scandinavian Icescapes’.

Eze Village

This fascinating village in the French Riviera extending from the Mediterranean sea to the hilltop with a medieval village. Its Jardin botanique d’Eze was created after WW11 on a chateaus ruins by town mayor André Gianton and Jean Gastaud of the Jardin Exotique de Monaco. It is sited on a steep terrain falling over 400 meters to the sea with panoramic views of the coast, and known for its impressive collection of cactus and succulents from the Mediterranean region, Africa, and the Americas.

The oldest building in the village is the Chapelle de la Sainte Croix and dates back to 1306. Members of the lay order of the White Penitents of Èze, were in charge of giving assistance to plague victims, who would hold their meetings there. The shape of the bell-turret is an indication that the village once belonged to the Republic of Genoa. A series of sculptures, Earth Goddesses, by Jean-Philippe Richard is interspersed among the cacti and succulents, as well as the castle ruins. Each sculpture is accompanied by a plaque with an enigmatic message. The first sculpture, Justine or Isis, commemorates the Egyptian goddess of fertility who some people credit with giving her name to the village of Eze.

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Howth Pt 1

Howth is a favourite shooting location of mine. A bustling historic fishing village on the North side of Dublin. Restaurants and fish shops line the east side of the harbour with the yachting community on the west side . Its a walkers paradise with spectacular coastline views of Dublin Bay’s UNESCO biosphere and nearby small islands of Irelands eye and Lambay Island. With the help and cooperation of Shane O’Doherty who runs excellent hiking tours (www.shaneshowthhikes.com ) we managed to get a lower angle as possible of Bailey Lighthouse to give this almost iconic and popular photographic subject a more majestic feel. Along with official permission Shane and I took on board the safety aspect in order to endure the slippy grassy cliff. After our preparation day we returned the following morning at 5.30 am in freezing conditions but fortunately the wind had died down enough for excellent shooting conditions conducive with safety and dealing with shooting long exposures. I shot this during the various changes of light before sunrise and soon after; whilst observing and admiring the beauty unfolding which created different cloud formations, height and direction of the sun that revealed textures and forms in different areas of the landscape/seascape. Tides are also a consideration. Once I was happy with our efforts it was time to attempt to ‘liven’ things up with attracting the local seagulls to make an appearance but despite my supplies of seagull grub (chips oven cooked the night before) and with Shane’s ‘seagull whispering’ reputation, it just wasn’t to be. After all I was optimistic due to the Howth seagull reputation of diving down to steal peoples chips! Ah well, I hope it wasn’t because of the presence of Shane’s trusty dog, Bruno; who at least spotted our first sea otter. After breakfast I had a new brief to fulfil, along Howth harbour which is in Part 2 next week.

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Dublin’s coastal Dart.

white rockpassing train bcopyWhiterock copy copyKilliney dart frombeach copyWhiterockdartlookinbackcropedWhiterockdartlookinbackWhiterockdartlsunriseb copyWhiterockdartlookinbackcropedb copyWhiterocksurfbDuring my two day shoot at this chosen location, my main objective was to shoot the Dart train in a coastal setting within the boundaries of Dublin county. The Dublin Area Rapid Transit system, officially and popularly known as the DART, is an electrified rapid transit railway network serving the coastline and city centre of Dublin. The service makes up the core of Dublin’s suburban railway network , stretching from Greystones at its southernmost terminus to Howth and Malahide in north county Dublin. The DART serves 31 stations and consists of 53 kilometres of track, and carries in the region of 16 million passengers per year. See previous post on this location . Next week is Howth!

Dublin Bay Swimmers

Whilst shooting trains overlooking Dublin Bay last December, (will post soon) I became fascinated with this cove, White Rock. Bono’s back yard (it overlooks his gaff). The sweeping strand has been compared to the Bay of Naples. It has a blue flag for its environmental status. White Rock is cut off from the main strand at high tide. It has a large white changing building for the many swimmers that frequent in all temperatures. A natural swimming platform is carved out of the large rock. Within the cliff is Decco’s Cave. They say the cave is named after an Italian who once lived in it during the 1920’s. It was an entrance to a lead mine around 1751 and later copper mining. The lead was loaded on board a barge on the spot to be exported to England. It’s now deserted.

Jose follows in his family tradition of swimming nude. This shot of him was in December!

Rionach can be seen regularly braving the elements in the Irish sea through out the year in images 4 & 5.white rock with fitness man copyGCQ copyWhiterock5 copyKilliney whiterocklady1 copyb copyKilliney rocks swimmer 6b copy copy