Pothana Lane in Monochrome (Pictorial)

Below are a few scenes from a recent visit to Pothana Lane in the NSW Hunter Valley (near Branxton).

9017 leads two classmates downgrade with a loaded coal train bound for Port Waratah for export, whilst the crew of heritage steam locomotive 5917 pour coal into the firebox as she stomps upgrade with a charter train to Singleton.

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Just Run With It

Given our recent performance, there’s plenty of reasons to just stay home and watch the cricket. Having said that, when the opportunity to chase a Qube Logistics freighter during daylight hours on the west arises, it’s a convincing case to get off the coach and get a plan in motion. This was how, when many were settled in front of the TV, we found ourselves peering over a cliff into Glenbrook Gorge, looking for trains.

We arrived at the gorge at a little after 2pm. Content to laze in the shade (occasionally panicking when we imagined we heard a family of brown snakes stealthily moving towards our position) and watch the NSW TrainLink Blue Mountains services drifting down the mountain. Finally, as the clock approached 5pm, some action! A diverted (and delayed) 7SP5 Pacific National superfreighter to Perth was photographed grinding up the grade towards Glenbrook Tunnel behind NR Class locomotives 67, 23, 76 and 116.

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An Afternoon at Jung

“Where the heck is that”, I hear you ask! Jung is a township located along the mainline between Melbourne and Adelaide, in Western Victoria. A small town with a population only just nudging 100, it is a farming community, with many acres of crops surrounding the town area. Jung is the highest point in the Wimmera region, the skyline dominated by the disused grain silos, the connection to the mainline long severed. I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours trackside at Jung with a couple of good friends in October of 2012. Although we only saw three trains (3WX2 PN SteelLink, 2PM6 PN superfreighter and 5MA6 extra QRNational freight), we did take great delight in watching the sun set across the impressive concrete silos.

As usual, click on any photo to be taken to Flickr to see a larger size.

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2012 Top Ten

Last year, when I complied and submitted my top ten photos for the year, they all felt somehow right, like each one had earned its place in the list. Everything felt natural, as if “yes, these are the top ten photographs for 2011”. This year couldn’t have been harder. I’m not going to get ahead of myself and say that I had “too many” good photos to choose between them. I’m not conceited. That being said, I’m not going to play the “I can’t find one good photo, let alone ten” card either, because I know I got plenty of good shots this year.

The problem is the curse of knowing too much. That XPT shot at Donnybrook, look at the colours there! That’s a shoe in. A closer look reveals that it’s crooked. The headlight shot from the final ZZR train of the year? Looks like I’ve cut the top of the signal box off slightly. Too much blur here, not enough there. I managed to find something wrong with almost every shot that I suggested – that’s not to say that they are necessarily “bad” shots. Just that I know how they could be better, because I pressed the shutter.

I could go on and on about shots that could be better, but that’s not the point of the exercise. The point is to highlight my favourite ten photos from the year, and provide a bit of back-story to each shot. The year in review will be summed up in a separate blog post. Continue reading “2012 Top Ten”

Rail Scenes Photography

Rarely an event goes by in the railway industry without some enterprising enthusiast capturing it on “film” (or pixels as the case may be). At some point in recent times, the art of train photography has made a transition from just “recording a loco/wagon/colour scheme” to being a standalone expression. It’s not just about capturing “the best steam locomotive”, but it’s about how you capture it. Slowly people are trying out new things and moving past the stereotypical three-quarter sunny roster shot (although these still have their place).

Some railway photographers have earned their spurs as “regular” photographers (either professionally, or more often, photography enthusiasts). Others have gained all of their experience through the rail enthusiast hobby. However, what is a budding photographer to do when faced with a situation they have no experience in – the ever challenging but also very rewarding art of night photography. Previously, unless enthusiasts had access to the skills and the knowledge, it seemed like a very steep learning curve that would frustrate more often than reward.

Thankfully, Rail Scenes Photography (RSP) has seen this as an opportunity, and has begun holding a series of events designed to provide everything a photographer needs to learn about night photography. It’s easy (albeit expensive) to take photography classes, but until now there’s been nothing specifically tailored to railway photography. Thankfully, RSP has come up with an inventive and inexpensive solution.

Their first event was held at Newport Workshops in Melbourne, Victoria on the night of July 28th, 2012. The premise was simple – turn up with a tripod and camera, and the experts on hand will provide the “scenes”, the lighting and the expertise for any level of photographer. Despite having a reasonable experience with night photography (both railway and non-railway related), the event piqued my interest, if only because I would not have to wait for scenes to set themselves up – here was a chance to have steam locomotives parked up in photogenic locations specifically to have their photos taken! Continue reading “Rail Scenes Photography”

Part Four – Tourists & Trams

Our final day in Melbourne was only to be a half day, due to an early start at work on the following day (for one of us, anyway…). With a 3pm flight booked from Melbourne to Sydney, we spent the morning in the CBD taking “normal” photos of the CBD and some of the trams clanking around the streets. The “touristy” type photos can be seen below, followed by the tram photos.

A couple of shots of the Melbourne CBD:

Melbourne is really big on cycling, with bike lanes radiating in and out of the CBD at every turn, and plenty of legitimate places to park. There is even a number of public “bicycle hire” stands around the city, to rent bicycles with which to see the city. Very much the opposite of Sydney, where the recent advent of bike lanes has been poorly planned and rushed out with little thought of location for ease of use for car users, bicycle users and pedestrians alike.

A couple of shots from the observation deck of the Eureka Tower – a far better view than Sydneys Centre-point Tower, as no buildings obscure the view of Melbourne this high up! This is a must visit for any Melbourne tourist. The second shot is looking through one of the fixed viewpoints – located around the observation deck, they focus the viewer specifically on a point of interest, and an information card about said point of interest is included for extra knowledge!

Of course, while walking around looking for trams, one cannot resist a train-shot if one presents itself:

Speaking of trams: