The Flying Scotsman - 11th June 2016 - Stephen Beecroft

Several months ago my Dad mentioned that the Flying Scotsman would be passing locally to us. Since he is retired I set up the task of finding a location that offered us a nice viewing point. The criteria I set were, I didn't want any buildings in the frame, I didn't want any power cables, and ideally I wanted to photograph the Flying Scotsman so I could see it head on but with an angle that allowed you to see the full length of the train as well. 

I am not sure exactly how long my Dad carried out his scouting mission but I soon received an email with a Google Maps attachment and a photo he took from the proposed shooting location with details of the lens he used so I could put into perspective what the viewing angle was going to be. 

The next thing to do was for us both to go there at the right time of day to confirm the location was suitable and to check at that point in the day exactly where the sun would be. As it was important that the sun was behind us so it was hitting the train. If it was behind the train you would be looking at the side in the shade which would not have looked as nice. More importantly it would not have shown off the Flying Scotsman. 

An early idea I had was to place a camera on a tripod and trigger it remotely. This would allow me to hopefully capture two different angles. The only time I have done this before was to control the camera I was using for nighttime shots. But I would normally just be standing right behind the camera not nearly 20 meters away. 

Another possible problem would be where this camera would focus with a moving subject panning across the frame.

A late addition to the camera was an orange carrier bag to keep the rain off. 

Because of people getting on to the track and generally disrupting other journeys that the Flying Scotsman has made recently the timetable was withheld to just basic details so it was a case of getting there early and waiting. Once again I forgot my flask. Really need to work out how to remind myself. 

After quite a while we could hear a train, there was a brief panic because it was clearly coming in the opposite direction that we were expecting. But soon enough we could see it was a coal train. The good thing was I could fire off a few shots with my remote camera and also check I had my settings correct in the camera I was using. 

These shots are below. 

I decided that my remote camera was set to take in too wide a shot so I adjusted and we carried on waiting. Quite a few other people had started to arrive at our viewing point. Each talking about their own source of what time the train should arrive. One gentleman explaining we would have at least 20 minutes after the freight train had passed because it was single track and he was quite a way until the next passing point. 

But after waiting nearly 90 minutes the tell tale whistle of a steam train could be heard. I started to fire off shots so that my remote camera would fire. I think people standing where I was were a little confused as I was taking photos whilst I clearly couldn't see the train. Finally it came into view into where I was standing. 

It was travelling considerably faster than the Coal train had. But certainly a lovely site. I only managed a few frames in the gap I had the train framed for before it passed. I just hoped I had something in focus. The rain started to come down quite heavily so we made a dash for the car. 

There I was able to check and I was pleasantly surprised with the shot I got off my remote camera. Definitely something to use more in the future. Here is my final image of the Flying Scotsman. I could not decide if I preferred the Colour or Black and White version. After posting this on Facebook the consensus seemed to be people preferred the Colour

And here is the final image I captured on my remote camera. I used a Yongnuo trigger system that I normally use for firing Flash Guns off Camera. Might try doing this at the next wedding I photograph  for another angle. 

Powered by SmugMug Log In