For about a year now, I have been shooting exclusively with older cameras, my hankering for the latest and best, a thing of the past as I do not need a camera with the latest video technology, neither do I need a trillion megapixels when the majority of my images are shared on social media.
There is nothing wrong with the latest and best, I am not a hater in that respect, I have simply realised that they are overkill for me.
Up to last year, I would never have entertained the notion of using a small ‘digicam’, until I stumbled upon an online video of Charlie Waite, the world famous landscape photographer, extolling the virtues of his Lumix LX5….
I often set myself challenges for my weekend camera walks, this weekend I had decided to shoot exclusively with a point and shoot camera, with no ‘bigger camera’ as a safety net, as I very often do.
A trip to a favourite steam railway was the venue, the weather, a grey overcast and drizzly affair that was a perfect challenge for the tiny sensor camera. The fun in using these cameras is just to see how far they can be pushed, as well as how far they can challenge me as a photographer.
I have learned to really like the way they render monochrome images for that imperfect and grainy vibe that adds atmosphere to an image, most of all my photography has become fun again, without my self imposed expectation to get the perfect shot that comes with using more expensive gear.
Day 35 and I have travelled a little further afield from my usual haunts for a few days, staying in the breathtaking scenery of Wales.
With a ‘base’ at Bala lake, there will be a few early morning forays here for sure but today’s post centres on a brief foray to Porthmadog.
This is my second visit to this harbour town, with views of both the sea and the mountains, Moel-y-Gest the prominent hill standing majestically in the distance.
Even among this wonderful scenery, I was still keen to grab a few shots at the nearby steam Railway station, first opened in 1877, the station building is now a grade II listed building.
It is barely 10am and the platform is already bustling with activity, soon to be passengers looking admiringly at their transport for the next few hours, staff preparing said transport and people like me, there just to capture the scene in either still images or video.
I love the hustle and bustle of these charming stations, kept alive by an army of volunteers and employees alike, always immaculately kept, always friendly.
The vibrant colours of the trains and station are emphasized by the warm sun and blue skies, I spend a few minutes chatting to a fellow photographer comparing pictures and naturally talking about ‘gear’.
Perhaps next year I may stop here long enough to take one of these train journeys myself, what better excuse to return again some time soon.
Day 18 may prove to be one of my favourite photo walks of the entire 50mm project, simply because of the variety of shots I was able to take today.
An opportunity to mooch around the market town of Totnes for a couple of hours will rarely be refused, especially on a market day, when the town will be busier than normal.
The market square is where my shoot begins, where a myriad of marketeers ply their trade, from bric a brac to fruit and veg, antiques to Panama hats but the busiest stalls appear to be the street food stalls, where the subtle aroma of spices tantalize the taste buds.
As the queue at the Ethiopian food stall dissipates temporarily, I ask for an Impromptu photo of the owner Hanna, as she works, she generously obliges, asking only that I share the photos with her, of course I am more than happy to do so.
I had planned to spend around 15 minutes at the market, I spend the best part of 40 minutes just trying to capture the essence of the scene and the street close to the market.
As I move from here, I head through the main street to the riverside, then take the footpath to the local steam railway station at Totnes, which had I checked their website, I would have known it was yet to open for the new season, never mind, the walk is still a very pleasant one.
If I was slightly disappointed at missing out from the Totnes steam railway, a visit to Buckfastleigh on the way back home, more than makes up for it, this will be the third ‘chapter’ for todays outing.
While Totnes station was yet to open, Buckfastleigh was hosting an event for railway enthusiasts, plenty going on here then! It would appear that most of these enthusiasts are also keen photographers, where the mix of Canon and Nikon is evenly split, with the odd Sony user, they all have one thing in common, the long zoom lens, I feel kind of under dressed here, with just my faithful fifty.
That said, I rarely if ever feel that I have missed a shot using just one focal length, learning to adapt is what helps to keep my love of photography alive.
As life tiptoes cautiously back to a semblance of normality, today is a day I have been looking forward to for a long time, a visit to one of Devon’s steam railways at Buckfastleigh.
For as long as I have carried a camera, this has been a favourite destination and after an eighteen month absence, it is fair to say I am looking forward to it!
This small station always extends a warm welcome to its visitors, it is like being welcomed back into a long lost family, regardless of whether this is your first or umpteenth visit.
Regardless of how many times I have been to any steam railway station, the sight and sound of the steam locomotive arriving at the station never fails to bring out the excitement of the child within, grown adults with cameras around necks, almost running to get a good spot to take a picture.
The platform of course is the main stage but I take as much pleasure in exploring the sidings and workshop areas, watching the army of restoration experts and engineers bringing new life into forgotten heritage.
I am mainly using my Fuji X100V for this trip today, I have been experimenting with some film simulations recipes I am keen to try, two work really well while two more need a little tweaking but this for me is the joy of photography, more so that I am able to try in camera, rather than at a computer screen later.
With the second of my post lockdown trips ticked off the list, all that remains for me to do is post my pick of yesterday’s outing.