There’s something quite magical about steam trains; the smells and sounds are evocative of a bygone age. We’re lucky in the UK to have so many heritage railways and so many devoted volunteers to keep the trains running and the stations looking so nice. This little essay features some of the steam locomotives of the Ffestiniog Railway, which can be found in the coastal town of Porthmadog, North Wales. It’s also home to the Welsh Highland Railway, which runs from Caernarfon to Porthmadog.
I always think that black & white suits steam trains more than colour so I almost always produce my steam images in that medium. My favourite railway photographer is Colin T Gifford who revolutionised the way trains were photographed. Up until the early 1960’s a front three-quarter view of nice, clean engines in the sunshine was the norm. Gifford turned that on its head by photographing in poor weather and in rundown industrial locations, mainly in the north of England. His images were grainy and gritty and sometimes you had to search for the train because Gifford was also a landscape photographer. He took photos of kids playing football while a train was passing by, of sheep grazing while a train ambled through the background. A truly great photographer.
The images here were taken in 2012 shortly after I’d bought my Fujifilm X-10 and this was the first time that I’d used it for a “serious” shoot. Each photo has been reprocessed especially for this essay using Lightroom 5.6 and Silver Efex Pro2. I hope you like them.