Train Spotting, June 2015

Category: Newsletters 11 June 2015

The Tyrol, Austria. Canon 5D mkIII, 100-400mm l IS II lens.

I never thought it would come to this; we're train-spotting. But stick with this, it’s not quite as sad as it sounds; we're hardly in our anoraks logging locomotive numbers on the platform at Bristol Temple Meads on a Sunday morning. We're in the Brenner Pass, the ancient route through the Alps lining the border between Italy and Austria, and the train in question is not the 0952 from Paddington, it's the famous Venice Simplon Orient Express.

The Orient Express is a thriving relic from the Roaring Twenties and the Golden Age of Travel. It's an Art Deco icon offering one of the most celebrated and romantic journeys in the world from London and Paris to the gateway to the Orient; Venice. On board vintage cabins, gastronomic cuisine and onboard entertainment make for an unforgettable travel experience. At least that's what I'm told. We'll get nowhere near the opulent interiors, sparkling crystal, plush fabrics and polished woods of the luxury carriages; we're sheltering from the frequent showers in a tent on a campsite down the road near Innsbruck. That’s our lot in life, we’re used to it, embrace it even, but I have been commissioned to shoot the Orient Express passing through the Alpine scenery the legendary train journey is so famous for. It's a prestigious job, but a train is a train, and any way you cut it we're still train spotting.

The Venice Simplon Orient Express passing through the Brenner Pass, Austria. Canon 5D mkIII, 24mm TS-E lens.

Prestigious the commission may well be, but it also brings a whole pile of problems. The VSOE only runs about twice a week you see, and its north and southbound routes through the Alps are different. One rogue cloud blocking the sun as the train rattles through could render a week’s location searching and waiting fruitless. But conquering such tricky jobs are what being a professional photographer is all about; there's far more to it all then just cameras and lenses. You f11 Members will be able to read all about Chasing the Orient Express in next month's edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine.

I missed doing a May newsletter; sorry, pressures of work, such as train-spotting, not to mention staging Road Shows in Italy. Prior to chasing the Orient Express we were in Friuli, a beguiling region of north-eastern Italy as guests of the Circolo Photographico Palmarino. The Road Show we staged for them in the historic UNESCO World Heritage town of Cividale del Friuli was the biggest we've yet done, and the first dual language presentation. 450 people filled the Theatre to hear me and Rosanna, my Italian voice, take them on a world tour. 

Presenting the Chasing the Light Road Show in Cividale del Friulli. Photo: Paolo Taffoli.

The whole weekend was an unforgettable experience for Wendy and I; we were made so welcome and I have never made eaten so many anti piattis. The response to the Show both on stage and afterwards from our gracious Italian audience was uplifting; they even laughed at some of my jokes. I love doing these Shows, and so I'm delighted to be able to announce that next spring we'll be bringing the Chasing the Light Road Show to the Hilton in the Hague, Netherlands as guests of PhotographySchool.NL . Watch this space for more details.

Rehearsing with my Italian voice; Rossanna Virgolin.
So, what’s tilt & shift in Italian? Photo: Luigino Snidero.

Well before then though we'll be bringing the Show to Nottinghamshire on the 10 September as guests of Chesterfield Photographic Society; full details and tickets here. We'll also be staging our own event at Chequer Mead in East Grinstead, West Sussex on the 24 November 2015; again, watch this space for details. And just next week on 20 June  I’ll be at Park Cameras, Burgess Hill giving two talks as part of their Imaging Festival Summer 2015 event; come along for a chat, show & sensor clean if you're nearby.  But while talks, presentations seminars and courses are all satisfying and gratifying it’s being Out There behind the lens that fuels it all, whether chasing trains on commissions or producing new content for the never ending demands of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine. That is, as you all know, a very time consuming business, which is why I can only ever commit to running a few Workshops a year. 

(left) f11 Member Lorraine Heaysman shooting Corfe Castle in the mist on last year’s Jurassic Coast Capture to Print Photographic Workshop

One of those is of course our popular 3-day Jurassic Coast Capture to Print Photographic Workshop which we now run annually in November. This course offers such a good opportunity to take our guests through the full process of creating strong photography from conception through the legwork of reconnoitring a location to planning the shoot, the subsequent capture of the decisive moment, followed by the editing, the processing and finally the printing of the winning image. To that end we have a digital darkroom set up on the course to walk you through the dark arts of RAW processing, Photoshop shenanigans and printing. If post production is a complex minefield for you we’ll help to bring clarity and purpose where there is confusion and uncertainty. 

Durdle Door & the Jurassic Coast from Bat's Head, Dorset, England. Join us on our 3-Day Jurassic Coast Capture to Print Photographic Workshop in November 2015.


Two issues of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine have been published since my last newsletter. Collectively awaiting your perusal are Behind the Lens features from Iceland and Vietnam, a Video Blog also from Iceland, a How It’s Done in the spring woods, a Video Tutorial on exposing to the right, Stepping Back to Andalucia in 2000 and Dorset in 1957, the usual 4 Fundamentals of Post Production Video Tutorials, the Low Down on Exposure Parts 6 &7, Guest Features by Ross Hoddinott, Chris Weston, Jasper Doest and Bas Meelker and your f11 Member's Galleries.

Rain clouds hanging over the Col de Bavella, Corsica, France. An image taken from The Low Down on Exposure: The Future is Bright. A feature in this month's Chasing the Light Online Magazine.

There is now so much content available to our f11 Member’s in all 41 back issues of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine that we’ve made a fully searchable index as a downloadable pdf (sign in an go to 'my pdf downloads') to help you access the feature or video you want. All of these valuable resources are available only to our registered f11 Members. If you are still not sure what all this talk of f11 Membership and the Chasing the Light Online Magazine is all about there’s a video you can watch explaining it here. f11 Membership costs £39 per year.

This month’s Fundamentals of Post Production Video Tutorials in the Chasing the Light Online Magazine investigate exposure merging using the new version of Adobe Lightroom. You can now log in and use our fully searchable index to find the feature, tutorial or video you want.

Last month I had the privilege of teaming up with two f11 Members; Your Vision 2015 winners Peter Geraerts and Josh Cooper, both of whom had won a day in the field with me as part of their prizes. Peter chose Dartmoor for his shoot, Josh opted for Snowdonia. On both shoots Mother Nature had her say, predictably, (when does she not?) but pixels were exposed, panoramas stitched, locations scouted, and yes, pub grub devoured; great fun. It could be you next year; we’ll be announcing the f11 Member’s Your Vision 2016 Competition next month.

With f11 Your Vision 2015 competition winners: (left) Peter Geraerts at Saddle Tor on Dartmoor, Devon and (right) Josh Cooper at Castel y Bere, Wales.

I’ll be back train spotting again later in the year, next time in the Scottish Highlands. Right now my eye lids are getting distinctly heavy; the days are long this time of year and I was up at 3am for a dawn shoot. Where? I can’t tell you, it’s another commission which must remain under wraps, for now. Suffice to say it’s a peach, and every time I press the shutter release I have to think of the Queen’s Head. ‘nuff said; you’ll hear all about it in due course. Until then…

Keep exposing....

Related Tags:  david noton photography |  news |  e-newsletter |  january 2015 |  train spotting | 
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