**PART 2** This Week Through Your Eyes 2019.11.30

Started 1 month ago | Discussions thread
Steve Monks
Steve Monks Contributing Member • Posts: 631
So, not the "ponderously slow" Scotsman then...
1

The Flying Scotsman came through my town early this morning. Having never seen an actual steam locomotive out in the wild and a famous one at that, I decided I'd try and get some shots of it as it went past.

Unfortunately for this endeavour, Railtrack have spent the last few years electrifying the line that runs through Chorley and as part of this process had to rebuild all of the ancient railway bridges to make them high enough for the power cables to run beneath them. As part of this process they also increased the height of the walls on every bridge making them very difficult to see over, even for a six foot guy like myself.

The end result of all this is that good vantage points around town are now a bit limited and thus I found myself on the recently constructed multi storey (as in, it has one storey and a ground floor) car park behind the train station, giving me a clean, but cluttered view of the track as it left the station.

Thinking this might be my only chance to shoot this fabled loco, I decided to wheel out the big guns in the form of the Nikon D810 and the large section of drainpipe known as the Nikkor70-200 f/2.8 AF-S.

Now, people often complain that the E-M1 MKII + 12-100 is a big and heavy combination. I suspect these people have never used this Nikon combo then. I must be getting weak in my old age as I used to lug this lens with a D750 and a couple of others big lumps of glass all over the Lake District before switching to M43 to save my back, but today, just lifting and aiming this lump for any length of time felt like a proper workout.

As a backup, I'd also brought the E-M1 MKII + 12-100 f/4.0.

The train was scheduled for an 8:24 arrival, but as with most of my experiences with British Rail it was running late, eventually turning up at 8:47. By this time I'd been stood in the cold for half an hour and the cold was really starting to bite. However I'd used this time to practice panning and zooming the big Nikon, taking some test shots and checking the 3D tracking worked on a passing commuter train. I'd also decided to set the E-M1.2 up to shoot static video, but having not thought to bring a tripod, I ended up using its sling strap to lash it to the railing of the car park, a bit wobbly, but roughly pointing in the right direction.

As the distant whistle of the train approached, I set the E-M1.2 running, raised the Nikon to my eye, zoomed up to the end of the platform and waited. I was ready.

And that's when it all went wrong. I'd zoomed up to a point at the end of the platform with the intention of manually zooming back and panning as the train trundled past at a leisurely pace like the commuter train had earlier, but unlike the commuter train, there's a reason why this one is called The Flying Scotsman, which I soon realised as it first shot past the end of the platform and then past me at breakneck speed.

I panned to follow it, but I was zoomed in too tight and didn't react quickly enough when zooming back. With the camera firing in CL mode, I got my first shot of it emerging, but then realising it was going much faster than I'd expected I panicked as I panned and tried to zoom at the same time ending up leading the train so much that I first cut off the tender and then the footplate. What should have been the best shot had just the boiler in view as I hadn't zoomed back quickly enough for my panning rate.

In what seemed like an instant it was past me and racing off into the distance.

I quickly reviewed my shots with growing disappointment as I proceeded through the sequence. The camera had performed admirably, getting nice, sharp, well exposed images, but I'd thoroughly messed up.

Here are the two acceptable images that I took with the Nikon (full res, both significantly cropped);

This is the best one of the front of the engine. There's a ton of empty space cropped off on the right hand side. The plan had been to let the train move into the frame as I panned, but in panicking I panned too fast and every subsequent shot in the sequence crops off more and more of the left hand side of the train!

...and this is the only usable shot as it passed me.

There's also a really short video, taken with the E-M1 MKII on Youtube here...

It's nothing fancy, just a static shot of the train shooting past, but possibly of interest as it shows how fast the Scotsman flew while pulling ten carriages and a diesel locomotive!

As for me, I think I'll stick to pictures of mountains in future, they're much easier to work with as they don't move around as much

 Steve Monks's gear list:Steve Monks's gear list
Sony RX100 V Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Nikon D810 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 +18 more
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