First blog entry of 2018, so we’d better start with Happy New Year to any readers. We start with an image to get your attention. We’ll get back to the toy train sort of models soon but for this installment its more on photography.

In the last episode I mentioned making more of photography as a different hobby to every flavour of trains and that I’d had some tuition in doing the close up macro photography. The interest in actually taking photography has actually taken a hold and has become absorbing. 


I should, perhaps, introduce my partner in crime, Clare. You may have seen Clare in some of my photographs, usually featuring a train, as Clare is a fireman at Beamish and on the FR but she it also a keen photographer. In 2016 she did a photo a day thing on Facebook but in 2017 did very little. In conversation we both realised that without some challenge or project we’d end up lazy and not do any photography and, if we did, just do the same old stuff and not stretch ourselves.

A plan was hatched!  We are doing a couple of taught photography days in the coming months, so we’ll get someone else’s ideas of what we should be doing which was my idea. Clare’s idea was to take a published list of photo topics as a challenge to be completed. We’ve picked the BBC `In Pictures’ and created a shared album on Facebook visible to our friends to show our pictures.  The idea is we’ll aim to submit at least one photo that suits the criterion by the given date. The first topics for 2018 are: –

  • Nights out: 9 January 2018
  • Indulgence: 16 January 2018
  • Sorrow: 23 January 2018
  • Fantastic voyage: 30 January 2018
  • Time: 6th February 2018
  • Valentines Day: 13th February 2018
  • Underground: 20th February

We are not limiting ourselves to only posting our qualifying photos but are including some of the ones from developing our ideas to match the topics including the ones that didn’t quite work out. These are in a photo album on Facebook accessible  only to our friends – we’re not brave enough to go public!

As well as the photo challenge we’ve both been on the first part of a two part training course with Going Digital held at the National Trust Souter Lighthouse. This is a two day course entitled “Explore Your Camera – Get Off Auto” for part 1 and “Explore Your Camera – Developing Skills” for part 2.  I think its fair to say we both went to part 1 thinking `I already take mine off auto, I don’t need to do this’ but finished the day having had a fun time but having lost count of the number of time we said or thought `I didn’t know that’.  We both came away having had an enjoyable, if cold (for the outside bits) day and  the stuff we learnt has been influencing our photographs since.

Part two of the course is in March and the weekly photo challenge continues to stretch us. I have no idea what to do for Valentines. In the same way a clock was too easy for Time a bunch of roses is too easy for Valentines.

Meanwhile here are some of the photo. Click the I logo for info with each view



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