ThomasTown train station and the Kilkenny to Thomastown rail line, part of the Waterford and Kilkenny Railway, opened on 12 May 1848; it was subsequently extended from Thomastown to Jerpoint Hill, opening on 29 May 1850. These days there are only three or four trains stopping here each day with a direct links to Waterford City and Dublin Heuston stations.
I captured this image on a walk around the ThomasTown area last weekend, the signal box in the picture is located on the far side from the now only public used platform, their is only a single rail line passing through the station these days. There was only a single car parted in the larg car park on this Sunday afternoon with the two of us being the only Humans to be found, the atmosphere here felt ghostly and isolated, with great weather for a series of moody black and white images.
I took many black and white images and I am working on the rest during this week, I will post an image Gallery before next weekend. This image was taken using My much loved Nikon Coolpix A , These cameras have become very hard to find, I had to wait many years before finding one in good condition at a very good price, finding one for sale in Dublin. The images it can produces are high quality and its a perfect walk around camera for location studies.
The image Is processed using Raw Image Processor RawTherapee , this is a Linux version of the application that I have been using for sometime now, I find its one of the best programs for my Black and White image processing Style.
The river has a silver string that runs its length,
holds it to a source in the mountains.
The river cradles its corded muscles of water
between high banks, giving the banks no thought
as it bites them with eddies,
eroding their lower flanks.
River thinks it is only water and the gristle
of currents, hay stacking surfaces
and deep, bellowing falls
running for the sea, though
it does not know it is there.
River should take more care of its banks.
Banks are what hold it a river, give
direction, keep it mitering downward.
Without banks, river loses its way,
becomes a swamp and stills.
All my life I have chafed at river banks,
fighting to spread my currents
in whatever turn needed exploring.
The high song of freedom seemed
to be a music of ‘no banks’,
and yet the whole joy of rivers is pushing,
etching the banks to join the flow,
but having them hold.
I march this year I treated myself to a new Panasonic gx80, micro four thirds camera with an Olympus 17mm f1.8 lens. This kit is my first M/43 kit and so far I have been very pleased with the results produced by this little gem of a camera.
I have a long history of working with black and white photography going way back to using Ilford XP2 and HP5 film, loaded into a Nikon FM2. This medium sized sensor camera is the first digital compact camera I have owned that can and does reproduce the look and feel of these black and white films with its MONO-L shooting profiles.
This image of a barn on the land owned by some friends of ours, during a stay at the start of April, was taken in the early morning sunlight and is taken using a Cokin-P ND4 gradient filter to darken the sky so that the foreground of the image could be exposed as I wanted it to be. I also used this filter system to help me make as few adjustments as possible in post processing.
By what rude waves hast thou been tossed,
To gain this quiet beach?
What wide-spread waters hast thou crossed,
This peaceful shore to reach?
An awful secret dost thou tell
About the yawning deep,
That, while her billows war and swell,
They most profoundly keep.
Thou speakest of one whose weary frame
Has sought repose on thee;
But not of kindred, home, or name,
Sad outcast of the sea!
Thou giv’st no record of his birth,
No token of the clime,
Where he was last a child of earth,
Or when he passed from time.
And who must now, on some far shore,
Await the coming sail
Of him, they will behold no more
Till mortal sight shall fail?
For fearful things dost thou present
Before the spirit’s view;
The parting bark! the canvass rent!
The helpless, dying crew!
Of one dread scene the fatal whole,
In thought, I hear and see.
It chills my blood—it makes my soul
Grow sick to look at thee.
‘The seas must render up their dead!’
Is all thou dost reply;
While o’er thee, cold and restless bed,
The tide rolls proud and high!
The guilty deep is taking back
The witness of her wrath,
To bury it with every track
That marks its troubled path!
The Scribe in the Woods, Irish Poetry
‘Over me green branches hang
A blackbird leads the loud song
Above my pen-lined booklet
I hear a fluting bird-throng
The cuckoo pipes a clear call
Its dun cloak hid in deep dell:
Praise to the Gods for their gifts
That in woodland I write well’
This Morning we had our first frost of the year 2019 and the view from the hillside of county kilkenny was amazing.
Here are three black and white images, I used black and white because I felt it captured the frosty landscape perfectly ….
A Frosty January Morning, Gallery
The Ocean Shipwreck
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
(From Don Juan)
’T WAS twilight, for the sunless day went down
Over the waste of waters; like a veil,
Which, if withdrawn, would but disclose the frown
Of one who hates us, so the night was shown,
And grimly darkled o’er their faces pale,
And hopeless eyes, which o’er the deep alone
Gazed dim and desolate; twelve days had Fear
Been their familiar, and now Death was here.
* * * * *
At half past eight o’clock, booms, hencoops, spars,
And all things, for a chance, had been cast loose,
That still could keep afloat the struggling tars,
For yet they strove, although of no great use:
There was no light in heaven but a few stars;
The boats put off o’ercrowded with their crews;
She gave a heel, and then a lurch to port,
And, going down head-foremost,—sunk, in short.
Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell!
Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the brave;
Then some leaped overboard with dreadful yell,
As eager to anticipate their grave;
And the sea yawned around her like a hell,
And down she sucked with her the whirling wave,
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him before he die.
And first one universal shriek there rushed,
Louder than the loud ocean, like a crash
Of echoing thunder; and then all was hushed,
Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash
Of billows; but at intervals there gushed,
Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek—the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.
“When I am gone, release me. Let me go.
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many beautiful years.
I gave to you my love. You can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
But now it’s time I traveled on alone.
So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must.
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near.
And if you listen with your heart,
You’ll hear all my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and say welcome home…”
These images are all taken using a Nikon FM2n, loaded with Ilford XP2 Super black and white film. I used a black and white film on the day I visited the wonderful Swanage steam railway project as I felt it was perfect to capture the atmosphere of a 1940’s experience.
Sometimes when your out for the day with a camera, its the experience of finding subjects that’s the most enjoyable part of the day, on this day however it was the enjoyment of taking a trip into the past and enjoying the feeling that you had slipped back into the countryside of the 1940’s, taking these images was just a process of recording the moments.
Here is a small introduction to this great project.
Welcome to Swanage Railway
The Swanage Railway offers a more intensive heritage steam and diesel timetable train service than virtually any other preserved railway.
Steam and diesel galas, Family events plus regular Evening Dining and Sunday Lunch services complement themed events such as our highly popular Santa Special trains during the run up to Christmas.
Our award-winning standard gauge preserved steam railway is located in Dorset with easy access from neighbouring Hampshire and the South of England. Visitors can experience a unique journey through six miles of beautiful scenery passing the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle, travelling down to the blue flag beach at Swanage.
You can even drive and fire your own steam train thanks to our one-hour footplate taster experiences
Swanage Steam railway a Film Gallery
In yesterdays post I talked a little about how film based photograph is now back a big way! with many of the film manufacturers having over the last few years seen a big jump in their sales figures. Many films that had disappeared from the photography market have now started to be produced again, Kodak are event about to re-introduce their world famous Ektachrome film, a high resolution positive film used at a commercial level of photography in the past.
It is now possible for the first time in many years to get online and purchase any type or speed of film, from Colour to Black and white, ISO 50 to ISO 3200
. This is a big opportunity for film loves to regain long lost skills, such as black and white film processing at home, setting up a dark room studio using chemical based film processing and printing. If this is not for you however, you can still opt for just purchasing the type of film you want to try out and once you have exposed your full roll, you can send it in the post to processors such as Lomography, who process any type of film for about the same price as it cost way back in the original film days.
One film I always love using was Ilfords XP2 Super, ISO 400, black and white film, Its a C41 processed film which is the same processing methods used with colour films. This film can be exposed at camera ISO setting between 50 to 800 as described in the instructions that come in the box, ISO 400 is the optimum setting but if the film is exposed at setting that overexpose the film, the film grain visible on the final prints will be much reduced. If you do play around with your ISO setting, you have to remember that with film you have to specify to your development lab that you did so and tell them what ISO Setting you exposed the roll of film at, also unlike digital for each of the 24 or 36 exposures on your roll of film you have to stay with the same ISO setting all the way through the roll.
ILFORD XP2 Super PDF
Like all rolls of film, XP2 Super has its own grain look and texture, you can see from the image below that the grain is very visible in the more well lighted areas on the frame. Its not unpleasant and adds lots of character to the image, this is an ISO 400 film after all and as such perfect for use indoors.
Ilford XP2 Super – Sample images, scanned using a Minolta Dimage Elite film scanner
Thanks to Sharon Walters Knight a fellow WordPress blogger and Facebook friend , I have in the last three weeks started to take a look again at 35mm film photography.
Over the last three years or so Film is starting to make a big come back, mainly with the help of film suppliers and film fan supporters lomography, they sell and process films along with camera bodies and offer some great new ideas as to how to use film and get some creative results from it.
I have just finished shooting my first role of 35mm black and white film supplied from Lomography Europe, using my Nikon FM2 and when I get time this week I will post this roll of film off to them and wait for the negatives and online scans to appear!
For the moment I have been looking at some of my old negatives and scanning them, the results are good I feel for these old black and white frames, My impression of how film compares to current Digital cameras is one of surprise, I love the grainy and organic feel to black and white films!
I had not realized since I stopped looking at film as my main photography medium, just how much digital has moved forward year on year! I feel that even when scanning a film frame at 10 megapixels with a good scanner, even with ISO 100 film the detail is so much less that can be found in todays digital sensors. Film grain is loved by many, yet when you look closely a lot of the image details are lost in this grain. A simple fact however when using film is that while digital cameras have kept developing all the time, film scanner have not. Another fact often lost today is that film was not designed with scanners in mind but with wet/dark room printing on light sensitive photo-papers, often designed by the film suppliers to match the film being used. Thus it could still be true that the best results when printing from film can be achieved in the dark room and not using a scanner at all!
I still love the idea of using a film camera at times when you want to use a simple process and travel light, just packing a film camera, a few lenses and rolls of film, without the need to take battery chargers and laptops with you. Another fact is that Film cameras work better when your outside and need to keep changing lenses, you never have to worry about dust and dirt getting to your sensor!
Here are some film shots I have taken over the years, at some point this week I will post more on them, including some closer looks at just how much detail is in the full sized images and just how film grain looks at 100% print size.
Ilfords Black and white film Gallery
Day Six of the Black and white photo challenge and today , I went to the top of a local Hill, Carrigmaclea in county Tipperary. The light was amazing and perfect for black and white images. At the top of the hill as you can see there is a cross that was erected by people from a local church back in 1958 which was apparently a holly year.
“My Sweet Lord”
My sweet lord
Hm, my lord
Hm, my lord
I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you lord
But it takes so long, my lord
My sweet lord
Hm, my lord
Hm, my lord
I own a big thank you to great friend and fellow photo blogger Sharon Walters Knight for tagging me last week on my facebook page, to take part in a Seven day Black and White photo challenge, I am really enjoying taking this on as its making me truly explore subject just for black and white images once again 🙂
This image of Dunhill castle, county Waterford, was taken during the last hour of bright sun light, this time of year the sun is very low in the sky so there is some great light to be captured, even more so later in the afternoon. Here I just loved the way the sun reflected on the old stone work of this great old building just moment before it set some distance away over the coast to the south.
They say that some animals see the world in black and white , I would love to be able to switch this ability on and off when out and about with my Nikon, you can see the results of taking a shot in black and white very quickly on the back of the camera but having the ability to view the world in-front of you in monochrome would be a perfect gift for many photographers, even more so if you love the light that can be captured using only the shades from white to black.
This image was taken a while back, one early spring morning while out for a walk, up a lane that passed through a local community of special needs people near Callan, county Kilkenny. It was a foggy morning but by the time of this shot a lot of the mist had lifted. the atmosphere was wonderful.