First Great Western

by pgweber

Not one of the modern Inter-City trains that shuttles between London Paddington and the West of England/South Wales, but my first posting to show an ex Great Western Railway steam loco.

Do you think the harsh side lighting adds or detracts from this view?

This was taken about mid-day on a Saturday in December 2007, so the sun was not high in the sky.

It depicts Ex GWR 4-6-0 No 4965 'Rood Ashton Hall', leading a day trip to York, through industrial Rotherham.

A few months later, I returned to the same spot at a similar time of day and obtained a more evenly lit shot. Again, circumstances can make the picture.
Uploaded07/07/2010 - 13:48
Shutter Speed1/350
Focal Length50mm

Posted 07/07/2010 - 17:39 Link
I think you already realise Peter that the bright lighting has burned out the highlights, particularly along the top of the train. Did you shoot in RAW? Its easier to pull, back blown highlghts and do corrections in Photoshop if you did. I generally underexpose by 1/3rd or 2/3rds in pictures like this, its easier to lift the dark areas than to reduce brightness.
Otherwise a good shot of a classic Great Western train in action.
Posted 07/07/2010 - 21:34 Link
Oh Peter shiny steam engines on a sunny day! Is there a sterner test for a digital camera? Still like the shot, though, despite the burnt highlights.

Very interesting advice from David, who's taken the odd mainline picture in his time...I must try these settings.
Best wishes,


"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
Robert Adams
"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference.  All of them can record what you are seeing.  But, you have to SEE."
Ernst Hass
My website:
Posted 07/07/2010 - 22:44 Link
Thank you both for your comments and David for your advice.

Unfortunately I only shot jpg on this occasion. Nowadays I shoot RAW always, but at the time of this shot, I had a small-ish hard disk in my PC and shot mostly jpg for storage considerations.

I included this to show that for all the steam shots that turn out well (like the double header you commented on the other day Andrew), many others are flawed in some respect; i.e. passsing trains, white skies, wrong angle of sun.

I am sure you all know when you have taken a duff shot, without me posting "reject" shots here as an example.

Aside from the blown highlights, I was looking for a GWR engine to placate you Andrew, given my constant offering of 'foreign' engines


Pentax K5
Pentax DA 18-55 Mk1, 50-200 (Samsung), 16-45, 55-300 Mk1, 35 f/2.4
Pentax MZ6 + FA28-90, FA50 f/1.4, M 50 f/1.7
Tamron 80-210mm & 28mm
Posted 08/07/2010 - 06:06 Link
I agree with David and Andrew and I suggest you that use bracketing if you shot jpg. This shot should be better if the highlights haven't burned out.
My website
Posted 08/07/2010 - 10:30 Link
Thanks Gabor.

I choose to use RAW now.

With moving subjects such as this, I feel that bracketing would be impractical. I would get 3(?) differently exposed shots but with the subject in different areas of the frame.


Pentax K5
Pentax DA 18-55 Mk1, 50-200 (Samsung), 16-45, 55-300 Mk1, 35 f/2.4
Pentax MZ6 + FA28-90, FA50 f/1.4, M 50 f/1.7
Tamron 80-210mm & 28mm

Add Comment

To leave a comment - Log in to Pentax User or create a new account.