The Night Express, 2016

It’s as though the bridge is being cast in front of your eyes, a trail of molten gold flowing along the raised track.

This is unashamedly all about the colour! The picture is of course of the Forth Rail Bridge with the old and new Road bridges in the background. It was a clear evening with just a hint of mist in the air. The rail bridge is always a stunning subject but with the lighting bouncing off into the mist, it looked as though it was on fire.

And that gave me an idea …

I realised that a long exposure was the only way to remove the distraction of the ripples in the water. The exposure also turned the jagged edges of the spotlights into the smoother glow in the sky.

Eventually, after a while (slow on the uptake, me) I realised that the length of the exposure needed was about the same amount of time it took a train to travel from the edge of the frame to the middle of the bridge. The effect as you can see is a trail of molten gold flowing along the raised track to the main spans, which then explode into life.

It’s as though the bridge is being cast in front of your eyes, an organic creation. You could imagine some radical Victorian engineer thinking: if only I had a big enough mould ….

The Night Express, 2016

Meantime the new bridge is being constructed out of sticks and string, lit up by prosaic white-blue spotlights, and the gold keeps flowing, and the bridge keeps exploding.

Despite my misgivings about talking too much about camera settings and other configuration matters which aren’t too important, these are the bits of technical information about this picture some folk find useful:

  • Camera: Canon 5Dmkii
  • Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f4L
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure: 30 seconds at f5.6
  • I use Lightroom and NIK software for sharpening and noise reduction.

More back stories

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The Farnes, 2019

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Chad. No! A study of brick walls in Manchester

Chad! No! Manchester, 2012

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Late bar, Venice, 2008

The story behind the image. By daylight the scene is nothing to write home about. But at night, nearly midnight, all those extraneous elements and colours just disappeared, and the atmosphere of the Venetian night took over.
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The Serpents’ View, 2015

Has something just happened? Or is something about to happen? Or perhaps nothing ever happens up here in the waiting room on the roof of the known world.
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