Steam Trains by night at Buckfastleigh

I recently attended a photo charter at Buckfastleigh to photograph a selection of Steam Locomotives at night.  The event was hosted by Timeline Events, and gave a small number of photographers the opportunity to photograph Locomotives, in an authentically period setting, with re-enactors in period costume to add a real sense of nostalgia.

Being February, and at night, it was chilly, and wet.  Standing around for a few hours meant layering up.  I opted for a combination of waterproof trousers and jacket, insulated under layers and gloves and this turned out to be a good choice.  It wasn’t especially cold, but light rain persisted for most of the evening so getting damp was really not an option.

We were line side too, and this required care as it was both slippery and dark away from the photographic lighting.  There were also challenges to contend with in terms of the rain.  Check the lens and clean if necessary, being the top of the checklist for each shot!

Engines positioned and lit for the photographers.

The evening was very well managed, with an number of scenes running concurrently with the group split between the two.  The organisers made sure everyone got their chance to photograph the scene.

I took my EOS M3 and 7D mkii though the M3 was used almost exclusively with the 18-55 and 55-200 lenses in use.  All shots were on a tripod and a mixture of ISO settings were used.  The M3 coped well and I was very pleased with the results.


Heritage Steam Railways are not hard to find in the UK, but they are popular and it’s difficult to make images at any of these events that look authentic.  Station scenes are pretty much impossible, due to the modern clothing people are wearing.  Photo Charters change that altogether and the opportunity to photograph at night is unique.

This certainly won’t be the last event I attend!


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