It was back to the future for our Severn Valley Railway photography course. As usual, we started and finished at the Engine House in Highley, and travelled down to Arley on the train. However, as the 1940’s weekend was in progress, all sorts of photogenic things were going on – British and American paratroopers and Commando’s sabotaging the tracks, a visit from the King and Queen and Winston Churchill, and a 1942-era wedding at Arley. Lots to photograph.
Photographing re-enactors is good fun, as they rarely mind being photographed. The camera can be unforgiving at picking up digital watches, modern glasses etc. It is also noticeable that the military re-enactors are often a little old for their role. It’s what made the motley Home Guard squad look so authentic. It’s also noticeable that these look good in sepia, but unrealistic in modern high-contrast black and white and colour. It also helps if they are not particularly sharp – as few cameras of the era were.
The trains are hard to photograph in a dark shed, but we played with ISO, wide apertures and negative exposure compensation to get the right results. A good day, although I think we’ve all heard enough Vera Lynn and George Formby to last us for a while!