Patience & Photography

This morning I discovered why it is that I like to shoot either people or sports. I hate waiting around for something to happen, and spending a lot time staking out a location is not for me.

The reason was that I had decided that todays “photo a day” would be of the old steam engine that was pulling the Daffodil Express which is an annual trip from Wellington to Carterton to coincide with the Carterton Daffodil Festival.

I had checked the details of the trip and it was supposed to leaving Wellington at 8:40am. I was not aware that it was stopping anywhere so I assumed that it would arrive at the Silverstream bridge around 9:00 (given that the normal Wairarapa unit takes 25 minutes from Wellington to Upper Hutt and that included two stops).

So at 9.00am I was standing on the Silverstream road bridge waiting. I had selected a position that I hoped would give me a good shot and clear of power lines as much as possible.

I waited, and waited, and waited. I even got so bored that I attempted the shoot the Paradise ducks flying around.

Eventually after at least 30 minutes of waiting the train appeared and raced across the bridge. I managed to capture a couple of shots before it was gone.

In many ways shooting events like this is similar to a wedding. There are a couple of key moments that only last a couple of seconds and if you miss them you can’t ask for them to backup so that you can reshoot.

As I went back to my car a more serious train enthusiasm summed it up. “One hour of waiting for 35 seconds of action“.

Later in the day I decided to go back and shoot the  return but this time I would go on a rail over-bridge and knew exactly when the train was coming through. Although even then it didn’t run to time. I was quite pleased to capture it head-on, and then when I turned around saw a modern unit waiting for it to cross the tracks. So my final image was the old and new of train travel in Wellington.

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