Steam in the Gullet; Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Marble City

Sunday Morning, March 22, 2015: I waited patiently at the Con Colbert Road near the top of the Gullet—the cutting west of Islandbridge Junction in Dublin.

In the distance I could see the smoke from the locomotive; it was blocked outside of Heuston Station waiting for a path.

Up and down regular passenger trains gave me an opportunity to check my focus and exposures.

The 10am Dublin-Cork passenger train was led by Irish Rail class 201 number 215. A perfect subject with which to check focus and exposure.
The 10am Dublin-Cork passenger train was led by Irish Rail class 201 number 215. A perfect subject with which to check focus and exposure.
A following Inter City Railcar gave me another test subject. I was mindful that the block front of steam locomotive 461 would result in different exposure considerations than the bright yellow front of the ICR.
A following Inter City Railcar gave me another test subject. I was mindful that the block front of steam locomotive 461 would result in different exposure considerations than the bright yellow front of the ICR.

Past experience photographing steam locomotives in contrasty light has taught me that auto focus systems can easily get confused by wafting steam and smoke. The last thing I need is for the camera to be ‘hunting for focus’ during the moment of peak drama.

I switched my Fuji X-T1 to manual focus and pre-selected a focus point. The beauty of a digital camera is the ability to inspect results on site.

If I planned this correctly, dappled light and direct backlighting would help illuminate the smoke.

Finally, the bark of the locomotive and a volcanic display of exhaust. The camera was set in ‘turbo flutter’ (continuous high) and as 461 worked its way up the Gullet I exposed several strategically timed bursts of images.

Finally, an impressive display of steam and smoke! Locomotive driver Ken Fox works engine 461 upgrade. Fuji X-T1 with 135mm lens.
Finally, an impressive display of steam and smoke! Locomotive driver Ken Fox works engine 461 upgrade. Fuji X-T1 with 135mm lens.

RPSI_461_Marble_City_in_gullet_DSCF4306

This tighter view required a nominal focus adjustment at the last instant. Success!
This tighter view required a nominal focus adjustment at the last instant. Success!

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