The train to Bristol

Today I went by train to Bristol and couldn’t resist covertly photographing this beautiful Japanese woman as she slept, seen through the reflection of passing smoke, trees and fields seemingly to be gently enveloping her.

Sleeping on a Train

A dark shape appears to be rolling her head and making her gasp – seen through a fine white gauze-like stream.

Sleeping on a Train 2

Geo tagging with my phone tells me exactly where I took this photo – on the traintrack just after it crosses the A338 north of Wantage – simultaneously both fascinating and useless information.

Below is a photo of Reading station – repeating patterns in such close proximity. The cut out shapes are the same but seen in silhouette, then blue and above, apparently reversed – the same shapes made from corrugated roofing – confused by reflections in the train window.

patterns in victorian stations

I tried photographing the concrete-paved platform as the train was slowly pulling out of the station, the yellow warning strip of the edge of the platform makes a pleasing border.

concrete platform

Decorative plasterwork on the ceiling of a public house dating back to 1746, the Llandoger Trow in Bristol centre.

plasterwork ceiling

Blaenau Ffestiniog

Snowdonia – a week of grey skies and mists and just two days of lovely sunshine – watching the dawn from the skylight window looking over the hills to the north east. The ‘mist’ in the valley in the foreground is really just the vapour from the condensing boiler but I thought it added something good to that dark space.

Sunrise at Ffestiniog

Looking away to the north west, just visible – a flock of white birds chasing away the black birds.

Angry Birds at Dawn

Back again to the north east the sun finally lighting up all the details of the valleys and trees through the mist.

Misty sunrise at Ffestiniog


Portobello Beach near Edinburgh, 1st October – dusk on an unexpectedly warm evening.

The Edinburgh One O’Clock Gun – clicked the shutter a few seconds later than I’d hoped.

In my time as a conservator of paintings I learned that a semi opaque substance seen in front of a dark object or space, will appear as blue-hued even though it may be warm yellow or brown-hued itself. These two photos show that effect known rather pompously as the “Turbid Medium” effect, it also happens with other transluscent substances such as steam, mist and clouds.

This effect can be used to good purpose in oil painting especially in portraiture (a description of Rembrandt’s technique – a layer of light toned paint is laid thinly over a warm dark-toned area producing a cool effect in the upper layer suggestive of cool shadow on skin tones).