Bridge near Castleford , a photo by craigand on Flickr. I pass this bridge every time I take the all-stops train at 7:18. Ideally I'd take the 6:48, but if I am delayed then it's a handy second option. The journey to and from Castleford is always quite pleasant, with canals and fisheries and boats and ponds scattered apparently at random along the way. This morning, for the first time, I remembered to take the camera, to sit on a seat by the correct window, and to actually be awake and alert when we went past. While the scene is quite crisp, although muted by the wintry mists, it was difficult to capture that in the image. The dirty train window, the mist outside and the speed of the train itself meant that I had to turn up the ISO to 1600 to get a high enough shutter to freeze the motion and avoid camera shake. I had the camera butted right up against the window, tilted slightly to one side, to avoid reflections and the grain of the dirt splattered up the outside of the glass
On a grim, bleak Tuesday morning I found myself, once again, in Leeds. Something that seems to happen on a daily basis. That's because I work there. Well, somebody has to! Behind my office there is a canal, and every so often when I have a few spare minutes in a morning I like to walk that way rather than taking the short route through the rushing crowds of commuters. And on the way this morning, I took some photographs. The wonderful thing about grim weather is that conditions are really, really stable. All of these pictures except the last one were taken with the exact same settings; f/4, 1/125th seconds, ISO 800. For the last one I knocked the shutter speed up to 1/200th, although it didn't make much difference. The old, the new, the wet ... older canal-side buildings on the left, the railway crossing in the middle, and in the background the new office buildings of Wellington Place, one of which is mine. A handy barge for carrying scaffold. Behind it the locks a
Sunday at West Street Live saw a most peculiar gathering. Folk and alternative metal from Northern Oak, Andraste and Setsudan combined with morris dancing from Boggart's Breakfast! You can see my full write-up, such as it is, at The Mix Eclectic or look at the full set here . It was a tricky gig to photograph, overall. The actual bands were very easy; I cheated all over the place and use shutter priority. 1/100th seconds, auto aperture, auto ISO. Most of these photos were shot between ISO 1600 and 3200 on my Fuji X10, so thank Fuji for noise reduction algorithms. They clearly work! Fortunately the house lights were also on, although dim, and it really helped with focussing. Taking pictures of the Boggarts was a difficult task, though. Out of 40 pictures, about 30 were out of focus or badly exposed. Taking pictures of fast moving black objects in a darkened room is never going to be easy, and I ended up pushing it to ISO 6400 just to try and get a reasonable shutter speed.
Hot on the heels of the 3rd of November folk power metal extravaganza, the 4th showed no sign of letting up with the Manchester night of Nightwish's UK tour. After the controversy of former vocalist Anette Olzon's sudden departure and the drafting in of symphonic metal stalwart Floor Jansen to take over vocal duties, it was destined to be an interesting night. Given Floor's previous experience in After Forever and ReVamp, there was no doubt she could carry the tunes, and sure enough the performance was everything I hoped it to be. After the previous night's frantic leaping about with Sabaton it was a major step down in the liveliness ranks, and Emma commented that she would have preferred some of the more up-tempo numbers. But that's not to take anything away from the night, and is mostly a reflection of how exhausted we were by that point! They played most of my favourite tracks, and even had a rather lovely acoustic version of Nemo in the middle.
November 3rd 2012 saw us venturing to pastures new, a venue we didn't even know existed. The HMV Ritz in Manchester which, we were reliably informed, has a sprung dancefloor, was to house an evening of folk metal and historically accurate power metal courtesy of Eluveitie and Sabaton. First up were Eluveitie, with their many instruments. Then straight on to Sabaton, with their stompy awesomeness. The sprung dancefloor was a reality. In stomping, jumping and bouncing about to Sabaton we were repeatedly catapulted up and off the ground. The atmosphere was the best I've experienced at a gig for ages. A definite highlight of the year. See the full set for more.