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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Photographer of the Year, 2012 - ALTERNATIVE UK & WORLD PICS

Today's post 17th March 2013, comprises some biographical notes about Bob McClellan, the 'Alternative UK & World Photographer of the Year, 2012'.

Biographical notes - Bob McClellan.

I spent the first ten years of my life in Haydock close to the Lyme pits and the Richard Evans foundry and railway system. I could see the marshalling yard from my bedroom window. If I saw a train leaving I would run up to the level crossing top of Grange Valley to watch it pass. This is where my love of railways began.
The problem was that these industrial railways weren’t romantic enough so I used to walk to Winwick Junction, remember I was only 9 years old, to see the big express engines on the main line.
In 1959 I moved from Haydock to Lowton and nearer to the WCML. My Saturdays comprised of being on the A580 bridge at Golborne from 8am and headed for home at 5pm after the Mid Day Scot had gone through. Although I didn’t have a camera at the time I still have vivid memories of these days.
Although I did travel to other places York, Doncaster, Chester etc. I was really very parochial and didn’t travel to the interesting places that were on my doorstep. Now that I am a bit more knowledgeable (?) I could kick myself that I didn’t travel the few miles to see the vast railway operations that were happening locally.
Every rail enthusiast has a lapse in their enthusiasm when other matters become more important, girls, beer and motorbikes, and I was no different. My problem was that this period coincided with the demise of steam traction although I did go out and see the 15 guinea special at Parkside Junction.
Fast forward now to the early 1980’s.  The children were growing up so to fill my time the railway enthusiasm was resurrected. I had a bit of money so I bought my first real camera and went out taking pictures of ‘Peaks’, ‘40’s’ and all the other various classes that abounded at that time. This was also the time that I took an interest in continental railways. In Britain the older classes were gradually being run down but abroad there were lots of veteran locos still earning their keep. Trips over the last few years have included Scandinavia, Italy and Switzerland.
I retired from work in 2002 and treated myself to a digital camera. This upgrade seemed to spur me on and I always seemed to be at the lineside. Being able to see the shot straight away made things easier. I appreciated being able to correct mistakes on the next shot instead of waiting for the slides to be delivered and discovering that you had made the same mistake on them all. I still manage to make ‘cock ups’ though.
And that’s it, the railway scene on the main line is becoming very sparse and you have to travel to see any volumes of traffic so I am now trying to improve on my photography, taking in the whole picture rather than doing the front ¾ shots in full sun.
I have found lately that railway photography has become very challenging. The lack of traffic and proliferation of trees meaning locations are becoming very limited. Also climate changes mean that you can start the day in full sun and be in a torrential downpour a couple of miles down the road. However you have to go and get the shots because it will probably be gone tomorrow.
Finally thanks for all the votes and happy snapping in 2013.

A Selection of Pics from Bob McClellan.

First up is a shot of Schynige Platte Railway He2/2 No.16 Anemone at Schynige Platte, Switzerland. The pic is dated 9th August 2003.

Next pic shows the 'Tees Steel Express' at Peak Forest with Northwich - Tunstead empties on 24th February 2005.

Pic three was taken on the Isle of Mull Railway on 17th May 2008; pictured is Victoria approaching Craignure.

Dukedog No.9017 is next shown leaving Glyndyfrdwy on the Llangollen Railway. The pic is dated 22nd April 2009.

Pic five was taken at Consall Forge on the Churnet Valley Railway on 20th November 2011. The loco is West Country 'Pacific' No.34028 Eddystone.

Freightliner class 70, 70009 is next, taken at Frodsham on the Ellesmere Port - FFPS loaded coal working on 1st March 2011.

'Lord Nelson' class No.850 Lord Nelson is pictured at Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway on 18th June 2011.

Bob's final pic takes us to Sweden. Inlandsbanen Di3 No.623 is pictured at Gallivare on 1st July 2011.

Voting has started for the 'Pic of the Month', February 2013 competition. The voting system is simple - just send me the yellow February code numbers of the three pics you have chosen as 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each section, Winwick and Alternatives (UK and World combined). All February dated pics posted between February 2nd and March 6th are eligible and have code numbers. My email address is at the top of the blog. Everyone, contributors or not, can vote.

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