Today we took a family trip to Hollycombe Steam – a gem of a place showcasing all things steam powered. My boys have been before with the in-laws and raved about it but I wanted to give it a go too – not least because I fancied some shots of a more candid and documentary style.
The place is fab from start to finish, it’s small and there were no massive crowds nor queues for the rides despite it being a Saturday in August. Most visitors were families and/or steam enthusiasts and the atmosphere was totally relaxed. The volunteers manning the rides were friendly and chatty and clearly loved their machines. There is everything from steam powdered gallopers to a railway engine.
I’ma bit obsessed with older fairground rides and so I spent some time both with the rides and with the people working with them. I took only a 24mm pancake lens in order to keep the kit light and also to challenge myself a bit. It’s nice to have a multitude of lenses to play with but when it really doesn’t matter if I get a particular shot or not (no clients, just me!) I like to choose just one and see what I can do with it.
I’m really pleased with the shots, they aren’t super sharp and they are pretty grainy – and I like that – I think they’ve got a good feel.
Next time I might bring a tripod to see if I can do more with the shots capturing the motion of the rides. Hand-holding at such long shutter speeds means the bits that aren’t moving aren’t sharp either and I think they’ll look better with a pin-sharp reference point and everything else moving around it.
I’d like to say a huge thanks to the folks at Hollycombe – the fact that these amazing machines are not only being preserved but are working and still so much fun to ride is just brilliant. I’ll be back next summer for another go around!