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The mists of time (and all that)





This may not be to everyone's taste, but I've been playing around with some photos of the Victorian coaches that I recently dug out (see last blog entry). For some reason, out-of-focus photos of historical stock have always captured my imagination. Like ghosts from the past, or whatever. These manipulated images are a quick attempt to recreate something similar.





This shot somehow looks quite "real" to me. Perhaps a reminder that there are other avenues in layout presentation than the picture-perfect images we all tend to pursue?





Of course, it's important to emphasize that this isn't modelling - it's just photos that try to emulate other photos. And some will feel it's just plain cheating, since the blur and the lack of colour hides all the give-aways that would otherwise reveal it as a model... a valid point.





Right, better get back to some actual modelling now!



Edited by Mikkel


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I think those work really well, and the reminder that there are other styles out there is a good one. Have you considered doing some long exposure shots? I have some 1920s Canadian railway books and I love the images where the train is clearly posed on a bridge, but the water and steam are motion blurred.

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Will. Long exposure shots - I've experimented a bit but couldn't quite get it to work. Must try some more. I was quite taken by this one from Paul's gallery, although the motion blur there is fairly limited.


The Canadian images sound very appealing. Must be the exact opposite of a model railway, where the train is in motion and the water is frozen in time :)

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I absolutely love those (stage) coaches, I think if I wasn't modelling 1920s/30s I'd be recreating the 1840s-1860s.


I really like your layout, but even more-so the stories you tell. I always look forward to posts from the dim and distant Farthings :)

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks Southernboy :). Yes the coaches are really nice - as mentioned earlier they were scratchbuilt by Chris Edge, alas not by myself. They could do with a repaint, as the paint is a bit tarnished here and there, and the slightly glossy finish is not quite to my taste. The windows could do with a replacement too. We need more hours in the day!



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My knowledge of the advances in photography in the 1840's (which I assume is the period for your coaches and pictures) is sketchy, but did they not use glass plates and would have been taken by keen amateurs or professionals? Or perhaps they were engravings?.

I discovered some 1890 to 1894 plates at work which were chrystal clear, and capable of 4X magnification without loss of detail (they're now in Derby Industrial Museum).

I think the loss of detail and/or blurring is due to the limitations of the (news) printing processes of the time which, I believe, entailed engraved copper plates for pictures, and subsequent copying and/or magnification.


However I do like the effect you have achieved, and I do like your Farthing epistles.

Cue..a correction by someone much more knowledgable!!

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Don, the coaches in question were introduced in 1854, but are running in a later condition, ie 1880s or thereabouts. So that's the period I was thinking of.


But that doesn't affect your important point. I was surprised recently when I looked up some of the earliest photos and realized how crystal clear they were. Glass-plate negatives really were amazing! But as you say there also seems to have been plenty of things that could go wrong in the process. For what it's worth, this web-page mentions some examples:




No doubt there is something in there to explain why the photos above turned out less than satisfactory :D

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