One of my favourite places for photographing trains is Jackson’s Bridge, it’s one bridge west of Maynooth along the Dublin to Sligo mainline towards Killcock. Jackson’s bridge actually crosses both the Royal Canal and the railway line, since the two run parallel most of the way between Dublin and Mullingar. When you look East from Jackson’s Bridge towards Maynooth and Dublin you get a great view of the the track, the canal, the towpath, and a row of trees all running parallel next to each other almost as far as the eye can see.

This is normally a very quiet stretch of line with very little traffic on it, but twice a day the level of traffic really picks up. During the day most commuter trains terminate in Maynooth, but during the morning and evening rush some commuter trains now run all the way out to Longford. The number of InterCity services also increases at rush hour so you get a few trains an hour instead of a train every few hours!

I took this shot in mid-October when the trees have their nice autumnal colours, and when the evening rush-hour over-laps with the Golden Hour. I really like how the soft golden evening light interacts with the subtle autumnal tones of the trees.

Here we see an evening commuter train, consisting of two Class 29001 four-carriage diesel railcar sets joined together, making it’s way from Dublin to Longford. The front-most of the two railcar sets is number 29415.

I think one of the reasons I like this shot so much is that the composition feels both strong and natural to me. I think the strength comes from the strong diagonal of the railway line, canal, towpath & trees, and I think it feels natural because the vanishing point is at one of the magical “rule of thirds” regions (one third down from the top and one third in from the right).

An Autumn Evening Commute
on FlickrFull-Size

  • Camera: Nikon D40
  • Lens: Nikon DX AFS 18-55mm (D40 kit lens)
  • Exposure: 1/200 sec
  • Focal Length: 18mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/3.5
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera Mode: Aperture Priority
  • Exposure Bias: -0.7ev
  • Processing: Single RAW image first tonemapped with Photomatix Pro, then tweaked with the Dodge & Burn plugin in Apple’s Aperture