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Railway Photographyterests to galleries of some of my work.

On This Page:

How it all started  Photographic Approach 

See also:

Then & Now







 How it all started

I first caught the 'steam engine' bug back in 1965 when my father suggested a day out to ride behind the "old stream engines before they all went". And so it was, on a Sunday in July 1965, that we visited Winchester, traveling from Waterloo.

That trip led to sporadic train spotting trips in London with my first rail tour in November. The train was "The Midlander" traveling from Waterloo to Crewe for a visit to the railway works.

Most of 1966 was spent chasing steam on the Southern. particularly the main line from Waterloo to Salisbury and Weymouth. 1967 saw the end of steam on the Southern and, within my limited means, got to see quite a bit in the months leading up to July.

A youthful DesShepherd at Winchester. July 1965

During that two year period I didn't get to take many quality photographs but those I have are more about treasured memories and it is great seeing the work of others, particularly Mike Esau and John H Bird.

I saw a bit of the last workings of BR steam but my 'O' Level  exams got in the way of any serious traveling to the north west.

Steam finally died in 1968 in North West England. This picture is of 8F freight 2-8-0 no. 48727 at Rose Grove in April 1968.

The summer of '66 and two steam engines at Waterloo station. For the record they are Merchant Navy no. 35027 'Port Line' and West Country no. 34040 Crewcerne

After steam ended, I followed the preserved scene but have always held a particular affection for Southern Steam.


That said, having been born and brought up in Essex, I have only the very hazy recollection of steam on the GE line. I had often dreamed of seeing steam go through my former home station of Witham and when steam finally returned to the GE in September 2000 I was on that first train to Harwich and Clacton with my father and son.

70013 'Oliver Cromwell' at Witham station in Essex.

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Photographic Approach 

I try to take an imaginative approach to my photography. What makes a pleasing or good picture can to some extent be subjective. Some photographers prefer the three-quarters view in full sun. Others prefer something a little different. So what do I look for when taking railway pictures?


I like pictures with people, either railway staff, the general public or even a 'train spotter'. It can add life to an otherwise sterile shot.


I recognise that we are in the 21st Century so I like to make the picture representative of the day. This is particularly so when photographing main line steam although I welcome the chance to create a time-warp picture on a preserved line or during a photo charter.


Bridges, signals and other railway infrastructure helps to make the picture different.


When photographing engines in a working shed, I try to include strategically placed furniture. I also look for unusual views and where possible the smokey atmosphere inside a shed.


Trains in the landscape, whether the country or a city.


I like to look for unusual lighting. Nightime photography offers a lot of scope.

Generally not in favour when recording an event but . . .


I do use manipulation to repair old black & white negatives or prints (without altering the essence of the image as taken).


I occasionally use manipulation to enhance an engine's exhaust or bring out the colours of a sky (as I used to do in a dark room or in the absence of a polarizing filter).


I have some fun. Without changing the original, I might change a loco's identity to try to recreate a lost engine from the 1960's.

However, with digital manipulation I won't change the colour of an engine or stock to make it appear something it isn't. And I won't remove 21st Century structures.

Click here to see a gallery of images illustrating the points I have made above.

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I have far more photographs in my collection than can be shown on this web site. Galleries of some of my work will be added over time.

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All images, audio, text and documents on this website are copyright Des Shepherd who asserts his intellectual property rights under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
No images, audio, text or documents may be reproduced in any form without written permission of Des Shepherd.