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Featured The Overland: taking a train for the journey's sake (image heavy)

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by melanieylang, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    Happy New Year!

    Late last year we heard that The Overland railway service between Adelaide and Melbourne was to be terminated at the end of 2018, due to government funding being discontinued, so we scrambled to buy tickets on the last return journey of the year, which would take us on the section between Horsham and Geelong - around 3.5 hours each way. (Soon afterwards, we learned that the Victorian government agreed to chip in to keep the service operating through 2019.) We figured we would arrive in Geelong in time to check into our accommodation and go out for a lovely meal, before having a good night's rest (ambitious, for folk accustomed to silent nights!) and getting on the return train the next day.

    After Christmas, on a 38C (100F) day, we drove to the Horsham railway station, where a handful of passengers (who turned up after this photo was taken) wilted in the midday heat on the unattended platform.
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    I decided to shoot with my GX7, and packed 12-32mm, 20mm f1.7 and 45mm f1.8 lenses. The 45mm didn't come out of hiding, and the 20mm was only used briefly on the train and, after finding its focussing mechanism bothersome against the window glass, I switched to the 12-32mm for most of the trip.

    Coming into Stawell station:
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    Before reaching Ararat, due to the heat the train stopped for a while until finally getting a signal, and we continued. Family reunions at Ararat station:
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    Landscape between Ararat and Geelong:
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    Halfway through the trip we found the cafe car: a spartan-but-wonderful green carriage with the most marvellous Venetian blinds installed between two panes of window glass, operated with a winding handle (alas, not shown). When we arrived, the kitchen was shut (behind the blinds, below left), but it opened again after a short wait.
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    We appreciated the uninterrupted views from the Cafe car windows while partaking of our refreshments, and enjoying hearing other passengers making new friends, talking about the old days and old ways, politics of the day, and what-all. With the exception of the large townships, the trip was made entirely through farmland - mainly cropping (I saw mostly wheat and barley):
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    I found shooting from the moving train more challenging than expected: most of the time, to eliminate reflection and improve stability, I rested the camera on the window ledge; after a while I got better at timing the shutter finger for compositions which included curves, diagonals, changes of texture, but still had hundreds of photos to cull at the end.
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    Mount Elephant rises abruptly from volcanic plains:
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    I'll take a break here, and return with photos from Geelong.
     
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  2. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    Having booked accommodation quite late in the peak season, we had limited choices, but we didn't fancy staying at a motel or resort. The Gatehouse on Ryrie had one room left, so we chose to stay in an architecturally-interesting building for what was little more than sleeping time, as our train had been delayed and we arrived in time for tea. I had hoped to take many more photos here, but was tired from the journey (I find travel very tiring, due largely to sensory overload) and hungry for a Good Meal Out.
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    Here's the internal view through those breakfast room windows at night:
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    Panasonic GX7 with 20mm f1.7
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  3. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    We unintentionally made up for the slothful day by walking all over the place looking for a place to dine: our first choice, a couple of blocks from 'home', turned out to be closed until the new year, and our second choice (also a couple of blocks away) was arrived at by a muddled route, due to phone navigation weirdness. My sore foot was miraculously cured by all the additional walking, so there was a positive outcome besides good food!

    At the dimly-lit, cavern-like steak house, I ordered the 'vegetarian meal', and was impressed by its appropriate heartiness, involving a big slab of steak-seasoned, chargrilled pumpkin, two vegetarian skewers, crispy fried onion and a large side of chips (fries) with sauce of choice. My man ordered a porterhouse steak, which was beautifully cooked, but said my meal was the more impressive and just as tasty; alas, my photo is less so, but I hope you'll excuse my efforts - shot in near-dark and sans-flash - and look at the offering (which included a side of garlic butter asparagus:
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    This is one photo which I was happy to have snapped at just the right time to get a direct look - like many people who would like to shoot more candid street-style photographs, I am reluctant to point my lens at people without (or even with!) their permission:
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    Panasonic GX7 with 20mm f1.7
     
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  4. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    Rising earlier than we like to while on holiday, we ate a continental breakfast at the guest house, then waited for the taxi we booked the previous night. When it hadn't appeared at the designated time, we checked the booking and discovered it had been made for the pm, not the am! An anxious few minutes passed while we scrambled to re-book for an immediate pick up, and were relieved when a taxi approached shortly thereafter.

    Arriving at the platform (no comforting railway station building for us to feel protected by at the North Shore station), we were astonished to see a friend from our village, hoping to get a ticket on our train, which isn't a regular public transport service, and tickets can't be booked online within two hours of pick up. Despite the train being booked more heavily than it had been all year, he was allowed on, but not without some fast talking.
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    Then we were away on the return journey, passing quickly past the urban environment, where whatever can be graffitied will be!
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    In short order we were back in the open landscape, catching occasional glimpses of the train ahead of us, now that we were in a rear carriage:
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  5. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    For only a brief while, the tracks ran alongside the road, before leaving the roads and heading north-west towards the Grampians.
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    Panasonic GX7 with 12-32mm lens.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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  6. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    About an hour into the journey, my man napping in the aisle seat beside me, a pair of dancing brolgas leapt into view, and I exclaimed, 'Oh!' at the surprise and delight of this magical sight, the first time I had been privileged to see the courtship display. Sadly, while I had the presence of mind to press the shutter, my four photos did not do the moment justice any better than a smartphone would have. Disregarding the general awfulness of the photo, they're in the far right of the frame:
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    Later, in the dining car, I mentioned it to someone we spoke briefly with, who told me they'd also seen the dance. If you're thinking that it was bad luck my man didn't get to see them, don't worry - he has a pair of brolgas (which are a very tall stork-type bird) which frequents his farm!
    Panasonic GX7 with 12-32mm lens.
     
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  7. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    On the wrong side of the fence:
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    Into Ararat station:
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  8. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    After Ararat, we headed up to the dining car for a quick refreshment, and to watch the passing countryside through the picture windows.
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  9. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    And the end of our journey, back on the platform we had left less than 24 hours earlier. Thank you for watching!
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  10. Mike G

    Mike G Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    681
    Aug 13, 2018
    London
    Mike Gorman
    Super series.
     
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  11. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    Thanks very much, Mike, I appreciate the encouragement.
     
  12. Steveee

    Steveee Mu-43 Regular

    171
    Aug 30, 2017
    Sheffield, England
    Steve
    Some lovely pictures of your journey. Not too fond of the food pic, tbh, but I really like the "bates motel" (!) and town pictures and love the landscapes in black and white. Am I understanding correctly, that many of these were taken through the train windows?

    If so, you've done a great job of eliminating/minimising reflection in most cases (assuming Aussie train windows don't slide away completely!). Any tips on that? Polarising filter? lens hood fixed onto the glass? Hammer?! :biggrin:
     
  13. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    Thanks very much Steveee, yeah that food photo is atrocious and I debated including it, but I swear it tasted really great!

    All the landscapes were shot through the train's double-glass windows - all I did was set the focal length according to what I thought would work for the shot, set it on the window ledge (wide enough for the camera) and kept the lens against the glass.
     
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  14. Mike G

    Mike G Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    681
    Aug 13, 2018
    London
    Mike Gorman
    Melaniey, is that train journey similar to called the “Ghan” I heard about a few years ago?
     
  15. Steveee

    Steveee Mu-43 Regular

    171
    Aug 30, 2017
    Sheffield, England
    Steve
    Then your rails and rolling stock must be waaaay smoother than ours here - I'll have to try it next time I take the train! Or maybe high shutter speeds eliminate some of the vibration?? (Either way, still really impressed!
     
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  16. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Excellent B&W tones you have. Looks like a great adventure.
     
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  17. Kalifornier

    Kalifornier Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 29, 2014
    California
    Lovely pics and narration!
     
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  18. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    It's run by the same company, but is more pedestrian in nature: The Overland used to be an overnight trip with sleeper cars but is now a daytime service only; it takes about 10 hours, whereas the Ghan and the Indian Pacific take days to complete. All of them are wildly expensive - it would have been far cheaper for us to drive our section, or to fly between Adelaide and Melbourne.
     
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  19. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    After a while I did switch to shutter priority and kept it at around 500 for most of the trip. No doubt the IBIS helped quite a bit, too. But the train ride did seem very smooth.
     
  20. melanieylang

    melanieylang Mu-43 Top Veteran

    743
    Jun 23, 2017
    Thanks very much! Originally I planted to shoot with my custom BW filter, but I really like the muted tones of our landscape in summer, which also convert nicely to BW, in my view.
     
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