On May 19th, the “Flying Scotsman” was scheduled to cross the Forth Bridge, not just once, but three times, on a steam tour loop through part of Fife to Stirling and back to Linlithgow. The earliest crossing was due at around 09:20. Batteries charged and lens polished, I headed off in glorious sunshine under an azure East Lothian sky. At Gladsmuir, it clouded over 100%. At Ingliston, the drizzle started…

The Bridge sits roughly north-south. There are two ways to photograph a train crossing it; either from near one end, or from a spot that sticks out into the Forth, of which the old road bridge is one possibility. (The bridges are closer to each other at the north end.) With the reduced traffic these days, the bridge no longer vibrates the way it used to, so photography is possible, but I had rejected it at the planning stage as it would have meant shooting into the sun. Since the sun was not in evidence, this may have been a good time for a rethink, but by the time that sank in I had followed my original plan of looking for a spot on the bluff between Dalmeny and South Queensferry. Finding no gap through the spring foliage I descended to my original back-up spot at the old pier close to Hound Point, which is the second obvious ” bit that sticks out”.

I set up and waited. It got darker. And darker. With a 75-300mm zoom set to about 150mm, one stop over as I was pointing mostly at sky, aperture wide open at f/6.7, I watched the calculated shutter speed get slower and slower. By the time the train arrived, it was about 1/40th. I should have raised the ISO. I didn’t, so none of the images is sharp due to a combination of motion blur and probably non intentional camera movement.

“Flying Scotsman” passing the Hawes Inn

Another club member, who shall remain nameless, photographed the midday run with vastly better results, from the North Queensferry end, which just shows that it’s a dreadfully unfair world in which getting up early counts for nothing. Anyway someone had left a big boat in the water, so I photographed that…

A big boat

… and a big burd.

Illegally parked cormorant

For close up shots of trains, Dalmeny station is a possibility, though any view of the bridge is, obviously, end on. In winter, the Dalmeny bluff area would be a possible option, but spring foliage is impenetrable.