The Royal Albert Bridge was designed and built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel the construction of which started in 1854 was completed 5 years later. The bridge was officially opened by His Royal Highness Prince Albert on 11th April 1859 an it was the last project that Brunal worked on before his death on 5th September 1959. The bridge spans the River Tamar between Plymouth in Devon and Saltash in Cornwall and forms the only rail link between the South West and the rest of the country via the Great Western Railway.
This is my most successful image both in terms of views and monetary matters. It was taken during my first attempt at night / low-light photography on a cold November morning way back in 2009. To say that I went out with a plan to photograph the bridge with a train going across it would be stretching the truth. I did go out to photograph the Tamar road bridge that stands next to it but at about 0630 I heard a faint rumble to my left which indicated a slow moving train was approaching from Plymouth. I quickly moved the camera and set up the composition you see above. As the train came into view from behind the bushes I tripped the shutter and crossed my fingers that the shutter would remain open to enable me to get a decent length of light from the train across the bridge. I was very lucky...it did. The slight mist on the river was a bonus.
Back in the light room I down loaded the image and cropped it top and bottom to give me a letterbox composition as there was too much bland sky above and too much foliage in the bottom of the frame which was distracting from the bridge and train. I then further developed the image in Lightroom and Photoshop before saving the image, posting to a few websites and then promptly forgot about it.
A year later I decided to enter the image into the 2010 Take a View photo competition organised by Charlie Waite. It was entered into the Lines in the Landscape section which is sponsored by Network Rail. Amazingly it was shortlisted and but did not win. However, it was exhibited at the National Gallery in London as part of the slide show.
A couple of years later I received a call from Network Rail who wanted to use the image for a document that they were producing for the Cabinet regarding the Great Western Railway. A small contribution was made to my bank account after I agreed its use.
I thought that was that but early last year I received an e-mail from Take a View informing me that Network Rail were interested in using the image on Reading Station, was I happy for this. Yep, I was, but I didn't hear nothing until later this year when I was informed that the image had been printed and was now on display in Reading Station for the next 3 years. Again, a small contribution to the bank account was made, making this the most successful image I have ever made.
The image as displayed at Reading station