Steam Shed

Steam Shed


This was my first solo trip to India and I toured Gujarat and Rajasthan and then headed south into Karnataka. It was a wonderful experience. Not just the culture, but being free to decide whether to stay or move on without the need to negotiate with someone else. That was truly liberating.

I visited this area to catch the metre gauge steam before its demise and was made very welcome by the friendly shed staff. On this visit I was using a Nikon EM with colour print film. If I remember correctly I sent 18 x 36 exposure films for processing. This picture results from scanning the negative and then processing it with my current image handling methods which seems to have transformed the detail and clarity of the photo. The thought of scanning the remaining 600+ negatives gives me a headache, but the results from this image seem to make the exercise more worthwhile.

Photo taken Monday 21 July 1997.



11 thoughts on “Steam Shed

  1. remembering the toil
    the air polluted and dirty soil
    It filled my nostrils
    the fuming oil
    I captured the death bed of this engine alone
    twenty years ago, it was like a rocket or drone
    Now, its gone and am I glad πŸ™‚
    I took this picture and showed it to Dad πŸ™‚
    He told me son, your photography is great
    you portrayed poverty with such grace
    Remember the time..remember the soil
    remember how you toiled πŸ™‚

    • I walked through the cinders and tasted the smoke
      of the engines that paused there; fireboxes to stoke

      in the heat of north India those railmen did toil
      then chai in the office; the kettles a-boil.

      Strange words for a greeting, they welcomed me there,
      then come meet the boss now: and pull up a chair.

      I walked through the cinders and tasted the smoke
      as I went round the shed, in my notebook I wrote

      of the engines and valve gear and tenders I saw
      while oiling and coaling: of these men I’m in awe.

      I remembered my childhood and traveling by train
      from the great Midland city, vacation the aim.

      I walked through the cinders and tasted the smoke
      as a teen through my twenties, by memories smote

      of the smells and the sounds of those engines of yore
      that stayed in my heart strings till brought to the fore

      by the engines that paused there; fireboxes to stoke
      and the joy of the cinders and tasting the smoke.

  2. John, I like this photo a lot with the steam and the smoke. You’ve caught the engine shed with just enough light in its background to make it mysterious. This image also has strong narrative. On a critical side, my eye keeps wandering to the vertical object on the left. Would it improve the image is this was cropped? I realize you want framing but….

    • Yes, certainly it’s a consideration, and this image has been in that form without the post, but it loses the full impact of the loco on the left which becomes incidental to the scene. As it is the two verticals on either side frame the image quite neatly and they work in depth to take you across and into the scene via the nearest man.
      Thanks for your thoughtful observation Tim. Much appreciated.

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