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Edition #170  March 15, 2012

Shadows of Change

Photographer: Alan Shaw

                                                                      Photo by Alan Shaw

Shadows of Change

By 1985 Iíd saved enough money to buy a car, but having my own car in 1985 was one thing, having trains to actually photograph was another. The timetable in operation at the time was not especially friendly for those of us who liked to photograph trains and who lived in southern Tasmania, with the south-bounds normally into Hobart in the early morning, and the north-bounds departing in the late afternoon and early evening. This left the train up the Derwent valley as the main daylight subject, plus an occasional excess-loading train that left Hobart mid-morning, took the loading over the steeply graded section of line to Parattah in Tasmaniaís midlands, and returned light engine to Hobart by mid to late afternoon. The loading left at Parattah would be collected later in the evening by one of the regular northbound trains to continue over the easier grades.

The returning light engine movement is the subject here, returning south through the lovely rural countryside around Colebrook. Iím not sure why this image escaped my attention when I used to spend hours in the darkroom, as I now think itís quite a pleasing view in the late April sunlight, while the modest Georgian farm house is quite typical of the southern Tasmanian landscape. I couldnít have thought too much of this view either, as I donít seem to have taken any other shots in this area. Possibly Iím more attracted to it now because the landscapes I usually travel through now are distinctly flatter, drier and bereft of stone buildings such as seen here.

If I was in a philosophical mood tonight, I could suggest a slight symbolism evident in the lengthening shadows. Within a few weeks of this view being taken Iíd be starting my first full-time job, and as it turned out one that launched me in what could now be considered as a career, although at the time of course nothing could be further from my mind. A job yes, but a CAREER? What an odd notion! And with that first job would also come more ready cash (actually, lots more ready cash) but also the start of the dilemma of perhaps having more money but vastly less time available for such pursuits as chasing trains. So these could be the shadows of change on a brief period of a temporal liberty.

As we all know, itís a balancing act that never seems to change.

Alan Shaw

Brisbane, Australia

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