Kelmarsh Railway Tunnels and light painting.

Kelmarsh railway tunnels are two tunnels 480 Yards long on the old Northampton to Market Harborough railway line which closed in the early 1990's. One tunnel is open to the public and is part of the Brampton Valley Way walk and cycle path, there is a second pair of tunnels at Oxendon a couple of miles north of Kelmarsh but these are slightly shorter.

I thought I would pay a visit early one Sunday morning and try my hand at light painting.

I parked the car at Droughton which is just down the road from the old Thor missile launch pads at RAF Harington. From the Brampton Valley Way car park at Draughton it is a walk of 1 1/4 Miles north along the Brampton Way.

Just after you go under the A14 you will see the entrance to the North running tunnel.

The tunnel is only 480 Yards long so the other end is clearly visible but a torch is highly recommended.

Once inside the tunnel is VERY dark... Don't be scared... Time to try my hand at some light painting.

Light painting is achieved by using a small torch or other light source to manually illuminate the subject while leaving the camera on a long exposure or Bulb setting. I set my camera to manual focus with focus set to infinity and an aperture of F8. This test shot was taken while illuminating a small part of the tunnel wall with a small Maglite pocket torch, all I had with me at the time. This exposure was around 20 Seconds.

The test showed me that I would have to use a higher ISO setting, I didn't want to but because of the small torch I had with me I would have to suffer the noise, lesson 1, bring a better selection of torches next time.

My first attempt at light painting was not too bad. Rather than just illuminate a single point with the torch you can "paint" with the light making shapes and highlights where you think they will look most impressive.

Even though the ISO was set to 1000 the shot still took 117 Seconds... So where am I? Well I am in the picture but the secret is to keep moving and never get caught directly in the light. All the time the torch was never pointed in the direction of the camera. The bright lights in the picture are from the tunnel entrance at the other end and reflector markers along the length of the tunnel walls.

This shot was made at an even longer exposure. The tunnel was more evenly painted as I walked down the tunnel. After painting the tunnel I turned round and with the torch pointing at the camera signed my name, not very well but it was my first time. If you look carefully you can see a slight blue haze down the right hand side of the tunnel. This is my blue shirt as I walk down the tunnel.. Lesson 2, next time where dark cloths.

Another one of an evenly painted tunnel with the wall markers highlighted.

It is also handy for graffiti and it doesn't leave anything behind...

The south running tunnel is not open for use and is separated by an embankment. You can just see the entrance through the undergrowth in the centre of this picture.

It is a lot more overgrown and there are some BIG puddles at the entrance.

It is well locked up.

This tunnel has been left as it was when the track was lifted and shows the sorry state of the tunnel lining which is one of the reasons the line was closed.

I will be finding some more interesting places to do some more light painting soon.