Shooting in Bright Sunlight

Balla railway station by John Mee Photography

An old railway sleeper used as a fencepost with the main station building in the background.

I had previously seen a few photos of the old Balla railway station before but had never actually shot it myself. In fairness, it was never a location that appealed to me.
However, like all photographers, I like to visit these locations at least once to see for myself.

When you first start out on your photography journey, you may think that a bright, sunshiny day would be a great time to get your camera out. However, shooting on a very sunny day is a lot trickier than you think. I’ll be writing a more detailed post on this subject in the future.

Normally, this is the type of weather that I try to avoid. I prefer a day when the weather is changeable as I think there is a better chance of capturing a more dramatic shot.

However, I do like to challenge myself, and you should too. This is a surefire way to improve your photography. So yesterday, with the sun high in a cloudless sky, I drove down to the old station. It has lain unused for many, many years and is very run down. I parked up and climbed over the gate that leads onto the platform.

As can be seen from the three shots below, the ivy have invaded every nook and cranny of the buildings, but I thought it contrasted nicely with the cold angular stonework and bricks.

Ivy at Balla railway stationBalla railway stationStonework at Balla railway station

Shooting in very bright conditions like this leads to very harsh shadows and generally doesn’t make for easy photography. As well as that, it makes all colours very bright and garish. Not ideal for a lover of black and white images. For that reason, I decided to concentrate on looking that little bit closer at the details.

I walked around for a short while. Indeed, it is very derelict and nature has all but fully reclaimed it. It would be too easy to go in, point the camera and shoot the derelict buildings and track but I wanted to document the present state while acknowledging it’s past. The station is still full of horizontal lines but nature dictates their direction and destination now.

Briars at Balla railway stationRailway tracks at Balla railway station

Initially, you may think that there’s very little to see. A few very run down buildings, the platform and the railway tracks running through it. The train still passes here and I did wonder what it’s passengers thought while viewing it, as they continue on their journey. For this project and in these bright conditions, I decided to concentrate on texture and lines.

Click on an image below to scroll through the slideshow. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.


Balla Railway Station

Balla railway station and the 16.20 train from Claremorris to Ballina collects a passenger who forgot to change trains at Claremorris. Balla station is now derelict.
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