Thursday, 22 January 2015

Richmond Vale Safari

Last Saturday was bloody hot!  36 degrees celsius with high humidity.  Still, not wanting to waste a beautiful day I went out to Richmond Vale, a lovely rural locality just 20 minutes drive from home.  

The main reason for going out there was to get some photos of a couple of abandoned wooden trestle rail bridges which I thought would not be too far from the Richmond Vale Railway Museum.  

I had seen them in the local newspaper and thought that they would make for a good safari.  I knew that they were on the Richmond Vale Line and after much googling and close up views on Google Maps I found them.  Anyway, on arriving at the Museum area, I figured it was too hot to even consider a walk of a few kms just for a photo; they weren't going anywhere and I could come back in cooler weather.

The Museum is a volunteer non-profit organisation dedicated to the Railway and Mining Heritage of the Hunter Valley.  For those not familiar with the area where I live, Newcastle (Australia) is the largest coal export port in the world.  The Richmond Vale Railway Museum has a number of operating steam and diesel locomotives and rolling stock.  They run for the first 3 Sundays in every month and every Sunday during school holidays.  I went on a Saturday because I thought that the Museum building would be open for some information but it turns out that it is only open on those Sundays as well.  I was not able to go on a Sunday so will have to save that day for another time.

The Richmond Vale Railway Museum is right next door to the abandoned Richmond Main Colliery built in about 1908 from what I can find on-line.  The cooling towers you see here were built in 1912 for a power station that powered Richmond Main and the nearby Pelaw Main mines.  It was operational up until 1976 when power switched over to the main grid.  I would love to get in there and have a snoop around with my camera, and I have just seen on a NSW Heritage page that they actually do tours of the old mine, possibly on a Sunday when the museum is open?; I will have to make enquiries.  

Luckily, the security fence was short enough for me to get my camera over the top!  I shot a series of -/+2 EV bracketed exposures to be edited as HDR images.  This resulted in a better overall exposure of the buildings and equipment, especially the 2 cooling towers that were constructed of wood and had many hidden features that the HDR was able to bring out.  

The photo of the water below is the Richmond Vale Colliery Dam.  The water used in the power station was pumped here to cool and then recycled back to the power station.  As I was heading back to the car I noticed the rise and fall of the land and took a series of shots for a panorama.  I had decided that this had to be in B&W and I edited it Nik Silver Efex Pro.

As always, I toured the local roads looking for something to grab my eye.  I found it on Sandy Creek Road in a locality known as Mount Vincent, not far from Richmond Vale.  The old barn had seen better days but it was an offer too good to miss out on!

After a while I simply decided to head on home; it was way too hot to be our and about.

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The Cooling Towers, Richmond Vale Colliery, Australia.

The Cooling Tower in B&W, Richmond Vale Colliery, Australia.

Abandoned at the Richmond Vale Colliery, Australia.

Abandoned Barn - Sandy Creek Road, Mount Vincent, Australia.

The Colliery Dam - Richmond Vale Road, Richmond Vale, Australia.

Rolling Hillsides - Richmond Vale Road, Richmond Vale, Australia.

Abandoned Barn #2 - Sandy Creek Road, Mount Vincent, Australia.