Floating Steam Engines & IR Portraits

More fun & games with alternative photography techniques.

Floating a Steam Engine! I must have gone mad, well actually that happened a long time ago but I digress! The intention is to make a model train appear as if it is floating and therefore present us with a pleasant reflection within its photograph, as below:

_MG_8562-Edit  Click image for a larger view …

Here is a brief overview of how to carry out this technique:

  • Find a shallow waterproof tray, preferably dark coloured. You may find one at a garden centre.
  • Place supports for a platform in the tray, house bricks will do.
  • Now place a dark platform (eg roofing slate) just below the lip of the tray.
  • Make sure everything is level
  • Fill tray with water so that there is about 1mm of water over the slate platform
  • Place whatever object you wish to photograph, on the platform. In my case, a model ‘Flying Scotsman’.
  • Place a flash head & snoot such that your object is illuminated but the water is not.
  • Place other flash heads as required to provide fill in lighting
  • Meter & shoot your images

Do be careful doing this, you are going to have high current electric & water in close proximity to each other, so caution is of the utmost importance. Do have fun though, this is a classic technique that has often been done on a large scale for sports car publicity. Tamsin is now asking for me to help her do it for her model horses 🙂


On a different note; an interesting use for infrared photography is the romantic portrait.

DSCF0256_edit  Click image for a larger view …

This technique shows almost a glow to skin. The above picture is simply a family photo that I grabbed whilst walking past Tamsin & Snowy, with the IR camera. In a studio setup the effect can be refined with some quite stunning results. More on this, later in the year.


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