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
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
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
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
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
I will be finding some more interesting places to do some more light