33rd Canberra Model Railway Expo

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Canberra Model Railway Expo 2022 layout photo

Back at the end of March the Canberra Model Railway Club Inc. held its most recent annual model railway expo. According to the little booklet you get on entry, it is the 33rd annual expo they have held in their 62 year history. My father and grandfather both used to have quite large model railway layouts, so I have always had an interest in model trains. It was on a weekend when I had some time, and JC was also keen, so we had a daddy/daughter day out – both of us with camera’s in hand! My daughter was using my “old” camera – a Pentax K-10D. I will see if she wants to put up her own post with any photos she considers worthy. These photos are entirely my efforts.

I am not in any way associated with the club, and I think this is only the 2nd time I’ve been to an event run by them. The event was well attended, and in keeping with privacy policy I have not included any photographs here with identifiable people in them. The nature of the spaces occupied by the expo limit my ability to get photographs without identifiable people in them. That’s not to say I didn’t take the photos… it just means that you don’t get to see them. Sorry, but that’s life. Chat on the clubs Facebook page after the event suggests it was one of the best attended expos they have run, which is good news for them.

Canberra Model Railway Expo 2022 layout photo
Ironing board layout “Gaye Saint Ediths”.
Canberra Model Railway Expo 2022 layout photo
A collection of model trains from yesteryear.
What was there?

An amazing mix of both technologies and settings were represented in the layouts present. Technology ranged from the historical model railway people demonstrating model trains from the 1920’s through to the 1960’s; through to a quite large model diorama (with running trains) made entirely from lego. Layouts ranged in size from a tiny layout built on top of an ironing board; through to a gigantic 12m x (almost) 6m layout by the members of the Coffs Harbour Model Railway Club. Both make a showing in my photos below. Layout themes covered English and Australian countryside – including a number inspired by Canberra-region railway locations; a Japanese city scene (complete with Godzilla); and a couple of desert scenes also come to mind. Oh, not to mention a couple of very miniature single-loop layouts that literally fit into an archive-sized (or smaller) box.

Another exhibition of note (to me) was a gentleman showing incredibly detailed wooden 1/24 scale models of a range of early Australian (mostly) steam locomotives – unpowered but all able to roll along their (very short) sections of track. The dedication to hand-make these was immense. Congratulations, sir – an amazing lot of work!

Canberra Model Railway Expo 2022 layout photo
A couple of wooden scale models of Victorian Railways locomotives.
Canberra Model Railway Expo 2022 layout photo
One end of the LEGO layout by Canberra Lego Users Group.
Stalls as well…

I spent a period of time talking with the Canberra Railway Museum folk (the real, full-size train people!), who also had a stand there. They were talking up the resumption of steam train trips from Canberra at Easter (in conjunction with the Picnic Train). It is good to see them being active and getting historical train activity happening again. I hope to see them get some of their locomotives functional again sometime. I did manage to get on one of the Easter trips, but I did not manage to get any good photographs. I’ll write up a blog post about it some time.

There was also a range of stalls selling all sorts of bits for model railway enthusiasts. On walking past I did notice various scenery bits, locomotives and rolling stock. No offence to them, but they weren’t what we were there to see, so I didn’t pay much attention to them. They did, however, appear to be being well patronised by people who were interested so I hope they found it a good weekend out for them as well.

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Learning experiences…

Having now had a chance to look at the photos in detail, I didn’t do a particularly good job of them. I know what I did wrong, though. I still got quite a good number of sharable photos, but they aren’t as good as they could have been. Probably not product-worthy, unfortunately.

The problem was, I didn’t play with my aperture settings at all during the expo. One of the by-products of still learning how to properly use the camera is that I haven’t got into the habit of thinking about such things before pressing the button. A pretty-much fully automatic camera addresses a lot of the complexities with taking photographs, and it is possible to take very fine holiday snaps without having to think about such things. However, when you’re trying to convey something a little more stylistic, that’s a habit to get out of.

I was using a low f-stop, which means a very shallow depth of field. Shooting indoors at moving targets, that seemed like a logical choice. I wasn’t happy with the results, however. The depth of field was too shallow, and it would have been better in many cases if I’d had much deeper depth of field. Maybe I should have gone for a mid-range f-stop and compensated with a higher ISO selection instead. Next time!

Credits and disclaimers

I am deeply indebted to the booklet produced by the Canberra Model Railway Club that was given out to paying guests on entry, for assisting me to identify the various layouts and their owners. Having said that, any mistakes in attribution are entirely mine, and my humble apologies if I have mis-attributed anything. Please let me know through the Contact Us form if I have done so and I will gladly correct the mistake.

I was a paying guest to the expo and I did not receive any special access or privileges. Utmost care was taken to avoid inconveniencing other guests at the expo while I took my photographs. I have not and do not expect to receive any commission from the Canberra Model Railway Club or any exhibitors for the featuring of their work in this blog or publishing the photographs. They are included here because I admired their handiwork and the photographs came out alright.

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