Down The Line – Skylines by Murray Fox

I’ve always had an affinity for Rail. Maybe it was those trips on the ZigZag railway in the blue mountains west of Sydney as a child, or doing an overnight sleeper from Sydney to Brisbane on our way to Great Kepple Island back in the 80s, there is something magical about rail and rail travel.

Ipswich has a fantastic rail history and is home to the Workshop Rail Museum. The Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway still run those wonderful old vintage trains around town. My wife originally asked me for an astro photograph with Rail, and I’m continuing to work on that but this time around, I wanted to create something that fit with my Skylines.

I knew exactly the spot to go to near Rosewood, not far west of Ipswich. This is a crossing point and much care was taken to ensure no trains were coming through as this is an active line. Where I was hoping for clouds, instead I was greeted with wonderful fog and crepuscular rays of the approaching sunrise. I’ll take that any day of the week.

I felt this photograph was going to be one of strong contrasts, the dark ground and back lit trees, contrasting against the bright sky. The smooth rails contrasting against the rough stones that surround them. The colours across the scene all contrast in layers.

It’s also about reflection, literally and figuratively. The rays in the sky reflect the strong leading lines of the tracks. The colour of the sky reflects on the rail. For me, the fog reflects the memories I have of those steam trains of my childhood, billowing across the landscape. It also produces a wonderful sense of calm for me, a peace I can find just standing there looking at the photograph.

The big reason I love creating my Skylines is each is almost two photographs in one, but both halves work together to create the whole. It’s quite interesting to see the final results once I’ve finished editing the photograph. I generally go into editing with only a vague idea of what I want to create. I have a rough plan I follow for each image, a series of adjustments I normally make, and as they reveal more and more in the photograph I let those revelations drive me further on the path to completeness.

This is quite at odds to a lot of landscape photographers I admire and follow across various social media platforms. Many of them shoot with a purpose, and already know what they are going to do in post production to complete the image. I find my way really draws upon my inner creativity, yes there is basic post processing to be done to any raw photograph, but from there, I am further creating, adjusting colours, brightening and darkening areas, focusing attention where it pleases me, thus I end up with something that is truly unique and truly mine.

So please, enjoy this photograph, think back to your memories of rail if you have them. If you don’t, think about what it might be to go on one of the great rail journeys across this country or across the world. Spend a moment, and enjoy.


Down The Line - Skylines by Murray Fox. A landscape photograph of train lines near Rosewood in Ipswich Queensland Australia through the fog as sunrise approaches throwing wonderful light rays into the sky. Photographed by Australian Landscape Photographer Murray Fox

This photograph has been added to my Skylines Portfolio where you can purchase it online as a Canvas, as a Fine Art Print or as an awesome high quality Poster. Each option and size have specifically been chosen to meet the budgets of everyone, but more importantly, they are large enough that when hanging on your wall, they create their own window to the world. Standing in front of the photo on the wall, you are there.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I regularly post about my latest photographs and share behind the scenes as I create my Skylines.

I’m always very interested to ready your feedback, whether it’s about this photograph, or if you have a question about anything at all, simply comment below and we can discuss it.

Until next time!


2 Responses

  1. Hello Murry, I’ve just started my photography journey. I’m interested to know what settings you find work well for sky and sunsets. I love this photo. Thanks in advance. Shelley.

    1. Hi Shelly, there are several settings I always use. I tend to shoot either in manual or aperture priority. For changing light, aperture priority is great as the camera will work out the shutter speed for you. I set ISO as low as possible (100 on a Sony or 200 on an Olympus for example). This gives the best dynamic range (difference between bright and dark) and the lowest noise/cleanest image possible. I always use a tripod and a remote control trigger for the camera. The more stable and less movement, the sharper the image. For aperture, I’m anywhere from f8-f16 on Sony or F8 to f10 on Olympus. This is to get as much in focus front to back as possible. Aperture is set by camera and I use exposure compensation to make sure nothing in the sky is pure white/blown out. This can make the ground very dark so I either use an ND graduated filter to darken the sky (which brightens the foregeound) or bracket the shots (one very dark, one normal, one bright, and merge the exposures later in Photoshop either using HDR or exposure blending. Quite advanced techniques that so tale some time to learn. Finally, shoot in Raw and you must post process. Raw captures as much information as possible, helping you later in post. You cant make many changes to a standard jpg. Hope that helps.

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