Photographing our Hidden Subterranean Worlds. The History and Heritage of Liverpool. Architecture, Landscapes and anything else that catches my eye…

I have enjoyed photography for many years, having most of my early photographic equipment, still safely stored away. As a teenager, my first camera was the very basic Ricoh ‘KR5’, which I upgraded to the more advanced Ricoh ‘XR7’ as my interest in photography grew. Some years later I turned to Nikon as my main camera system, when the excellent Nikon ‘FA’ became my 35mm camera of choice. Eventually buying a second Nikon ‘FA’ camera body, complete with a range of accompanying Nikon Nikkor lenses and accessories.

I also enjoyed using medium format along side 35mm, firstly with a Mamiya ‘C330f’ TLR (Twin Lens Reflex), until it was sadly stolen. After which, I replaced the Mamiya with a fabulous Zenza Bronica ‘SQ-A’ SLR (Single Lens Reflex) medium format system, which I still have and would never part with.

I was a late adaptor of digital, initially refusing to make that change from film to digital. I believed that the quality of film was far superior to what digital could manage, which of course it was in those early days. However there is no denying that digital has now caught up, maybe even surpassing film in terms of output quality. Though undeniably film can still very much hold its own in terms of quality even today.

I now use the excellent Nikon ‘D800’ & ‘D850’ FX digital SLR’s as my main camera bodies. Both the D800 and D850 being solid and dependable workhorses.

Infra-Red photography has always fascinated me, both in terms of the resulting images, but also the more complex yet enjoyable process that was required to create images from Infra-Red film. I had my old Nikon ‘D200’ body converted to Infra-Red, as using a converted DSLR can produce similar output results as film, even though the image making process is easier.

As convenient as the modern digital process has made photography these days, I do miss the good old days of film photography. To create your image, the photographing of your subject was just the start of the journey. The fun then began in the dark room, processing your film, then of course printing the negatives. Watching as your image gradually appeared on the blank paper, immersed in the developer solution was a magical moment. The creation of images used to be a magical process from start to finish, that is sadly missing from today’s image making process.

After leaving school, I studied Photography full time. One of the many assignments I was given during my studies, was to photograph the interior of a Chapel within a convent in Mossley Hill, Liverpool. For this shoot, I used a 5×4 inch monorail plate camera which was a wonderful experience, a real hands on all manual camera. The resulting image from this photo shoot was chosen to be entered into the prestigious ‘British Institute of Professional Photography’ (BIPP) competition by my course lecturer.

Awarded, ‘First Merit’ in the student category of the ‘British Institute of Professional Photography’ (BIPP) competition (7th July 1985) – Chapel in a Convent, Mossley Hill, Liverpool.

Amazingly, my interior shot (above) went on to be awarded ‘First Merit’ in the student category of this BIPP national competition.

I have also become a fan of aerial photography and video, using the amazing DJI Mavic Air 2 drone, being a registered Drone operator and flyer with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

I also enjoy creating 360° Virtual Reality Equirectangular Images. These imaes are made by taking multiple images, covering the whole 360° scene. These images are then stitched together with special 360° VR software. Each 360° image is made from 6 Hi-Res images with the Nikon D800 or D850, fitted with a Nikon Nikkor 8-15mm Fisheye lens on a Manfrotto 055 Pro tripod with MH057A5 3D head + L Bracket. I then use the clever PTGui software to create the final 360° image.

In my spare time, I have had the pleasure and honour of being a Volunteer, Guide, Trustee and photographer for the Registered Charity, “Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels” since 1999. It has been a fascinating journey of discovery and exploration working in the Tunnels. Digging and exploring the tunnels, meeting many interesting people, but the most wonderful thing has been showing the many hundreds if not thousands of people around Joseph Williamson’s Subterranean kingdom. I have also had the pleasure of photographing the tunnels, showing the progress of their discovery and restoration in a photographic story through the years.

I am also Trustee of the “Liverpool & Manchester Railway Trust”. We are determined to get Liverpool’s Railway Heritage recognised and appreciated by the world. Liverpool being the birthplace of Modern Railways.

My full time career began in November 1985 when I started my first and only full time job with ‘British Rail’ as a Drivers Assistant or second man. Promotion meant I became a Train Driver in 1988, initially with Mersey Rail. However I returned to working freight trains around a year later based at Warrington Arpley.

As the years passed, I progressed from driving not only freight but also Postal services and Special Passenger services, ranging from the famous “Northern Belle” to Heritage Charter services, Rail Tours and other Special Traction Excursions up and down the country. Working trains from Ayr in Scotland down to the North West of England, Holyhead, the Midlands & Birmingham and on to London. I have been based at Liverpool Lime Street ever since 2003, initially with ‘Virgin Trains’, working High Speed 125mph Tilting Pendolino (Class 390) and Super Voyager (Class 221) trains on the West Coast Main Line, between Liverpool Lime Street, London Euston and Holyhead.

Proud of my home city of Liverpool, its History, Heritage and it’s Architecture.

My web site is continually changing, as and when I have time to add to it. So please do come back again soon.

See how me, my images and video have been featured on TV, Radio and other media,  over the years.

chrisiles.co.uk | © Chris Iles – 2022

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