Low Down bus photographer

Going low can add interesting angles when photographing large vehicles. Crouching in a ditch is optional . . .

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I’m crouching in a ditch at the side of the Airport Perimiter Road on a cold Easter Sunday, getting odd looks from the motorists flying past just inches above me. I’m waiting for a 27B to come past – either direction will do, though outbound would be better – as there would be no chance of other traffic getting in the way of the shot.

After what seems like forever, it comes, and I’m rewarded with a nice shot of EV38, a Volvo B9TL/Enviro 400 of Dublin Bus. The bus generally flys along the road, there is nothing to stop for, so I go as fast as possible with the exposure within the constraints of the poor lighting conditions.

Over the years that I’ve indulged in bus photography, at first as a hobby, and in later years professionally, I’ve developed a liking for the “low shot”.

When photographing what are essentially large boxes on wheels, anything you can do to change the approach angle of the shot will help liven up the photograph. In this case getting down into the ditch gives a partial view under the bus, and also allows the roadside grass to rise up into the picture, and add some foreground to the shot.

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Even without the foreground, a low angle (crouching on the ground) helps make this shot of a brand new MarcoPolo single-deck bus more imposing. This was shot for Coach & Bus Week to mark the arrival of the MarcoPolo buses into Ireland, and when taking pictures like these for a manufactorer or operator, I’m always trying hard to make them look as impressive or interesting as possible.

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I still do a lot of photography on a personal/hobby basis, though I often end up using pictures later as stock shots to illustrate a piece on something related. I try to take all the photo opportunities I can get, it’s always good when a story comes to be written if you already have the perfect shot to illustrate it.

For moving vehicles you only get one shot, but when I come across something parked, I’ll often take the opportunity to get several sides, and go for both the low and the standard views, as illustrated here by two views of Dublin Bus AV328 at Powerscourt Demense, Co. Wicklow.

This was the perfect example of the “opportunity shot” – I was taking my mother to the Garden Centre at Powerscourt, and our visit happened to coincide with the arrival of the South Coast Tour. If I ever need to illustrate an article on the tour I’ve got the shot waiting, and if I don’t, I have a nice record of AV328 as it looked in 2007.

More ex-DB Olympians find home at Dualways

While visiting Dualway to file a report for CBW Magazine on new additions to their very fine coaching fleet, I unexpectedly came across some old friends from the Bus Atha Cliath fleet in exile.

Dualway has built up quite a fleet of former Dublin Bus RH types, but they are now acquiring some of the more modern RA (Volvo) Olympians now that these are being sold by Dublin Bus.

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ex-RA273 – click for fullsize image

Former Clontarf bus RA273, which hung on in service on the 130 route until very recently, has already had its open-top conversion and repaint, and looks just about ready to go on the road.

Dualway do most of their own engineering work, and to a very high standard too.

Note the 3-bay-covered conversion – given the huge amount of rain we had last summer, you can’t blame the company for hedging their bets!

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Former Donnybrook bus RA256 is next to get attention, and is seen here in the workshop at the assessment stage.

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Sister vehicle RA257 is also acquired, and is currently stored in the depot pending refurbishment.

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Dualway also has a growing fleet of purpose-built lowfloor accessible open-toppers, with another due to arrive shortly, but these were all out earning their keep while I was there.

The above shot shows one of Dualways covered-top lowfloor buses, and some of the Routemasters acquired for sightseeing work a couple of years ago – use of these tends to be seasonal, and for special events.

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Finally, I musn’t forget to mention the coach I had come to see, a new 08-registered MarcoPolo/DAF which has just joined the coaching fleet. Dualway do a lot of private hire and some corporate coaching, and have built up a quality fleet of modern coaches, all bought new, over the last several years.

As well as sight-seeing and coaching, the firm operates local services in southwest Dublin, particularly around Tallaght and Rathcoole, and has lowfloor accessible single-deck buses as well as the double-decks.

All in all, a firm to watch, with nice mix of the modern and the classic, and setting the standards for the best in private operation.