About / Contact
Welcome to the 15C website, I hope you are enjoying the photographs. Below I offer a little bit of information about myself, my hobbies and my photography.
I was born in Leicester, raised in Melton Mowbray, and now live in Leicester. I am married with two grown up children and work as an engineer supporting several industries including rail, military and aerospace.
The name of the
website is 15C as that was the shed code for Leicester Midland shed, which was
the closest railway depot to the house in which I was born. I wanted a name for
the website which meant something to me, but which did not include my name.
Taking photographs is my hobby and I have purposely steered clear of calling the
website something like ‘Jason Cross Photographic’ or similar, as such a name
implies that I have a company of that name, which I don’t. Maybe one day,
should the need or the opportunity arise, perhaps photography may become more
than a hobby, but for now, I am quite happy to be an enthusiastic amateur
The one person I aim to please when taking pictures is me. Maybe that sounds a little bit selfish, but if I am to spend money on camera equipment, spend time and money researching locations and also spend time, money and effort to get the shots, then I want to enjoy the results at the end. If others also enjoy looking at my pictures, then that is a big bonus, and it is always nice to receive favourable comments.
My interests are many and varied. It is safe to say that I will take a photograph of anything if I think it will make a nice image. First and foremost though, I am a railway and tramway enthusiast with more than just a passing interest in other forms of transport such as buses, boats and ships and aircraft. I like to follow and record the current UK mainline railway scene as well as visit preserved railways and attend photo charters to try to recreate scenes from the past and contribute financially to railway preservation. The same applies to other forms of transport, and I can often be found photographing tramways and light rail systems, heritage tramways, as well as modern and vintage buses.
Quality, Style and Influences
I am not a massive fan of daylight pictures taken in dull conditions and much prefer a full sun shot taken with the sun at a good angle to the subject. The keyword here is ‘prefer’, as it isn’t a hard and fast rule that I follow to the letter, and I have taken many a good shot in poor conditions, often creating moody monochrome images in the process. Again, it’s all about getting an image that I am happy with. I was once told, after not taking a shot as the sun had gone in, that I didn’t have the skills needed to cope with anything less than full sun conditions. To this day, I do not know who this person was, or why he would arrive at this conclusion, I guess he just overheard me say to someone alongside me that I didn’t bother pressing the shutter and drew his own conclusions from that. He was seriously wide of the mark though, as I have honed my skills in recent years, concurrent with the advance of digital camera technology, to take crisp sharp images in low light conditions. This has enabled me to take photographs of moving subjects at night, and to take good quality images on the below ground sections of the London Underground.
As already stated, my aim is to capture images that I find pleasing to look at, and to understand what I like to see in an image, it is worth mentioning railway photographer R.C. Riley, who has influenced a lot of my picture taking. He is no longer with us, and sadly I never met him, but I really enjoy looking at his work. In his photos, he didn’t fill the frame with locomotive and instead showed the scene around the train while still keeping the train as the main feature. His photos therefore include a lot of history as there are many features within his photographs that tell a story or date the images. Most of his pictures are best described as front three-quarter views, which in my honest opinion, for most of the time, is the best angle from which to photograph most transport subjects. So you will find that the majority of my photographs are of a ‘front three-quarter, show the scene’ nature, an approach which some may find boring, but again, it is the approach that I prefer, and an approach which I believe to be the best for recording history. To give a for instance, I see a lot of people visiting the London Underground with the intention of taking photographs. They come away with a load of artistic photographs of blurred trains, light trails and weird angles, which are often very nice, but when looked at in years to come, they will be nothing more than an arty image, and will not show much in the way of historic detail. I personally prefer to look at photographs that capture the detail of a moment in time, but I do also like to take the occasional artistic photo, it’s good for the soul, but these are usually in addition to the detail shots rather than instead of them.
I started taking photographs in the mid 1980s, and many of my early photographs are of a poor quality. I had no mentor to advise me where I was going wrong, and it wasn’t until the early 1990s when I received some advice from a colleague at work who was also into photography, that I started to see some improvement in my results. Quite a few of my early photographs have made it onto this site as they show scenes and subjects that are no longer possible, and some of the poor composition, under or over exposing has been corrected on the computer after scanning. They are included for interest, but they also hopefully show how my photography has improved over the years.
Since 2014, I have been using a pole to gain height with some of my photographs. There are some who sit behind a keyboard and slag off those who use poles. I think there is a misconception that having a pole means that you no longer take pictures from ground level, and that it is somehow therefore ‘elitist’ to use a pole. Certainly in my case, nothing could be further from the truth, as I still often opt for a ground level stance, and when I started using a pole, I didn’t suddenly become unhappy with all my ground level shots that I had taken before I had a pole. What having the pole has given me are more options. We so often hear about locations that have been lost due to tall palisade fencing being installed, or the growth of vegetation reaching the point where the shot is lost from ground level. With a pole, it is often possible to see over the fencing or the vegetation. I have always liked a little bit of height to my shots anyway, as gaining height often puts the horizon above the subject rather than below it, thus changing the shot. For many years, I have often looked for locations that can be taken from raised land or from a bridge, but using a pole basically means you have your own ‘portable bridge’ which can be used almost anywhere. The pole has also given a new lease of life to locations that I have done to death over the years, as now a new angle can be adopted and a different shot obtained. It also allows shots to be taken where before there wasn’t one. It has brought a lot of variety to my photography, and added a lot of enjoyment, so I’m not particularly bothered by any negative comments. As a charter organiser and attendee of photo charters organised by others, poles have actually made it easier on photo charters, especially at a location where space is tight. The gallery has always traditionally been arranged from front to back with people squatting down, people standing up, people on small steps and then people on larger steps. The pole users just tend to form an additional row behind those on the larger steps, behind everyone else and out of everyone’s shots. I have helped several people to create a pole set up, but using a pole isn’t for everyone and is merely an additional photographic tool that can be used or not used as applicable. Please note that I usually add a note to any pictures to say if they have been taken with a pole, purely because I wouldn’t want anyone who doesn’t use a pole to turn up to a location I have used and expect to get a shot from the same angle without a pole.
In 2012, I was asked to compile a pictorial book about the London Underground. This was called ‘Mind the Gap’, and was followed by a London Underground Guide Book. Since then, I have authored several books including more guide books and a series of pictorial books. More details can be found here.
I am willing to present a number of slide shows each year to railway and transport clubs and societies and camera clubs. I have a fairly unique way of presenting my shows which usually include titles, diagrams (where applicable) and video clips as well as plenty of still images. In most cases, when I have given a talk to a society, I get invited back to give another talk at a later date. The shows can be tailored to suit the audience, for example a presentation to a railway society would differ greatly to a presentation I would give to a camera club. The most common shows that I present are as follows:
Capturing the Present & Recreating the Past – a mixture of current photographs and historic recreations featuring transport subjects. This show can be adjusted dependant on the audience, for example, if presented to a railway society, the bulk of the photographs would be of railway subjects, but it can be made to have a bus bias or tramway bias if that is what the audience desire.
Rails of the Isle of Man – a photographic tour of the Isle of Man featuring the Steam Railway, Manx Electric Railway, Snaefell Mountain Railway and Douglas Bay Horse Tramway.
Mind the Gap – this is the show I get asked to do most often. It is a show all about the London Underground and looks at the history of the system, how it operates, the trains used and the architecture.
To ensure compatibility and so that I can be sure that my images will look right on the screen, I use my own laptop and digital projector when I present a show. I also bring speakers with me as most shows feature sound, especially where video clips are included.
If you organise shows for a society or club and would like me to present a show, please get in touch via the contact details below and I will give it some consideration. The distance I will need to travel, and my availability on the required date being the main considerations, but it is also worth noting that I do restrict the number of shows that I do each year, as I do not want to be presenting shows every week.
My first SLR was a Praktica MTL50 which was a Christmas present from my parents in the 1980s. I progressed to a Minolta X300, and I had several bodies of this type into which I loaded different types of film (daylight balanced colour slide, black and white print and slide and tungsten balanced colour slide film). I then swapped to Nikon when I bought a Nikon F65 in 2003, and this was my last film camera before switching to digital. My first digital camera was a Fuji Finepix S5500 bridge camera which I operated alongside the F65. My first digital SLR was a Nikon D50, which again was operated alongside the F65. In 2007, I upgraded to a Nikon D80, and at this point I ceased taking pictures with the film camera. A further upgrade to a Nikon D300 followed in 2009, and to a D600 at the end of 2012, before upgrading to the camera that I currently use, a Nikon D750, in 2015. My current arsenal of lenses includes a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 prime, a Sigma Art 50mm f1.4 prime, a Sigma Art 24-105mm f4 zoom and a Nikkor 85-400mm f4-5.6 zoom.
All of the content on this website is the sole copyright of Jason Cross. Images and videos may not be copied or re-published, either on printed page or over the internet without the written permission of Jason Cross. All pictures on this site are watermarked and are uploaded at a size which is too small to achieve good quality printed reproduction. If you would like to use one of my images, please contact me (see below) to arrange permission and / or for a non-watermarked high resolution version to be sent across. There may be a charge for such use dependant on the application. Jason Cross will retain the copyright at all times. Jason Cross reserves the right to refuse a request.
The above may sound a little regimental and formal, but these are my photographs, and I should be able to control when and where they are used. There are laws in place to protect photographer’s copyrights, please don’t give me cause to have to take legal action.
To get in touch, please use the email address below. This is not a clickable link for security purposes, so you will need to type this address in manually. I also have a 15C Facebook page and a Flickr page which can be reached by clicking on the logos below.