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Royal Scot Minehead

Images of steam trains from a bygone age will be printed poster-size by digital pioneer Océ as part of a centrepiece spectacular for a photographic competition and exhibition.

The Steam Railway Photographic Competition has been running throughout the summer in Williton, Somerset. Headed ‘Steam’s Up’, snappers have been invited to submit photographs for a number of categories. These include Steam Engines and Rolling Stock, Diesel, Railway Landscapes, Railway People (staff or passengers), a special section for Under 16s. There’s even a competition for those who shun the digital age, and want to render their images in paint, pastel, crayon or any other medium.

Hundreds of entries have already been received by organisers, which have now been whittled down to 120. Final judging will start one week before the exhibition that is due to take place in West Somerset House, in the centre of Williton, to coincide with the West Somerset Railway’s Autumn Steam Gala on October 1-3. Details on www.willitonparishcouncil.org

One of the main highlights will be the provision of a poster service throughout the weekend where enthusiasts can turn their snaps into poster size images for the cost of the materials, plus a small contribution to charity.

Digital manufacturer and software provider Océ will be providing a super-fast printer that will provide colour images nearly four feet wide in just over 30 seconds!  Called an Océ ColorWave 600, the printer works through a printing technology called Océ CrystalPoint™. This technology, rather than inks, uses solid toner pearls that are converted into a gel, jetted and then crystallised on to paper. The Océ ColorWave 600 produces an A0 full colour sheet (one-square metre) in 34 seconds.

Event instigator David Chadwick said: “It’s been a lot of hard work, but it will be all worthwhile.  This event will be extremely visual and Océ’s help in producing the eye-catching posters on this revolutionary machine will be a real attraction and interest for rail and camera enthusiasts at what we know is going to be a fantastic event.”

On hand throughout the show will be Océ display graphics specialist Ian Guiver, who will be using Onyx Poster Production House software in conjunction with the printer, and be providing a series of master-classes on print production. “The camera enthusiasts will be able to see that it’s not just about pixel quality that makes a print stand out – it’s also to do with the technology,” he said. “The Océ ColorWave 600 prints on to a wide range of medias, ranging from uncoated and recycled papers all the way through to specialties like Tyvek for maximum durability with its water resistant CrystalPoint finish. The technology is environmentally friendly with no emissions of ozone, odour or fine powder and does not use liquids or solvents.”

Proceeds from producing poster images from photographs will go to the Little Havens Children’s Hospice, which is supported by Océ UK Ltd.