Photographing the Danube Express with HRH Prince Michael of Kent

Although I’m predominantly a wedding photographer, January to early May is not the busiest time for weddings so this gives me the opportunity to take on some commercial photography work. I was delighted when Golden Eagle Luxury Trains commissioned me to provide them with some new imagery for their website & tour brochures. Golden Eagle Luxury Trains are based in Altrincham, Greater Manchester and are the world’s leading operator of exclusive, long-distance rail tours.

The brief was fairly straightforward, they wanted images to capture the essence of their newest train, the Danube Express, which was about to make it’s maiden journey (The Balkan Odyssey) from Venice to Budapest via stops in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. I was to board the train at it’s base in Budapest for the overnight journey to Venice via Badacsonytomaj, Keszthely and Ljubljana. Once in Venice the train was to pick up the first paying customers for the 10 day Balkan Odyssey journey. Below you can see a map of my journey:

Golden Eagle Danube Express

With the train being based in Budapest and having to travel overnight to arrive at the tour starting point in Venice, rather than sending an empty train, Golden Eagle decided to invite local journalists, dignitaries and a group of loyal Golden Eagle customers for the overnight trip. Additionally, there were 2 rather high profile guests on board – HRH Prince Michael of Kent and his lady wife, HRH Princess Michael of Kent who I was to photograph in the Royal Waiting Room at Budapest-Nyugati train station. Here are a selection of my images from the trip:

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Whilst on board I also got to meet and chat with some local Hungarian business people, including the lovely Hajnalka, founder of Budapest Local who was on board with her team to document the trip. Hajnalka used some of my photographs in her write up of the day which you can read here. Budapest Local also produced a video report of the trip which you can see below (you can see me a couple of times in the footage, hard at work!) –

I had an amazing time and I consider myself very fortunate to be able to get paid to do this kind of work, although it was hard work shooting for long hours, the experience was incredibly enriching and it was brilliant to mingle with so many interesting people. Thankfully, I did get the opportunity to relax in the stunning lounge carriage in the evening as we traveled through Slovenia and I was treated to some amazing food, Champagne and beautiful vintage wines. The staff on-board were simply amazing and are a credit to Golden Eagle Luxury Trains; as a working class lad from Manchester, it took me a little while to acclimatise to this level of luxury and top class service, but y’know, you do kind of get used to it!

I’d like to thank Golden Eagle Luxury Trains for commissioning me for this project, I am very much looking forward to seeing my images in their brochures and on their website. Special thanks must also go to Natasha (Marketing Manager at Golden Eagle) who accompanied me on the trip and ensured I was well looked after throughout. I received some lovely feedback from Kristina (Operations Manager at Golden Eagle) upon delivery of the images:

“I just wanted to say what a brilliant job you and Natasha did. I have been so impressed with your professionalism and dedication to the project. I’m delighted with the images we have seen so far. You really have worked some magic for the Heritage Class cabins – So much better than what we had before. Great Job. Well done and thank you”.

So there you go, I hope you enjoyed this brief insight into the world of Golden Eagle Luxury Trains. Wedding season is now well and truly upon me with another 27 weddings to photograph before the end of the year, so its likely that my commercial photography work will have to take a back seat until the beginning of 2016.

Thanks very much for reading and your continued support,

Steve x


All photography is copyright Steve Grogan Photography.