Spin to Howth

Sunday evening Kris and I took a spin to Howth and back on Irish Rail’s DART from Connolly Station.

I made my first trip to Howth on the DART back in March 1998. On that visit I made photos with a Nikon F3T loaded with Fujichrome Velvia.

For Sunday’s visit, I worked with my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm zoom, while Kris made photos with her Fuji XT4.

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Irish Rail’s Connolly Station

Yesterday, I made this photo of an Irish Rail ICR (InterCity railcar) paused at Platform 4 at Dublin Connolly Station.

It was a comparatively quiet Sunday afternoon and dull outside, but the soft lighting made for a perfect time to portray the modern diesel railcar in the Victorian-era railway station.

Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm Z-series Nikkor zoom.

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LUAS at Night.

The other night Kris and I went for a spin to The Point Depot and back on Dublin’s LUAS Red Line.

As it happened the tram we traveled upon was one of the Sky television advertising trams that I featured in yesterday’s post.

Photos exposed using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

LUAS at the Four Courts in Dublin.
LUAS Sky television advertising tram at The Point in Dublin’s docklands.

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Ad Trams in the Dublin City Centre.

Over my many visits to Dublin since the start of LUAS tram services in 2004, I’ve made many photos of the various specially decorated LUAS advertising trams that grace the system.

Over the last few days wandering the streets of Dublin, I’ve continued my LUAS photography and focused on a few of the Ad trams that add to the color of the City Centre.

I made these views of Sky television wrapped trams using my Lumix LX7.

Southward Green Line tram crossing the Rosie Hackett bridge over the Liffey
Closer view at the Rosie Hackett bridge.
Eastward Red Line Tram on Abbey Street near O’Connell Street.
Eastward Red Line Tram crossing O’Connell Street.
Westward Red Line Tram on Abbey Street at the Jervis stop.

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Frankenstein-Two Years Ago Today.

Step back to September 28, 2020. I had just bought my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera. The foliage was turning, and I hiked up to the famed Frankenstein Trestle to catch the Mountaineer on its ascent of Crawford Notch.

This photo is among my favorites from 2020. I have used it extensively to promote Conway Scenic Railroad. It has appeared in various magazines and newspapers. The railroad sells refrigerator magnets featuring this image in the North Conway Brass Whistle Gift Shop, and we had monochromatic hoodies made up as well.

Saturday, September 17, 2022, Conway Daily Sun featured the photo on the cover of the newspaper.

The photo was exposed with my Z-series 24-70mm zoom set at 26mm, aperture at f4; camera shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second. I made adjustments to shadows, highlights and color temperature and saturation using Adobe Lightroom.

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Big Bus LUAS Tour-the Sequel

Here’s a follow up to yesterday’s Post.

Another tip: So when selecting the appropriate Big Bus Dublin, it is helpful to find a relatively empty tour. Not only will the give you the best seat in on the bus (up top, at the back), but also great freedom to move around to capture the best angles.

The first bus of the day tends to be crowded, while I found those mid afternoon to have ample space.

I made these views with my Nikon Z6.

LUAS at College Green from the back of the Big Bus tour.
LUAS near College Green from the back of the Big Bus tour.
LUAS and the Aircoach at College Green from the back of the Big Bus tour.
Heuston Station, Dublin.
Heuston Station, Dublin.

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Sneaky Tips Part 1

Here’s an interesting way to make elevated views of Dublin’s trams: ride at the back of an open-top tour bus.

Kris and I bought 48-hour tickets for the Big Bus Dublin, which provides a half-hourly hop-on hop-off service.

This was primarily a way for us to play tourists in Dubln, but I quickly found that it offered an excellent means to photograph the LUAS.

We traveled on three different types of buses. The variety that was most effective allowed me to shoot over the railing at the very back of the bus. Some of the more modern coaches didn’t have this feature, so you should choose your bus carefully.

I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera with a 24-70mm zoom.

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May 1978-Amtrak 448 Passes Palmer.

In May 1978, my father drove us to Palmer, Massachusetts to watch the passage of the eastward Lake Shore Limited (train 448). I made a series of photos using my pre-war Leica IIIA rangefinder on Kodacolor II color negative film.

This trailing view looks east toward the old South Main Street Bridge and Conrail’s Palmer yard. It looks like something nasty happened to the westward signal (at right). A pair of E8s led the train.

Despite their age, these old color negatives have held up reasonably well. I scanned them in 2016 using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner.

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Perspectives on Dawson Street

Yesterday (September 23, 2022) ,as Kris and I walked down Dawson Street in Dublin, I made photos of the passing LUAS trams.

I was aiming for some new perspectives on the LUAS.

At the St Stephens Green, we boarded a Big Red Bus that had an open top section at the back, and retraced our steps.

An open top bus in Dublin, Hmmmm . . . .

All photos exposed digitally with a Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm Z-series Zoom.

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High Contrast Trams

Yesterday evening (September 22, 2022), I made a few photos of Dublin’s LUAS trams using my Nikon Z6.

It had been raining much of the day but about 6pm the sun came out, making for some interesting but high contrast scenes.

Back in the old days I’d have worked with black & white film to make the most of this type of lighting, and controlled the contrast chemically. Now, I’m applying contrast controls digitally to my Nikon’s NEF (RAW) files using Adobe Lightroom.

Do these photos work?

If they don’t, I’ll take more later.

LUAS tram on Parnell Street in Dublin. JPG from the unaltered NEF file (No changes to color, contrast, exposure etc).
LUAS tram on Parnell Street in Dublin. This is my adjusted version of the same NEF file. I’ve paid special attention to the sky using Adobe Lightroom’s built in ‘select sky’ mask.
Abbey Street in Dublin. JPG from the unaltered NEF file (No changes to color, contrast, exposure etc).
Abbey Street in Dublin. JPG from the adjusted NEF file.

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HO Camels in Coal Country

The wee Reading Company has had some new arrivals!

Thanks to my long-time friend and expert model railroader, Rich Reed, my model railroad now has a variety of new equipment.

Rich painted a Reading class I-8 2-8-0 camelback for me. This is an interim paint job while we search for the appropriate Reading Company decals. He also supplied as wedding gifts; a Reading I-10sa 2-8-0 (with conventional cab arrangement); a tiny Reading Company camelback 0-4-0 similar to the class A-4b No. 1187 that used to live at the Strasburg Rail Road, a selection of Reading Co. freight cars and some buildings and other small structures.

I made these photos the other night using my Lumix LX7 to feature some of the additions to my interpretation of coal country.

In the ‘real world,’ Penn Central and Reading Company camelback 2-8-0s missed each other by more than 20 years.
Look through the trees! That’s a camelback 0-4-0 coming down grade.
West Cressona Yard has a few new additions thanks to Rich Reed!
This Penn Central RS-3 and caboose was a gift to me from Ken Buck that predated my wee Reading Company by almost a decade. The models had been his father’s. Look above the caboose and you’ll see the sign that Rich made for me that advertised Bob Buck’s Tucker’s Hobbies of Warren, Massachusetts.

My RDCs now have a wee station to serve at Minersville.
Schuylkillhaven now has a movie theatre!

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Millie Trip-Second Edit

When you make a lot of photos it is crucial to review and edit the images to select the most appropriate photos for presentation.

But what are the most appropriate images? I’ve often found that my second review of a batch of images will reveal a more interesting selection than the first edit.

The day of our special trip on RDC Millie for our wedding guests, I’d forgotten to pack my SD card reader. However, since my brother lent me a clever device I was able download selected photos from my Panasonic Lumix LX7’s SD card directly to my Apple iPhone. I posted a few of those images on Sunday.

Last night, while recovering from Sunday’s celebrations, I had the time to download and review all of the photos from Saturday’s trip and make the most of them.

Below is my ‘second edit’ from Saturday, September 17th, 2022.

Sanford, Florida reunion gang.
Richard Jay Solomon holds up the signed copy of my latest book.
Chris Guss shows off his drone at Moat Brook.
Conductor Rob Flannigan and Mass Bay RRE’s Dave Brown.
Millie at the Swift River Bridge.
Photographers on the platform at North Conway, NH.
Family and friends on the platform at North Conway, NH.

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Kris & Brian’s Wedding Photos

We were married just after 3pm on Sunday, September 18th at the Indian Head Resort near Lincoln, NH.

This was a wonderful pastoral setting and Kris looked very beautiful.

To capture the event Kris & I hired professionsal photographer Mark R Ducharme who posed us at various locations .

He made dozens of images that afternoon using Canon EOS R5 and R6 digital cameras and sent us a sampling of photos to help remember the event.

For me the wedding, so long-awaited, went by in a seamless series of snapshots, brief conversations, and memories of times and friends past.

It was a very happy day!

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Brian & Kris’s Wedding Extra-Lumix Jpgs

On Saturday, September 17, 2022, I’d arranged with Conway Scenic’s operating department to take Budd RDC-23 Millie on a special trip for our wedding guests.

We boarded at the North Conway grade crossing as the regularly scheduled Sawyer River excursions boarded at the station platform on the adjacent tracks.

I served as motorman, Rob Flannigan as conductor. We had more than 27 guests on board.

The weather was perfect; bright sun and blue skies.

Since our train was not operating on a schedule, we ran as an ‘extra’ and carried white flags, as per rulebook 34.

Our first stop was at the Moat Brook bridge, where we let guests off to make photos. We also stopped at the Swift River Bridge and at the Conway freight house.

Many of our closest friends and family were on board, including several long-time Tracking the Light readers. My friend Chris Guss made some drone photos of the event.

It was a lovely day for a train ride! In addition to these digital photos exposed with my Lumix LX7, I made seveal Fujichrome Provia 100F color slides.

My friends posed for photos with Millie.
Re-boarding near Moat Brook.
Photo stop at the Swift River Bridge.

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We made the Conway Daily Sun!

Yesterday Kris & I had a special wedding train.

But we also made the Conway Daily Sun!

My photo was featured on the front page.

Our special train and upcoming wedding were mentioned on page 9.

Here’s a photo of my sister-in-law Isabelle (left) and Kris (right) holding the Conway Daily Sun aboard Conway Scenic Railroad’s Budd RDC Millie.

I am posting from the wedding venue. I left my SD card reader at home (by accident) so my brother lent me a clever device that allowed me to download my Lumix LX7 SD card to my Apple iPhone. I then forwarded the photos to my Apple MacBook Pro for adjustement and posting to Tracking the Light.

More photos to follow tomorrow.

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A Special Event

On January 4, 2020, I met my future fiancée at Mass Bay Railroad Enthisiast’s ‘Steam in the Snow’ event held at Conway Scenic Railroad—where I’d been appointed manager of marketing & events just a few weeks earlier.

I met Kris on the platform of the North Conway Station, where I said, ‘hello’, and was properly introduced by mutual friend Doug Scott a little while later.

At Notchland we all stood together to make photos.

Tomorrow, Sunday September 18, 2022, we are getting married in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

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Fujinon 50-140mm Lens Sample

On September 16, 2019, I was traveling in Germany with my old pal T.S.H.

We’d set up north of Boppard along the River Rhein to photograph the morning parade of trains on the busy ‘Left Bank’ route.

For these photos I borrowed T.S.H.’s 50-140mm Fujinon zoom and fixed it to my Fujifilm XT1 as a test.

These images are scaled from the in-camera Fuji JPGsmade with the camera’s Velvia color profile. These files have not been adjusted in post-processing.

Both images are trailing views of northward train IC 2226 that were exposed from the same vantage point. The first has the zoom set at 50mm, while the second has the zoom set at 140mm.

Fujinon 50-140mm zoom at f5.6 1/500 sec; 50mm setting.
Fujinon 50-140mm zoom at f6.3 1/500 sec; 140mm setting.

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Nine Years Ago: B-17 in the sky.

On September 15, 2013, I observed and photographed an airshow over Dublin.

Working with my Canon EOS7D with 200mm prime telephoto, I made these views of an historic World War II-era B-17 aircraft as it circled the city center.

These photos are scaled versions of the camera-profiled JPGs. Canon’s sensor has a wonderful ability to render sky colors.

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By Goves—Take Two.

Yesterday (September 13, 2022) I returned to Goves, where the old Maine Central Mountain Division ducks under Route 302 east of Bartlett, NH, to again photograph Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer on its westward run to Crawford Notch.

The other day in my Tracking the Light Post, ‘Poles and Wires Conundrum,’ I described my compositional frustrations with this location.

Working with my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens, I selected a slightly lower position that was a bit closer to the tracks.

On this attempt, the Mountaineer had two units and seven cars, which made for a more photogenic train. Also, it was brightly overcast, which helped to minimize the poles and wires, and I opted for a tight crop.

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Maine Central 501 on the Move!

Last Friday, Conway Scenic’s president and general manager Dave Swirk, asked if I could be available on Monday (September 12) to document the moving of steam locomotive 501 into the North Conway Roundhouse for the first step in its restoration evaluation.

Locomotive 501 is an Alco 2-8-0 built for Maine Central and was a regular freight locomotive on Maine Central’s Mountain Division for many years. It had been part of the Steamtown collection, but when Steamtown relocated from Vermont to Pennsylvania in the 1980s the locomotive was moved to North Conway, N.H. for display.

Until yesterday, 501 had been prominently displayed in front of the North Conway freight house.

The railroad used former Maine Central GP7 573 to move the collection of freight and passenger cars behind the locomotive 501, and then hauled the locomotive from its resting place to the run around track (known as the ‘WA’) in front of the station.

Former Canadian National 0-6-0 7470 was fired up to complete 501’s move to the roundhouse, and I made a series of photos of the two locomotives together.

In addition to photos of the move, I also recorded video using the railroad’s Sony 4K capable video camera.

These images were made using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera and adjusted for color temperature, contrast, and exposure using Adobe Lightroom.

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HO Reading Co. Sept 2022.

I’ve been working on my scale Reading Company.

Since the last time I featured my scale railway, I’ve refined and expanded the scenery.

I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 working with a f2.8 70-200mm and high ISO settings.

In post processing I lightened shadows and cooled the color balance to more closely emulate daylight.

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Chicken Run

Yesterday, Kris & I made a drive to Vermont to deliver Hans-the-Rooster-Chicken to an animal sacntuary where he will live out his days. Hans has lived in our back yard since 2020 and has faithfully ushered in the new day with his cockadoodeling for many months.

It was a beautiful day and on the way back we stopped at a various places to make photos.

All of these photos were exposed digitally using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

Tokyo Trolley in Traffic

April 22, 1997: I ascended a footbridge over a busy Tokyo thoroughfare to make photos of the rarely captured Tokyo trolley.

Where most of the railway lines in Japan are meter-gauge, the Tokyo Trolley is unusual because it was an early use of 4 ft 8.5 inch gauge train in Japan. The other big users of ‘standard gauge’ in Japan are the Shinkansen routes.

In yesterday’s post, I described the compositional challenges of poles and wires near Bartlett, NH. Compare those images with the sea of poles and wires in this view!

Exposed on Fujichrome Velvia50 using a Nikon N90S with an AF f2.8 80-200mm Nikkor zoom lens.

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Poles and Wires Conundrum

Assemblies of poles and wires can make or break a photo location.

I’ve been flummoxed by the location on the former Mountain Division known as Goves, where the railroad ducks under Rt 302 on the way to Bartlett.

This is one of a scant few overpasses on the Conway Scenic Railroad. What makes the location difficult are several sets of road-side wires that run both parallel and perpendicular to the railroad line.

Wires and poles can create visually distracting elements that can disrupt a composition . Especially difficult are very heavy black cables in this scene that are thoroughly distracting and difficult to minimize.

Yesterday, I photographed the westbound Conway Scenic Mountaineer at Goves and the poles and wires ended up bisecting the scene in various awkward ways.

Below I’ve included two sets of photos, the top image in each set shows the uncropped image; the bottom in each set shows selective cropping aimed at minimizing the effect of the poles and wires.

Full-frame, without cropping.
Cropped
Full-frame, without cropping.
Cropped

Amtrak California Zephyr

I love to gaze across the great expanse of the desert. On the morning of September 4, 1996, we climbed atop one of the ‘mud mounds’ at Floy in the Utah desert east of Green River and waited for Amtrak No.6—the California Zephyr.

I made this trailing view on Fujichrome Velvia slide film with my Nikon F3T fitted with a Nikkor f4.0 200mm prime telephoto.

Amtrak’s long distance trains were in the transition between the 1970s-era F40PH-2s and the mid-1990s era General Electric GENESIS™ P40s and in this view of the California Zephyr featured one of each locomotives.

At the back of the train was a private car with its single red light marking the rear.

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Write Error? No!

Working with my Lumix LX7 last month, I made a variety of photos of St. Lawrence & Atlantic 394 coming down from the border crossing at Norton, Vermont.

When I first attempted to download the SD card from the Lumix, I noticed a serious problem with several of my files.

Portions of the files suffered from corrupted data, with large portions of the image area scrambled.

However, when I viewed the photos in camera, there was no sign of this problem.

Normally, I take the SD card out of the Lumix and used a card reader to couple the card to my MacBook Pro. Then I download the files using a program called ‘Image Capture version 8.0’. Once downloaded, I then upload select images into Lightroom. This saves the files which creates a secondary backup, while allowing me to organize the photos and make scaled and corrected copies.

After a bit of fussing, I decided that what I had suffered wasn’t a write error to the card (which is a very serious problem), but rather a card read error. In otherwords all the information was safely stored my SD card and it was getting corrupted during the downloading process.

What, I ended up doing was using Lightroom to download the card directly. Then I used Lightroom to output my originals in DNG format which I stored in a folder along with the rest of my August Lumix files.

Below, I show the corrupted files as I original saw them (scaled for internet), then the unadjusted DNG files (scaled); and finally my adjusted DNG files.

The lesson: don’t panic if you suffer from corrupted files. Your data may still be recoverable. [Just don’t erase or format the card.]

Corrupted file from my initial download using a card reader an Image Capture 8.0
Unaltered file uploaded using Lightroom and exported in DNG format for archiving then converted to JPG for internet display.
Adjusted DNG file using Adobe Lightroom, scaled and exported as a JPG for internet display
Corrupted file from my initial download using a card reader an Image Capture 8.0
Unaltered file uploaded using Lightroom and exported in DNG format for archiving then converted to JPG for internet display.
Adjusted DNG file using Adobe Lightroom, scaled and exported as a JPG for internet display

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252 from the Roof

Friday, September 2, 2022, former Maine Central GP38 252 led the Valley train on its return run from Conway.

I made this view from the roof of the North Conway Station using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom lens.

I set the camera Color Profile to ‘VI’ (Vivid), the white balance was at ‘Auto,’ and the exposure to ‘A’ (aperture priority). I selected f6.3, the camera metering selected 1/500th of a second. I had the lens full extended at 200mm. I was working with the NEF (RAW) file setting.

Adobe Lightroom enables me to apply the camera’s preset color profile to the NEF file while making adjustments to the file. Below are two versions. The top image is basically out of the camera and without modifications except for scaling, the bottom reflects minot adjustments to color temperature, shadow and highlight density, and a slight adjustment to the sky.

I’m not entirely satisfied with the image, so I’ll try it again sometime. Maybe with a slightly longer lens and different lighting.

Unmodified file with camera profiled color & etc.
Adjusted version of the same file shown above. Changes to color temp, shadow and highlights, and sky

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Trams at Place Royale in Brussels.

Using my first Lumix LX7, I made this series of photos of the route 93 trams passing Place Royale in Brussels, Belgium on August 18, 2014.

It was dusk and the light was fading rapidly while taking on that royal blue hue that last for just a few minutes.

Effectively making photos at dusk is always a challenge. I had the camera set to ‘A’ mode (Aperture Priority).

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Telephoto of Steam!

Yesterday (September 3, 2022), Kris and I stopped in at Conway, NH to observe the arrival of the morning train led by steam locomotive 7470.

This is the last weekend of regularly scheduled steam service for the summer season and I wanted to make a few photos and catch up with steam locomotive engineer Wayne Duffett.

I made these photos of the 7470 and crew at Conway using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom. By working with the variable focal length telephoto I was able to quickly compose images of the crew and their locomotive.