A few weeks back I posted some views from the Old Cabra Road bridge where an Irish Rail ICR arrived on scene and partially blocked my view of the ever elusive spoil train. (See: Are Two Trains Better than One?)
Just to clarify the significance of that event: Irish Rail ICRs (Intercity railcars) are the standard passenger train on most routes in Ireland.
Furthermore, an public App for your smart phone will alert you where these trains are running most of the time. Finding an ICR on the move is easily accomplished.
By contrast, the spoil train is difficult to find, even for veteran observers. It doesn’t run often, rarely has a rigid path, and tends run off path even when given one. It doesn’t appear on an App, which makes it even harder to find.
It’s like a ghost train and I’ve missed it more times than I’ve managed to picture it.
Colm O’Callaghan and I scored views of the spoil train from Old Cabra road a few days ago. This was one of my favorite from the sequence.
Persistence and patience are the lessons for the day.
It was a bright April 2017 morning when I arrived at Genova Piazza Principe. The station is scenically situated in an open area between two tunnels.
The challenge of making visually impressive photos of Italian railways lies in finding ways to handle the infrastructure effectively.
Italian Railways are very heavily built and largely electrified. The result is a plethora of columns, poles, masts, wires and other necessary, yet visually distracting elements that can make finding a clean composition a difficult task.
Throw in some graffiti, litter, and a few dodgy shadows, and a photo can appear overly busy and cluttered, so careful attention to detail is a must.
Tracking the Light is posting automatically this week while Brian is Traveling.
Milano Stazione Centrale (Milan Central Station) is a monumental railway terminal that faces the Piazza Anrea Doria. . . [the station’s] design was the result of an architectural competition held in Milan in 1913 . . . Although the plan dated from before World War I, its blocky style and super human scale seems to typify the public architecture of the interwar Fascist period. [Milano Stazione Centrale] was one of the last great railway stations built in Europe before World War II.
Tracking the Light is Posting Automatically while Brian is Traveling.
The Peter Witt was a widely built steel-body center-door streetcar noted for its early use of the ‘pay as you enter’ system, where passengers paid fair to the motorman and eliminated need for a conductor. Exiting passengers used the center door to minimize delays during stops. The car-type was named for its designer, the Cleveland Street Railway commissioner, who originated the car arrangement about 1915 . . . The Peter Witt was adopted in Italy in the late 1920s.
I exposed these images of a venerable Peter Witt working the streets of Milan earlier this month (April 2017) using my Lumix LX7.
The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland is naturally historically minded, obviously. But in this situation I’ve used a vintage 1930s Leica IIIa with period Nikkor 35mm lens to expose traditional black & white film.
All of these photos were made on RPSI’s diesel tour to Galway and Kilkenny on 8 April 2017.
For some images I used Kodak Tri-X processed in Iford ID11 and toned with selenium, for others I worked with Ilford FP4 (ISO 125) which I processed in Agfa Rodinal Special.
Brussels Central Station features six tracks below ground, with an art deco styled station building above ground.
It lies between Brussels two main termini; Nord/Noord (North) and Midi/Zuid (South).
The incongruity in names and spellings is a function of Belgium’s two primary languages (French and Flemish) combined with the tendency of the English language to rename places without consideration for local spelling or pronunciation.
During my most recent visit to Belgium I made a couple of visits to Belgium’s main stations. While not strictly photographic ventures, I always plan to make photographs during the course of my travels.
Opportunity taken on site can save a lot of running around later on.
Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Trip to Galway and Kilkenny—Part 2.
More photos from my Lumix exposed Saturday 8 April 2017, on the RPSI’s The Marble Tribesman Diesel Tour that ran from Dublin Connolly Station to Galway via Portarlington and Athlone then to Kilkenny via Kildare.
Located adjacent to the SNCB lines at Schaarbeek (on the north side of Brussels), Train World is Belgium’s premier railway museum.
I visited last week, having arrived by train from the Brussels suburbs. I’d bought my museum ticket in conjunction with my SNCB fare.
City trams also serve the museum.
You enter Train World from the old railway station building, which has been beautifully restored. Beyond are a series of train halls, that display the history of Belgian railways using real equipment: locomotives, railway rolling stock, signals, literature, signage, etc.
It’s well worth a visit.
Photos exposed using my Lumix LX7
Tracking the Light aims to post new material Daily.
On the morning of 27 March 2017, freshly painted Irish Rail class 071 locomotive number 081 worked the down IWT liner.
I made the time to catch this from my often photographed location at Islandbridge Junction near Dublin’s Heuston Station.
Among the advantages of this spot is good morning lighting on westward trains (where most other places face difficult backlighting), ample elevation and the iconic Wellington Testimonial, which is located in the Phoenix Park on the north side of the River Liffey.
Irish Rail crosses the Barrow at Monasterevin, again near Bagenalstown, and finally with a large bridge between Waterford and Campile near Great Island.
Largely forgotten is the long closed bridge northeast of New Ross on the line that once went to the Junction at Macmine via Palace East in County Wexford. More than half a century has passed since the last scheduled train over this bridge.
I made these pastoral views from a road high above the Barrow looking in a westerly direction.
Tracking the Light is on autopilot while Brian is traveling.
Tracking the Light will be on autopilot for a week while Brian is traveling. New material will continue to post everyday, but notices will be delayed. See the Tracking the Light home page at: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight.
Kent Station Cork:
For me there’s something about a Victorian train-shed that begs for black & white. I made this photo on my most recent trip to Kent Station in Cork on Kodak Tri-X using a Leica IIIA with 35mm Nikkor lens.
Tracking the Light normally posts new material daily.
The other day, I loaded my old Nikon F3T with Rollei 35mm black & white Infrared film. A few weeks earlier I tested a roll of this emulsion and processed it to determine the ideal chemistry, times and temperature.
These photos are from the second roll, which benefited from refined processing technique.
All photos were exposed as recommended by the manufacturer using a 25A (red) filter. To obtain more extreme infrared effects I’d need to use a 72R (deep red) filter. Since I’m not in possession of one of these, we’ll have to wait for that experiment.
By design, infrared film yields high contrast images with brilliant highlights and inky dark shadows. (Blue light is rendered darker than with pictorial pan chromatic emulsions, so blue sky and shadows appear unnaturally dark.)
I made these photographs along Dublin’s LUAS Red Line on Abbey Street. Late low sun made for especially dramatic lighting.
Among the subjects I photograph are Irish Rail’s Cork area suburban trains.
Although not the most varied of operations (2600 series diesel railcars are the rule), the Cork Commuter system is an interesting subject. It provides a reliable, functional and well-utilized transportation system that works on a regular interval timetable.
The scenery is pleasant and over the years I’ve made many interesting images of the trains.
These are recent views made over St. Patrick’s Day weekend (2017).
Thanks to Irish Rail’s Ken Fox for recommending locations and supplying history and context.
The most scenic portion of Irish Rail’s run from Dublin to Cork is the final stretch from Mallow to Kent Station Cork.
A few days ago, Ken Fox, Sean Twohig and I made a survey of this area of Co. Cork looking for locations to picture the Mark4 trains, which are among the only regularly scheduled locomotive powered passenger trains remaining on Irish Rail.
I exposed this view between Mourne Abbey and Rathduff. The lush greenery dotted with blossoming gorse makes for a bucolic scene.
Irish Rail’s Kent Station in Cork City is a cool place to make photos. It’s unusual curved train shed, plus antique platform awnings and brick station buildings have a Victorian appearance that offer a contrast with the modern trains that now serve passengers here.
Using my FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Touit Distagon, I exposed this evening view at Limerick Junction.
At right is the down train from Dublin Heuston destined for Cork Kent Station, on the left is the shuttle train to/from Limerick .
I imported the camera-RAW file into Lightroom, and made nominal adjustments to the contrast while lightening shadow areas. Significantly, I cooled the colour temperature to compensate for the harsh effects of sodium and fluorescent lights to make for a more natural appearing colour balance.
Here’s key to a secret, one tightly held: More often than not I make photographs for a specific audience.
This has myriad manifests. It may be something as simple as photographing a friend’s favorite locomotive, or capturing a location once shared by a fellow photographer.
However, often it goes deeper. I’ll aim to capture a scene by working with light, shapes and subject in a way that I hope will appeal to a friend.
Sometimes, I’ll simply forward these photos directly to the person in question. To my father, I’ll send photos from my travels in Europe, to my mother, I’ll email photos of my friends and acquaintances.
I might forward an image to an editor that I made to pique their interest.
If I score something really unusual, I might goad a fellow photographer hoping to push them into exposing a similar or better photograph.
Yet, often my very best photographs are those that I make to fulfill a personal ideal.
Ok, my most successful images are those I made to please me.
Last year Irish Rail cleared its cuttings on the northern approach to the Phoenix Park Tunnel in Dublin in preparation for introduction of a regular passenger service over the line to Grand Canal Docks.
This work had the secondary effect of improving a number of photo locations, such as this view from the Dublin’s Old Cabra Road.
Last week on advice from Colm O’Callaghan, I opted to work from this vantage point to photograph an Irish Rail empty ‘Spoil train’ [that carries debris left over from line works etc] that had been scheduled to run to the North Wall in Dublin.
Shortly before the focus of my effort came into view an empty Irish Rail passenger train arrived and was blocked at the signal outside the tunnel.
My question to you: are the photographs made more interesting by the presence of the passenger train?
Tracking the Light Intends to Post Every Day, 365 days a year.
Five alternative views of Ireland’s Bord na Mona railway.
Here I’m trying something different: Working with an old Leica IIIa fitted with an ancient screw-mount Nikkor 35mm lens, I exposed some Fomapan 100 black & white film.
Instead of my normal process, I opted to soup the film in Ilford Perceptol. I mixed the stock solution from powder. Recommended development time was 8 minutes, but I cut this to 6 minutes, then after complete processing (stop, fix, hypo-clear and wash) I toned the negatives with a 1-9 Selenium solution to boost highlights (and then rewashed).
It was my first time working with Perceptol; overall I was pleased with the results, which yielded fine grain, broad tonality and a somewhat softer over-all image than what I’d been getting using ID-11.
This camera-lens-film-developer combination seems to have worked well with the rustic Bord na Mona narrow gauge industrial railway. I’ve opted to display a handful of the dozen or so monochrome images I exposed that day.
Tracking the Light takes a different approach today.
In early February, I was running a few last minute errands before my Trans-Atlantic journey.
Crossing the Boston & Albany on South Main Street in Palmer, Massachusetts, I saw a New England Central local approaching with an impressive cut of interchange.
In the lead was clean New England Central GP38-2 2048 in Genesee & Wyoming corporate paint. Although I’ve made countless hundreds of photographs from this location over the years, I won’t look a gift-horse in the mouth.
So for the sake of a couple of minutes detour, I made these images at CP83 using my Lumix LX7.