Mass-Central: Monday November 19, 2012

 

Autumnal scene on the former Boston & Albany Ware River Branch.
Mass Central 960 near Forest Lake, Massachusetts at 8:35 am on November 19, 2012. Exposed with Canon 7D, 28-135mm lens at 44mm, ISO 200 f7.1 at 1/500th second. Post-processing: minor contrast and saturation adjustments in Photoshop.

Between November 2008 and March 2009, I researched and wrote an article on Mass-Central for TRAINS Magazine that appeared in the March 2010 issue. I continue to photograph this short line which serves 25 miles of the former Boston & Albany Ware River Branch between Palmer and South Barre, Massachusetts. While on some days, I’ll make a project of working the branch, making photos from a variety of angles, and staying with the train for the whole day. This morning, after finishing non-photographic business in Palmer, I opted to catch the morning freight on its way northward on the branch. Today, I was only interested in catching it near Forest Lake, where the line crosses a short fill. During the summer this tends to get too brushed in for a satisfactory image, but after the foliage has gone, the location opens up. The difficulty this time of year is working around harsh shadows. I exposed this image at 8:35 this morning using my Canon 7D fitted with 28-135mm zoom. Initially I was tempted to make a tighter image, focusing more on the locomotive, but in the end I settled for a wider view that takes in more of the setting. Had Mass-Central been using its rare EMD NW5 number 2100, I’d probably stayed with a tight view. Reviewing my images, I decided the contrast was too much, and the light on the engine resulted in slight over exposure. As a result, I made a nominal adjustment to exposure curve using Photoshop, while boosting the saturation slightly to give the water and sky a bit more snap. These subtle changes required just a few minutes to implement. Other than that, the image is presented here un-cropped and more or less as I exposed it. Since Mass-Central departs Palmer northbound most weekday mornings between about 7 and 8:30 am, I’ll probably make another attempt at this location before the leaves return. The remarkable thing about digital photography is that as I write and post this, the train is still out on its run.

Mass-Central at Thorndike, Mass.
Mass-Central tracks at Thorndike, Massachusetts at 8:16 am on November 19, 2012. Mass-Central’s former Boston & Albany branch makes a near horseshoe through the village of Thorndike, just a few miles north of its interchange with CSX and New England Central at Palmer.