Irish Rail at Stucumny Bridge, November 2009

Trains Pass At Sunset on the Quad Track.

In November 2009, I was at Stucumny Bridge near Hazelhatch (west of Dublin on the Cork line) to take a look at the recently opened quad track. It was a clear evening and the sun was an orange ball hanging in the western sky.

Shortly before sunset, up and down Mark 4 trains (Dublin-Cork) passed each other making for a nice illustration of the relatively busy line. I’ve always like glint photos where trains reflect low sunlight but these are hard to execute in Ireland for a variety of reasons.

Sunset of trains passing.
An unmodified view; Irish Rail Mark 4 trains pass on the quad track at Hazelhatch in November 2009, exposed on Fujichrome Velvia 100 slide film
using a Canon EOS 3 and f2.8 200mm telephoto .

I exposed this with my Canon EOS 3 and f2.8 200mm telephoto on Fujichrome Velvia 100 slide film. (Velvia has a super-saturated color palate that tends to enhance the sunset glow).

I calculated the exposure based on the sky rather than taking an overall reading that would tend to over expose the image. Here a bit of experience working with low sun really helps.

For me the real problem with the photo is the difficult wire cutting across the middle of the frame. There may have been an angle to avoid this altogether, but with the two trains moving, I had only a few moments to release the shutter. The electrical pylons and high voltage wires in the distance don’t bother me, these are part of the scene.

Irish rail at sunset.
Here’s the same scan of Mark 4 trains at Hazelhatch, but modified using Photoshop to effectively erase the cable cutting across the middle of the frame. This image is an experiment, and by far the exception to the rule. I very rarely alter the content of my images.

I’ve taken the liberty of making an adjusted version of the photo by using Photoshop to extract the wire. I enlarged the scan of the slide and using the ‘Healing Brush’ and ‘Clone’ tools, I effectively blended the offending wire out of the image.

This is not something I normally do. Typically, I don’t apply visual surgery to alter my photos. However, with modern tools and a sense for retouching this is not especially difficult. It’s taken me twice as long to write up this post than it took to erase the wire. You can be the judge.


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