DAILY POST: Lehigh Valley 211 at Lincoln Park, Rochester, New York

Free Film, a Borrowed Camera and a Bit of Luck!

In November 1986, Kodak supplied me with a free roll of TMax 100 black & white film as part of a ‘care package’ of new products for students in the Photographic Illustration programs at the Rochester Institute of Technology .

Alco RS-3M at Rochester, New York
The combination of Kodak’s recently released T-Max 100 ‘T’ grain black & white film and a Canon 50mm lens allowed for a very sharp image with exceptionally fine grain and broad tonality. I scanned this 35mm negative with my Epson V500 scanner.
Incidentally, at the left of the image is General Railway Signal’s Rochester plant.

The T-Max black & white films were brand new at the time. They were significant because they used a new ‘T’ grain that featured flat silver halide grains that were supposed to reduce the visual granularity in the film (and lower the film’s silver content).

On this bright sunny morning, I went trackside in Rochester to expose my free film. I had Kodachrome 25 in my Leica M2, so I borrowed my roommate’s Canon A1 for the film test.

I photographed a variety of Conrail trains on the former New York Central Water Level Route. I made this image of Rochester & Southern’s Belt Line local crossing the former Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh bridge over Water Level Route at Lincoln Park, west of downtown Rochester. (In 1986, Genesee & Wyoming’s Rochester & Southern assumed operation of the former BR&P 4th Sub-division from CSX’s Baltimore & Ohio.)

Leading R&S’s local was Alco RS-3m 211 leased from the recently formed Genesee Valley Transportation.

The locomotive has a long and colorful history. It featured both a large steam generator and dynamic brakes (thus the high short-hood) and was one of only five RS-3s were built this way:  four served Western Maryland, while this one went to the Pennsylvania Railroad but later was traded to the Lehigh Valley, becoming its 211. After 1976, Conrail replaced 211’s original Alco-244 diesel with a recycled 12-cylinder EMD 567 engine.

Since I made this image, the locomotive has been preserved and restored at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum in Rush, New York.

This cropped detail gives a hint of the fine grain afforded by T-Max 100 film.
This cropped detail gives a hint of the exceptionally fine grain afforded by T-Max 100 film.

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