Freight among the Bricks—Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Guilford—May 1997.

It was a clear fresh May morning when I met my friend George S. Pitarys for a day’s photography. We were aiming to photograph the New Hampshire North Coast’s rock train, however, George said to me, ‘lad, we have a diversion.’

We set up at Boston & Maine’s heavy truss over the Merrimack River at Haverhill for a westward freight. The attraction was a trio of former Santa Fe SD26s in the lead.

A Guilford freight works west (compass south) at Haverhill, Massachusetts, the sounds of its EMD 645 engines permeating the morning air.
A Guilford freight works west (compass south) at Haverhill, Massachusetts, the sounds of its EMD 645 engines permeating the morning air.

As the train approached the bridge, I was impressed by the view of the old brick buildings with the train looming to the left.

I exposed this image with my Nikon N90S with 80-200mm lens. I also made a more traditional view of the locomotives on the bridge, but for me, this one better conveys railroading in a post-industrial New England scene.

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Views of the DART.

Dublin Area Rapid Transit—April 2014.

In 1984, the DART began electric services between Howth and Bray. This offered an improvement to existing Dublin suburban services by wiring existing routes. The service was later extended to Greystones and Malahide.

An 8600-series DART pauses at platform 5 in Connolly Station. April 2014.
An 8600-series DART pauses at platform 5 in Connolly Station. April 2014.

The line between Pearse Station (formerly Westland Row) and Dún Laoghaire (formerly Kingstown) had been opened in 1834 and is considered the world’s oldest suburban railway.

The hum of DART’s electric multiple units are a familiar tone of Dublin transport.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve made several images of DART trains during my travels around Dublin. All were exposed with my Canon EOS 7D.

The DART crosses over lines leading toward the North Wall—one of the few grade separated junctions in Ireland.
The DART crosses over lines leading toward the North Wall—one of the few grade separated junctions in Ireland.
DART interior view.
DART interior view.
A DART train arrives at Howth on April 23, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
A DART train arrives at Howth on April 23, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Dublin Area Railway map in Irish.
Dublin Area Railway map in Irish.
A view of an 8600-series DART at Tara Street Station as seen from the Railway Preservation Society Ireland's Easter Eggspress.
A view of an 8600-series DART at Tara Street Station as seen from the Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Easter Eggspress.
Connolly Station, Dublin.
Connolly Station, Dublin.
Approaching Connolly.
Approaching Connolly.
Platform 6 at Connolly Station.
Platform 6 at Connolly Station.

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Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Easter Eggspress.

To Wicklow and Return, April 21, 2014.

Railway Preservation Society Ireland celebrates 50 years this year. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Railway Preservation Society Ireland celebrates 50 years this year. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

A clear bright day and an excellent crowd made for a great day out with locomotive 461 and the preserved Cravens carriages.

The train boarded at Dublin’s Connolly Station and ran directly to Wicklow with stunning views of Dublin bay from Killiney and Bray Head.

Irish Rail 227 with the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise rests alongside locomotive 071 (now 0117071 & etc) that was about to shunt the RPSI train from platform 3 at Connolly. 461 was steamed up and ready to couple to the train and take it into platform 5 for boarding. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Irish Rail 227 with the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise rests alongside locomotive 071 (now 0117071) that was about to shunt the RPSI train from platform 3 at Connolly. 461 was steamed up and ready to couple to the train and take it into platform 5 for boarding. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Steam on a sunny morning. Locomotive 461 pulls into platform 5 at Connolly Station. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Steam on a sunny morning. Locomotive 461 pulls into platform 5 at Connolly Station. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Departing Dublin offered views from the Loop Line bridge of the Customs House and RIver Liffey. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Departing Dublin offered views from the Loop Line bridge of the Customs House and River Liffey. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Passengers and RPSI staff at Wicklow. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Passengers and RPSI staff at Wicklow. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Unloading prams from the van. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Unloading prams from the van. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
461 runs around at Wicklow for the short turn up to Greystones. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
461 runs around at Wicklow for the short turn up to Greystones. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
461 couples up at Wicklow. I miss the old mechanical semaphores with lattice masts that once protected Wicklow station. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
461 couples up at Wicklow. I miss the old mechanical semaphores with lattice masts that once protected Wicklow station. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

At Wicklow, the special was overtaken by a holiday ‘relief’ special to Gorey that operated with the freshly painted candy apple green 29000 set.

A short trip was run from Wicklow to Greystones and return, with some spirited running along the beaches south of Greystones.

Ah! The elusive freshly painted 29117!
Ah! The elusive freshly painted 29117!

Engine 461 is a former Dublin & South Eastern 2-6-0 goods engine, so it was working on old home rails. The locomotive was steaming well and made for a great performance.

Reported difficulties with the points at Wicklow resulted in minor delays on the return trip, but clear signals up to Dublin and excellent running by the steam crew found us back at Connolly only a few minutes behind the advertised.

I traveled on the train, and used opportunities at station stops to make photos of the crew.

These are some of my digital results. I also used my old Nikon F3 with a 24mm lens to exposed some Fuji Acros 100 black & white film. Somehow steam and B&W seems like an appropriate combination! Those images remain latent, and perhaps will be a topic for a future post!

The bushes match 461's buffer beam.
The bushes match 461’s buffer beam.
Assisting passengers at Wicklow.
Assisting passengers at Wicklow.
Dublin-Rosslare ICR approaches Wicklow. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Dublin-Rosslare ICR approaches Wicklow. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Steam crew in the cab of 461. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Steam crew in the cab of 461. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
461 shunts the train at Wicklow. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
461 shunts the train at Wicklow. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Shoveling coal is a dirty job, but someone has to do it!
Shoveling coal is a dirty job, but someone has to do it!
Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Watching for a signal.
Watching for a signal.
RPSI Cravens under the shed at Connolly Station.
RPSI Cravens under the shed at Connolly Station.

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Tomorrow: The DART in Pictures.

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Irish Rail 29000 in a New Livery—DAILY POST

Connolly Station, Dublin, April 21, 2014.

Irish Rail 0129117 in the new livery at Connolly Station on April 21, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Irish Rail 0129117 in the new livery at Connolly Station on April 21, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

Several weeks ago, Irish Rail released one of its 29000-series suburban railcars in a fresh new two-tone green and yellow livery.

My initial haphazard attempts at finding this train on the move were unsuccessful. However, on April 21, 2014, I got lucky.

I was riding Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Easter Eggspress led by steam locomotive 461, when at Wicklow, our train was overtaken by an Easter Monday ‘relief’ from Connolly to Gorey worked by set 0129117 (formerly 29117) in the new livery!

Armed with this knowledge, I consulted my operations expert for advice on when the train would return to Dublin.

After the Easter Eggspress arrived back in Dublin, I made my way over to Platform 6. Here I scored these views of the freshly painted train that arrived about 15 minutes later.

Irish Rail 0129117 in the new livery at Connolly Station on April 21, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Irish Rail 0129117 in the new livery at Connolly Station on April 21, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Irish Rail 0129117 in the new livery at Connolly Station on April 21, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Irish Rail 0129117 in the new livery at Connolly Station on April 21, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

Soft early evening sun made for nearly perfect lighting conditions. After the train discharged its passengers, it worked back over the Loop Line toward Pearse Station and the old Boston sidings.

I always like to catch a new livery as soon as I can; Before it gets dirty, before someone decides to change it.

Tomorrow: Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Easter Eggspress!

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Exploring New Trackage.

Traveling to M3 Parkway on an ICR.

A few years ago Irish Rail rebuilt a portion of its old line between Clonsilla and Navan. This had been closed in the early 1960s and the right of way had largely returned to nature.

In late 2009, I’d explored the rebuilding as tracks were being installed, but I’d been negligent in my photography of this new route since that time.

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, I rode the LUAS tram to Dublin’s Docklands and walked over to Irish Rail’s Dockland station at the North Wall. This was built during the Celtic Tiger boom, which had also resulted in abandonment of most of Irish Rail’s North Wall freight yards.

An Irish Rail four-piece InterCity Railcar arrives at Dublin's Docklands station on the afternoon of April 16, 2014. Lumix LX3 photo.
An Irish Rail four-piece InterCity Railcar arrives at Dublin’s Docklands station on the afternoon of April 16, 2014. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail at Docklands Station, North Wall, Dublin. April 16, 2014.
Irish Rail at Docklands Station, North Wall, Dublin. April 16, 2014. This area was once sprawling freight yards. Lumix LX3.

I went for a relaxing spin directly to the end of the new branch at ‘M3 Parkway’. The track was in superb condition.

On my return trip, I changed trains at Clonsilla. Instead of returning via Docklands, I rode directly to Connolly Station. Later, I learned that two hours before my trip the elusive Sperry train had made a run to M3 Parkway and back! I had no idea. Right place, wrong time. Lucky miss, I guess.

ICR interior. Lumix LX3.
ICR interior. Lumix LX3.
Irish Rail's InterCity Railcar at M3 Parkway station. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail’s InterCity Railcar at M3 Parkway station. Lumix LX3 photo.
A 29000 series railcar works toward M3 Parkway at Clonsilla. Canon EOS 7D photo.
A 29000 series railcar works toward M3 Parkway at Clonsilla. Canon EOS 7D photo.
On the left is a 29000 series railcar destined for M3 Parkway, in the distance a train from Maynooth to Connolly Station can be seen at the new Junction where the route to M3 Parkway diverges to the right. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
On the left is a 29000 series railcar destined for M3 Parkway, in the distance a train from Maynooth to Connolly Station can be seen at the new Junction where the route to M3 Parkway diverges to the right. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

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Tomorrow: Irish Rail’s new Suburban Livery!

 

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Amtrak Clocker Blitzes Linden, New Jersey—Daily Post.


August 1, 1986.

Exposed on Kodachrome 64 slide film with a Leica 3A fitted with 200mm Telyt lens via a Visoflex attachment and mounted on a Linhof tripod. Metered manually with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe hand held photocell.
Exposed on Kodachrome 64 slide film with a Leica 3A fitted with 200mm Telyt lens via a Visoflex attachment and mounted on a Linhof tripod. Metered manually with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe hand held photocell.

On this hot and humid evening, fellow photographer Bob Karambelas and I were poised to catch the parade of rush hour trains that raced the former Pennsylvania Railroad at Linden, New Jersey.

Here six main tracks and high voltage overhead make for an impressive right of way.

At that time, the New York-Philadelphia Clockers were still run with heritage fleet cars, while the AEM7 in the lead was only a few years old.

Today, the AEM7 fleet still work for Amtrak, but will soon be running their final miles for the national passenger carrier as their replacements come on-line.

For more than 25 years this slide sat unattended in my files. For so many years, it just didn’t seem noteworthy. I see it now with fresh eyes.

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Tomorrow: Exploring a New Line!

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Lisbon’s Trams.

April 6, 2014.

Back in 1996 a European friend said to me, ‘you ought to visit Lisbon, they’ve got some wonderful old trams there.’ Some 18 years later, I finally ticked off that box in my notebook. Better late, than not at all.

Lumix LX3 photo; Lisbon April 6, 2014.
Lumix LX3 photo; Lisbon April 6, 2014.

Lisbon is famous for its narrow gauge trams that crawl up narrow and steeply graded streets. This track work is amazing. It’s amazing that it was ever built, and even more so that some of the lines are still worked in 2014!

The old trams are of course a tourist attraction, but like San Francisco’s cable cars, these function as part of the transit system.

Visitors queue to board, much to the delight of local pickpockets. I was forewarned about light-fingered activities, so I took precautionary measures. And, also made a sport of spotting the picks. Not to point fingers, I saw nothing lifted, but I saw some suspicious characters in the queue (who didn’t seem to have any interest in riding a tram).

Steep gradients and colourful old buildings are part of the attraction of Lisbon's tram network. They wouldn't have the same charm serving suburban tower block apartments.
Steep gradients and colourful old buildings are part of the attraction of Lisbon’s tram network. They wouldn’t have the same charm serving suburban tower block apartments.
A tram works up hill by Lisbon's cathedral.
A tram works up hill by Lisbon’s cathedral. Canon EOS 7D photo.
The red trams worked a tourist route. Canon EOS 7D.
The red trams worked a tourist circuit. Canon EOS 7D. 
Lumix LX3 photo; Lisbon April 6, 2014. Tram traffic jam.
Lumix LX3 photo; Lisbon April 6, 2014. Tram traffic jam.
Lumix LX3 photo; Lisbon April 6, 2014.
Lumix LX3 photo; Lisbon April 6, 2014.

The quirky old cars are enhanced by the colorful tapestry that makes up Lisbon’s old city. Sunny skies were delivered as ordered.

Route number 15 is populated by modern LRV style cars, but passes through some interesting areas and runs parallel to an old heavy-rail commuter rail route.

Modern cars work line 15. Lumix LX3 photo; Lisbon April 6, 2014.
Modern cars work line 15.
Lumix LX3 photo; Lisbon April 6, 2014.
Trams tend to get bunched up in traffic and seem to appear in waves of three or four cars all at once. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Trams tend to get bunched up in traffic and seem to appear in waves of three or four cars all at once. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Narrow alleys have barely enough room for single track. Yet, this is a bidirectional line with cars and trucks too. Canon EOS 7D.
Narrow alleys have barely enough room for single track. Yet, this is a bidirectional line with cars and trucks too. Canon EOS 7D.
View from the door of a track-side cafe. Canon EOS 7D with 100 mm lens.
View from the door of a track-side cafe. Canon EOS 7D with 100 mm lens.
This car works interlaced track where up-hill and down hill lines overlap. Canon EOS 7D.
This car works interlaced track where up-hill and down hill lines overlap. Careful, mind the Volkswagen! Canon EOS 7D.

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Tomorrow: Looking back on a Clocker.

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Railcar Sunset.

Irish Rail, Heuston Station, Dublin.

A railcar sunset? No, it’s not a metaphor, it really was a railcar at that time of day.

On April 15, 2014, I was passing the Heuston shed and notice that the soft orange light of the setting sun had illuminated this cavernous space. Lucky for me, there was a train approaching platform 4. (If it had been lined to any of the other platforms this photograph wouldn’t have worked.)

Using my Lumix LX3, I made this panned view. It captures the motion while helping to visually separate the front of the train from the interior ironwork. The low light allows for a pleasing glint effect without becoming overbearing or distracting.

ICR_arriving_Heuston_mod1_P_2

Lumix LX3 photo; f2.2 1/50th ISO 80. Contrast and exposure adjusted in post processing.

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Tomorrow: narrow alleys and narrow gauge.

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Steam Sunrise—DAILY POST

Osceola, Wisconsin, August 1996.

The advantages of being up early include being treated to cosmic light. On this August 1996 morning, I was photographing Northern Pacific 4-6-0 number 328 as it was being prepared for a day’s excursions with the Minnesota Transportation Museum.

Exposed on Fujichrome Provia 100 using a Nikon F3T with an f1.8 105mm lens. Exposure calculated manually.
Exposed on Fujichrome Provia 100 using a Nikon F3T with an f1.8 105mm lens. Exposure calculated manually.

The engine’s rods, bathed in boiler steam reflected the muted glow of the rising sun. A magenta hue had graced the Wisconsin sky. The effect lasted only a few minutes, and before long the sun was shinning brightly.

I worked quickly, making many detailed views of the locomotive equipment and its crew. At the time I was researching for my book The American Steam Locomotive (published by MBI), while working as editor for Pacific RailNews

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Tomorrow: Railcar Sunset!

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Sperry Train-Under Clear Skies

Irish Rail—April 18, 2014.

Irish Rail 22000-series Intercity Railcars make a daily transfer at Islandbridge Junction on the morning of April 19, 2014. It was here that I photographed Irish Rail's elusive Sperry Train back on August 30, 2012.
Irish Rail 22000-series Intercity Railcars make a daily transfer at Islandbridge Junction on the morning of April 18, 2014. It was here that I photographed Irish Rail’s elusive Sperry Train back on August 30, 2012.

Good Friday has a long-standing tradition of being a special day on Irish Rail. The weather is usually fine, and there’s always something interesting on the move.

This year Good Friday again met, and exceeded, expectations. The previous day had been a disappointment.

On Thursday, April 17, 2014, my friend Colm O’Callaghan and I had been out for the Irish Rail Sperry train. (Previously in Tracking the Light, I’ve highlighted this elusive rail-defect detection train, see: Sperry Train at Islandbridge Junction on August 30, 2012). On that day, we waited in vain under increasingly cloudy skies. As it turned out the Sperry’s plan for the day was cancelled.

When Good Friday dawned clear and bright, I wondered if there was anything on the move. I’d set out for the shops to get some breakfast, but had the wisdom to bring some of my cameras with me.

On the way, I stopped at my familiar Islandbridge Junction overlook (near Heuston Station), where I noted that a railcar transfer was in progress. I made some photographs. Then, I heard from Colm: the Sperry train was expected to depart Dublin’s North Wall after 10am! Wheels were turning!

My morning shopping trip was suspended as we headed ‘down road’ to find places to intercept one of Ireland’s most difficult quarries. This Sperry rail-defect detection train only makes a few trips a year, and it had changed its program on a moment’s notice!

Irish Rail class 071 General Motors diesel locomotive number 082 leads the Sperry consist near Straffan on the Dublin-Cork mainline. Exposed with my Canon EOS 7D and 20mm lens.
Irish Rail class 071 General Motors diesel locomotive number 081 leads the Sperry consist near Straffan on the Dublin-Cork mainline. Exposed with my Canon EOS 7D and 20mm lens.
Trailing view at Straffan. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Trailing view at Straffan. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
The Sperry train had gone to Sallins to run around, and in this view was returning up-road toward Heuston Station. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
The Sperry train had gone to Sallins to run around, and in this view (near Hazelhatch) it was returning up-road toward Heuston Station. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Lumix LX3 photo at milepost 11 3/4 near Hazelhatch. Sperry’s detection equipment is in the yellow container riding on a flat wagon. Immediately behind the locomotive is the weed spraying van, where the Sperry crew can ride to monitor equipment. The yellow tank wagons at the back of consist are normally used for the weed-spraying train and are included with the Sperry consist  to assist with braking.
Lumix LX3 photo at milepost 11 3/4 near Hazelhatch. Sperry’s detection equipment is in the yellow container riding on a flat wagon. Immediately behind the locomotive is the weed spraying van, where the Sperry crew can ride to monitor equipment. The yellow tank wagons at the back of consist are also normally used for the weed-spraying train and are included with the Sperry consist to assist with braking.

Our quick action and careful thought paid off. As it turned out, the Sperry was working up and down on the quad track section of the Cork line. So, we had several excellent opportunities for photography. Assisting our efforts were regular updates and communications from like-minded photographers up and down the line from our positions. (Thanks guys!).

For me the day’s highlight followed a tense moment at Stacumny Bridge (near Hazelhatch), when the up-road IWT Liner (Ballina to Dublin container train) and the Sperry train (working down road) approached us simultaneously! This had all the ingredients for a photographic disaster.

While waiting for the 3rd pass of the Sperry train we caught the daily down IWT Liner (Dublin-Ballina containers). This is a favoured location at Stacumny Bridge near Hazelhatch. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
While waiting for the 3rd pass of the Sperry train we caught the daily down IWT Liner (Dublin-Ballina containers). This is a favoured location at Stacumny Bridge near Hazelhatch. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Anticipation! When both the Dublin bound IWT liner and Sperry train appeared simultaneously, I changed my plan. Both trains are moving! Lumix LX3 photo.
Anticipation! When both the Dublin bound IWT liner and Sperry train appeared simultaneously, I changed my plan. Both trains are moving! Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail 081, leads the Sperry train down road. It was making multiple trips to scan different tracks on the quad track section between Cherry Orchard and Hazelhatch. Sperry's train examines rails for internal defects. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail 081, leads the Sperry train down road. It was making multiple trips to scan different tracks on the quad track section between Cherry Orchard and Hazelhatch. Sperry’s train examines rails for internal defects. Lumix LX3 photo.
Sperry rail-defect detection equipment is housed in this specially outfitted container that rides on a flat wagon. This is the important part of the train. Note Sperry's logo on the back of the container. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Sperry rail-defect detection equipment is housed in this specially outfitted container that rides on a flat wagon. This is the important part of the train. Note Sperry’s logo on the back of the container. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Trying to position for two moving trains in opposite directions takes skill and a lot of luck. We were very lucky. In the end, while I didn’t get what I’d anticipated, instead, made a once in a lifetime photograph: the near perfect rolling meet between the liner and Sperry train under full sun! Yea!

Trailing view of the up IWT liner at Stacumny Bridge, April 19, 2014. Lumix LX3 photo.
Trailing view of the up IWT liner at Stacumny Bridge, April 18, 2014. Lumix LX3 photo.

The downside: by the end of the day my poor old Panasonic Lumix LX3 developed a minor intermittent electrical fault. While, I was still able to make photographs with it, its reliable performance is now in question. After near five years of hard service, my favorite ‘everywhere camera’ may need to be replaced! In the meantime, I’ve got my Canon EOS 7D, plus Canon film cameras and my old Nikons to fall back on.

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GO Transit, Toronto, February 8, 2010—Daily Post.

Sunlight on a Commuter Train.

It was extraordinarily cold when Pat Yough, Chris Guss and I set out to photograph Toronto’s morning rush hour.

One of the biggest challenges working in very cold weather is the effect on battery life. After a couple of hours, almost all my batteries were dead. We made a mid morning trip back to our hotel to charge batteries.

Toronto bound GO Transit train near Sunnyside on February 8, 2010. I exposed this view on Fujichrome using my Canon EOS 3 with a 200mm lens.
Toronto bound GO Transit train near Sunnyside on February 8, 2010. I exposed this view on Fujichrome using my Canon EOS 3 with a 200mm lens.8

For this photograph, I opted to center the locomotive, while setting it back in the frame. This adds visual tension and draws the eye in.

Bright low sunlight reflecting from the white locomotive front made for a difficult exposure.

Although, I pre-set the camera manually, I continued to make fine adjustments as the train approached. In the last instant before I released the shutter, I stopped down (reduced the exposure) to compensate for the bright front end.

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Tomorrow: Good Friday = Good Luck. Irish Rail’s Sperry train on the move.

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Ghost of the Lackawanna—Daily Post

October 2003.

I was traveling with Tim Doherty in Pennsylvania. A full moon illuminated the landscape. We opted to make time exposures of  the Herculean former Lackawanna Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct at Nicholson, Pennsylvania.

We opted for several vantage points. This view was exposed from a graveyard located on a hill above Nicholson to the west.

Lackawanna bridge
Nicholson, Pennsylvania by the light of moon. What sort of lunatic stands around in a grave yard on moon-lit October night without film in the camera?

Using my Nikon F3T firmly planted on a Bogan tripod, I exposed this image for more than a minute. The filtered moonlight allowed for a ethereal image of the viaduct.

I’m not completely satisfied with the photo. It doesn’t really convey the immense size of the bridge and the foreground is underexposed.

However, what really annoys me is that most of the photos I tried to make that evening never existed. In the darkness, I grabbed the wrong Nikon body. As it turned out, I failed to load that camera. So there was a lot of standing around making time exposures without a recording media in the camera! Poor show.

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Relic of the Crescent—Daily Post

August 1986.

Exploring the former Central Railroad of New Jersey Elizabethport Shops, I found this decaying former Southern Railway E8A, still dressed in the railroad’s white, green and gold.

New Jersey Department of Transportation (antecedent to today’s NJ Transit) acquired this locomotive among others for commuter services, after Southern conveyed its passenger services (including the Crescent) to Amtrak in 1979.

Exposed on black & white negative film with a Rolleiflex Model T using a 645 size ‘super slide’ insert.
Exposed on black & white negative film with a Rolleiflex Model T using a 645 size ‘super slide’ insert.

I’d never seen Southern’s Crescent and in 1986, I was delighted to find this rusting vestige from an earlier era. I made a few studies of the locomotive on black and white film and with color slides. I wonder what became of this locomotive?

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Tomorrow: not the Crescent, but a full moon!

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Historic Trams: Porto.

Classic four-wheelers.

Porto is an ancient and attractive city built along the River Douro. It was urbanized in Roman times, so relatively modern features such as electric trams, are really just a contemporary gloss on a place with a long history.

I think it’s important to put the timeline in perspective. There’s old, and there’s ancient! Car 131 is a one hundred year old Brill. While car 218 dates from the World War II era. Both add to the city’s charm.

Trams congregate in Porto. Car 131 on the right is a Brill product, now more than 100 years old. Lumix LX3 photo.
Trams congregate in Porto. Car 131 on the right is a Brill product, now more than 100 years old. Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Technology from an earlier time. Lumix LX3 photo.
Technology from an earlier time. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

There are three historic routes in service. Two wind through steep and narrow streets in the city center. The third works the river-front. The sound of the clanging bells is a thread to another era.

While riding one of the cars, I overheard an elderly British woman explaining that her great grand-parents lived in Napoleonic times. Napoleon was routed from Porto by the British Duke of Wellington.

Wellington was born in Ireland (although he famously disparaged his birthplace) and in the Dublin’s Phoenix Park, across the river from my apartment, stands the Wellington Testimonial (that celebrates his military victories). I can view this giant obelisk from my window. So there you go!

Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Real old tram; really interesting ancient city. Canon EOS 7D with 100 mm lens.
Real old tram; really interesting ancient city. Canon EOS 7D with 100 mm lens.

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Eiffel Bridge, Porto.

Tram Metro and a Magnificent Span.

Gustav Eiffel is best known for his iron tower in Paris. However, he was also a prolific bridge builder and his iron bridges share characteristics with his Parisian tower.

 On the evening of April 4, 2014, a thick sea mist blanketed Porto which made for some stunning lighting effects. The mist no only adds depth to the image but diffused the artificial lighting which makes for better contrast. Lumix LX3 photo.

On the evening of April 4, 2014, a thick sea mist blanketed Porto which made for some stunning lighting effects. The mist not only adds depth to the image but diffused the artificial lighting which makes for better contrast. Lumix LX3 photo.
Ponte Luiz I. Lumix LX3 photo.
Ponte Luiz I. Lumix LX3 photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.

Two of his bridges span the Douro River in Porto, Portugal, and both of these have railway histories. One bridge is presently closed and once carried 5 foot 6 inch gauge tracks for mainline trains while the other is open to foot traffic and Porto’s tram metro on its top level, while its bottom level carries a road.

In early April, I made many photos of the more prominent bridge, called Ponte Luiz I, built in the 1880s. Porto enjoys impressive verticality, and I used the city’s natural geography to find some great angles on the span.

Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

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Tomorrow: old trams in an ancient city!

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Porto’s Metro

In the Rain and Underground.

Tram_bursting_out_of_Fog_Trindade_station_Porto_P1630253
Trindade Station, Porto. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

Ah yes, sunny Portugal! Wall to wall blue skies . .  Er. . . wait, no, actually it was cool, dark, and pouring rain in Porto.

Portugal’s second city. As Cork is to Dublin; Porto is to Lisbon. And with a really long history too. The Romans were here a while back.

In 2002, Porto opened its Metro, which is what I’d call a trolley-subway. Or, tram-subway, if you prefer.

It is well patronized, and well run.

On the day I visited, it was also exceptionally wet! But heavy rain can make for interesting photos, so I made the most of the circumstances.

Trindade on Porto's Metro. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Trindade on Porto’s Metro. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Pan in the Metro. Canon EOS 7D.
Pan in the Metro. Canon EOS 7D.
Tram interior, exposed with a Lumix LX3.
Tram interior, exposed with a Lumix LX3.
At Senhora de Hora in the rain. Canon EOS 7D. My Canon didn't like the rain.
At Senhora de Hora in the rain. Canon EOS 7D. My Canon didn’t like the rain.
Seta Bicas. Canon EOS 7D.
Seta Bicas. Canon EOS 7D.
Bursting out of a tunnel near central Porto. Canon EOS 7D.
Gliding into a tunnel near central Porto. Canon EOS 7D.

Porto_tram_map_P1630229 Porto_tram_interior_P1630223

 Tomorrow: Porto and Paris have this in common . . . 

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International Train Hotel-Entroncamento, Portugal

April 3, 2014.

Entroncamento Station, Portugal on the evening of April 3, 2014.
Entroncamento Station, Portugal on the evening of April 3, 2014.

Portugal shares the broad Iberian standard gauge with Spain: rails are five feet six inches apart. Despite this commonality, today there are relatively few international services between the two countries.

One of the few cross-border trains is the nightly combined Lusitania/Sud Expresso connecting Lisbon with Spanish cities. The Lusitania runs Lisbon-Madrid, while the Sud Expresso is a vestige of the old Wagon Lits luxury express that once connected Lisbon with Paris, but now only goes as far as Irun on the Spanish-French frontier.

The train operates with RENFE (Spanish Railways) TALGO train hotel equipment, which makes it anomalous compared with the majority of Portuguese passenger trains.

On April 3, 2014, I planned to photograph the eastward Lusitania/Sud Expresso (train 335/310) during its station stop at Entrocamento, Portugal.

This is a big station, adjacent to freight yards, shops, and Portugal’s National Railway Museum.

Portugal.
Entrocamento Station with the nightly Lisbon-Spain train hotel approaching in the distance. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 set at 80 ISO.

The train departed Lisbon Santa Apolónia at 9:18 pm, and arrived at Entroncamento a little more than an hour later. I had less than five minutes to make photographs.

I worked with three cameras. First exposing digital time exposures using my Lumix LX3 positioned on a mini Gitzo tripod. I made several images using my standard night photo technique (see: Lumix LX-3—part 2:  Existing Light Digital Night Shots).

Entrocamento Station with the nightly Lusitania/Sud Expresso paused for its station stop. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 set at 80 ISO. I used the self timer set at 2 seconds to minimize vibration.
Entrocamento Station with the nightly Lusitania/Sud Expresso paused for its station stop. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 set at 80 ISO. I used the self timer set at 2 seconds to minimize vibration.

Then I quickly swapped the Lumix for my Canon EOS 3 with 40mm lens loaded with Provia 100F, and made a three exposure bracket. With film, I find it difficult to gauge night exposures, so I aided my efforts with my handheld Minolta Mark IV light meter.

Provia 100F has a filtration layer that minimizes undesirable color spikes caused by fluorescent and sodium lighting.

In the middle of this time-exposure exercise, I also made several handheld images using my Canon EOS 7D set for a high ISO. I figured that covered most of the angles.

I exposed this view of the Lusitania/Sud Expresso using my Canon EOS 7D handheld with a 20mm lens; ISO 4000 f2.8 1/50th of a second. While not as critically sharp as the tripod mounted Lumix image, it has a nice feel to it. Also, for me it’s a fast and easy ‘safety’ shot, in case my more elaborate technique using the Lumix failed to work as hoped.
I exposed this view of the Lusitania/Sud Expresso using my Canon EOS 7D handheld with a 20mm lens; ISO 4000 f2.8 1/50th of a second. While not as critically sharp as the tripod mounted Lumix image, it has a nice feel to it. Also, for me it’s a fast and easy ‘safety’ shot, in case my more elaborate technique using the Lumix failed to work as hoped.

I was distracted during my efforts by the arrival of a Takargo Vossloh E4000 diesel (powered by an EMD 16-710 engine) hauling a container train.

As soon as the train hotel pulled away, I repositioned to photograph the diesel-hauled container train.

Takargo Vossloh E4000 diesel rumbles in the sodium vapor gloom of Entrocamento. Lumix LX3 photo.
Takargo Vossloh E4000 diesel rumbles in the sodium vapor gloom of Entrocamento. Lumix LX3 photo.

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Tilting Train: Portugal’s Alfa Pendular Service.

Photographing a tilting train at speed in curves.

My first experience with the Italian Pendolino design was in Switzerland more than 14 years ago when I was researching for my book Bullet Trains—a survey of high-speed trains and railways (published by MBI in 2001).

Here’s an excerpt from my text:

The Pendolino’s tilt system provides a luxurious, smooth ride, on sinuous track. The effect of the tilting is subtle and scarcely noticeable as the train glides a long at speed. The Pendolino has proven a successful export item, and have been ordered by Finnish, Czech, and British railways. The appeal of the Pendolino, and other successful tilting designs, such as the Spanish TALGO and Swedish X2000  is the ability to increase running speeds without a massive investment in new infrastructure.

Since that time, several additional European countries have added Pendolino trains to their fleets. I’ve photographed them in a half dozen countries, most recently in early April this year, in Portugal where they are assigned to premier services between Porto, Lisbon and Faro.

A gate keeper signals a passing Pendolino as it races through the country station at Mato de Miranda, Portugal on April 3, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
A gate keeper signals a passing Pendolino as it races through the country station at Mato de Miranda, Portugal on April 3, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Trailing view of a CP Pendolino passing Mato de Miranda, Portugal on April 3, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Trailing view of a CP Pendolino passing Mato de Miranda, Portugal on April 3, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

 

Comboios de Portugal (Portugal’s national railway, known by initials ‘CP’) has ten train-sets which work as Alfa Pendular services.

A challenge when photographing Pendolino trains is catching them mid-tilt. I’ve found one  way to capture this is working from the outside of a curve using a long telephoto lens. This is most effective when the front of the train has tilted but the rear remains level with the track structure.

It helps to level the camera with an obvious line-side vertical object such as electrification masts, signals or buildings.

Another technique is to catch the train on the inside of a curve with a wider lens, but still leveling the camera with line-side vertical elements.

A CP Pendolino glides out of the fog near Coimbroes, Porto on the last lap of its run northward from Lisbon. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
A CP Pendolino glides out of the fog near Coimbroes, Porto on the last lap of its run northward from Lisbon. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

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Tomorrow: Night Photography, Iberian Style.

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Portuguese Country Station at Riachos T Novas Golega—Daily Post

April 2, 2014.

A visit to Portugal’s national railway, Comboios de Portugal (known by initials ‘CP’) proved rewarding and photographically productive.

After arriving at Lisbon airport, I visited the rural station at Riachos T Novas in Golega. This place is a gem. Classic manned station building with freight sidings and all the trappings of another era, but very few of the intrusions of modern construction (in other words, no wire fences, overbuilt footbridges, etc.)

 

Locals gather on the platform at Riachos T. Novas station. April 2. 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
Locals gather on the platform at Riachos T. Novas station. April 2. 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
A sand train was being loaded on the siding when I arrived. As the last car was filled, the crew made an air-test an pulled away—Not a minute wasted. Lumix LX3 photo.
A sand train was being loaded on the siding when I arrived. As the last car was filled, the crew made an air-test an pulled away—Not a minute wasted. Lumix LX3 photo.

The station is on the busy double-track electrified mainline between Lisbon and Entroncamento. This carries a variety of freight and passenger trains, including through trains to Porto, and Spanish border crossings. Trains passed every 10-15 minutes.

At one point the sky opened and rain fell hard for few minutes. When it passed, a double rainbow graced the sky for a few minutes. My images of a suburban train with the cosmic weather were exposed on Fujichrome and remain latent pending processing.

A classic clock keeps time at the station. Lumix LX3 photo.
A classic clock keeps time at the station. Lumix LX3 photo.
A local electric pauses to discharge passengers, its windows reflecting a dramatic sky. Canon EOS 7D photo.
A local electric pauses to discharge passengers, its windows reflecting a dramatic sky. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

A camera club was snapping all angles at the station at Riachos T Novas, Golega. The passing CP container train was just one of their many subjects. Exposed with Canon EOS 7D with 200 mm.
A camera club was snapping all angles at the station at Riachos T Novas, Golega. The passing CP container train was just one of their many subjects. Exposed with Canon EOS 7D with 200 mm.
A potted plant displays the CP logo, which reminds me of the old Irish Rail logo, except in royal blue instead of orange. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
A potted plant displays the CP logo, which reminds me of the old Irish Rail logo, except in royal blue instead of orange. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Storm clouds over the old freight house/goods store. Where was the camera club now? They'd jumped a train when it started to rain. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Storm clouds over the old freight house/goods store. Where was the camera club now? They’d jumped a train when it started to rain. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

 

You need rain for a rainbow. This one held in the sky for several minutes. Lumix LX3 photo. (And yes, I caught a train under it, but that's on film!).
You need rain for a rainbow. This one held in the sky for several minutes. Lumix LX3 photo. (And yes, I caught a train under it, but that’s on film!).

Interestingly, when I first arrived, a local camera club had descended en masse and was snapping away at everything. Unfortunately for the club, they departed before the rain and thus missed the glorious evening light! This was pity for them. By contrast, I worked through the best light and made the most of it.

A double-headed empty coal train blitzes the station at Riachos T Novas, Golega bound for the port of Sines, south of Lisbon. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
A double-headed empty coal train blitzes the station at Riachos T Novas, Golega bound for the port of Sines, south of Lisbon. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Evening light makes for a nice study of the class railway station. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Evening light makes for a nice study of the class railway station. Canon EOS 7D photo.
The village beyond the station was pretty sleepy. Lumix LX3 photo.
The village beyond the station was pretty sleepy. Lumix LX3 photo.
Another northward container train passes heading toward Entroncamento. Canon EOS 7D photo with 200mm lens.
Another northward container train passes heading toward Entroncamento. Canon EOS 7D photo with 200mm lens.

Stay tuned for my further exploration of Portuguese railways.

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BNSF on the old Frisco

Rock and Roll Railroad.

On August 18, 2011, Chris Guss and I were driving northeast across Missouri, aiming for St. Louis, when we intercepted this BNSF potash extra working the old Frisco route.

It was a hot and sunny day, and new territory for me. But for Chris the line was old hat, and we had a very productive chase.

Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 100-400 image stabilization zoom lens set at 135mm; f8 at 1/500th of second, ISO 200.
Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 100-400 image stabilization zoom lens set at 135mm; f8 at 1/500th of second, ISO 200.

We made this view near Swedeland, Missouri, where the line passes through a sag and some S-bends. This offered a great place to portray the long and snaky unit train.

The way the line hugs the rolling landscape reminded me a bit of Ireland’s Westport line.

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Tomorrow: last week’s time warp: a country station largely unspoiled by time.

 

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Mullingar, Now and Then.

Locomotive 461 as viewed from Mullingar Cabin, 14 years Difference.

Here’s a view of steam locomotive 461 on a Railway Preservation Society Ireland trip in April 2000, compared with similar views of the same locomotive from the same cabin, in March 2014.

In the interval, the railway has changed, and Mullingar has expanded. The junction was simplified in 2003, and mini CTC signaling installed in 2005.

Locomotive 461 shunts a carriage in Mullingar on April 21 2000.
Locomotive 461 shunts a carriage in Mullingar on April 21 2000.
Compare this view from Mullingar cabin exposed on March 25, 2014, with the above image made 14 years earlier. Both were made of the same locomotive, from the same window, at essentially the same place.
Compare this view from Mullingar cabin exposed on March 25, 2014, with the above image made 14 years earlier. Both were made of the same locomotive, from the same window, at essentially the same place.
An overall view of the scene at Mullingar framed in the window of the signal cabin on March 25, 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
An overall view of the scene at Mullingar framed by the window of the signal cabin on March 25, 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3. The ‘double junction’ for route diverging at the right for the Galway road were removed with the 2003 simplification. The old junction was a carry over from when Mullingar was on the main route from Dublin (Broadstone) to Galway as built by the Midland Great Western. (In modern times, trains from Dublin to Galway have run from Dublin Heuston via Portarlington to Athlone.)

 

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Steam to Mullingar, March 23, 2014, Part 2—Daily Post.


Views at the old Midland Station

Locomotive 461 arrives at Mulligar on March 23, 2014.
Locomotive 461 arrives at Mulligar on March 23, 2014.

In its heyday, Mullingar was an important station on the old Midland Great Western Railway. Here, the large signal cabin controlled the junction between Sligo and Galway routes. There were goods yards and locomotive sheds. It was a busy place.

Today, it’s little more than a big station serving Irish Rail’s Sligo Line. Yet, vestiges of its former glory remain. While the double line junction at the Dublin-end of the station was removed in 2003, and the signal cabin ceased to function as a block post on the Sligo line in 2005, the cabin remains. So do the platforms for the old Galway Road.

The Galway road continues toward Athlone, but vanishes into the weeds after it leaves the station. It has been more than a decade since the last train traveled the line, and that was only the annual weed-spraying run.

Semaphores and other antique infrastructure dot the plant.

The arrival of locomotive 461 allowed me opportunity to photograph the signal cabin and the old Galway side of Mulligar Station.

For me this was a flashback. Not to the glory days of the Midland Great Western, but to the late 1990s early 2000s, when I first visited Mullingar. So much had changed since then, yet so much more remains at Mullingar than many other places on Irish Rail.

Here’s just a few photos from the many images I exposed on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

Levers in Mullingar Cabin.
Levers in Mullingar Cabin.
Mullingar Cabin.
Mullingar Cabin.
Locomotive 461 as viewed from Mullingar Cabin.
Locomotive 461 as viewed from Mullingar Cabin.
Driver Ken Fox at Mullingar.
Driver Ken Fox at Mullingar.
On the platforms at Mullingar.
On the platforms at Mullingar.
Looking west on the old Galway Road, Mullingar cabin and station on the right.
Looking west on the old Galway Road, Mullingar cabin and station on the right.
461 navigates the old yard. Here a few mechanical semaphores remain active.
461 navigates the old yard. Here a few mechanical semaphores remain active.
461 goes for spin on the turntable at Mullingar.
461 goes for spin on the turntable at Mullingar.
The light changed from sunny to hazy. 461 works back up through the old yard.
The light changed from sunny to hazy. 461 works back up through the old yard.
Resting on the disused Galway side of Mullingar station, 461 takes water in preparation for its run back to Dublin.
Resting on the disused Galway side of Mullingar station, 461 takes water in preparation for its run back to Dublin.
Visions of another era. Lumix LX3 photo.
Visions of another era. Lumix LX3 photo.
On the footplate.
On the footplate.

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Tomorrow: views at Mullingar 14 years apart!

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Steam to Mullingar, March 23, 2014—Daily Post.


A View along the Royal Canal.

When photographing a special train, I like to make the first photograph of the day count as one of the best.

Railway Preservation Society Ireland operated locomotive 461 with an excursion from Dublin Connolly Station to Mullingar on the old Midland route.

This railway was built along the banks of the Royal Canal, and canal-side running characterizes the line.

Locomotive 461 works west along the Royal Canal near Enfield on March 23, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 20mm lens and firmly mounted on a Bogan tripod. Focus and exposure set manually.
Locomotive 461 works west along the Royal Canal near Enfield on March 23, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 20mm lens and firmly mounted on a Bogan tripod. Focus and exposure set manually.

Hugh Dempsey and I set out from Dublin about an hour ahead of the train, and selected this spot as one of the best.

The sun and clouds cooperated nicely. Yet, the extreme contrast of the scene require a bit of post-processing to control contrast. I made a variety of small changes to adjust the image, including both global and localized contrast adjustment.

More 461 photos tomorrow!

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Trams in the Rain, March 21, 2014.

Making the most of a Gloomy Evening.

Who said a dull rainy evening isn’t a good time to make photos? I beg to challenge that!

On the evening of March 21, 2014, I was at the corner of Abbey and O’Connell Streets in Dublin just as the final hints of daylight were about to mopped up by heavy low clouds.

I exposed these photos with my handheld Lumix LX3 set at ISO 200. Dublin’s LUAS trams provided a handsome subject and the rain added a bit of gloss.

Abbey Street, Dublin. The Grand Central Bar on the right. Exposed at f2.8 1/15th second ISO 200.
Abbey Street, Dublin. The Grand Central Bar on the right. Exposed at f2.8 1/15th second ISO 200.
A cyclist negotiates O'Connell Street. Pan photo exposed at f2.8 1/6th of a second at ISO 200.
A cyclist negotiates O’Connell Street. Pan photo exposed at f2.8 1/6th of a second at ISO 200.
Exposed at f2.8 1/8th of a second ISO 200.
Exposed at f2.8 1/8th of a second ISO 200.
Looking west on Abbey Street.
Looking west on Abbey Street.
Waiting for the lights to change.
Waiting for the lights to change.
Crossing O'Connell Street.
Crossing O’Connell Street.

Click here to see my Dublin Page for more photos and check my Ebook: Dublin Unconquered custom designed for Apple iPad available from Apple iTunes.

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Sun, Blue Sky and Palm Trees.

Cal-Train at San Mateo, California.

Cal-Train exposed on color slide film, August 24, 2009. In two months time, I'd receive my first digital camera.
Cal-Train exposed on color slide film, August 24, 2009. In two months time, I’d receive my first digital camera.

I made this image using my Canon EOS 3 with a 20mm lens. This outbound Cal-Train commute had just discharged passengers at the old Southern Pacific station at San Mateo.

I want an iconic modern image that said ‘California’. What better way to do that, than focus on the Cal-Train logo while incorporating the warm blue sky, palm trees, and a reflection of the sun in the window of the train?

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