Glinty Sunrise, Niagara Falls, New York, April 1989.

Rays of Sun Above the Storm—Daily Post.

The Great Lakes can produce dramatic climatic effects, especially at dawn and dusk.

On this day, I drove west from Rochester through torrential Spring rains. However, it was dry when I reached Niagara Falls, the line of showers having stayed well south of Lake Ontario.

I made this image of Amtrak trains laying over in the Niagara Falls yard as the sun was rising above a dark and stormy sky. The lighting was totally surreal, like a scene from the cover of a science fiction novel.

Exposed on Kodachrome using a Leica M2 fitted with a 200mm Leitz Telyt lens using a Visoflex (through the lens viewing attachment for Leica rangefinders) and bellows arrangement mounted on a Bogen 3021 tripod with ball head. Although a peculiar selection of equipment, this had less to do with capturing the image than my exposure and flare control techniques.
Exposed on Kodachrome using a Leica M2 fitted with a 200mm Leitz Telyt lens using a Visoflex (through the lens viewing attachment for Leica rangefinders) with bellows arrangement mounted on a Bogen 3021 tripod with ball head. Although a peculiar selection of equipment, this had less to do with capturing the image than my exposure and flare control techniques (see main text below).

In the distance, in what I believe was the former Lehigh Valley yard, was hundreds of stored 50 foot box cars lettered in the blue and white “I Love NY” scheme.

Here’s my trick: to reduce undesirable flare, I shaded the front element of the lens using the extendable lens shade and my notebook, while I calculated exposure manually, using a handheld Sekonic Studio Deluxe photocell in its ‘reflected light’ mode. I made several exposures before the light changed.

I used the light meter to carefully gauge the amount of light reflecting off the Amfleet passenger cars to avoid loss of highlight detail, while allowing the shadow areas to appear comparatively dark. This was a judgment call on my part that resulted in a more dramatic image.

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Tomorrow: 40 years ago!

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