Boston & Maine GP9, Puddle and a Yellow Filter.

And, just in case you’re wondering: no I did not drop the filter in the puddle.

Early Spring can be an interesting time to make photos in New England. Warmer days and melting snow can result in a muddy sloppy mess, especially around railroad yards. However, the days are longer and the trees are still without leaves, so it can be a good time to explore.

On March 8, 1987, my friends and I visited Boston & Maine’s Lawrence Yard in the northeast corner of Massachusetts. Honestly, this can be an ugly place even on the nicest days.

I found this Boston & Maine GP9 and made several images. At the time, a blue and white B&M GP9 seemed like a fairly prosaic piece of equipment. Yet, I decided to make the most what I had to work with.

Using my father’s Rollei Model T with super-slide (645 size) insert, I exposed this view by holding the camera sideways. The puddle in the yard allowed for a nice reflection. To compensate for the inaccurate tonal rendition of blue by my choice of black & white film, I used an yellow filter. This allowed for superior tonality in the sky and placed the B&M shade of blue more in line with its expected black & white tonality. Without the filter B&M blue tended to appear too light.

 Exposed on 120 black & white film using a Rolleiflex Model T with 75mm Zeiss Tessar lens.

Exposed on 120 black & white film using a Rolleiflex Model T with 75mm Zeiss Tessar lens. To compensate for the light absorbed by the filter I increased my exposure by about 1 and 1/3 stops (in other words let more light reach the film). If I didn’t manually compensate for the filter, the negative would have been ‘under exposed’ in other words too light, and thus the print (or in this case the scanned positive) would appear too dark. More specifically there would be an unacceptable loss of shadow detail.

Now, nearly 28 years later, a few old B&M GP9s are still working for Pan Am Railways. I saw one the other day dressed in Maine Central green and gold as the ‘Maine Central heritage locomotive.’

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2 thoughts on “Boston & Maine GP9, Puddle and a Yellow Filter.”

  1. Outstanding. I am a huge fan of using reflective surfaces, especially in B&W, whether railroad related, building architecture or my favorite – street photography. Much enjoyed – thanks!

    Ethan

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