Tracking the Light Extra—IWT crosses in front of my bus to the airport

Posted live from Dublin Bus. I’m on the 747 bus on the way to the airport. The Wednesday-only second IWT liner (Ballina to Dublin Port) just crossed the road. I had a perfect vantage point from my  seat on the top deck.

I using my Lumix LX7, I exposed these views.

What fantastic luck!

IWT at the North Wall waiting to cross the road. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
IWT at the North Wall waiting to cross the road. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from the 747. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from the 747. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
3:15 Pm September 30, 2015. Dublin Port.
3:15 Pm September 30, 2015. Dublin Port.
View from Dublin Bus. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from Dublin Bus. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily (but rarely from a bus)

Tracking the Light EXTRA: Brian Solomon to present a talk to the European Railway Agency

Tomorrow, Thursday 1 October 2015,  I will give a lunchtime presentation to the European Railway Agency’s CME unit at Valenciennes, France on the subject of Railway Photography.

A Paris-Amsterdam Thalys high-speed train glides through Schaerbeek in suburban Brussels. Exposed on Fuji variable ISO color slide film rated at 200 ISO using a Nikon F2 with Tokina 400mm lens.
A Paris-Amsterdam Thalys high-speed train glides through Schaerbeek in suburban Brussels. Exposed on Fuji variable ISO color slide film rated at 200 ISO using a Nikon F2 with Tokina 400mm lens.

Below is an outline for my presentation:

Outline

1] Introduction

A] Historical Role of Photography and Railroads

B] Brian’s Background experience: photographer, author and railway scholar

Projects: Southern Pacific 4449 and Donner Pass;

Magazine Work

Book—Stations, Signals, Locomotives, Journeys

2] Approach and Technique

A] Composition:

—Working with depth of field, perspective, elevation

B] Importance of Lighting

C] Context and informed perspectives:

D] Location and Subject

E] Documentation versus Illustration

F] Interpretation

G] People and Machines

H] Architecture

I] Scenery and Environment

—Conclusion

—Questions.

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Tracking the Light Daily Photo: Amtrak’s Vermonter at Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Since December 2014, Amtrak’s Vermonter has called daily at Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Have you gone for a spin yet?

Amtrak train 55, the southward Vermonter at Greenfield, Massachusetts. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Amtrak train 55, the southward Vermonter at Greenfield, Massachusett in July 2015. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Tracking the Light posts photographs daily!

Emerald Isle Express Crosses the Rarely Used South Wexford—September 28, 2015.

Empty carriages cross a dormant railway.

A decade ago, David Hegarty and I made a project of photographing Irish Rail’s South Wexford line between Rosslare Strand and Waterford.

Sugar Beet traffic ended in January 2006, and regular passenger services were withdrawn five years ago in September 2010.

Irish Rail 087 near Robbinstown, County, Wexford on the South Wexford line. 28 September 2015.
Irish Rail 087 near Robbinstown, County, Wexford on the South Wexford line. 28 September 2015.
Irish Rail 087 near Robbinstown, County, Wexford on the South Wexford line. 28 September 2015.
Irish Rail 087 near Robbinstown, County, Wexford on the South Wexford line. 28 September 2015.
Irish Rail 087 with Emerald Isle Explorer's empty carriages at Taylorstown, County, Wexford on the South Wexford line. 28 September 2015.
Irish Rail 087 with Emerald Isle Express’s empty carriages at Taylorstown, County, Wexford on the South Wexford line. 28 September 2015.
West of Campile, South Wexford line. 28 September 2015.
West of Campile, South Wexford line. 28 September 2015.

Yesterday, RailTours Ireland’s Emerald Isle Express (operated in cooperation with the Railway Preservation Society Ireland and Irish Rail) ran as a train of empty carriages across the line. This was probably the first train in months to use the scenic route.

Maximum speed was 15 mph.

Mark Healy and I were among the photographers on site to witness this very unusual move.

In addition to these digital photos, I exposed a handful of colour slides, you know, for posterity.

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Making ‘Before Photos’ while there’s still time.

In Dublin, LUAS Cross City works are underway. Ultimately, these new tram lines will link Red Line and Green Line routes (presently isolated from one another) and run all the way to Broombridge for an interface with Irish Rail’s line to Maynooth.

Back when the first two LUAS lines were under construction, I missed the opportunity to make lots of ‘before’ photos. I did make some, but not nearly enough.

The other morning was clear and bright, so I walked the route of the new tram line from the Midland Great Western terminus at Broadstone to O’Connell Bridge.

Excavation and track laying works are underway in several places along with detailed signs about the project. These photos probably won’t win prizes for artistic achievement, but I’m sure that they will age well, and make for excellent ‘before’ scenes in a few years time.

Map of LUAs Cross City works and plan. Lumix LX7 photo.
Map of LUAs Cross City works and plan. Lumix LX7 photo.
Detail of the old Midland Great Western terminal at Broadstone. The shed remains as an active bus depot (repair/storage facility), but passenger trains vacated the old terminus in the 1930s. Soon the LUAS will have a stop nearby. Lumix LX7 photo.
Detail of the old Midland Great Western terminal at Broadstone. The shed remains as an active bus depot (repair/storage facility), but passenger trains vacated the old terminus in the 1930s. Soon the LUAS will have a stop nearby. Unfortunately, while LUAS works are underway, it is difficult to make views of this historic building. Lumix LX7 photo.
View looking toward Dominic Street Upper from Broadstone. Dominic Street will carry the tracks from the city centre. Lumix LX7 photo.
View looking toward Dominic Street Upper from Broadstone. Dominic Street will carry the tracks from the city centre. Lumix LX7 photo.
View from Dominic Street Upper looking toward Broadstone. Lumix LX7 photo.
View from Dominic Street Upper looking toward Broadstone. Lumix LX7 photo.
Dominic Street Upper looking north.
Dominic Street Upper looking north.
LUAS works on Parnell Street. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS works on Parnell Street. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS works on Parnell Street. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS works on Parnell Street. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS works on Parnell Street. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS works on Parnell Street. Lumix LX7 photo.
O'Connell Street looking south.
O’Connell Street looking south.
O'Connell Street looking south. Lumix LX7 Photo.
O’Connell Street looking south. Lumix LX7 Photo.
O'Connell Street looking south. Lumix LX7 Photo.
O’Connell Street looking south. Lumix LX7 Photo.
O'Connell Street. Lumix LX7 Photo.
O’Connell Street. Lumix LX7 Photo.
FujiFilm XT-1 digital photo.
FujiFilm XT-1 digital photo.
LUAS Red Line tram at Blackhall Place. I wish I'd made a photo at this corner prior to 2004!
LUAS Red Line tram at Blackhall Place. I wish I’d made a photo at this corner prior to 2004! (That’s my point). FujiFilm X-T1.

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Tracking the Light Extra: Emerald Isle Express at Gorey—28 September 2014

Today, the Emerald Isle Express began its second annual run working from Dublin Connolly Station to Rosslare Strand, and then empty carriages across the rarely used South Wexford line via Wellingtonbridge to Waterford.

The train was sponsored by Rail Tours Ireland in cooperation with the Railway Preservation Society Ireland and Irish Rail.

It was a beautiful day, and I made dozens of fine photographs. I’ll post more tomorrow! Stay tuned.

Irish Rail 087 leads the Emerald Isle Express at Gorey on the Dublin & South Eastern route. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Irish Rail 087 leads the Emerald Isle Express at Gorey on the Dublin & South Eastern route. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

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Classic Chrome: Southern Pacific 4449 Silhouette

It’s rare that I’ll display one of my all-time favorite photos (if you are not viewing this on Tracking the Light, you’ll need to click the link to get the full image).

This has been published several times. It’s a simple image, but it wasn’t easy to make.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25. This is one of my personal favorite images of all time.
Exposed on Kodachrome 25. This is one of my personal favorite images of all time.

I exposed it in September 1991. As I’ve previously told, Southern Pacific’s Bob Hoppe had hired me for the weekend to document an event involving engine 4449.

Following a serious derailment at the Cantera Loop, where the railroad spilled toxins into the Sacramento River above Dunsmuir, California, SP organized the historic streamlined engine and train to make public appearances in the Sacramento River Canyon as a goodwill gesture.

Brian Jennison and I made the most of the three days of Daylight steam specials. Over the years, I made great use of these photos.

My choice image is this one. It clearly shows SP’s famous engine, yet captures it in motion and in silhouette.

I had two frames left on my roll of Kodachrome 25 (actually I thought had had only one left, but I also managed a photo of the tail car).

I opted for a ‘wrong side’ view of the engine, in order to make this silhouette with the oaks that characterize the rolling valley along Hooker Creek north (railroad timetable east) of Tehama, California.

To insure I kept a hint of rail in view, I needed to gain a vantage point slightly above rail level. Rather than pan the locomotive, I set my F3T on a tripod and used my Nikkor f1.8 105mm lens nearly wide open.

The locomotive approached at speed; I had only one shot at this, and timing was everything. I wasn’t quite ready when I could hear the distinctive exhaust of the locomotive rolling up the valley. Some last second fumbling with my meter, convinced me to lower my shutter speed. Thus the hint of motion blur.

Five minutes later, it would have been too dark to capture this scene on Kodachrome 25, which was the only imaging medium I had that day.

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Hanging Viaduct—Bullay—Eight Views.

Among the distinctive features of Germany’s Mosel Valley route is the Hanging Viaduct southwest of Bullay.

To avoid a circuitous loop in the Mosel, this double track electrified line crosses the river on a combined road/rail bridge and punches through a ridge. Upon exiting the tunnel, the line clings to a steep hillside populated with vineyards supported by an unusual curved Hangviadukt, a ‘hanging viaduct.’ (A sort of half-bridge, whereby half the structure is built into the hillside.)

Earlier this month, Denis McCabe, Gerry Conmy, Stephen Hirsch and I made a visit to this famous structure, photographing it from a variety of angles.

The railway cooperated by running a variety of trains. Footpaths through the vineyards and surrounding areas offer many vantage points.

In addition to mainline trains, a branch railcar traversed the viaduct in each direction hourly.

The famous Hanging Viaduct looms above the vineyards like some ancient wall. Lumix LX7 photo.
The famous Hanging Viaduct looms above the vineyards like some ancient wall. Lumix LX7 photo.
A freight bound for France rolls westward over the Hanging Viaduct. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A freight bound for France rolls westward over the Hanging Viaduct. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
DB electrics about enter the tunnel at the east end of the Hanging Viaduct near Bullay. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
DB electrics about enter the tunnel at the east end of the Hanging Viaduct near Bullay. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A branch railcar meets a DB regional local train on the Hanging Viaduct. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A branch railcar meets a DB regional local train on the Hanging Viaduct. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Signs offer location advice.
Signs offer location advice.
A viewing platform at the westend of the viaduct offers this view. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A viewing platform at the westend of the viaduct offers this view. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Sun and clouds made for dappled light. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Sun and clouds made for dappled light. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An express passenger train to Luxembourg catches the sun. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An express passenger train from Luxembourg catches the sun. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

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TRACKING THE LIGHT SPECIAL: New Book, Majesty of Big Steam

A little while ago, Fed Ex delivered my author’s advance copy of my latest book: Majesty of Big Steam, published by Voyageur Press.

Thanks to my editor Todd Berger for getting this to me!

I’ve dedicated this luxurious volume to memory of my friend John E. Pickett who passed away as the book was nearing completion. It features many of his photographs, as well as images by a host of other talented photographers.

John Gruber authored sidebars.

Special thanks to Pat Yough who helped with the cover image and opened many doors during the book’s production. I exposed the cover photo using Pat’s FujiFilm  X-T1, and this adventure was one among the experiences that helped convince me that I needed to invest in the Fuji camera.

Brian Solomon book Cover005

This new book will soon be available for purchase.

See: http://www.amazon.com/The-Majesty-Steam-Brian-Solomon/dp/0760348928

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Scenery Supreme with MittlerheinBahn

MittlerheinBahn operates modern Siemens-built electric multiple units on all-stops local trains on the picturesque Left Bank route between Köln and Mainz, Germany.

Trains operate on an hourly basis throughout the day, with more frequent services at peak times.

The service is affordable, comfortable and the scenery provides an unending tapestry of wonder.

These trains come at such regular intervals, it would be easy enough to let their passage go undocumented while waiting for more unusual movements, such as freights with colourful engines. But I always try to make the most of all trains.

Over the course of a week I exposed dozens of images of MittlerheinBahn’s trains, often using them as a catalyst for complex scenic compositions. Would these views work if there were no trains in them?

Köln Hbf. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Köln Hbf. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Take a spin! These trains offer a smooth ride at a reasonable price. Large windows provide a great view of the scenery. Lumix LX7 photo.
Take a spin! These trains offer a smooth ride at a reasonable price. Large windows provide a great view of the scenery. Lumix LX7 photo.
A view from a vineyard near Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A view from a vineyard near Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Two ways to see the Rhein; by train and by ship. A view south of Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Two ways to see the Rhein; by train and by ship. A view south of Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
At Oberwesel, where castle towers and walls make for a Medieval setting. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
At Oberwesel, where castle towers and walls make for a Medieval setting. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Climb a tower for a better view. (Really I was waiting for a freight, but we'll get to that in a later post.) FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Climb a tower for a better view. (Really I was waiting for a freight, but we’ll get to that in a later post.) FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Local trains pass on opposite sides of the Rhein, both were in motion. (as were the clouds!)
Local trains pass on opposite sides of the Rhein, both were in motion. (as were the clouds!)
A wink of sun north of Bingen. Would this be a more interesting image if the train was closer, but bathed in shadow?
A wink of sun north of Bingen. Would this be a more interesting image if the train were closer, but bathed in shadow?

Tracking the Light posts Daily!

 

 

LUAS at Dusk—Silvery Trams in Silhouette

The other evening, rain had cleared, and clear skies prevailed for a little while before sunset.

Yet, heavy clouds were encroaching from the west, making for some interesting evening light.

I made the opportunity to take a spin on Dublin’s LUAS Green Line.

Pausing at Dundrum, I  made photos of the trams crossing the Dargan Bridge.

The far end of the line at Brides Glen (I saw no brides) was a convenient place to make some portraits of the 5000-series LUAS Citadis tram that I’d traveled on.

I was one of two passengers to board on the return trip. It took the tram 39 minutes to make the run to St. Stephens Green. By time I arrived, the rain had closed in again.

The LUAS trams are a silver-tinted with lilac, with large plate windows, which makes them ideal for photos at dusk. The trams reflect the hues of the evening light.

I exposed these images using my Lumix LX7.

Inbound LUAS tram glides across the Dargan Bridge at Dundrum. Exposed as a RAW file with my Lumix LX7, white balance set to 'daylight', contrast adjusted in post processing.
Inbound LUAS tram glides across the Dargan Bridge at Dundrum. Exposed as a RAW file with my Lumix LX7, ISO 200, white balance set to ‘daylight’, contrast adjusted in post processing.
Outbound LUAS tram glides across the Dargan Bridge at Dundrum. Exposed as a RAW file with my Lumix LX7, ISO 80, white balance set to 'daylight', contrast adjusted in post processing.
Outbound LUAS tram glides across the Dargan Bridge at Dundrum. Exposed as a RAW file with my Lumix LX7, ISO 80, white balance set to ‘daylight’, contrast adjusted in post processing.
End of the line: Brides Glen at dusk. Exposed with a Lumix LX7 as a RAW file. No modification (except for scaling).
End of the line: Brides Glen at dusk. Exposed with a Lumix LX7 as a RAW file. No modification (except for scaling).
End of the line: Brides Glen at dusk. Exposed with a Lumix LX7 as a RAW file. Slight contrast adjustment in post processing.
End of the line: Brides Glen at dusk. Exposed with a Lumix LX7 as a RAW file. Slight contrast adjustment in post processing.
End of the line: Brides Glen at dusk. Exposed with a Lumix LX7 as a RAW file. No modification (except for scaling).
End of the line: Brides Glen at dusk. Exposed with a Lumix LX7 as a RAW file. No modification (except for scaling).
Interior of a LUAS tram at Brides Glen.
Interior of a LUAS tram at Brides Glen.

Tracking the Light posts every day.

Tracking the light EXTRA: Irish Rail 233 works IWT on evening path

Most days Irish Rail’s Dublin-Ballina IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport; see: http://iwt-irl.com) departs the North Wall in the morning, typically between 9:20 and 11 am.

Today, it was set back to an evening path, much like the traditional liners that ran nightly up until mid-2005.

An added bonus was Enterprise painted Irish Rail 201 number 233.

This was like turning the clock back ten years or more.

5:54 pm, 23 September 2015.  Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the North Wall in Dublin. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
5:54 pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the North Wall in Dublin. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
7:08pm, 23 September 2015.  Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin.
7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo
Containers into the sunset! 7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo
Containers into the sunset! 7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo

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Double-headed Empty Coal Trains

Pairs of red electrics leading more or less uniform consists of coal cars make for great subjects as they wind their way along the supremely scenic Rhein Valley.

Most locomotive-hauled trains traversing Germany’s Rhein Valley work with just a single locomotive, and an ever-greater number of passenger trains use electric multiple units.

By comparison to continual parade of these more common trains, dual-red electrics on coal trains/and empties are relatively rare, and only make an appearance every few hours (often just after you move to change locations).

Here I display two empty trains train, both exposed on 10 September 2015. The first is a morning view on the Left Bank with a pair of DB class 185 electrics, the second is in the evening on the Right Bank across from Oberwesel.

Both feature scenery and sunlight.

Glorious clear morning sun makes for a post card view of DB 185s passing Boppard-Hertenach on the Left Bank. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Glorious clear morning sun makes for a post card view of DB 185s passing Boppard-Hertenach on the Left Bank. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Late in the day, a pair of elderly class 151 Co-Co electrics lead empties exiting a tunnel opposite Oberwesel. Within half and hour the sun had dropped below the ridge line, leaving this scene in shadow. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Late in the day, a pair of elderly class 151 Co-Co electrics lead empties exiting a tunnel opposite Oberwesel. Within half an hour the sun had dropped below the ridge line, leaving this scene in shadow. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Real versus Surreal

I have no doubt that punchy delicious colours and heavily altered contrast can grab the attention of viewers. I saw Fantasia, I look at Facebook.

It’s not a matter of right or wrong, or right or left. With modern software, tweaking colour and contrast has never been easier.

Below are three versions of an image I exposed digitally in the Rhein Valley. Not necessarily in order: One image is RAW (straight out of the camera, only reduced in size for internet), the other two have been altered.

Of these latter two images, one is my interpretation of how the scene appeared at the time I exposed the photo, the other is pure fantasy.

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I’m calling this version Image A.
DSCF1013_Photo_by_BrianSolomon3
This one is Image B.
DSCF1013Photo_by_BrianSolomon2
Image C.

I’ll let you sort out which is which. Of the three, which do you like the most?

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Downright Awful Railroad Photos

 

Who says?

Me. I’m not picking on anyone. I’m not highlighting lack of talent. These are my photos, and I say they’re awful.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So if you find joy in these pictures, that’s up to you. But these are not the images I would normally display. In fact, typically I’d erase them.

Today, I’m showing them for several reasons.

  • They are not what I intended to achieve.
  • They offer good learning examples of what to avoid.
  • They might aid novice photographers recognize flaws in their own technique.
  • I think you might find them amusing.
  • Someone might get rattled and write me a diatribe (for free!)
  • They disprove a fallacy that every image I make is suitable for publication.

So what went wrong?
Read the captions an find out:

This was part of a panning sequence. To achieve the effect of a train in motion, I’d selected a relatively slow shutter speed and panned the Flirt railcar as it passed at speed. This image was exposed too late. The train is too far away, and instead of capturing the train in motion, all I managed to do was blur the entire image. That’s one for the trash!
This was part of a panning sequence. To achieve the effect of a train in motion, I’d selected a relatively slow shutter speed and panned the Flirt railcar as it passed at speed. This image was exposed too late. The train is too far away, and instead of capturing the train in motion, all I managed to do was blur the entire image. That’s one for the trash!
Another example of a Stadler Flirt photo gone amiss: The bright white train momentarily confused the autofocus system on my FujiFilm X-T1. Instead of selecting an appropriate focus point, the system was  hunting for focus when I released the shutter. The result is totally out of focus. Compare the effect of being out focus with that of the above image, which is suffering from motion blur. These are distinct characteristics. While I often use selective focus and motion blur to positive advantage, here they’ve ruined other wise fine images. If you want to see nicer photos of Stadler Flirts, I featured these in a post last week. See: http://wp.me/p2BVuC-3f7
Another example of a Stadler Flirt photo gone amiss: The bright white train momentarily confused the autofocus system on my FujiFilm X-T1. Instead of selecting an appropriate focus point, the system was hunting for focus when I released the shutter. The result is totally out of focus. Compare the effect of being out focus with that of the above image, which is suffering from motion blur. These are distinct characteristics. While I often use selective focus and motion blur to positive advantage, here they’ve ruined otherwise fine images. If you want to see nicer photos of Stadler Flirts, see: http://wp.me/p2BVuC-3f7
We were getting ready to depart for another location when I heard a diesel working northward. I grabbed my Lumix LX7 and went to make a photo, except the train was too close by the time I released the shutter. What’s wrong with this photo? Practically everything! I had the camera set wrong so the shutter speed was too slow. My angle was too tight to the tracks. The train is too close. I cut the top off the engine. The lighting angle is completely wrong (looking into hard mid-morning sun). And to make matters worse, I shook the camera adding extra motion blur to an already bad image. Also, I’m positioned under a roadway that cast a shadow on the front of the train. (Despite all these flaws, I actually was delighted with the photo. It’s so bad, its funny!)
We were getting ready to depart for another location when I heard a diesel working northward. I grabbed my Lumix LX7 and went to make a photo, except the train was too close by the time I released the shutter. What’s wrong with this photo? Practically everything! I had the camera set wrong so the shutter speed was too slow. My angle was too tight to the tracks. The train is too close. I cut the top off the engine. The lighting angle is completely wrong (looking into hard mid-morning sun). And to make matters worse, I shook the camera adding extra motion blur to an already bad image. Also, I’m positioned under a roadway that cast a shadow on the front of the train. (Despite all these flaws, I actually was delighted with the photo. It’s so bad, its funny!)

Tracking the Light normally publishes quality images on a daily basis,

today’s is the exception to the rule.

Tracking the Light Extra: Culture Night Dublin—September 18, 2015.

Friday night was the 10th Annual Culture Night Event. I walked for miles around town observing and photographing the city on this special night.

Last year my friends and I focused on the North Side, this year we explored the South Side.

To keep things simple I just worked with my Lumix LX7.

A bit of music at Meeting House Square, Temple Bar.
A bit of music at Meeting House Square, Temple Bar.
Dublin City Hall.
Dublin City Hall.
Dublin City Hall.
Dublin City Hall.

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Galery Zozimus, Francis Street.
Galery Zozimus, Francis Street.
Sword fight, er yeah.
Sword fight, er yeah.
Organ at St. Audeons Church.
Organ at St. Audeons Church.
St. Audeons Church.
St. Audeons Church.
Sunset on Cornmarket Street.
Sunset on Cornmarket Street.
Hillybilly music at Christ Church.
Hillybilly music at Christ Church.
Tuk tuks at Dublin Castle gate.
Tuk tuks at Dublin Castle gate.

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Merrion Square.
Merrion Square.
Georgian House, Merrion Square.
Georgian House, Merrion Square.
Merrion Square.
Merrion Square.
Eeek!
Eeek!
Merrion Square.
Merrion Square.
Display of lights Merrion Square.
Display of lights Merrion Square.
Art Museum.
Art Museum.
Sweny's Chemist.
Sweny’s Chemist.
Molly Malone.
Molly Malone.

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Freight with Castle, Rudesheim

There’re some locations that just jump out at you. This view of the Rhein’s Right Bank is one of them. The combination of the river with vineyards rising above punctuated by the ruins of a medieval castle make for a postcard view.

The railway is an added bonus. Red Die Bahn locomotives are a nice touch. It helps to have bright afternoon sun.

DB_Doubleheaded_Chemicals_train_w_Castle_near-Rudesheim_DSCF2152

DB_185_Freight_across_Rhein_w_Castle_near-Rudesheim_DSCF2165Exposed near Rudesheim, Germany using my FujiFilm X-T1

 

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TRACKING THE LIGHT EXTRA: LUAS Red Line Ad Tram-17 September 2015.

Yesterday, Dublin’s LUAS Red Line made news when a horse went for a spin. Sorry, I don’t have a photo of that escapade.

I did make a few photos of tram 3001 that was traversing Dublin streets in the latest advertising livery.

The evening started off bright, but gradually clouds rolled in from the west and rain followed.

LUAS 3001 approaches Sean Heuston Bridge. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS 3001 approaches Sean Heuston Bridge. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS 3001 crosses Queen Street, Dublin. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS 3001 crosses Queen Street, Dublin. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS 3001 crosses Queen Street, Dublin. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
LUAS 3001 crosses Queen Street, Dublin. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.

LUAS_3001_ad_tram_pan_Queen_St_P1310913

LUAS 3001 on Benburb Street, Dublin. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
In the rain: LUAS 3001 on Benburb Street, Dublin. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
In the rain: LUAS 3001 on Benburb Street, Dublin. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
In the rain: LUAS 3001 on Benburb Street, Dublin. 17 September 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.

Which weather conditions do you think made for the most interesting images?

 

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Heavy Load Rolls Along the Rhein—You don’t see this every day!

Four photos!

There we were, poised at Filsen on the Right Bank line anticipating a northward train, but not knowing what would come around the bend next.

Previously, my attention to the signals, had revealed that once the signal cleared to green, a train would pass within 3-5 minutes. However, more than 8 minutes had passed. I wondered what was the cause of the delay.

Then, we were surprised by a lone DB class 145 electric hauling an exceptional load: twenty axles distributed the weight of this Schnabel railcar.

Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

DB_transformer_car_at_Filsen_close_DSCF2342

Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

While this was not what I expected to see on the move, my cameras were ready to record what passed. In addition to these digital images, I exposed a 35mm colour slide for posterity.

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Flirts along the Rhein

 

Flirt at Kaub, Germany. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera from platform level using the positionable rear display.
Flirt at Kaub, Germany. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera from platform level using the positionable rear display.

Right Bank passenger services are largely provided by Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbahn. Trains are operated by VIAS Gmbh as Stadt-Expresses use Stadler Flirt electric multiple units and make local stops between the Koblenz Hbf (on the Left Bank) and the Frankfurt area.

Every hour all day long (with half hourly intervals at peak times) these modern Flirts glide along the supremely scenic Rhein Valley, working between the seemingly continuous parade of freights on the same line.

The cars stand out nicely against lush back drops and make for interesting photographic subjects. The tricky part is selecting the correct exposure to avoid over-exposing the lightly coloured trains.

A northward Flirt approaches Filsen. This early morning service catches the glint of the rising sun. Mist is the air makes for added atmosphere, but complicates the exposure. Here I've opted to set the exposure manually to retain highlight-detail on the side of the train. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A northward Flirt approaches Filsen. This early morning service catches the glint of the rising sun. Mist in the air makes for added atmosphere, but complicates the exposure. Here I’ve opted to set the exposure manually to retain highlight-detail on the side of the train. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A grab shot of a Flirt exposed with my Lumix south of the famous Loreley Rocks.
A grab shot of a Flirt exposed with my Lumix south of the famous Loreley Rocks.
I was focused on the tug boat when this Flirt emerged from the tunnel at Oberwesel. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
I was focused on the tug boat when this Flirt emerged from the tunnel at Oberwesel. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Another angle from Oberwesel, this view from the top of an old stone tower that was part of the city walls. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Another angle from Oberwesel, this view from the top of an old stone tower that was part of the city walls. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
View from the Right Bank opposite Oberwesel. Lumix LX7 photo.
View from the Right Bank opposite Oberwesel. Lumix LX7 photo.
Flirt near Bingen. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Flirt near Bingen. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Glinty Flirt reflects in the Rhein near Kaub. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Glinty Flirt reflects in the Rhein near Kaub. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

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Tracking the Light Special Post: Refugee Train in Germany—September 2015.

Every so often, events in the news play a role in my daily photography. Last week, I was waiting with my friends for a Regional Express on the platform at Mainz, Germany, when an unscheduled train of InterCity carriages arrived.

There was no destination given on the depart boards.

The doors did not open.

No announcement was made.

Exposed hand-held with FujiFilm X-T1 and 27mm lens.
Exposed hand-held with FujiFilm X-T1 and 27mm lens.

DB_Special_at_Mainz_DSCF6830 DB_Special_at_Mainz_DSCF6822

A glance at the passengers on-board told the story. This was a trainload of refugees operated by DB AG as part of a greater humanitarian effort in Germany.

Seeing the people on board, appearing weary and exhausted, I thought of my own ancestors, who more than a century ago fled their home countries to seek a better life.

In the case of last week’s passengers, DB provided a nice comfortable train for this portion of their journey.

After a few minutes pause, the nameless service was on its way again.

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The International Railway Journal featured an article on the refugee trains.

See: http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/europe/db-uses-100-trains-to-transport-22000-refugees.html?channel=

Exceptionally Busy Double Track—September 12, 2015—Dozens of photos!

Die Bahn/Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) operates an intensive nation-wide railway network. The traffic on many lines is impressive.

Conveying volume in photographs is perhaps best done with image sequences.

On the morning of September 12, 2015, Stephen Hirsch, Denis McCabe, Gerry Conmy and I arrived at the Bonn-Beuel station (located on the Right Bank line between Koln and Koblenz) to make a few photographs.

Our choice of locations was fortuitous. As it turned out, planned line works at the Bonn Hauptbahnhof on the Left Bank line had resulted in diversions, and this normally busy line was pushed to its potential capacity.

In addition to the normal half-hourly passenger service and parade of freights, the line was also handling InterCity and EuroCity long distance express trains, plus a mix of freights that might ordinarily use the Left Bank route.

In addition to the two main tracks, Bonn-Beuel has passing loops (passing sidings), which were well used this day. In several instances, a train was held on the main track, while higher priority traffic was routed via the loops around it.

This selection of images is intended to demonstrate how DB handled a mix of traffic on a double track mainline; keep in mind that stopping passenger trains and freights coexisted on the same route.

I’ve included the time that each photograph was exposed, and organized them in chronological order.

10:35 am. Looking south at Bonn-Beuel. A freight is in the loop, a diverted IC train is northbound, while an diverted IC is accelerating away from the station in the distance.
10:35 am. Looking south at Bonn-Beuel. A freight is in the loop, a diverted IC train is northbound, while another diverted IC, southbound,  is seen accelerating away from the station in the distance.
10:36 am.
10:36 am.
10:36 am.
10:36 am.
10:38 am.
10:38 am.
10:39 am.
10:39 am.
10:42 am. Notice the freight rolling away on the near line in the distance. I 'm sorry to say I missed the coming on shot, as I was distracted by the other two freights coming toward me.
10:42 am. Notice the southbound freight rolling away on the near line in the distance. I ‘m sorry to say I missed the coming on shot, as I was distracted by the other two freights coming toward me. (One is hidden by the southbound)
10:42 am.
10:42 am.
10:47 am.
10:47 am.
10:53 am.
10:53 am.
10:56 am.
10:56 am.
10:59 am.
10:59 am.
11:02 am.
11:02 am.
11:06 am.
11:06 am.
11:06 am.
11:06 am.

I decided to relocate to the island platform, as this offered a better angle for the sun.

11:10 am. Looking north at a southward EC train bound for Switzerland.
11:10 am. Looking north at a southward EC train bound for Switzerland.
11:11 am.
11:11 am.
11:13 am.
11:13 am.
11:14 am.
11:14 am.
11:17 am.
11:17 am.
11:18 am.
11:18 am.
11:18 am.
11:18 am.
11:21 am.
11:21 am.
11:24 am.
11:24 am.
11:24 am.
11:24 am.
11:27 am.
11:27 am.
11:27 am.
11:27 am.
11:29 am.
11:29 am.
11:32 am.
11:32 am. Regional express arrives.
11:33 am. Regional Express departs.
11:33 am. Regional Express departs.
11:35 am.
11:35 am. Southward IC arrives at Bonn-Beuel.
11:36 am. Panoramic composite of a DB class 101 with southward IC train.
11:36 am. Panoramic composite of a DB class 101 with southward IC train.
11:38 am.
11:38 am.
11;40 am. Notice the southward freight passing in the distance. Obviously my view of this was blocked by the passenger train.
11;40 am. Notice the southward freight passing in the distance. Obviously my view of this was blocked by the passenger train.

To avoid getting blocked again, I walked further south along the platform.

11:47.
11:47.
11:48 am.
11:48 am.
1150am_Green_class_140_Bonn-Beuel_DSCF2851
11:50 am. An old DB Class 140 in heritage olive green paint.
11:53 am.
11:53 am.
11:59 am.
11:59 am.

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Tracking the Light’s Classic Chrome Archive: Alcos on Keating Summit

In February 2010, I was traveling with Chris Guss and Pat Yough when I exposed this Fujichrome slide of Western New York & Pennsylvania’s Driftwood Turn (known as ‘the DFT’) on its northward ascent of the former Pennsylvania Railroad grade over Keating Summit.

Alco diesels in Run-8! Exposed on Fujichrome using a Canon EOS-3 with 28mm lens. February 6, 2010.
Alco diesels in Run-8! Exposed on Fujichrome using a Canon EOS-3 with 28mm lens. February 6, 2010.

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TRAXX Roll Freight at Kaub—September 11, 2015

The Right Bank of the Rhein is a busy freight corridor. Trains run in waves, and often follow each other several minutes apart on their north-south journey across Germany.

Kaub station sits wedged into a hillside with a castle above, and a sweeping curve to the south. In the afternoon, the sun swings around, which makes it a great place to photograph trains on the move.

Bombardier’s TRAXX locomotives family includes several classes of electrics. While the DB red class 185s may seen repetitive, open access operations make for a bit of variety. It seems that there’s always another freight working its way up or down the Rhein Valley. And this provides an opportunity to refine photographic angles and technique.

Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.
Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.
Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.
Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.
Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.
Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.
VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.
VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.
5:24pm.
Kaub, 5:24pm.