Brussels Trams Catch the Sun

Light makes all the difference. The current livery used by Brussels trams is silver and bronze. This tends to look sedate on dull days, and makes photographing the trams challenging, as they too readily blend in with the city’s architecture.

However, this silvery livery catches the sun nicely, especially when slightly backlit.

Exposure isn’t exactly intuitive.

Are you better to overexpose (allow more light) to capture detail in the deepest shadows and risk blowing out the silvery highlights? Or, instead, underexpose slight to retain highlight detail and let the shadows go dark.

STIB PCCs on the 39/44 Route in Brussels. Here I'm shading the lens with an overhead bridge to minimize flare. Lumix LX7 photo.
STIB PCCs on the 39/44 Route in Brussels. Here I’m shading the lens with an overhead bridge to minimize flare. Lumix LX7 photo.
A similar view exposed of a Bombardier Flexity Tram using my FujiFilm X-T1. File carefully adjusted in post processing.
A similar view exposed of a Bombardier Flexity Tram using my FujiFilm X-T1. File carefully adjusted in post processing.
Bright sun finds three variety of Brussels trams.
Bright sun finds three variety of Brussels trams.
Silver and bronze is a distinctive combination of colours but can require very careful exposure. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Silver and bronze is a distinctive combination of colours but can require very careful exposure. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A STIB T2000 tram. in bright sun.
A STIB T2000 tram. in bright sun.
A PCC pauses at the Route 39 terminus at Ban-Eik. If you only had time to ride one tram route in Brussels, this might be a good one. It has interurban characteristics in addition to street running and heads a good distance out of the city. Lumix LX7 photo.
A PCC pauses at the Route 39 terminus at Ban-Eik. If you only had time to ride one tram route in Brussels, this might be a good one. It has interurban characteristics in addition to street running and heads a good distance out of the city. Lumix LX7 photo.

I’ve chosen the latter course. With the caveat, that from the moment of exposure I intended to work the digital files in post-processing using Lightroom to control contrast for final presentation.

I’ve treated each of the files slightly differently, but in general, I’ve reduced the highlight exposure and boosted the shadow areas to allow for a more pleasing rendition.

I also made a few colour slides.

What do you think?

Route 39 PCC at the Montgomery terminus. I used my LX7 to make this subway view. Notice how the tram's livery looks very different when viewed by artificial light.
Route 39 PCC at the Montgomery terminus. I used my LX7 to make this subway view. Notice how the tram’s livery looks very different when viewed by artificial light.
A Bombardier Flexity catches the noon-time sun near the Brussels Tram Museum. (I'd hoped to visit the museum inside, but it was closed. Maybe next time . . . ).
A Bombardier Flexity catches the noon-time sun near the Brussels Tram Museum. (I’d hoped to visit the museum inside, but it was closed. Maybe next time . . . ).

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One thought on “Brussels Trams Catch the Sun”

  1. SUPERB PICTURES. Still quite a system, despite conversion to subway, closures and modern cars.

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