Ten Alternative Views: Mass Central—Going South, South Barre to Palmer

Sometimes small operational anomalies on a railroad will combine to benefit the photographer by opening up different angles or opportunities.

Last Wednesday, delays on Mass-Central’s northward run (owing in part to congestion at Palmer Yard that resulted in a later than usual departure) combined with operation of engine 1750 with a southward facing cab opened some different winter angles on the old Ware River Branch.

I was traveling with Bob Arnold and Paul Goewey and we made the most of the variations in winter lighting along the route.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, over the last three decades, I’ve made many photos along this line. So, I’m always keen to find new viewpoints of this operation.

Low clear sun in January makes for rich colors and wonderful contrast, but also posed problems caused by long shadows.

It is true that carefully placed shadows can augment a scene, but random hard shadows too often do little more than add distractions and disrupt a composition.

Below are a few of the more successful angles I exposed on this southward trip.

Three-quarter lighting at South Barre, allowed for nice illumination of the railroad's logo on the side of GP38-2 1750, while showing the old Mill that is now home to the Wildwood Reload. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.
Three-quarter lighting at South Barre, allowed for nice illumination of the railroad’s logo on the side of GP38-2 1750, while showing the old Mill that is now home to the Wildwood Reload. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.
Beautiful afternoon light near Barre Plains makes for great contrast that brings out the texture in the foreground grasses. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Beautiful afternoon light near Barre Plains makes for great contrast that brings out the texture in the foreground grasses. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
I could make this view of the old Mills at Hardwick any day of the week, and I've been meaning to drive up one of these days to make the most of the light. So as I was walking into position to make my set on the far side of the Ware River at Gilbertville (featured below, I exposed this view with my 12mm Zeiss Touit. The old Boston & Maine line that ran parallel to the B&A Ware River Branch had run behind these mills. The tracks were lifted in the 1930s, although the Hardwick station survives. Mass-Central's present line is behind me.
I could make this view of the old Mills at Hardwick any day of the week, and I’ve been meaning to drive up one of these days to make the most of the light. So as I was walking into position to make my set on the far side of the Ware River at Gilbertville (featured below, I exposed this view with my 12mm Zeiss Touit. The old Boston & Maine line that ran parallel to the B&A Ware River Branch had run behind these mills. The tracks were lifted in the 1930s, although the Hardwick station survives. Mass-Central’s present line is behind me.
The sun had swung around at Gilbertville, so we tried this angle to feature the buildings alongside the tracks. I've cropped this 12mm view to eliminate the horse shadows in the foreground.
The sun had swung around at Gilbertville, so we tried this angle to feature the buildings alongside the tracks. I’ve cropped this 12mm view to eliminate the harsh shadows in the foreground.
Must all railroad photos be serious? Mass-Central's crew are friendly, so we gave them a passing wave. I was multitasking, by waving and photographing at the same time. Photo exposed with my Zeiss 12mm Touit.
Must all railroad photos be serious? Mass-Central’s crew are friendly, so we gave them a passing wave. I was multitasking, by waving and photographing at the same time. Photo exposed with my Zeiss 12mm Touit.
A telephoto view south of the Church Street crossing Ware off State Route 32. Exposed with my 18-135mm lens set at 135mm.
A telephoto view south of the Church Street crossing Ware off State Route 32. Exposed with my 18-135mm lens set at 135mm.
Same location as above but with a wide-angle setting on my zoom lens to take in the Ware River Valley. At one time B&M's line was located on the opposite side of this narrow valley.
Same location as above but with a wide-angle setting on my zoom lens to take in the Ware River Valley. At one time B&M’s line was located on the opposite side of this narrow valley.
Afternoon lighting at Ware made for some nice texture on the old coal sheds along the Boston & Albany. In summer these tend to be obscured by foliage.
Afternoon lighting at Ware made for some nice texture on the old coal sheds along the Boston & Albany. In summer these tend to be obscured by foliage.
South Street in Ware was lit nicely. This is the same location (albeit from a different angle) featured on Tracking the Light on Thursday January 7, 2016, but in those images viewed from St. Mary's Cemetery.
South Street in Ware was lit nicely. This is the same location (albeit from a different angle) featured on Tracking the Light on Thursday January 7, 2016. In  those earlier  images I was standing in St. Mary’s Cemetery. See: Mass-Central on Ware Hill; Boston & Albany’s Ware River Branch in a Modern Context. (link below).

Mass-Central on Ware Hill; Boston & Albany’s Ware River Branch in a Modern Context.

Sometimes the shadows conspire against making the desired view of the train. By the time Mass-Central arrived at Thorndike, the shadows had covered the tracks. Oh well, a challenge for another day.
Sometimes the shadows conspire against making the desired view of the train. By the time Mass-Central arrived at Thorndike, the shadows had covered the tracks. Oh well, a challenge for another day.

 

Not happy with these? I’ll try again on another day when the freight runs a bit earlier, or in a softer day, when there are no harsh shadows.

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