Conrail Camel at East Brookfield; Fixing a Dark Slide.

(If you are not viewing Tracking the Light, please click on the post to see the variations from Dark to Light.)

Kodachrome was a great film but it had its failings. It’s spectral sensitivity tended to render blue too dark in relation to the other colors.

An unfortunate result of this sensitivity was that at times of high sun, when there is a greater amount of ambient blue light, Kodachrome was both less sensitive and produced an unacceptably constrasty result that over emphasize the already unflattering light of midday.

For this reason, I often put the camera away during midday, or switched to black & white.

This slide is an exception. On June 29, 1989, I photographed an eastward Conrail freight with C32-8(a model known colloquially as a ‘Camel’)  passing the old Boston & Albany station at East Brookfield, Massachusetts.

The unaltered scan from the original Kodachrome 25 color slides. Owing to the time of the day, the slide is contrasty and as a result of the sensitivity curve of the film, it appears underexposed.
The unaltered scan from the original Kodachrome 25 color slides. Owing to the time of the day, the slide is contrasty and as a result of the sensitivity curve of the film, it appears underexposed.

I have many better photographs of these unusual locomotives and superior views of the old station, both of which are now gone. Yet, I’m glad I made this slide.

For years, it remained in its yellow box as returned to me by Kodak. Although sharp, it wasn’t up to par with my slides from the time and so I’d deemed it unworthy of projection.

Today this is a pretty interesting image and through the comparative ease of digital processing, I can compensate for some of the failings of the film.

Using Lightroom, I’ve been able to adjust the contrast, exposure and color balance to make for a more acceptable image.

I’ve presented three variations: the above image is the unmodified scan (scaled for internet presentation); the other two have various levels of adjustment aimed at producing a more pleasing image.

In this variation, I made some quick adjustments to color temperature, overall exposure, while lightening the shadow.
In this variation, I made some quick adjustments to color temperature, overall exposure, while lightening the shadows.
This version required more intensive work in post processing. I've locally adjusted shadows and highlights, while further tweaked overall exposure and made localized changes to color balance.
This version required more intensive work in post processing. I’ve locally adjusted shadows and highlights, while further tweaked overall exposure and made localized changes to color balance.

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