An Irish Story: Sun and Clouds, Anticipating the Up-liner and the Light.

Lately the sun has been an elusive orb in Irish skies. Too often, I awake to find a slate gray dome above me.

Good Friday (25 March 2016) was different. It was bright sunny morning.

Having the sun and making use of it are two different things.

In the early afternoon, Colm O’Callaghan, Ciarán Cooney and I waited at Lucan South, just east of the Adamstown Station on the quad-track in suburban Dublin.

Our quarry was the up-IWT Liner from Ballina, which was operating with Irish Rail 233, the last 201 class diesel in the old Enterprise-livery. We caught this engine before, but it’s unlikely to survive for long in this old paint.

While the day remained bright, puffy clouds were rapidly blowing across the sky, changing and dampening the light when they blocked the sun

Looking south at Lucan South. Puffy white clouds dot the sky. Nice to have for texture, they can make getting a clean photograph difficult when they block the sun.
Looking south at Lucan South. Puffy white clouds dot the sky. Nice to have for texture, they can make getting a clean photograph difficult when they block the sun.
An Irish Rail ICR races along on the down fast; this is a trailing view. You can see how a bit of cloud shadow darkened the mid-portion of the train.
An Irish Rail ICR races along on the down fast; this is a trailing view. You can see how a bit of cloud shadow darkened the mid-portion of the train.
Hmm, will that cloud get out of the way in time? If it doesn't who can we blame for it? I'll be naming names.
Hmm, will that cloud get out of the way in time? If it doesn’t who can we blame for it? I’ll be naming names.

Anxiously, we watched the signals, and the passing InterCity Railcars. The tapestry above was becoming a maddening mixture of fluff and blue.

The IWT Liner approaches. You can see Adamstown Station in the distance in full sun. A muddy black shadow mucks up the foreground.
The IWT Liner approaches. You can see Adamstown Station in the distance in full sun. A muddy black shadow mucks up the foreground.

Would we get the liner in full sun? After all, that’s what we were out for.

With two cameras around my neck, I was prepared for either eventuality; if it was cloudy, I work with the digital camera; but if the sun came out bright, I’d make a slide. To this aim, I’d set my Canon EOS-3 at f4.5 1/1000th of a second—my full-sun setting for Provia 100F.

It was a photo finish. As the liner approached the light changed from dark to light.

I made some telephoto views with the FujiFilm X-T1; but as the IWT liner reached us the clouds began to part and I exposed a single frame of Fujichrome with my Canon. That photo remains latent in the camera. Did I get it right? It will be some weeks before I know the answer; I wont have the film processed until May.

As the freight rolled into view the clouds receded. I made this dappled-light photograph digitally. To retain a bit of detail in the sky, I have a graduated neutral density filter in front of my lens. The winning view will be my colour slide exposed using a 40mm lens. I hope I got the exposure right.
As the freight rolled into view the clouds receded. I made this dappled-light photograph digitally. To retain a bit of detail in the sky, I have a graduated neutral density filter in front of my lens. The winning view will be my colour slide exposed using a 40mm lens. I hope I got the exposure right.

Tracking the Light is Daily.

 

 

One thought on “An Irish Story: Sun and Clouds, Anticipating the Up-liner and the Light.”

  1. Anyone taking photographs in Ireland has this problem, and not just train people. I was taking some images of a red pillar box in Dún Laoghaire last Sunday and the clouds were moving so quickly that in one shot, the sun was out as I moved my finger to press the shutter but had gone in but the time exposure took place!

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