Often when I seek places to photograph, variety is a goal. In other words, I’m not just looking for a steady parade, but also lots of different kinds of trains.
Railways in Czech Republic offer great variety. One of my favorite lines is the route that connects Děčín (in the northern part of the country near the German frontier) with Kolin (an important junction 60 kilometers east of Prague).
This secondary route bypasses the Czech capital and serves as a reasonably busy freight corridor. I’d photographed this line at various locations in 2009 using color slide film
On 14 October 2016, Denis McCabe and I re-visited the line and spent an hour and half at the rural station in Stará Boleslav, located in the Labe River Vallay across from Brandys nab Labem.
The building was a tired but classic structure with lots of character. In addition to mainline action we were entertained by a man unloading some coal wagons for local delivery.
We arrived by local passenger train and departed with the next scheduled eastward local.
Below is a selection of images I exposed digitally with my FujiFilm X-T1 and processed with Lightroom to improve contrast, color balance and color saturation.
Czech Republic is an amazing place to watch, experience and photograph railways in action.
The mix of traditional architecture, a great variety of trains combined with heavy traffic made for lots of visual opportunities. Over the coming weeks I’ll present samples of my most recent Czech photos on Tracking the Light
On 14 October 2016, Denis McCabe and I visited the station at Rostoky, located northwest of Prague.
Among the attractions of this location is that it is a termini for some electric suburban services that still use the classic streamlined Ceski Drahi (Czech Railways) class 451 electric multiple units.
Unfortunately, one of the arriving 451s had been unofficially decorated which marred its classic lines. Undaunted, I made my photographs none-the-less.
I made these images with my FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with 18-135mm lens.
Ok: Pan Am Railways (which takes its name from the old Pan Am Airways, the name that the railway’s parent organization acquired some years back) bought an old Wabash Railroad stainless steel dome.
Wabash was neither acronym nor a monicker.
Back in the day (before 1964 when the company was melded into the Norfolk & Western), the Wabash Railroad Company operated a Midwestern North American network that connected Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha and Kansas City gateways.
The Connecticut is the north-south river that bisects New England, and which forms the boundary between New Hamshire and Vermont while crossing the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut. (Sorry, I don’t know if the state was named for the river or vice versa).
I made this photograph from the west bank of the river at East Deerfield, Massachusetts last August (2016.)
Yesterday, I presented scaled camera JPGs of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The Western Explorer, which operated from Dublin’s Connolly Station on 22 October 2016.
Today’s selection, are photos made using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera, but using the Camera RAW files and manipulating the data in Lightroom to present a more pleasing image.
Using contrast controls, I’ve maximized detail in highlights and shadows while adjusting colour saturation and exposure to produce more refined final images.
The day of trip featured fine weather and fluffy/lacey clouds decorated a largely blue sky. To bring in sky detail, it was necessary to locally adjust exposure and contrast using a digitally applied graduated filter.
In other instances, I manually lightened shadow areas, that without such adjustment would appear too dark and lacking in necessary detail.
Yesterday (22 October 2016) the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in cooperation with Irish Rail operated a diesel-hauled excursion making a circle trip from Dublin’s Connolly Station.
Among the goals for the tour was a fundraising effort to help restore RPSI’s 1960-era class 121/141 General Motors diesels to traffic.
To emphasize the roll of heritage diesels, Irish Rail locomotive 071 (class leader) wearing the retro 1970s ‘Super Train’ livery worked from Dublin to Limerick, with engine 084 (in modern gray and yellow) bringing the train back up to Dublin.
My interest was in capturing the spirit of the day. In addition to photographs of the equipment, I focused on people; Irish Rail employees, RPSI volunteers and organizers, and passengers.
My cameras were busy all day. I made more than 500 digital images; so I’ll be editing my files for some hours yet.
This first round of photographs is a selection of camera-JPGs from my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. Since the JPGs don’t require much work (except for scaling) these are easier to put up quickly. Later I’ll present a selection of images made from Camera RAW files, and finally a few views with my Lumix LX7.
As is often the case, I also exposed some 35mm slides, but those remain latent for the moment.
In 1919, Prague main station was renamed Wilsonova Nádrazi in honor of American president Woodrow Wilson. The name was dropped after German annexation and occupation during World War II, and appears to have been forgotten during the postwar period of Soviet influence that prevailed until the Czech Velvet Revolution in November 1989. The name change was the least of the station’s problems. During this dark period of Czech history, the station was allowed to deteriorate and by the mid-1990s was a dismal shadow of its former glory.
After an unanticipated outage (known in some circles as an ‘Outrage’), Tracking the Light is back on line.
As I’ve previously reported here, I’ve been traveling and without regular email access. During this time the inevitable occurred.
Perhaps the best way to describe the situation is: a fellow named ‘Murphy’ formerly of the legal department (for which his work is infamous) appears to have transferred his creative activities to Information Services, and with predictable results.
Any way, after some phone calls, and the efforts from my dad, Richard J. Solomon, Tracking the Light seems to be again working as intended.
However, If you are still experiencing difficulties, you may need to clear your browser’s cache or history in order to remove yesterday’s defective link.
Last summer, I spent a pleasant afternoon exploring the old Southern Pacific Coast Line between Simi Valley and Moorpark, California.
At CP Madera, I ascended this cutting and made a series of digital photographs of passing passenger trains.
These were exposed using my Fujifilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens. I calculated the light using the camera’s center weighted meter and set aperture and shutter speed settings manually. Although bright, exposures can be tricky, especially when dealing with flat white locomotives.
It was a real pleasure to make photos in the warm California sun. (As recall, while sitting in Dublin on damp evening composing ‘Auto Pilot’ posts for Tracking the Light!)
on a frigid February 2010 morning, I exposed this view on Fujichrome using my Canon EOS-3 with a 100-400mm zoom lens.
This was one of dozens of action photos I made while traveling with Chris Guss and Pat Yough that day.
One of the great challenges in working in sub-zero temperatures is short battery life. While my Canon film camera faired reasonably well, my poor Panasonic Lumix LX3 digital camera did not. By noon two of my three batteries had gone flat.
Tracking the Light continues to post Daily while Brian is on the road.
You know you’re having a photographically productive trip when you have a week’s worth of keepers after the first evening out.
Prague, Czech Republic is among the world’s great tram cities.
It’s hard to beat for its variety of cars and paint liveries, combined with stunning urban scenery, a large of number of routes and extensive route mileage (kilometerage?), plus intensive frequency of operation.
I’ve visited before, but I’m still stunned by observing the incredible number of trams gliding through the streets. This is among the most interesting urban railways, anywhere.
Here’s just a few photos from my Lumix LX7 exposed on a rainy evening in Prague.