Tracking the Night

(Thanks to Stephen Hirsch for the title suggestion.)

Last week I passed my 50th milepost, so on Saturday evening some friends and I gathered at Nancy Hands pub on Parkgate Street in Dublin.

The Irish railways fraternity was well represented.

I was dressed as the Ghost of Isambard K. Brunel, the famously eccentric, highly regarded Victorian engineer and polymath.
I was dressed as the ghost of Isambard K. Brunel— the famously eccentric, highly regarded Victorian engineer and polymath.

 

Thanks to everyone who dropped by! Special thanks to Paul Dowd for helping to organize the event. Extra special thanks to Helen Collins who created my costume!

These photos are a sampling of images exposed with my Lumix LX7. Some were made by me, others were exposed by various friends at the event.

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Tracking the Night Celebrates Halloween and Brian’s 50th mile mark.

An hour and a half at the Station.

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.

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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.

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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.

4:05 pm a westward local paused for a station stop with a specially painted electric.
At 4:05 pm a westward local paused for a station stop with a specially painted electric.
4:06pm. Car loads of coal were being unloaded for local delivery.
4:06pm. Carloads of coal were being unloaded for local delivery.
4:16 pm. A westward CD Cargo coal train glides through.
4:16 pm. A westward CD Cargo coal train glides through.
4:20pm. The coal train was immediately followed by this IDS Cargo tank train with an ancient but colorfully painted electric.
4:20pm. The coal train was immediately followed by this IDS Cargo tank train with an ancient but colorfully painted electric.
At 4:24 pm, on the heals of the tank train was this CD Cargo train of new automobiles.
At 4:24 pm, on the heals of the tank train was this CD Cargo train of new automobiles.
4:32pm another westward local passenger train makes its stop.
4:32pm another westward local passenger train makes its stop.
Czech Railways use a blue light for 'stop' on their shunting signals.
Czech Railways use a blue light for ‘stop’ on their shunting signals.
5:01 pm, a diesel powered maintenance train rattles by eastbound.
5:01 pm, a diesel powered maintenance train rattles by eastbound.
5:14pm an electric in one of the older CD liveries leads a coal train eastbound.
5:14pm an electric in one of the older CD liveries leads a coal train eastbound.
5:34pm, our local train approaches as the station master looks on.
5:34pm, our local train approaches as the station master looks on.

Tracking the Light posts everyday!

 

 

 

Classic Lines Marred by Graffiti—Rostoky.

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.

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I made these images with my FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with 18-135mm lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Pan Am’s Wabash Dome Crosses the Connecticut.

Yes, that’s what this is all about.

Should I translate?

Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. Why is a 'digital camera' use film in its name? Not sure, but it certainly causes confusion. And no, there was no film exposed in the making of this image.
Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. Why does a ‘digital camera’ use ‘film’ in its name? Not sure, but it certainly causes confusion. And no, there was no film exposed in the making of this image.

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.)

Hopefully that clarifies any confusion!

Tracking the Light posts everyday.

Lumix Views: Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The Western Explorer—Part 3.

Not one, not two but three cameras served as my visual capturing arsenal last Saturday.

I had so many files to download that it’s taken me a few days to finally get this selection ready for review.

Is more better?

As with my FujiFilm X-T1 photos, with my Lumix I was interested in capturing some of personalities on Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The Western Explorer.

Getting the right angle at Connolly Station before the trip. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Getting the right angle at Connolly Station before the trip. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Saturday 22 October 2016.
Saturday 22 October 2016.
Documenting the down run.
Documenting the down run.
Washboard sky at Monasterevin. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Washboard sky at Monasterevin. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Saturday 22 October 2016.
Saturday 22 October 2016.
Gort. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Gort. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Gort. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Gort. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Ennis, County Clare. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Ennis, County Clare. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Ennis, County Clare. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Ennis, County Clare. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Irish Rail station building at Ennis. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Irish Rail station building at Ennis. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.
Limerick. Saturday 22 October 2016.

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Back at Connolly!
Back at Connolly!

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Tracking the Light posts daily!

Tram Noir—Olomouc, October 2016.

 

A brisk autumnal wind blew through cobblestone streets in Olomouc, Czech Republic.

I wandered with camera in hand, making images of trams grinding along in the dark of night.

These images were exposed on Fuji Neopan 400 using a Canon EOS-3.

I processed the film using Kodak HC-110 diluted 1-64 with water, with an extended pre-soak featuring an extremely dilute developer to help process shadow areas.

By design, my results are grainy and heavily textured to accentuate the effect of harsh lighting on the cobblestones and ancient buildings of the old Moravian capital.

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olomouc_trams_15-oct_2016_bw-at_night_brian_solomon_331635olomouc_trams_15-oct_2016_bw-at_night_-brian_solomon_331650Tracking the Light posts daily.

25 October: 50 Photos to Mark the Day

All 50 photos were exposed on 25 October, albeit in different years.

Shamokin, Pennsylvania; October 25, 1959. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon
Shamokin, Pennsylvania; October 25, 1959. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon
Port Clinton, Pennsylvania; October 25, 1959. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon
Port Clinton, Pennsylvania; October 25, 1959. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon
Reading Ramble in Pennsylvania; October 25, 1959. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon
Reading Ramble in Pennsylvania; October 25, 1959. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon
Reading Ramble in Pennsylvania; October 25, 1959. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon
Reading Ramble in Pennsylvania; October 25, 1959. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon
Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 1985.
Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 1985.
Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 1985.
Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 1985.
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Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 1985.
Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 1985.
Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 1985.
Newark, Delaware, October 25, 1991.
Newark, Delaware, October 25, 1991.
Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, October 25, 1991.
Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, October 25, 1991.
Near Eddystone Pennsylvania, October 25, 1991.
Near Eddystone Pennsylvania, October 25, 1991.
Near Eddystone Pennsylvania, October 25, 1991.
Near Eddystone Pennsylvania, October 25, 1991.
D-Tower Grafton, West Virginia Near Eddystone Pennsylvania, October 25, 1992.
D-Tower Grafton, West Virginia, October 25, 1992.
East Grafton, West Virginia, October 25, 1992.
East Grafton, West Virginia, October 25, 1992.
Amtrak's Capitol Limited approaching Cumberland, Maryland on October 25, 1993.
Amtrak’s Capitol Limited approaching Cumberland, Maryland on October 25, 1993.
Amtrak's Capitol Limited approaching Cumberland, Maryland on October 25, 1993.
Amtrak’s Capitol Limited approaching Cumberland, Maryland on October 25, 1993.
CSX near Falls Cut, Pennsylvania on October 25, 1993.
CSX near Falls Cut, Pennsylvania on October 25, 1993.
CSX near Falls Cut, Pennsylvania on October 25, 1993.
CSX near Falls Cut, Pennsylvania on October 25, 1993.
Conrail near Middlefield, Massachusetts on October 25, 1996.
Conrail near Middlefield, Massachusetts on October 25, 1996.
Conrail near Middlefield, Massachusetts on October 25, 1996.
Conrail near Middlefield, Massachusetts on October 25, 1996.
Conrail west of Chester, Massachusetts on October 25, 1996.
Conrail west of Chester, Massachusetts on October 25, 1996.
Vermont Rail System equipment on passenger special over New England Central near Stafford Springs, Connecticut, October 25, 1998.
Vermont Rail System equipment on passenger special over New England Central near Stafford Springs, Connecticut, October 25, 1998.
Cincinnati Union Station on October 25 2002.
Cincinnati Union Station on October 25 2002.
Cincinnati Union Station on October 25 2002.
Cincinnati Union Station on October 25 2002.
Cincinnati Union Station on October 25 2002.
Cincinnati Union Station on October 25 2002.
Sunrise at Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 2009.
Sunrise at Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 2009.
Sunrise at Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 2009.
Sunrise at Palmer, Massachusetts October 25, 2009.
East Brookfield, Massachusetts, October 25, 2009.
East Brookfield, Massachusetts, October 25, 2009.
CSX Q264 at East Brookfield, Massachusetts, October 25, 2009.
CSX Q264 at East Brookfield, Massachusetts, October 25, 2009.
CSX Q264 at East Brookfield, Massachusetts, October 25, 2009.
CSX Q264 at East Brookfield, Massachusetts, October 25, 2009.
CSX Q168 at Charlton Depot, Massachusetts, October 25, 2009.
CSX Q168 at Charlton Depot, Massachusetts, October 25, 2009.
Islandbridge Junction, Dublin, Ireland on 25 October 2011.
Islandbridge Junction, Dublin, Ireland on 25 October 2011.
Islandbridge Junction, Dublin, Ireland on 25 October 2011.
Islandbridge Junction, Dublin, Ireland on 25 October 2011.
CSX empty ethanol train near Brookfield, Massachusetts on October 25, 2013.
CSX empty ethanol train near Brookfield, Massachusetts on October 25, 2013.
CSX empty ethanol train near Brookfield, Massachusetts on October 25, 2013.
CSX empty ethanol train near Brookfield, Massachusetts on October 25, 2013.
Old Boston & Albany yard at East Brookfield, Massachusetts on October 25, 2013.
Old Boston & Albany yard at East Brookfield, Massachusetts on October 25, 2013.
Amtrak train 71 at Hyde Park, Massachusetts on October 25, 2014.
Amtrak train 71 at Hyde Park, Massachusetts on October 25, 2014.
Amtrak train 71 at Hyde Park, Massachusetts on October 25, 2014.
Amtrak train 71 at Hyde Park, Massachusetts on October 25, 2014.
MBTA's Matapan-Ashmont line on October 25, 2014.
MBTA’s Matapan-Ashmont line on October 25, 2014.
MBTA's Matapan-Ashmont line on October 25, 2014.
MBTA’s Matapan-Ashmont line on October 25, 2014.
MBTA's Matapan-Ashmont line on October 25, 2014.
MBTA’s Matapan-Ashmont line on October 25, 2014.

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MBTA's Matapan-Ashmont line on October 25, 2014.
MBTA’s Matapan-Ashmont line on October 25, 2014.

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Amtrak 449 at Auburndale, Massachusetts on October 25, 2014.
Amtrak 449 at Auburndale, Massachusetts on October 25, 2014.
Amtrak 449 at Auburndale, Massachusetts on October 25, 2014.
Amtrak 449 at Auburndale, Massachusetts on October 25, 2014.

And a final four exposed today, 25 October 2016:

Irish Rail 231 departs Heuston Station with the 0900 to Cork. 25 October 2016.
Irish Rail 231 departs Heuston Station with the 0900 to Cork. 25 October 2016.
Irish Rail 29000-seres train passes Seapoint, Dublin on 25 October 2016.
Irish Rail 29000-seres train passes Seapoint, Dublin on 25 October 2016.
Irish Rail training special passes Seapoint, Dublin on 25 October 2016.
Irish Rail drivers training special with preserved Cravens passes Seapoint, Dublin on 25 October 2016.
25 October 2016.
25 October 2016.

Tracking the Light is Daily.

 

Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The Western Explorer—Part 2.

 

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.

I was especially impressed with the sky at Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Although I had my graduated neutral density filter kit in my camera bag, the hasty nature of photo stops was conducive to using it. Instead, I've had to make due with digital adjustment in post processing.
I was especially impressed with the sky at Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Although I had my graduated neutral density filter kit in my camera bag, the hasty nature of photo stops was not conducive to using it. Instead, I’ve had to make due with digital adjustment in post processing.
Athlone.
Athlone.
A little contrast control goes a long way. By lowering the highlights and brightening the shadow areas, I was able to make for a much more pleasing image.
A little contrast control goes a long way. By lowering the highlights and brightening the shadow areas, I was able to make for a much more pleasing image.

 

Wide angle view of RPSI's the Western Explorer at Athenry, County Galway.
Wide angle view of RPSI’s the Western Explorer at Athenry, County Galway.
Gort features a modern footbridge that uses thick sheet-metal meshes. The effect of the holes in the mesh distorts the light resulting in some peculiar patterns. The patterns are not the result of digital image processing.
Gort station features a modern footbridge that uses thick sheet-metal meshes. The effect of the holes in the mesh distorts the light resulting in some peculiar patterns. The patterns are not the result of digital image processing.
Another view at Gort.
Another view at Gort station.
Photographers were looking for angles at Ennis, County Clare. The station shadow made for a challenging used of light.
Photographers were looking for angles at Ennis, County Clare. The station shadow made for a challenging used of light.
At Dromkeen, the special crossed an ICR on its way to Limerick.
At Dromkeen, the special crossed an ICR on its way to Limerick.
I made a series of views from the train windows. This one was exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 with Zeiss 12mm Touit lens.
I made a series of views from the train windows. This one was exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 with Zeiss 12mm Touit lens.
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A view with the Zeiss 12mm Touit lens

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

RPSI’s The Western Explorer, 22 October 2016—Part 1 with Dozens of JPGs.

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.

071 at Gort.
071 at Gort.
Irish Rail 071 detailed view FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo using the Velvia colour profile.
Irish Rail 071 detailed view FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo using the Velvia colour profile.
Fields of enthusiasts at Athenry.
Fields of enthusiasts at Athenry.

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Attymon, County Galway. Telephoto view from the road bridge.
Attymon, County Galway. Telephoto view from the road bridge.
Athenry, County Galway.
Athenry, County Galway.
Tullamore. Gosh, where's the old cement train?
Tullamore. Gosh, where’s the old cement train gone?
In the spirit of the day.
In the spirit of the day.
Ennis, County Clare.
Ennis, County Clare.
Detailed view of Irish Rail class 071, a 1976 built General Motors six-motor diesel.
Detailed view of Irish Rail class 071, a 1976 built General Motors six-motor diesel.
Discussing logistics.
Discussing logistics.
Noel Enright poses with 071 at Athlone.
Noel Enright poses with 071 at Athlone.

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Checking the football scores.
Checking the football scores.
Getting the shot.
Getting the shot.
Running for the train at Thurles.
Running for the train at Thurles.
Happy Birthday Tina!
Happy Birthday Tina!

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Old 084 at Limerick.
Old 084 at Limerick.

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Tracking the Light Posts Daily

Praha Hlavani Nadrazi by Night

Last week, I made these photos at Prague’s Main Station using my Lumix LX7.

To make this view, I used one of the station shed supports to position my Lumix LX7 and hold it steady during the length of the exposure.
To make this view, I used one of the station shed supports to position my Lumix LX7 and hold it steady during the length of the exposure.
Among the station's architectural attractions are its arched entryway and domed waiting room. Since my visit in 2000 this dome has been restored to its former glory. Lumix LX7 view looking up.
Among the station’s architectural attractions are its arched entryway and domed waiting room. Since my visit in 2000 this dome has been restored to its former glory. Lumix LX7 view looking up.
A CD passenger train waits under the twin span arched train shed. This angle was made by placing the Lumix on the station platform to hold the camera steady during the relatively long exposure. To minimize camera shake I used the self timer (set to 2 seconds).
A CD passenger train waits under the twin span arched train shed. This angle was made by placing the Lumix on the station platform to hold the camera steady during the relatively long exposure. To minimize camera shake I used the self timer (set to 2 seconds).
A double-deck suburban electric multiple unit decorated to commemorate an anniversary of Czech Railways basks in the evening glow at the south end of Prague's Main Station. Lumix LX7 photo.
A double-deck suburban electric multiple unit decorated to commemorate an anniversary of Czech Railways basks in the evening glow at the south end of Prague’s Main Station. Lumix LX7 photo.

I featured : Praha Hlavani Nadrazi (Prague Main Station) in my recent book Depots, Stations & Terminals published by Voyageur Press.

See: https://www.quartoknows.com/books/9780760348901/Railway-Depots-Stations-Terminals.html

Here’s and excerpt of my text:

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.

Tracking the Light Aims to Post Daily.

 

Tracking the Light is Back On Line!

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.

Yesterday: OBB was having a more reliable day than Tracking the Light. I made this view at Amstetten, Austria on the Westbahh, about the time that I learned of the Tracking the Light outage. Lumix LX7 photo.
Yesterday: OBB was having a more reliable day than Tracking the Light. I made this view at Amstetten, Austria on the Westbahn, about the time that I learned of the Tracking the Light outage. Lumix LX7 photo.

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.

Sorry about the difficulty and delay.

Typically Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

Underground in the Los Angeles Subway with a Lumix LX7.

Los Angeles subway as seen in August 2016.
Los Angeles subway as seen in August 2016.

I violated various rules of composition in this candid view exposed in the Los Angeles Subway.

Ok, maybe not ‘rules’, but certainly common compositional conventions that encourage gratuitous blandness and unnecessary repetition of vision.

Tracking the Light tries to post everyday, even while Brian is traveling.

Summer Sun and Stainless Steel—July 2016.

Long Island Rail Road's Hudson Yards on the westside of Manhattan.
Long Island Rail Road’s Hudson Yards on the westside of Manhattan.

Funny how the internet’s autocropping tends makes a mockery of my composition. Be sure to click on Tracking the Light to see the photo as I intended to present it.

I exposed this view of Long Island Rail Road suburban trains at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards using my Lumix LX7. Thin cloud with a hint of air pollution makes for soft brown-tinted light.

Tracking the Light is on Auto-Pilot while Brian is Traveling.

Sun on the old Southern Pacific Coast Line—July 28, 2016.

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.

This was not what I expected: an Amtrak 'Cabbage' (a former F40PH diesel converted as a cab-car with baggage compartment) and single-level Horizon cars with a Genesis diesel pushing at the back. A far cry from the typical Pacific Surfline consist with an F59PHI and Bilevel cars. File converted from a Camera RAW using Lightroom to adjust contrast and lighten shadow areas.
This was not what I expected: an Amtrak ‘Cabbage’ (a former F40PH diesel converted as a cab-car with baggage compartment) and single-level Horizon cars with a Genesis diesel pushing at the back. Amtrak A790 was far cry from the typical Pacific Surfliner consist that features an F59PHI and Bilevel cars. File converted from a Camera RAW using Lightroom to adjust contrast and lighten shadow areas.
Trailing view of Amtrak Pacific Surfline A790 at CP Madera, near Simi Valley, California.
Trailing view of Amtrak Pacific Surfline A790 at CP Madera, near Simi Valley, California.
I made this photo with the camera set in the 'Velvia' colour profile.
I made this photo with the camera set in the ‘Velvia’ colour profile.
A few minutes after Amtrak A790 rolled past, Metrolink 117 from Los Angeles came the other way. Here I've used a telephoto perspective to make the most of the setting.
A few minutes after Amtrak A790 rolled past, Metrolink 117 from Los Angeles came the other way. Here I’ve used a telephoto perspective to make the most of the setting.
As the train approached, I used the zoom lens, pulling back my focal length to a slight wide angle view.
As the train approached, I used the zoom lens, pulling back my focal length to a slight wide angle view.
The view looking west into the evening sun was exceptionally contrasty. So in post processing I lightened the shadows, darkened the sky and lowered the contrast in a effort to produce a more pleasing image.
The view looking west into the evening sun was exceptionally contrasty. So in post processing I lightened the shadows, darkened the sky and lowered the contrast in a effort to produce a more pleasing image. Also, on site I’d shaded the front element of my lens with my notebook. If you look carefully, you can just see the fringe of my notebook cover in the sky. I’ve left this imperfection in, rather than crop it out, so that you can get a sense for what I was doing. 

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!)

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Southern Pacific Coal Train Descends Donner Pass—July 1992.

On July 19, 1992, Southern Pacific's SNTA-C descends the west slope of Donner Pass near Midas, California.
On July 19, 1992, Southern Pacific’s SNTA-C descends the west slope of Donner Pass near Midas, California.

I exposed this trailing view of Southern Pacific’s SNTA-C (Skyline Mine, Utah to Trona, California—coal) on its descent of Donner Pass using my Nikon F3T with a Nikkor 200mm lens.

Kodachrome 25 was my film of choice. It performed very well under bright California skies.

Tracking the Light is on Autopilot while Brian is traveling.

 

 

Amtrak’s Maple Leaf on an Arctic Canadian Morning in February 2010.

Amtrak's Maple Leaf near Sunnyside in Toronto on the first leg of its journey to New York's Pennsylvania Station.
Amtrak’s Maple Leaf near Sunnyside in Toronto on the first leg of its journey to New York’s Pennsylvania Station.

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.

Postcards from Prague—Trams at Night.

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.

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