June Morning Sun at Ayer.

June can be a challenging time to make photographs. There can be wonderful rich sun for couple of hours in the morning, and again in the evening, while during the day high-light presents difficulties with contrast and deep shadows. (Topics for future posts)

Last week, Rich Reed, Paul Goewey, Felix Legere and I arrived at Ayer, Massachusetts in good morning light.

MBTA and Pan Am Railways kept us busy for a little while. And I made these images using my FujiFilm X-T1.

I gauge my digital exposure using the camera’s histogram (a graph displayed in-camera that shows pixel distribution), and as a result I aim to capture the maximum amount of data by balancing the highlight and shadow areas.

If need be I can then adjust the exposure and contrast in post processing to make for the most visually appealing image without sacrificing the amount data captured

I’ve listed my exposures below each photo to provide a frame of reference.

The old Boston & Maine Ayer Tower is a relic of former times. The containers at left comprise the water train that comes down on Pan Am from Maine. ISO 400 exposed at f7.1 at 1/500.
MBTA train 1400 from Wachusett approaches its station stop at Ayer. ISO 400 exposed at f9.0 at 1/500. I’ve stopped down (reduced the exposure) by 1/2 stop to compensate for the reflective surface at the front of the MBTA train.
MBTA train 1400 is back lit at Ayer. Locomotive 2000, an HSP46, works at the back of the consist. Exposed at ISO 400 f9.0 1/500. Working with the camera RAW file, I’ve adjusted highlight and shadows in post processing to make for a better balanced image. (Lightened shadow areas and darkened highlights within the control  parameters as necessary to prevent a lost of data in the final image; excessive changes to the exposure will clip highlight or shadow areas and result in less information being displayed in the processed image).
Pan Am Railways is operating some former CSX GE-Built DASH8-40Cs in road freight service. A pair of these locomotives lead symbol freight EDPO (East Deerfield to Portland) out of Ayer’s Hill Yard on the east leg of the Ayer wye. The light gray building to the left of the train and the shadow it creates makes for a difficult exposure situation. ISO 400 f10 at 1/500th of a second.
ISO 400 f10 at 1/500th of a second. Although this image is a scaled version of the in-camera JPG, by working with the RAW file, I could have lightened the shadow area to the left of the locomotive to reveal more detail. I’ve opted not to do this however.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily