Last week I traveled around Northern Ireland on a Translink Adult Zone 4 iLink day card, which allows for unlimited travel on NI Railways and Translink buses for a flat fee of £16. This offers great value and travel flexibility.
I arrived at Coleraine from Derry and wanted to make a photo of a train arriving at Portrush. Rather than take the branch train and wait around at Portrush for an hour to photograph the next arrival, I opted to board a bus.
Not only did the bus take less time than the train, but arrived before the connecting branch train was supposed to depart. This gave me time to explore my angles and set up my photo.
Portrush still features classic mechanical signaling, although on my visit the signal cabin was ‘switched out’. (In other words the cabin was not involved in controlling train movements on the line, which is a normal situation when there’s only one train at a time working between Coleraine and Portrush.)
Once the train arrived I made a few photos of it in the station, then boarded for the return trip to Coleraine (and on to Belfast).
Just an ordinary winter’s day at CP83 in Palmer, Massachusetts last month.
I made this view of CSX’s B740 using my Lumix LX7 .
One of the advantages of digital photography is the ability to check the exposure on-site. Although this scene had a tricky exposure, I was able to gauge my result at the time of exposure.
Consider the dynamic range of exposure in the this image: note the headlights on the locomotive (which appear brighter than the snow on the ground) and the sky (which is slightly darker than the snow).
The other morning I arrived in Derry, Northern Ireland with an aim to photograph NI Railways from the Peace Bridge over the Foyle.
Snow covered the distant hills while areas at right were deep in shadow. Complicating matters were clouds rolling across the morning sky, and NI Railway’s silver trains with bright yellow fronts, and reflective river waters to the left that were rapidly alternating from light to dark as clouds passed over.
Rapidly changing lighting conditions combined with these exposure extremes left me with few options to produce an ideal exposure.
If I set my Lumix in manual (M) mode, I risked getting the exposure completely wrong at the moment the train entered the optimal place in the scene.
However by using the aperture-priority (A) mode, I found the camera’s preset metering tended to over expose the snow and train.
On my second attempt, I used the aperture-priority mode with a manual override to dial down 1/3 of stop, which compensated for the dark areas in the scene while doing a better job of retaining highlight detail.
So, I wonder how my colour slides from the same place will look?
Nothing fancy here. Just some views I made from NI Railways trains using my Lumix LX7.
Sometimes you get great scenes in the rolling panorama from a moving train. I’m not proud, when I see a nice view I make a photo.
For some of these I’ve uses a comparatively slow shutter speed. For others I try to freeze the motion. In general, I try to avoid or minimize reflections in the windows by paying careful attention to my angles.
Today, the new LUAS Cross City tram line skirts the front of the historic building in a purpose-built cutting.
I visited this much altered location on a bright morning, aiming to feature a LUAS tram in the sun with the old station.
Beyond Broadstone, the tram line has re-used the old railway right of way to reach its terminus at Broombridge.
Photos exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.
The bright wall in the cutting combined with the lightly coloured stone on the station façade along with the silver tram complicated my exposures, because these reflected more light than normally expected for a Dublin city scene.
Here are colour and black & white views at NI Railway’s Lisburn station exposed at sunset in late January 2018. Both original images were exposed within a few moments of each other.
The colour photo was exposed in RAW format using my Lumix LX7 digital camera, while the black & white image was made on Kodak Tri-X exposed using a Nikon F3 with 24mm Nikkor lens. (Film processed in ID11 1-1 for 8 minutes at 20C (68 F).
I imported the files into Lightroom and made a series of contrast adjustments to better balance the sky with the train, station and platforms.
I made my changes to compensate for limitations of the recording media while aiming for greater dynamic presentation.
Below are both the unaltered files, Lightroom work windows, and my penultimate variations, which are aimed to demonstrate the changes, the means of alteration, and my results.
At 1007 (10:07 am) this morning (8 February 2018), Irish Rail’s 071 (class leader of the popular 071 class of General Motors-built diesel locomotives) passed Islandbridge Junction with the down IWT Liner.
This locomotive was repainted in 2016 into the attractive 1970s-era livery.
Although, I’ve made a number of photographs of this locomotive in heritage paint before, it’s always nice to see it on the move. I’m told it had been laid up for the last few months and it’s only back on the road this week.
Ok here’s the story: so as part of Dublin’s Cross City Extension, new extra long Citadis 502 trams were ordered from Alstom. These have nine-sections and are claimed to be among the longest trams in the world to date.
I knew that.
Mark Healy and I had discussed this on the day the photo was made.
We were out to photograph the new LUAS Cross City line.
Then I needed to visit the Bank of Ireland, and run a few errands. It had clouded over the light was flat and dull.
On the way back into the Dublin City center I saw an out of service tram on Parnell Street so, having the Lumix handy I made a few photos as it passed.
Not being up on the new tram numbering, or paying that close attention to it, I though very little of this photo.
It didn’t even make my initial cut.
I wasn’t going to show it on Tracking the Light.
A couple of days later Mark phone to let me know that somehow we’d missed one of the pioneer trials with the new longer trams.
‘Oh?’ I said. ‘What’s the number of the tram in question?’
‘You know, I think I have that.’
Afterwards I looked back through my photos from the day, and here it is! (I blame jet lag).
Now, I warned you that you weren’t going to believe me!
On February 3, 1995, Canadian National Railway’s American affiliate Central Vermont Railway ended operations.
Shortly thereafter, the newly created RailTex short line called New England Central assumed operation of the former CV route. Since that time, New England Central became part of Rail America, which was then acquired by Genesee & Wyoming.
Despite these changes, a few of New England Central’s start-up era GP38s are still on the move in the classy blue and yellow livery.
Although exposed more than 30 years apart. This pair of ‘then and now’ photos at Maple Street in Monson, Massachusetts, helps delineate my appreciation for New England Central and Central Vermont.
Over the last few years I’ve posted a variety of photos showing Dublin’s LUAS Cross City tram line under construction and trial/training runs.
In December 2017, this new LUAS service commenced from St. Stephens Green (at the north end of the original Green Line service) to Broombridge on Dublin’s Northside. But, at that time, I was elsewhere.
So last Friday (26 January 2018), Mark Healy and I went for a spin out to Broombridge and back. I made digital photos with my Lumix LX7 and colour slides with my Nikon N90S.
It was an arctic evening at East Brookfield when we crossed the bridge over the tracks near CP64.
There it was, making an alien roar: the Loram rail-grinder in the old sidings.
Hard snow on the ground and the moon rising.
‘This will just take a couple of minutes’.
We were on our way to a gig at Dunny’s Tavern, but I wanted to make a few photos of this machine. Interestingly, it was my old friend Dennis LeBeau that both invited us to the gig and alerted me to the Loram grinder.
I tried a few photos using my Lumix LX7 in ‘night mode’. But the extremely low light levels didn’t make for great results.
So then I balanced my LX7 in the chain-link fence, dialed in 2/3s of a stop over exposure, set the self-timer to 2 seconds, pressed the shutter and stood back.
I did this several times until I made an acceptably sharp photo.
I manipulated the RAW files in Lightroom to better balance the information captured during exposure.
I know someone will moan about the tree at left. There’s nothing I can do about that, it’s part of the scene. Sorry 2001-fans, no black slab! So far as I can tell, anyway.