Snow Plow Action

Yesterday forecasts of snow were dashed when rain fell instead.

Last week the story was a different one, and as previously reported on Tracking the Light, Conway Scenic Railroad sent a plow extra west to Attitash.

I made this view using my Lumix LX7, while recording the action using the railroad’s video camera.

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Snow Train Arriving.

Conway Scenic Railroad 1751 leads the evening Snow Train over the Post Office crossing at North Conway last week.

Conway Scenic is operating Snow Trains between the North Conway Station and Attitash through February 29th.

Exposed in February 2020 using a Lumix LX7 digital camera.

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Port Authority-Trans Hudson

Exchange Place—1982.

As a teenager living in rural Monson, Massachusetts, I thought Jersey City was a fascinating urban wonderland.

It was gritty, dirty, decayed and very urban with lots of  history.

A virtual playground!

I made this photo at Exchange Place station on the Port Authority Trans-Hudson former Pennsylvania Railroad controlled Hudson & Manhattan rapid transit route between New York City and New Jersey terminals.

As a photograph it isn’t my finest, but I feel I captured my sense of wonder about PATH.

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Frosty Dawn

Last week the lights were lit on Gertrude Emma—Conway Scenic Railroad’s 1898-built Pullman open-end observation car—when I made this early morning view at the North Conway station.

Exposed using a Lumix LX7 mounted on a Bogen tripod.

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Toronto Transit Commission—Two Photos from Ten Years Ago.

In February 2010, I visited Toronto, Ontario with photographers Pat Yough and Chris Guss.

It was extra cold, but we made some stunning photos in the clear frosty light.

These view of TTC CLRVs (Canadian Light Rail Vehicles) were exposed using a Canon EOS-3 and Fujichrome slide film.

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Clear Morning for Clearing Snow and a TV Appearance.

Thursday, February 20, 2020, for the second time in about a week, Conway Scenic dispatched its vintage Russell Snow plow to clear the line to Attitash.

I arrived at the North Conway station at  0545 and was prepared for a chase of the plow westbound. Complicating my efforts was that I had a TV interview with White Mountain TV16 scheduled at 0845.

I cut it a bit fine, but arrived at the studio in ample time to chat with host Rob Clark on air.  I don’t think too many viewers copped-on that I’d been freezing in the field making photos only minutes before stepping on set. (I’d changed hats in the interval).

See:  https://youtu.be/JmHALwifgTs

Snow Train Day and Night

On Tuesday February 18, 2020 it snowed most of the day at North Conway, New Hampshire.

Through out the day the Conway Scenic Railroad was operating its new Snow Trains between its famous North Conway station and Attitash in Bartett.

I made these views of the Snow Train set led by former Maine Central GP7 573 paused between runs at the North Conway B&M station.

Both were exposed using a Lumix LX7.

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Plowing Snow with my Video Studio!

Shortly after arriving on the property at New Hampshire’s Conway Scenic Railroad last Spring, I asked owner David Swirk why he had an air-conditioner on his vintage Russel snow plow.

He laughed and said the plow was employed for various tasks. Later in the summer, my video editing studio was temporarily relocated to the plow, where I learned first hand of the importance of the air-conditioner!

Last week in preparation for commencement of February operations, Swirk decided it was time to send the Russel plow out to clear the line and widen the swath of snow made during previous plowing efforts using GP7 573.

So on Thursday, February 13, 2020 the plow was readied and dispatched by Train Order as a Work Extra 573 from North Conway Yard to Attitash pushed in traditional fashion by 573.

I hiked into the Whitaker Woods to document the plow at work, then followed along by road. Here are few of my photos.

Passing under Highway 302 near Bartlett, New Hampshire.

I also made a video, which I posted on Conway Scenic’s Facebook page:

This also appears on the railroad’s Instagram page.

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Snow Trains—The First Day.

Some times plans don’t materialize as expected.

The day dawned with an arctic claw. This made for an azure sky, but was a tad difficult on the fingers.

I thought I’d be showing photos of RDC Millie in the New Hampshire snow.

Instead, I have some photos of former Maine Central GP7 573 pulling a four car consist as Conway Scenic’s Snow Train.

That turned out to be a good thing for the railroad and resulted in some unusual winter photos. The larger train accommodated the swell of passengers that arrived to travel.

For these photos I was working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.

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Cupid’s Express under the Stars.

Last night (February 14th) I traveled on the head-end of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Cupid Express dinner train that ran over the old Maine Central Mountain Division toward Bartlett.

When the train paused for the engineer to change ends (we had a locomotive positioned at each end of the train to avoid the need to run around), I exposed a few photos.

It was clear, very cold and the stars were bright. You can see my footprints in the foreground snow.

The train was a success and was completely sold out.

Exposed with a Lumix LX7 at f1.4 for 13 seconds, ISO 100. Camera mounted on a Bogen tripod. I made some minor adjustments to exposure and color saturation in post processing.

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O’Connell Street in the Rain.

Dublin November 4, 2019:.I was heading to Drumcondra to meet the lads for an evening of railroad photography.

At O’Connell Street, I needed to change from one bus to another.

It was dusk.

The swollen winter sky opened and a cold rain cascaded down like a tsunami.

Working with a Nikon F3 fitted with a 50mm lens and loaded with Rollei Retro 80S, I made a single exposure.

This is it.

There’s something about the split composition, the depth afforded by the exceptional glossy wet evening, the shadowy figures with umbrellas, and the looming bus that works for me like few photos emanating from my camera in a long time. 

Since mid-November, I’ve had this as the opening photo on my Facebook page.

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Boeings on Duboce.

In 1990, this was just around the corner.

One October evening I set up on Duboce Avenue in San Francisco with my then new F3T and 35mm PC lens (perspective control lens, which allows for movement of the front element) and made this view using Kodachrome 25 color slide film.

Difficult to believe that was nearly 30 years ago!

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Snow Train Trial.

Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday February 11, 2020), I traveled with the Conway Scenic train crew on RDC 23 Millie that was performing a trial-run of our new Snow Train  service that will begin this Saturday.

By arrangement, the crew dropped me at milepost 64 along the Saco River, so that I could make some video and still images of the RDC to be used in Conway Scenic promotions.

These images are low-res Jpgs downloaded from my FujiFilm XT1 to my iPhone via WiFi.

Westbound at Milepost 64 near Glen & Jackson, New Hampshire.
Eastbound at Milepost 65.
Laying over at Attitash.

I made a variety of other digital images that I hope to download soon.

Between February 15th to 29th, Conway Scenic Railroad will be running seven trains a day on an 90 minute interval between North Conway and Attitash. This is something new for the railroad!

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Memory Full!

When I’m working with film I keep a sharp eye on how many photos I expose, and work judiciously as I approach the 36th frame.

But with digital, too often the potentially vast numbers of photos that I can save to a card leads to my complacency. So, despite having had hundreds of exposures at my disposal, at an inopportune moment after releasing the shutter the dreaded ‘Memory Full!’ message appears at the back of the camera along with a snide sounding ‘beeep!’

I had this misfortune a couple of weeks back when in pursuit of the southward Vermont Rail System freight near Wells River, Vermont.

Luckily, I’d just captured the train in motion.

However, since I’d planned out a series of locations, and I needed to proceed post haste to my next spot. I didn’t have the time to root around and locate another SD Card for my FujiFilm XT1 (poor planning on my part), so I went immediately to ‘Plan B’. (the back up plan).

That involved working with my Lumix LX7 and a Nikon F3 (loaded with black & white film) cameras, both of which are excellent tools.

The film remains in the camera, so I’ve opted to present the Lumix Photos here.

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Barnet Road-Barnet, Vermont.

I’ve looked at this location several times over the years. Here, Barnet Road crosses the Connecticut River and the railroad south of the old station-location at Barnet, Vermont.

Either the light didn’t suit photography, or there was no train around.

On January 28th, 2020, I had ample time to set up since the southward Vermont Rail System freight I was following had stopped to switch at Barnet. 

I scoped a couple of different angles from the road bridge, and at the last minute settled on this view.

I exposed this sequence of photos using my FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

This view was panned slightly, which allows for a greater sense of motion while retaining sharpness on the leading locomotive.
Trailing view from the same bridge as the photos above.

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White Flags: Extra 573 Clearing Snow Near Mountain Junction.

Friday, February 7, 2020, Conway Scenic dispatched former Maine Central GP7 573 as a work extra to clear the line to Attitash (near Bartlett, NH).

Icy rain and sleet had been falling throughout the day and it was beginning to turn to snow. Temperatures were expected to drop and by morning the snow would be like cement. Clearing the line while the snow was still slushy was imperative or this relatively small task could become an epic one.

Conway Scenic normally shuts its lines from early January until April. This year the railroad is planning a series of special trips during the last two weeks of February beginning with Cupid’s Express Valentines Day trains on February 14th, followed by Snow Trains that will run from North Conway to Attitash on a 90 minute interval beginning at 7:30 am.

The interval was my idea and I’ve planned a timetable for the event.

I traveled with the engine crew on 573 to document the day’s events and make notes. Near Mountain Junction (where the former Boston & Maine Conway Branch connects with the old Maine Central Mountain Division) 573 paused for the crew to clear a crossing. I made these photos using my FujiFilm XT1.

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Irish Rail 084 at BlackHorse Avenue—Dublin.

As it rains ice outside my window in Conway, New Hampshire, I was thinking back to greener warmer times last summer in Ireland!

It was toward the end of August 2019, when I made this view of Irish Rail 084 working an up-IWT Liner from Ballina, Co. Mayo to Dublin’s North Wall approaching Blackhorse Avenue in Dublin.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with a 90mm lens.

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Monochrome: Steam in the Snow on Czech Film

During last month’s Steam in the Snow event at the Conway Scenic Railroad sponsored by the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts, I made a lot of digital photos and some video footage in my capacity as the railroad’s Manager, Marketing and Events.

But that wasn’t all.

Working with my Nikon F3 and a 50mm lens, I also exposed some Fomapan 100 Classic black & white film.

I first sampled this film on a trip to the Czech Republic in October 2016. I like the tonality and classic black & white appearance of this emulsion when processed in Ilford ID11 1-1. To boost shadow detail, I let the film pre-soak in a very weak bath of HC110 and Kodak Photoflo before primary processing.

Here’s a sample of my images.

Coming up soon, Conway Scenic will be running more trains in the snow. The railroad plans to run seven round trips a day from February 15th to 29th using Budd RDC number 23 Millie. The first trip departs North Conway at 730am and trains will run every 90 minutes to Attitash.

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Vermont Rail System—East Barnet.

On my recent travels between North Conway, New Hampshire and Monson, Massachusetts, I prefer the rural highways of the Connecticut River Valley to the heavily traveled rat race to the south.

Among the benefits of my long way round is that it follows the tracks most of the way.

I don’t always find a train, and honestly across much of the territory I pass there are scant few trains to find.

Last week as I drove north, I scoped a host of locations to photograph along the old Boston & Maine/Canadian Pacific route between White River Junction and St Johnsbury, Vermont.

At the last-named point, I got out of my car by the old railroad station just in time to hear the roar of twin 16-645E3 diesels. Excellent timing! I reversed course and returned promptly to a spot that I’d photographed on previous occasions at East Barnet, Vermont.

Vermont Rail System at East Barnet, Vermont. Expose using a FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm lens.

This was a good start, but I was just getting warmed up. From there I continue my pursuit to make a variety of satisfying images. More to follow soon!

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Vintage Green Line.

I had about five hours before I needed to catch a flight from Logan, so I checked my bags and went into Boston.

My goal was to photograph the old MBTA Green Line elevated near North Station before it was closed and removed.

This was way back in June 1999—More than 20 years ago.

Today this portion of the old elevated is just a memory.

Exposed with a Nikon on Fujichrome.

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Slovakian Beer Tram at Dusk.

Occasionally I aim for theme convergence.

I’ve been running a series featuring 100 transit cities and a few days back I features a tram in Berlin advertising beer. Yesterday, I discussed photography at dusk. So today, I’m featuring a beer advertizing tram at dusk in the eastern Slovakian city of Kosice.

A purist might call me out on the fact that this tram is preserved and inactive in the photo, therefore might not qualify as a legitimate transit image. I do, however, have slides of Tatra trams working Kosice streets. I’ll need to locate and scan them.

This photo was exposed on Fujichrome with conventional daylight balance. I made no color correction or alterations in scanning or post processing.

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Dusk at East Northfield.

It is unlikely you will find ‘East Northfield’ on most maps of Massachusetts, since this is a railroad location that doesn’t reflect local geography.

Not withstanding these directional peculiarities, East Northfield (as so-identified by New England Central’s sign) is a classic railroad location and a favorite place to photograph trains. Located on the Massachusetts-Vermont state line, this is where New England Central meets Pan Am’s Boston & Maine Connecticut River line from Greenfield.

On Friday, January 24, 2020, my friends, fellow photographers, Tim and Pat and I converged at the junction to make photographs of New England Central’s northward 611.

Here the train was held for a few minutes while Amtrak’s northward Vermonter made its Brattleboro station stop. Operational considerations typically find freights holding south of East Northfield until Amtrak is north of ‘West River’ (a railroad location situated north of Amtrak’s Brattleboro station).

The light was fading fast. So working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm prime telephoto, I exposed a series of images to make the most of the tinted low lighting.

The first view was made with an auto-white balance setting. The second two using a daylight preset that results in the camera capturing more of the blue-spectrum of dusk.

Auto white balance; no post processing color correction.
Daylight white balance without post processing corrections.

This exposure was made a few minutes later and reflects the approach of evening after the amount of light had diminished. It was also made using the ‘Daylight’ white balance preset.

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Sacramento Light Rail; Two Chromes.

I’ve made numerous photos of Sacramento California’s Regional Transit District light rail system, all of them on film.

Here are two scans from color slides that were exposed nearly 19 years apart.

In November 1989,I exposed this pan of a light rail car near the California State Capitol building.
This elevated view of a light rail train at Florin Road, south of downtown Sacramento was made on Fujichrome using a Canon EOS3 with a 24mm lens.

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NECR on the Millers Falls High Bridge.

Here’s a view I exposed of New England Central’s northward 611 crossing the 1905-built Millers Falls High Bridge at Millers Falls, Massachusetts on January 24, 2020.

This former Central Vermont Railway bridge has long been a favorite of mine.

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