The book High Green and the Bark Peelers describes this then-new bridge (built c1949) which had replaced a traditional wooden covered bridge.
The other day, I walked along the banks of the Saco River in Conway, NH to make this view of Conway Scenic Railroad’s 7470 on its northward run in freshly fallen snow.
The original image was exposed as NEF (Raw file) with my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera. I imported the file into Adobe Lightroom to make nominal adjustments to color, exposure and contrast. This allowed me to make the most of the directional winter lighting.
Although a largely monochromatic scenic, this is actually a full color photograph. Perhaps I should return one of these days with a film camera?
Note: To get the full picture, you will need to view this post on Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light.
I like to find non-standard angles and unusual perspectives to make common subjects, uncommon.
In April 1989, an Amtrak F40PH leading Amfleet, was about as common as it got.
I’d set up along Conrail’s former New York Central Waterlevel Route at milepost 399, near the School Road grade crossing, east of Batavia, New York.
Working with a Leica M2 with 200mm Telyt prime telephoto attached using a Leica Visoflex and fixed to a Bogen 3021 tripod, I selected a rail-level view.
My angle deliberately forces the eye away from the primary subject. Why do this? The bright Amtrak train already dominates the scene, so by forcing the eye downward it makes for an unusual angle that better captures your attention.
An unwise photo editor, might try to crop the bottom 20 percent of the image in a misguided effort to center the train from top to bottom.
Sadly, photographer’s compositions are too often foiled by less insightful editors.
I made this photo of Santa Fe F45 5959, then working on Wisconsin Central, at Valley siding near Fond du Lac on May 20, 1995.
This was in the last light of evening when warm light bathed the landscape. Wisconsin Central had recently acquired a variety of 20-cylinder EMDs from Santa Fe. This is one of many slide I made of Santa Fe diesels working the WC.
I scanned the slide using a Nikon Coolscan5000 digital scanner.
This is another view from Dresden, Germany exposed with my Rolleiflex Model T in June 2001. It was on the same roll of Fuji Neopan 400 that I described last week on Tracking the Light.
I’m at street level, with the Dresden Neustadt station behind me.
In the first interpretation, I made no alterations to the reversal scan of the original negative.
In the second (below), I’ve made significant adjustments to exposure and contrast.
Exposed using Rolleiflex Model T with Carl Zeiss 75mm lens. 120-size Fuji Neopan 400 roll film. Processed in Agfa Rodinal Special (not to be confused with Agfa Rodinal) mixed 1-32 for 3 min 45 seconds. Scanned with a Epson V600 flatbed scanner, digital processing with Adobe Lightroom.
I visited Dresden, Germany for the first time in June 2001.
The Dresden Neustadt station impressed me with its arched train shed and vintage mechanical semaphores.
Working with my old Rolleiflex Model T, I made this pair of photos on 120-size Fuji Neopan 400 roll film.
I processed the film in Agfa Rodinal Special (not to be confused with Agfa Rodinal) mixed 1-32 for 3 min 45 seconds.
I like the technological contrast between the then modern train (a Siemens Desiro railcar) and the old signals. This contrast is mimicked in the visual contrast of my black & white technique that produces stark dark lines against fluffy afternoon clouds.
Tracking the Light Explores Railroad Photography Every Day
In October (2020), I made this view of the former Maine Central twin-span truss over the Saco River near Glen, NH, while traveling eastbound on the headend train #162 Mountaineer.
This is favorite bridge of mine, but a difficult one to photograph satisfactorily from track side. As a result most of my best photos have been from the engine.
I exposed this using my Canon EOS 3 loaded with Ilford HP5 black & white film. I processed this in a customized split development process using a presoak of Kodak HC110 mixed 1-200 at 68F for 5 minutes 30 seconds, followed by primary development using Ilford ID-11 stock mixed 1-1 for 6 minute 30 seconds at 68f. This technique facilitates exceptional dynamic range and superior overall tonality.
After processing, I scanned the negatives using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner, and made final adjustments to the scan in Adobe Lightroom.
Monday afternoon, Conway Scenic operated a work train out along the Redstone Branch in North Conway, NH.
After the train left the yard, I walked from my office in the North Conway station a few blocks east to the North-South Road that runs parallel to the Redstone line to make a few photos of the train on the branch.
The next day I sent them to the Conway Day Sun.
Yesterday, December 16, 2020, I was greeted by my photo on the front page of the paper! (Complete with credit and quote).
So I went back over to the newspaper’s offices to make a few photos of the newspaper boxes with the railroad in the distance, and then gave a copy to Dave Swirk, president & general manager of the railroad. I posed him in front of steam locomotive 7470, and then posted this to our facebook.
If all goes well, 7470 may be next up for its day in the Sun!
All photos were made using a FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55 Fujinon zoom lens.
And it’s a was a very good Friday too. Years ago, Good Friday was a busy day on Irish Rail and there was lots to garner a photographer’s attention.
In addition to Railway Preservation Society of Ireland steam excursions, and ‘extra’ Friday-only passenger trains, Irish Rail tended to operate a lot of daylight freight.
So on the morning of March 29, 2002, Hassard Stacpoole and I joined Paul Quinlan at Kildare for a foray to Cherryville Junction (where the Waterford Line joins the Dublin-Cork mainline) and spent the day rolling by the parade of trains.
I made most of my photos on Fujichrome slide film, but also exposed a roll of Fuji Neopan 400 black & white film in my Contax G2 rangefinder with a yellow filter. I processed this in Agfa Rodinal Special (mixed 1-32) for 3 minutes 45 seconds at 20c.
Then after 18 years in an archival box, yesterday I decided to scan a few of the photos for presentation here.
What may have passed as ordinary in 2002, now looks fascinating.
Last Wednesday, I organized an extra train on Conway Scenic to film for an upcoming television segment.
On the way west we paused at ‘Patch’s’ (a convenience store near Glen, New Hampshire).
While the train was paused, I exposed these photos using my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm lens. I then converted the camera RAW files to DNG format using Iridient X-Transformer and made contrast and color adjustments in Adobe Lightroom.
Last October (2020), I traveled on a rainy day to Crawford Notch on the head-end of Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer.
To make the most of the moody autumn conditions, I exposed a roll of Ilford HP5 35mm black & white film.
Last weekend I processed this using my split development method in order to maximize detail in highlights and shadows, while providing for rich tonality.
The specifics are as follows: presoak in a dilute bath of HC110 (1-200) for 5 minutes 30 seconds at 69F with minimal agitation, then main development in Ilford ID-11 1-1 for 6 minutes and 30 seconds agitating using three gentle inversions every 60 seconds. Followed by stop (30 seconds); first fix (2 minutes 30 seconds) and second fix (2 minutes 30 seconds); first rinse (3 minutes); Permawash (3 minutes); second rinse (10 minutes in continuous running water), then final rinse of distilled water with a drop of Photo flo. Dry and scan.
Other than scaling for internet, I made no alterations to tonality or exposure in postprocessing.
On October 17, 2020, Conway Scenic Railroad operated the annual 470 Club Special. This ran from North Conway to Mountain Junction, then made a side trip down the Redstone Branch to Pudding Pond, before proceeding west over Crawford Notch to Fabyan, New Hampshire.
I helped organize the photo stops.
In addition to the digital color photographs previously displayed on Tracking the Light (and in the pages of Trains Magazine), I exposed a roll of Ilford HP5 black & white film using a vintage Nikkormat FTN.
Yesterday (Sunday, December 6, 2020), I processed the film using my custom-tailored split development technique that I’ve previously detailed on Tracking the Light). This is intended to give the film broad tonality when scanning for internet presentation.
After processing, I scanned the negatives using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner driven by Epson software. These scans were scaled using Adobe Lightroom without any adjustment to contrast, exposure, or sharpness.
On the evening of September 13, 2013, I made this digital photograph of a southward Crossrail intermodal freight working the right bank of the Rhein near Kamp-Bornhofen. The train is powered by a Bombardier TRAXX electric locomotive, among the most common types of modern motive power working German rails.
The sinuous Rhein Valley offers countless views of the electrified mainlines on both sides of the river. This view was made from the left bank of the river south of Boppard, where I aimed across the water to capture the fading window of sun that lit the tracks later than other nearby locations.
I was traveling with photographer Denis McCabe on a weeklong trip in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, on which I exposed hundreds of digital and film photos of trains on the move (among other subjects).
Canon EOS-7 fitted with 18-135mm Canon zoom set at 117mm, camera-JPG scaled in Adobe Lightroom.
Tracking the Light Posts Everyday — (even during electrical ‘outrages’ or ‘outages’).
On December 5, 2014, my brother and I, stood on the platform at Overbrook, Pennsylvania along the former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line.
Working with my Canon EOS 7D, I exposed this photo of an approach medium aspect on an old PRR position light signal. At left, Amtrak’s westward Pennsylvanian—train 43—glides toward the station behind P42 number 71.
I made a host of minor modifications in post processing aimed at improving the camera RAW file.
Last week while filming for a commercial for Conway Scenic Railroad’s Santa’s Holiday Express, I made this still photo as Santa’s Sleigh train as it descended from North Conway on its run down the Conway Branch.
This was just before sunset and low mist had formed along the Saco River.
I was working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm lens. The train was traveling about 5 mph and the light was fading fast.
I posted a version of the commercial to Conway Scenic Railroad’s Facebook Page this afternoon. The railroad is planning to operate seven Santa’s Holiday Express trains this weekend.
Much to my disappointment, When I told my non-railroad friends that ‘I caught the B&M Slug Set on the road,’ they didn’t match my enthusiasm. (1)
But on June 29, 1986, my pal TSH and I made a morning project of chasing Guilford’s AYRP (Ayer, Massachusetts to Rouses Point, New York) from East Deerfield Yard to the east portal of the Hoosac Tunnel.
We caught this at Wisdom Way in Greenfield, then near Buckland west of Shelburne Falls, then at 10:30am, we caught up to AYRP when it was held for an eastbound at Rices interlocking near Charlemont. Here, I made several photos on Kodak 120 Professional Tri-X using my dad’s Rolleiflex Model T.
I scanned these negatives the other day. Most had never been printed.
Footnote 1. A slug set is a locomotive arrangement where by a powered diesel is coupled with a heavily weighted unpowered unit fitted with traction motors for additional tractive power. Boston & Maine built one such combination where a pair of GP40-2s powered a homemade ‘slug.’
On August 13, 1994, I traveled with Mike Danneman to the Mississippi River. At East Dubuque, Illinois we caught up with a Chicago Central & Pacific coal train working eastbound on the old Illinois Central.
Mike was familiar with the territory and after making a few photos on the joint Burlington Northern-CC&P line, we drove to Galena to catch the train working up grade out of the Mississippi Valley.
The weather was less than ideal; a ‘heavy’ summer’ afternoon—hot humid and overcast.
Working with my Nikon F3T and f4 200mm lens, I made this view of the train crawling by the old Illinois Central station.
As previously described on Tracking the Light, Kodachrome 25 slide film had a cyan to red color bias (cyan when fresh, red when aged).
To correct for the cyan tint and adjust contrast, I imported the scan into Adobe Lightroom for a few nominal corrections. Below are scaled Jpgs from both the uncorrected and corrected files.