Sawyers siding is just west of the 4th Iron Bridge over Sawyer River.
Sunday Aug 29, 2021, Conway Scenic operated two trains from North Conway to Sawyers to run around. The first was the regularly scheduled Valley train, on its daily run that boards at North Conway at 1230pm.
The second, which ran about an hour later, was a charter for New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. This carried ‘white flags,’ which by the rulebook indicates an extra train operating by train order without an assigned schedule.
I made these photos of the charter at the east end of the Sawyers siding with my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera. Both were processed using Adobe Lightroom to boost shadow detail, warm color temperature, and increase color saturation.
Yesterday (Sunday August 29, 2021), Conway Scenic Railroad hosted New Hampshire’s Governor Chris Sununu on his Super 603 Thank You Tour.
I was closely invovlved with the logistical planning for the Governor’s special train. We needed to continue to operate our regularly scheduled Valley trains, so I planned a meet at Bartlett.
This was excuted in traditional fashion. Speed through Bartlett is limited to ten mph. Conway Scenic’s Valley Train returning from Sawyers cleared for the special by reversing into the siding near the Bartlett freight house. There was no delay to the Governor’s train, and the absolute minimum delay necessary to the Valley.
Working in my capacity as Manager, Marketing & Events, I made these photos of the meet from the special using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.
Tracking the Light is a blog that focuses on the process of railroad photography, and how certain techniques produce different results. Light, angle and season play an enormous role in the end result.
In yesterday’s Tracking the Light, I featured a misty autumn-morning view of a westward Guilford Rail System freight crossing the bridge over the Deerfield River on approach to the east portal of the Hoosac Tunnel.
Today, I’m featuring a photo exposed a few months later (February 2005) of another westward freight crossing the same bridge: winter versus autumn; south side of the bridge versus the north; and later in the morning. Another difference was my choice of lens: 45mm on the winter view; 180mm on the autumn.
In addition, I’ve included two slightly different versions of the February 2005 photo, as well as one of the photos from yesterday’s post for point of comparison.
This freight was EDRJ, which Pat Yough and I followed all the way to the Hudson River and beyond!
Both images were made from a scan of the same slide, which had been exposed on Fujichrome film using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 45 mm Zeiss lens.
Yesterday at Conway Scenic we turned GP35 216 on the turntable.
Now the high short hood is facing south.
This directional change was performed for operational reasons, but has also opened up a variety of photographic possibilities, especially on the return run of Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer from Crawford Notch.
I made these views in the North Conway, NH yard using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.
Languishing in my Miscellaneous Railroad Seconds file (Bad Slides) from 1982-1983 was this back lit winter view of the Central Vermont Railway yard in Palmer, Massachusetts.
I’d exposed this Kodachrome 64 slide using my old Leica 3A fitted with 50mm Sumitar.
This is a technically flawed photo. It is considerably off-level. The exposure is slightly on the dark side. The composition is a bit loose. And the color is decidedly magenta owing to a processing abnormality on the part of Kodak.
As an exercise, I decided to scan the slide and import into Lightroom to see if I could improve it.
I’ve included the unadjusted scan. A screen shot of the adjustment window. And, my final adjusted image.
I ended up wondering how I might photograph this scene today, using my most modern cameras. Also I wonder, is my ‘bad slide’ really all that bad? It may mean little to random viewers, but it conjured up in my memory the Palmer Yard of my youth. There’s a pair of idling Central Vermont Alco RS-11s, and in the distance the train they had recently delivered. Just about everything in the photo reminds me of how exciting I found railroading when I was 13.
Would a ‘better’ photo convey the same feeling for me?
August 23, 2016, I made this bright morning view of a short southward New England Central freight at Stafford Springs, Connecticut.
The attraction was the single GP38 wearing the classing blue and gold paint in rich morning sun.
Over the years, I’d photographed trains in Stafford Springs (Stafford on the railroad) from many angles. On this morning, I was pleased to get this view without any automobiles in the way of the train, and feature the row of brick buildings behind the tracks.
Here’s another view from Kent Station in Cork exposed on a visit in 2002 using my Contax G2 rangefinder loaded with Kodak Tri-X.
The repetitive geometry of the station roof and the extreme contrast between light and dark gives this photograph dramatic impact.
I was standing on the platform, just under the station roof at the east-end of the curved train-shed, where I was using the elliptical valance of the roof as a visual frame to bracket the pair of Irish Rail trains.
Over the years I’ve used a great variety of Camera-film combinations.
In 2009, I largely worked with a pair of Canon EOS-3s loaded with Fujichrome.
On an October trip to photograph along the old Erie Railroad, I had one of my EOS-3s fitted with a Canon 100-400mm. The morning of the 6th, I caught Western New York & Pennsylvania’s HNME (Hornell, New York to Meadville, PA) arriving a Meadville.
A dozen years earlier I’d photographed the same Montreal Locomotive Works diesel working the Cartier Railway in Quebec using Nikon cameras loaded with Kodachrome.
I wonder how I might capture this scene today with my current camera combinations?
Irish Rail class 141 number 167 glides over the River Liffey at Islandbridge, Dublin.
I made this view from my old apartment at Islandbridge in December 2005.
Although I had just recently purchased a Canon EOS3, I was still working with my old Nikon F3s, which is what I used to expose this view on Fujichrome.
At the time there were still a number of class 141/181 General Motors diesels working for Irish Rail.
Over the years, the trees and other obstructions gradually hemmed in my view of the tracks, so that by the time I left more than a dozen years later, it was more difficult to obtain an uncluttered photo of a train crossing the Liffey from the apartment.
On December 28, 2005, toward the end of Irish Rail’s final beet season, I stood on the western shore of the Barrow, where I aimed a Nikon F3 fitted with a 180mm f2.8 lens and loaded with Fujichrome toward the multiple span Pratt truss that crosses the river.
NI Railways 112 (on loan to Irish Rail) worked east across the span at about 5mph with a train of four-wheel empty beet wagons.
Last night I scanned the nearly 16-year old slide using my Epson V600 scanner at relatively high resolution (3200 dpi) then imported the resulting TIF file into Lightroom.
The RAW scan exhibits a minor red tint. To compensate I made a variety of changes. First I moved the black point to the limit of data loss with the aid of the histogram. This adjusted the tonal range of the slide, then I worked with green-magenta and blue-yellow color correction sliders to balance the color, while paying close attention to hue in the shadow areas.
Finally I made some nominal contrast and saturation changes to make for a more pleasing image before outputting as a medium resolution JPG crafted for optimum internet presentation.
Below is the unadjusted JPG along with my final adjusted JPG for comparison. Since every computer screen is slightly different and provide varied interpretations of my images.
the proof of success for my adjustments may be in the color prints that I have yet to make.
In addition, I’ve also included a screen shot of the Lightroom control panel so that you may see how I’ve moved the sliders to improve the scan.
On a July 2002 morning, I made this view of an LKAB class Dm3 heavy electric passing the disused electric substation at Torne Träsk, Sweden.
My friend Markku Pulkkinen and I spent several days in high summer exploring the Malmbanen that connects Swedish iron ore mining areas in the Arctic with the port of Narvik in Norway.
At that time, many of the ore trains were still powered by the massive three-section Dm3 siderod electrics.
Working with a vintage German Rollieflex Model T, I exposed this view on Kodak 120 Tri-X in the 2 ¼ inch square format. When I returned to Dublin, I processed the film in a custom mix of Ilfotec HC developer. Recently I scanned the film using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner powered by Epson Scan 2 software, then made minor adjustments to contrast using Adobe Lightroom.
For the Facebook output and lead-in image I cropped the square photo, but this view is uncrossed.
On a day trip to Cork City (Ireland) in April 2002, I made this photo using my Contax G2 rangefinder on Kodak Tri-X.
I had the camera fitted with a 45mm Zeiss lens. Key to the image tonality was an orange filter, which gives the photo a contrasty snap with lots of texture in the sky while lightening the rendiition of the shade of orange paint on the class 201 diesels.
I’d processed the film using a custom mix of Ilfotec HC.
To scan the film, I used my Epson V600 flatbed scanner with Epson Scan 2 driving software. I made nominal adjustments to contrast using Adobe Lightroom.
This represents another experimental series of scans with my V600 and recently downloaded Epson Scan 2 (126.96.36.199) software.
I’d purchased my Epsom V600 about 2011 to replace an earlier Epson V500 scanner that had suffered a failure. Until recently I was using the original Epson software to drive the V600. The other night I decided to upgrade the software and install it on a more modern & much faster Apple MacBook Pro.
Although Epson’s Scan 2 software appears to have been on the market for a while, I’d just discovered it the other day. More to the point, I’ve found that it vastly improved my scans. This scanner-driver software combination offers greater clarity, exceptional sharpness, and runs faster and more consistently which allows the same scanner to perform noticeably better than with the earlier Epson driver.
I’d exposed this medium-formet Kodak Tri-X 400 ISO black & white film using my Rollei Model T, while exploring Austria’s Semmering Pass with photographer Denis McCabe in August 2003. On a warm afternoon we waited out a thundershower at the station shelter in Breitenstein.
I’d processed the film after my return to Dublin using Ilfotec HC liquid developer which offered broad tonal range and very fine grain.
The other day I uploaded Epson Scan 2 to drive my ten-year old Epson V600 scanner.
I decided to make a few test scans and selected this Fujichrome color slide I exposed of a San Jose-bound Cal Train at Bayshore, California on August 13, 2009.
I was delighted with high-quality scan using this improved scanner-driver combination. I imported the TIF file into Adobe Lightroom to make minor adjustments to color and contrast in order to improve the Web-presentation.
The railroads that once served Maine’s Rangely Lake region are long off the map.
At the end of July, Kris & I went for a day-long leisurely drive north from North Conway, New Hampshire to Rangeley where we made some evening photographs of the beautiful lakes there.
Although we inspected evidence of the narrow gauge and standard gauge lines that served this resort so long ago, there was little of interest to photograph on this visit. So instead I’m presenting my lake photos exposed using my Nikon Z6 mirror-less digital camera.
All the photos were adjusted using Adobe Lightroom. I’ve gradually been formulating color-contrast profiles to make the most of the camera’s NEF RAW files.
I’ve only photographed Baldwin diesels a few times.
The most memorable was back on April 3, 1993. I was traveling with fellow photographer Brian Jennison, and we made a morning of following this Sierra Railroad Baldwin on its run from Oakdale into the Sierra foothills toward Jamestown, Califronia.
Near Chinese Camp, we hiked to this shallow cutting, where I used my Nikon F3T fitted with a 105mm f1.8 lens to expose a Kodachrome sequence of the antique diesel leading a train of Southern Pacific wood chip cars .
This Baldwin made a characteristic low RPM chortle, unlike any modern diesels.
On an afternoon in August 2009, I stood atop a parking garage near Jack London Square in Oakland, California where I made this view featuring an Amtrak Capitols train against a backdrop of the city’s sprawling port facilities.
I was working with a Canon EOS3 fitted with a 100-400mm zoom lens to expose a Fujichrome slide. This was several months before buying my first digital camera.
During my five week stay in California that year I exposed more than 80 rolls of color slide film. Many of my photos featured scenes around San Francisco Bay. At the time I envisioned writing a book on San Francisco, but I didn’t get sufficient interest from my publishers at the time to move that proposal forward.
On our drive from North Conway to Massachusetts last month, Kris and I stopped over at Bellows Falls, Vermont .
Amtrak’s Vermonter had yet to resume operation. New England Central’s line had been washed out to the south at Putney. While, Vermont Rail System’s Green Mountain Railroad (former Rutland Railroad) seemed quiet.
With my Lumix LX7, I exposed these photos of the Bellows Falls Station, the tunnel beneath downtown, and the Grist Mill Museum near the tunnel.
I created these JPGs from the camera’s RAW files using Adobe Lightroom, where I adjusted the color, contrast and saturation to make for more pleasing images, which more closely resembled what I perceived on the day.
Three years ago on August 5th, John Gruber dropped me off at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station where I photographed Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service before boarding a train for Chicago Union Station. There I changed for the eastward Lake Shore Limited.
I made these images using my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Touit.
On July 26, 2021, Conway Scenic placed its popular open-end parlor-observation lounge Gertrude Emma back in traffic.
During its time in the company roundhouse the car was refurbished inside and out.
The car was built by the Pullman Palace Car company in 1898 for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s flagship train, Pennsylvania Limited that connected Jersey City (across the Hudson from New York City) with Chicago via Pittsburgh.
The colors it wears are aimed to recreate its period livery.
I made these photos for Conway Scenic Railroad’s Facebook and Instagram pages using my Panasonic Lumix LX7.
Last week I learned, much to my surprise, that the old Boston & Maine station at Berlin, NH is still standing. So yesterday (31 July 2021), Kris Sabbatino and I drove to the east side of this old New Hampshire milltown to investigate.
I made these photos from the street using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.
I’ve seen stations in better shape than this one. Also, it has been without regular passenger service for about 60 years. The tracks have been lifted and its a long walk from the center of town. But it has a ‘For Sale’ sign out front! (If you are interested).