Ten years ago today (February 28, 2012), I made this photo of CSX Q300 on the old Reading Company at West Trenton, New Jersey.
My old Lumix LX3 was a little tricky to use when making action photos of trains. If the camera was in full ‘auto’ mode and I pressed on the shutter release the camera would hesitate for a moment.
The trick was to use the manual setting and then ‘queue-up’ the camera by presssing the shutter release halfway in preparation for making a photo. In this way the camera shutter would release almost instantaneously when pressed the remainder of the way, thus allowing for a composition with full-frame view of a moving train, such as this one.
Sometimes the last photo of the day, is the best photo of the day.
Photographer Pat Yough and I were on our way back from the Philadelphia area on February 26, 2012. We stopped briefly at Raritan, New Jersey along NJ Transit’s former Central Railroad of New Jersey main line.
I made this reflection of an Alstom-built PL42AC with my old Lumix LX3.
This photo is scaled directly from the camera-RAW file using Lightroom.
A few weeks ago I scanned a strip of 120-size Fuji Neopan 100 using my Epson V600 Scanner.
This featured some coming and going views of First Great Western HST in Newport, Wales, UK that I exposed using my Rolleiflex Model T.
One of the features of Epson Scan 2 software is the ability to apply an ‘unsharp mask’ at the time of scanning. Despite its confusing name, the unsharp mask is a digital sharpening tool. The software allows for three degrees of sharpening with the mask, ‘low,’ ‘medium’ and ‘high’.
Normally, I select ‘low,’ which I find makes for a better looking scan.
Another option is to scan without the unsharp mask, and apply sharpening in post processing.
The unsharp mask adds an edge effect that makes the photo appear sharper. It doesn’t actually add detail.
Below are three sequences of images showing the image without unsharp mask; with the ‘low’ unsharp mask, and an image created in post processing by applying sharpening after scanning. Each of the three sequences shows first the full frame scan followed by a greatly enlarged portion to allow for a detailed inspection and comparison. Each is captioned for clarity.
NI Railways’ former Great Northern Railway (of Ireland) station at Lisburn is a classic that retains its traditional appearance including platform canopies and footbridge.
I made this view on a visit in Spring 2001. Working with my Rollei Model T, I exposed a geometerically balanced composition, where I’ve used the canopy supports as a visual partition that divides the photo evenly at the center.
Perfectly centered compositions are frowned upon in some circles, but I’ve occasionally executed successful and visually dynamic photos using this technique. In this instance I don’t think my photo could have been improved by off-center placement of the column.
Since background elements vary considerably on the right and left sides, the centered composition helps weigh the intrigue of one side versus the other.
Do you think this image would be improved if I had included a train?
This past Thursday the temperature at North Conway, New Hampshire was 51 F, the highest its been in many weeks. The mountains of snow began to melt. Then Thursday night the rain set in. It poured all night.
By Friday morning (February 18, 2022), puddles covered the yard.
I made these images with my Lumix LX7 of the yard and station facilities saturated with water.
By Friday evening the temperture had dropped in the mid teens. Snow is again on the horizon.
After a light snowfall in December 1993, I set up at CP79 east of Palmer, Massachusetts, where an eastward Conrail freight led by DASH-8-40C 6069 was holding on the Controlled Siding to meet a set of light engines rolling west behind B23-7 1992.
I was working with my Nikon F3T fitted with an Nikkor AF28MM lens. Since the F3T wasn’t equipped with autofocus, I set the focus manually.
This lens offered a wide perspective and tended to vignette the corners of the photo. Also because it was relatively wide, the relative motion of the leading locomotive to the film plane was greater than with a longer focal length lens, and resulted in a slight blurring, despite a 1/250th of second shutter speed.
On an evening in Spring 2001, I made this monochrome silhouette at Dublin’s Heuston Station using my Rollei Model T. The photo brings back memories of another time.
The place has much changed in the intervening 21 years since the click of the shutter.
This shows Irish Rail class 141/181s working as shunters, a practice that ended about a dozen years ago when locomotive hauled consists were phased out in favor of modern self propelled Intercity Railcars (ICRs). Among the other changes: the platform arrangement was altered and extended, while the trainshed roof restored.
Friday, February 11, 2022, New Hampshire’s Conway Scenic operated its vintage Russell snow plow with former Maine Central Railroad GP38 255 pushing it west toward Attitash.
I followed the plow by road and made a few select digital photos with my Nikon Z6 fitted with 70-200mm lens.
To get a good snow exposure I dialed in ‘+3’ to the expose compensation, which helps keep the snow white. I metered manually with the in-camera ‘matrix meter’, then set both shutter speed and aperture manually.
Although I set the camera’s focas point, I let the Nikon’s autofocus system work as intended.
In a few instances, I hiked into locations to get the best angle where the snow was the deepest. On more than one occasion I found myself up to my hips in snow.
Way back in April 2001, photographer Mike Gardner and I paid a visit to the closed Old State Road bridge over the former West Shore route at Guilderland, New York.
This was only a couple of years after CSX assumed operation of Conrail’s former New York Central Waterlevel Route across New York State. At that time this was an exceptionally busy line with a non-stop parade of freights.
I made this coming and going pair of photos using my Rollei Model T. This featured a very sharp f3.5 Zeiss Tessar lens.
My choice of film was Kodak Tri-X processed in Ifotec HC developer. I scanned the negatives yesterday using my Epson V600 flatbed scanner, then made minor adjustements to the TIF scans using Adobe Light room to improve constrast and exposure.
On occasion I make a photograph for one of my friends.
Saturday, February 5, 2022, I traveled on Conway Scenic’s 1130 Snow Train (a train for which I drafted the schedule). Upon crossing the Ellis River bridge in Glen, New Hampshire, I though this would be an ideal place to photograph the train with heavily snow covered trees.
I returned later, and wading through deep snow I put myself in position on the west bank of the Ellis to capture the the return run of the 1330 Snow Train.
Wayne Duffett was the locomotive engineer, as seen in the cab of former Maine Central 255. Wayne is also the railroad’s bridge engineer with whom I traveled last year on his detailed structural inspection of this span and others along the line. Further, it was Wayne who first recommended to me a vantage point on the banks of Ellis.
Yesterday, I hosted a live radio broadcast at Conway Scenic Railroad’s North Conway Station to promote the railroad’s Snow Train excursions.
Dirk Nadon of Lakes Media arrived in the morning and set up a mini-broadcasting studio in the station lobby. We broadcast live and recorded sound bites and interviews on Lakes FM 101.5 and 104.9 The Hawk FM.
I participated in the organization of the event, spoke on the radio to convey the excitement of Snow Train, and made these photographs using my Lumix LX7 digital camera.
We also took the 1130am Snow Train to Attitash and traveled in vintage Pullman diner Hattie Evans.
You know this must have sounded good! Former Erie Lackawanna SD45-2s lead a loaded ballast extra westbound at the summit of the Boston & Albany at Bullards Road near Hinsdale, Massachusetts.
I made this photo on the evening of August 23, 1984 using a Leica 3A loaded Kodak Tri-X.
In retrospect, I wish I had a slightly longer lens here and better exposure and processing skills. With in a few years, I had better cameras and my photography had improved dramatically, but catching scenes like this one of SD45-2s on the B&A route were a thing of the past.
And, I really wish I’d recorded the sound of this train. All those 20-cylinder 645 diesels in Run-8, wow!
In May 1998, I stood at the south end of platform 5 of Dublin’s Connolly Station where I made this view of 2600-series diesel multiple units as they accelerated away from the platforms toward Tara Street on the Loop Line.
I was working with my Nikon F3T loaded with Fujichrome Sensia II (ISO 100).
At the time the 2600s were a common sight in Dublin.
This photo reminds me of my first impressions of Dublin and how much has changed since 1998.