Poughkeepsie Crossing

On a foggy evening last week, Kris and I visited the waterfront park at Highland Landing, New York along the west shore of the Hudson River.

With my Z7-II firmly mounted on my now antique Bogen tripod, I made a series of time exposures of the famous former New Haven Railroad Poughkeepsie Bridge.

The year 2024 will mark a half century since a fire on this mightly span ended railroad service over the bridge.

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Pittston Junction—Haven of the Antique EMD

The other day day, Kris and I called into Pittston Junction.

This is my new favorite place:

Wide open for photography, deep in history, and a haven of old General Motors diesel-electric locomotives.

The GP39RNs were once GP30s, and they still look the part.

The wigwag grade crossing signals were an added bonus.

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Old Switcher at New Freedom

We arrived at New Freedom, Pennsylvania to find this former Maryland & Pennsylvania EMD SW9 switcher stored on a siding. It’s reporting marks indicate it is part of the Stewartstown Railroad roster.

I made a series of photos using my Nikon Z7-II and Kris’s Fujifilm XT4.

These are both excellent cameras but handle color differently.

I’ve identified the camera-lens combination on each photo.

Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.
FujiFilm XT-4 with Fujinon Xf 50-140mm lens.
FujiFilm XT-4 with Fujinon Xf 50-140mm lens.
FujiFilm XT-4 with Fujinon Xf 50-140mm lens.
FujiFilm XT-4 with Fujinon Xf 50-140mm lens.

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Foggy Morning at Willow Road.

A thick fog blanketed the landscape in Lancaster on St Stephens Day, or Boxing Day, or if you like, ‘the day after Christmas.’

Fog transmits sound with great clarity.

I’d stopped at the local Post Office, when I heard Norfolk Southern’s New Holland Branch local whistling for a nearby crossing. I postponed my errand, and drove to the Willow Road grade crossing.

On a sunny morning, the westside of the crossing would be fiercely backlit, but the heavy fog allowed for a view with the distant farm with softer contrast. Compare these images from the view I posted a few days ago (http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/grab-shot-on-the-new-holland-secondary/ ).

The point of the comparison is to show how to use different lighting conditions to the greatest advantage, and make the best photo depending on prevaling conditions.

I made the December 26th photos from the side of the road using my Nikon Z7-II. I cropped the files to improve the composition, while making adjustments to highlight and shadow detail and color temperature.

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Former PRR at Railroad, Pennsylvania

‘What’s the name of this town?’

‘Railroad, Pa.’

It’s aptly named; the old Pennsylvania Railroad Northern Central route goes right through it.

Kris and I had wandered here after leaving Stewartstown. I made a few photos in the village of Railroad, before we headed north along the Northern Central line, now operated by a tourist railroad called the ‘Northern Central Railway.’

Five minutes out of town we spotted a southward NC Ry excursion train on the move with an old Pennsylvania Railroad GP9 leading an eclectic mix of cars.

We zipped back to Railroad and I made a few photos of the train using my Nikon Z7-II and Kris’s Fuji XT-4.

Looking compass south at Railroad, PA. Fuji XT4 with Fujinon XF 50-140mm lens.
Northern Central Railway Christmas excursion at Railroad; exposed with a Fuji XT4 with Fujinon XF 50-140mm lens.
Northern Central Railway Christmas excursion at Railroad, Pa. Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom.
Northern Central Railway Christmas excursion crosses Main Street East in Railroad, Pa. Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

‘Well that was pretty neat!’

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Holiday Lights at Strasburg

I mounted my Nikon Z7-II firmly on my old Bogen tripod to allow for slow ISO and long exposures to make these night photos of the holiday lights at the Strasburg Rail Road.

I played with the color temperature presets to find the best combination for capturing the hues of the colored lights. The setting shown in each caption is that calculated by Adobe Lightroom using the Kelvin scale.

Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm set to 41mm, color temperature setting = 3,450 degrees Kelvin; exposure f4, 10 seconds, ISO 200.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm set to 41mm, color temperature setting = 5,300 degrees Kelvin; exposure f4, 8 seconds, ISO 200.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm set to 41mm, color temperature setting = 6,000 degrees Kelvin; exposure f4, 10 seconds, ISO 200.

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Christmas Convergence at West Cressona

I like it when I can tie several themes together. This post is special because it ties together many loose threads in one neat knot.

Catching CNJ 0-6-0 passing through the former Reading yard at West Cressona a few weeks ago is a perfect example.

Back in 2015, on a trip to photograph 113 in Christmas train service with photographer Pat Yough, I met photographer Oren Helbok.

This seasonally-themed train was working the prototype rails that had inspired my HO-Scale Wee Reading Company.

Researching the Reading in November 2021 led Kris and me to Pennsylvania, and it was a significant factor in considering our move to the state earlier this year.

In March 2022 on visit to Pennsylvania to explore the Strasburg and Harrisburg areas, Kurt Bell introduced us to author/photographer and fellow Trains correspondent Dan Cupper.

In October, Dan Cupper and I had visited West Cressona to photograph a Reading & Northern local with a pair of EMD SW8 diesels

Earlier this month, both Dan and Oren encouraged Kris and me to photograph this season’s trips with 113.

During our photography of the 113 trips, Pat Yough had phoned to say that the elusive Reading & Northern SD38 2003 was in the yard at West Cressona. (See earlier posts on Tracking the Light, including: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/reading-northern-sd38-2004/and http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/the-solomons-gap/).

After catching 113 passing Becks, Kris and I made our way to the yard, which had been a feature of my model railroad, and caught 113 working its way through the historic trackage and passing 2003.

Back in 1986, I had photographed 2003 in an earlier incarnation as Grand Trunk Western 6253, which had arrived in my old haunt of Palmer, Massachusetts on a fiber-optic cable laying train. This stuck in my mind because it was the first time I’d ever seen a six-motor diesel on the Central Vermont.

My now-defunct Wee Reading Company HO railway. This was my interpretation of West Cressona Yard.
This angle was the inspiration for the model. I first stood here in 2014. This photo was made a couple of weeks ago.
Central Railroad of New Jersey 113 works past Reading & Northern 2003 at West Cressona, PA
Reading & Northern 2014 was at the back of the Santa excursion. In 2014, I made first visits to West Cressona and Minersville to photograph 113.
And there is the elusive 2003!
Central Vermont cable laying train at Palmer, Massachusetts in August 1986. I made my first photos of Palmer from this location in September 1977.

Merry Christmas from Tracking the Light!

Serendipity at Stewartstown

Yesterday, Kris and I were wandering around southern Pennsylvania on an afternoon drive. We crossed the Susquehanna and followed back roads across farm field and through villages.

I saw a highway sign that read, “Stewartstown 7 [miles]”, and so we drove there.

Meandering into the village, I told Kris about how there used to be a tourist railway at Stewartstown. I was wondered if the tracks were still in place . . . and then . . . Lo and Behold, there was a 44-ton diesel with its headlight lit and passengers boarding an Reading Company coach at the old station.

I dare say I was flummoxed!

We went out along the line, and I set up in a forest. After a short while, I heard the bark of an airhorn, and the 44-ton diesel leading the short excursion came around the bend. It was like a dream from another time!

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Grab Shot on the New Holland Secondary

I was running errands. On my way back to the apartment, I found that Greenfield Road under Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line was closed—likely as result of flooding from the recent rains—so I detoured around via Willow Road. On my way, I heard Norfolk Southern’s New Holland local sounding for a crossing.

I approached Willow Road (in greater Lancaster) with haste. With my Lumix LX7 in hand, I pulled over in time to see theNS local freight approaching. I didn’t have much time to set the camera. So, I zoomed in, framed up my photo and exposed a series of digital images.

The first two were the best.

When I got home I discovered that the camera was set to record in JPG rather than RAW. That’s not the end of the world, but not having a RAW file greatly limits the ability to make adjustments.

In this case, it doesn’t matter much, December morning sun produces excellent lighting conditions with very good contrast and color.

I’ve scaled the best of the sequence for presentation here, but the photo is otherwise unaltered, and appears basically as it looked right out of the camera.

I was home about 5 minutes after I made this photo.

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Reading Railroad Heritage Museum

Perhaps the greatest concentration Reading Company artifacts is at the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

Thanks to our friend Dan Cupper who arranged a special visit to this citadel of railroad preservation, Dan, Rich Roberts, Kris and I were treated to personal tour.

We were met by the museum’s Rich Brodecki and introduced to a variety of the museum’s volunteers, including archivist Richard Bates. We spent nearly two hours surrounded by vestiges of the late, great Reading.

Highlights of our tour included the museum’s model railroads, especially the HO-scale interpretation of the Reading, which reminded me of what I’d hoped my own Wee Reading Company could have become. This features a coal mine and several villages.

Outside, we viewed a variety of former Reading locomotives and cars. We were given a tour of Reading business car No. 15, which is a remarkable relic of the railroad’s past, and I had the opportunity to see the cabs of a Reading Alco C-630 and General Motors NW-2.

I made these photos using my Nikon Z-series mirrorless cameras. I’m looking forward to another visit in the future.

See: www.readingrailroad.org

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CNJ 113 Santa Special at Becks

Central Railroad of New Jersey 0-6-0 113 is one of those ‘Brigadoon’ steam locomotives.

In case you haven’t seen it, ‘Brigadoon’ was a 1940s musical, later a popular film, about a mythical Scottish village that only appears once every hundred years. When I was in high-school, the local summer theatre group performed this production; I played trombone in the pitband.

I use the term ‘Brigadoon’ as an allusion to a tourist railroad (or locomotive) that makes infrequent or rare appearances. In the case of 113, this a locomotive that only makes a few trips a year, which makes it a special treat to see in action.

A couple weeks back, Kris and I made the effort to visit Minersville, Pa., to see the engine, then set up on the old Mine Hill & Schuylkill Railroad route to photograph it in action.

The Mine Hill route was part of my vision for the Wee Reading Company HO-scale railroad that I’d built when we lived in New Hampshire, which made it a special place to see this steam locomotive in action.

In 2014 and 2015, I’d traveled with photographer Pat Yough to catch 113 on this route, and the photos I’d made on those trips were part of the inspiration to make this line the heart of my model railroad.

In this respect, I’d come full circle.

The location we selected was at Becks, west of West Cressona Yard. This offered a relatively open place with good sunlight.

While trying to pick the best place to photograph, I started a conversation with an elderly woman with a house over-looking the line. She told me that she’d grown up to the sounds of idling locomotives at the St Clair roundhouse near Pottsville. “My great grand father had worked for the Reading. He had two train wrecks on a very steep part of the line and told me about many years later.”

I asked if it was ok to stand in her yard to make my photos, and she thought it would be fine. This gave me a better trailing view to picture the steam locomotive at the back of the Santa Special.

I made these views of the passing train using my Nikon Z7-II digital camera. While I was waiting for the train to pass, Pat Yough called to say that Reading & Northern 2003 (the elusive SD38 discussed in previous episodes of Tracking the Light) was in the yard at West Cressona! Stay tuned for more!

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Empty Energy Train on a Bright Day

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts on the day after Thanksgiving was a bit light on birds. Kris and I had come to see the Polar Express (published previously on Tracking the Light). However, Mass-Coastal’s empty energy train was also on its way.

I made these photos of the short freight as it rolled toward the famous Cape Cod Canal bridge.

We thought it was neat that we caught several moves through this scenic area in just under an hour. What better place to catch Mass Coastal then in this coastal Massachusetts location?

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Steam Locomotives Meet at Groffs

During the Christmas peak, Strasburg Rail Road operates half-hourly departures on its very popular run to Leaman Place.

This schedule results in steam-hauled trains meeting every half hour on the siding at Groffs near Cherry Hill Road in Strasburg, PA.

Soft winter sun on Saturday and pleasantly warm temperatures made for an ideal time to photograph the Groffs meet, so Kris and I set up just before lunchtime in anticipation of the show.

I made this photographic sequence using my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

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Holiday Lights

I’ve found that successfully photographing holiday light displays requires a bit of patience and some counter-intuitive techniques.

When I used film, a tripod was a necessary requirement. That is not true with modern digital cameras.

I’ve found that my most successful images are exposed when there’s still a hint of light in the sky. These generally look better than when colored lights are photographed against an inky black sky.

For these photos at Greenfield in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I was working with my Nikon Z7-II and 24-70mm lens.

After a little experimentation, I settled on the following settings: ISO 2500, f4, White Balance preset ‘shadow’. I allowed the camera to select the exposure in ‘A’ (auto) mode, but dialed in -0.7 exposure compensation. This was key to avoid over-exposing the lights or allowing the background to appear too bright (my goal was have a dark background, but not so dark as to lose all detail.)

I made some minor adjustments in post processing, including increased saturation, nominal brightening of shadows, and overall adjustment to exposure to better balance the contrast and color.

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Reflections at Delanson

March 19, 2005: CP Rail freight 412 roars through Delanson, New York on the Delaware & Hudson’s Albany & Susquehanna route.

I was traveling with fellow photographers Tim Doherty and Pat Yough.

We’d strayed off course, having started the morning on the west end of CSX’s old Boston & Albany, and kept pushing west.

I made this image on Fujichrome using a Nikon F3 with Nikkor 180mm telephoto lens.

To make the most of the puddle in the foreground, I took the prism of the camera and held the body close to the water level, while looking down through the fresnel focusing glass. The challenge of this unusual technique is composing the photo in reverse, since without the prism the fresnel projects a mirror image.

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Holiday Baldwin—Steam at Steamtown

Baldwin No. 26 is an 0-6-0 switcher built by the company in March 1929 and employed it as a shop switcher at its sprawling Eddystone Plant.

Today, it is an active locomotive at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Kris and I paid a brief visit to Scranton where I made these photos of old 26 adorned for the holidays.

Exposed using a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Z-series zoom set to 65mm, f4 1/25th of second, ISO 400.

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Interlude with Antique Alcos

On a recent visit to Scranton, Kris and I paused briefly at the Delaware-Lackawanna’s shop where a variety of antique diesels are kept.

I made these views of the Alco RS-3 diesels stored there. Three were former Delaware & Hudson units painted to resemble their as-built appearance.

Forty years ago, I recall visiting D&H’s Colonie Shops at Watervliet, NY, where some of these engines were maintained.

I find it remarkable that after all these years some of the old RS-3s survive.

Photos exposed using Nikon Z-series mirrror less digital cameras.

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Slowing for the Curve at Gap

Amtrak Keystone 666 was slowing for the restrictive curve at Gap, Pa.

Siemens ACS-64 electrics were fore and aft. White lights forward, red at a rear.

Working with my Nikon Z mirrorless cameras, I exposded this coming and going sequence as the train glided east toward Philadelphia.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom.
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom.
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom.

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The Solomons Gap

Previously, I’ve discussed my quest to located Reading & Northern SD38 2003, having stumbled upon R&N SD38s 2000 and 2004 during my wanders through coal country in recent years.

My desire to locate 2003 is to complete a circle that began in the summer of 1986, when I photoraphed this locomotive in a previous incarnation as Grand Trunk Western GTW 6253. This had arrived Palmer, Massachusetts leading a Central Vermont fiber-optic cable laying train.

See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/reading-northern-sd38-2004/

I find it remarable that this unusual General Motors diesel has survived all these years and now regularly operates relatively near my new home in Pennsylvania. Yet, despite various trips to photograph the Reading & Northern, the 2003 has eluded me.

My friend and fellow photographer, Pat Yough, suggested I check the yard at Pittston Junction (near Wilkes-Barre), as the 2003 might be there.

My wife, Kris, and I called into Pittston Junction on a beautiful November afternoon. There was an array of locomotives and rolling stock here. Initially, I’d spotted an SD38, and I though for a moment my quest was over.

On closer inspection, I discovered it was locomotive 2004, again. The same SD38 that I’d spotted a month earlier at Tamaqua.

There’s old 2004, another of the ex Grand Trunk former Detroit, Toledo & Western SD38s, but not the one I was hoping to photograph.

Ironically, among the other Reading & Northern equipment at Pittston Junction was a streamlined passenger car named for Solomons Gap.

My quest was to be continued . . .

This ironic symbolism of locating this serves as a double entandre for today’s post.

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Reading’s Rocket

Among the world’s oldest surviving locomotives is Reading’s Rocket. This was recently relocated from Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

It was named to honor of Robert Stepenson’s original Rocket of 1829—the locomotive that is the ancestor of most subsequent reciprocating steam locomotive designs.

Reading’s Rocket was built in England in 1838 by Braithwaite & Company and shipped across the Atlantic to the Port of Philadelphia and then by canal to Reading, Pa. It was first steamed in May of that year, and began working in passenger service in July 1838.

The locomotive later greatly altered from its original appearance and then subsequently restored to more or less its as built condition.

Thanks to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania for facilitating my photographs of this rare and antique machine.

Photos exposed using a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Z-series zoom.

Typical of early locomotives, Rocket has inside connect rod connections and inside valve gear. This vital equipment—located between the wheels of the locomotive—is key to the engines operation, but goes largely unnoticed by most observers.

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Rare Diesels Cross the Cohasset Narrows

A clear blue dome at Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts made for picture-perfect conditions.

Cape Cod Central’s Polar Express consist was led by a vintage New Haven Railroad FL9, while at the back of the train was a sister FL9 and an even rarer GP59.

The FL9 was created by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division for New Haven in the 1950s to allow passenger trains to run directly from Boston to New York City’s electrified terminals without a need for a locomotive change. Just sixty of this model were built between 1956 and 1960.

Where the FL9s have been widely photographed, EMD’s model GP59 has gone comparatively unnoticed. This is a much rarer locomotive, with just 36 built. For decades these worked for Norfolk Southern in relative obscurity.

One of these unusual locomotives was acquired by Mass-Coastal earlier this year. Finding a GP59 in passenger service is very rare and I was delighted to see this cranberry colored machine in action!

In addition to these digital photos, I also made a few color slides on Fujichrome Provia 100F. Those images remain latent on the roll of film in my Nikon F3.

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North Reading Fast Freight

Reading & Northern’s North Reading Fast Freight makes an afternoon run from the North Reading Yard to Pittston, Pa.

In October, fellow author & photographer Dan Cupper and I made a project of catching this premium train on the move.

We set up at Reynolds, near South Tamaqua, Pa., where made a series of photos.

Leading the train was the recently repainted SD40-2 number 1983 (former 3062) , that commemorates 40 years of Reading & Northern/Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern operation. This wears a shade of blue remainiscent to that on the railroad’s scheme used on Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern’s CF7s back in the 1980s.

Reading & Northern SD40-2 number 1983 leads symbol freight NRFF (North Reading Fast Freight). Exposed with a Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 70-200mm zoom lens.
Exposed with a Nikon Z7-II with Nikkor 24-70mm zoom lens.

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Ware River—May 3, 1999.

It was an overcast morning at Thorndike, Massachusetts, when I set up along Massachusetts Central’s Ware River Line to catch the northward freight.

The pair of classic EMD GPs produced a nice roar as they worked along the Ware River.

Using a borrowed Canon, I made this photo on Fujichrome Velvia (50 ISO slide film).

The soft lighting combined with Velvia’s high saturation allows for a painterly quality. This is improved by lightening the image using Adobe Lightroom.

Below are two versions of the same scan, one is lighter than the other.

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Taurus and a Puzzle-switch

Among my slides from 8 September 2008, was this image of freights at Wien Huttelsdorf, Austria.

In the afternoon, I aimed my Canon EOS3 loaded with Fujichrome Provia 100F toward an ÖBB Siemens-built Taurus electric as it hummed its acceleration song while leading a freight out of a siding and out on to the main.

In the foreground is a ‘slip-switch’ or ‘puzzle-switch’, an arrangement of rails that allows maximum route flexibility between converging routes.

For 15 years this slide sat unlabled in the dark. Working from my notes taken during my September 2008 trip, I was able to accurately label these photographs.

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No. 90—color or monochrome?

It was a dark rainy afternoon.

Kris and I wandered over to the Strasburg Rail Road to watch steam in action.

Engine No. 90, a 2-10-0, leading a Santa’s Paradise Express excursion had met another excursion at Groffs and was accelerating upgrade toward the East Strasburg station.

My handy Lumix LX7 was my camera of choice.

I expose this photo as color RAW image.

In post processing, I converted the photo to monochrome using the saturation slider control, then made a variety of adjustments to contrast and exposure to manipulate appearance.

Below are the original file, a basic black & white conversion, and my final adjusted photograph.

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25 Years Ago on Stevens Pass

In December 1998, I had a brief gig as a narrator/commentator on the Leavenworth Snow Train.

This ran with an Amtrak consist between Seattle and Leavenworth, Washington to bring excursionists to the recreated Bavarian village situated on the west slope of Stevens Pass.

On one of the trips, I made this photo of the train near Leavenworth as passengers made the tranfer to school buses to reach the nearby Bavarian village.

Amtrak F59PHi 461 on Stevens Pass with the Leavenworth Snow Train. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia 100.

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Railroad Icons of Buzzards Bay

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts is effectively the gateway to railways on Cape Cod. The immense railroad lift bridge over the Cape Cod Canal was the largest of its kind when completed in 1935.

This impressive lifting through truss is normally left in the ‘open’ position to allow the passage of water traffic. It is lowered by a bridge operator when necessary to allow a train to pass. The bridge operator is located on the bridge.

Another historic structure is the old New Haven Railroad signal tower. This cast concrete structure was built to a standard plan that was adopted at many locations on the railroad.

Interestingly, Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh also built cast concrete signal towers to this plan.

I made the following photos of these New Haven Railroad icons on our visit to Buzzards Bay in November.

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Cranberry Colored Santa Fe

Massachusetts Coastal GP7U 2006 was originally Santa Fe Railway GP7 2689.

On our visit to Cape Cod, we found this antique from 1951 basking in the late afternoon sun at the Hyannis yard.

I made a selection of photos from different angles, using different cameras and different lenses, to show how the angle of the sun and other differences can greatly affect how color is perceived and recorded.

So which is the ‘true’ color of the locomotive? There isn’t any ‘true’ color, it all depends on how you perceive it in the moment. The appearance of paint color changes with as the light changes.

Cape Cod Central’s cranberry is a difficult color in part because it is a mix a blue and red hues. Blue is greatly affected by the color of the sky; red by the sun. With a polarized sky and the sun low on the horizon the angle of view (and angle of reflection) affects the apparent color more than on a day with more diffused sunlight and the sun higher in the sky.

Complicating matters for the modern day photographer is that different camera sensors and color profiles also affect the way that color is recorded.

This is the classic three/quarter angle.Exposed using a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom. Set at 45mm, f9.0 at 1/80th of a second. ISO 80.
A slightly more broadside view: the shadow hints at the angle of the light. Exposed using a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom. Set at 40mm, f9.0 at 1/80th of a second. ISO 80. Note the relative position of the moon compared with the above image.
This photo was made just a few minutes after the above image while using my Lumix LX7; ISO 80, f4.0 1/250th second. The camera has a different sensor and color profile than the Nikon. The color balance has a greater amount of red and the saturation is higher than with the Nikon images above.
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series zoom set to 160mm. ISO 100 f9.0 1/320th of a second .Back lighting with low sun produces a ‘glint’ effect that reflects a portion of the sunlight back toward the camera. This has the effect of desaturating the color of the equipment. While we can still see the cranberry coloring on the locomotive, it is significantly subdued compared with the images made using over the shoulder light. This is partially the result of having to ‘stop down’ (underexpose) to compensate for the brighter ‘glint’ light.
This is a tighter variation exposed using a longer focal length setting on the zoom lens (200mm compared with 160mm in the image above). Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series zoom, ISO 100 f9.0 1/320th of a second.

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Vienna: Rathausplatz-Burgtheater

On the evening of 8 September 2008, I was on a whirlwind tour of Hapsburg cities with fellow photographer Denis McCabe.

Working with a Canon EOS-3 loaded with Provia 100F, I made this low-angle photo of a Ring tram paused at the Rathausplatz-Burgtheater stop.

At the time, I carried a compact mini Gitzo tripod that was well suited to this type of urban photography.

I like the contrast of the opulent Hapsburg architecture with the drain-grate in the foreground.

Fujichrome Provia 100F was an ideal choice for this type of night photography because the film incorporates filtration layers designed to minimize the color spikes caused by various types of artificial light.

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On the Beet: Wellingtonbridge 18 Years Ago

On 2 December 2005, clouds had given way to a burst of late afternoon sun at Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford as sugarbeet was being loaded into the wagons that would take them by rail to Mallow, County Cork.

What this photo cannot convey is the earthy scent of the freshly harvested beet and the ‘clop clop clop’ sounds of the beet being loaded.

Below are two versions of the Fujichrome slide scan. The top is the raw unmodified scan. The bottom is my adjusted JPG of the same scan. I aimed to make a more pleasing photo by lowering contrast, lightening shadow areas, and warming the color temperature

Since this photo was made; the beet traffic ended (long story), the beet wagons were scrapped, and later the railway through Wellingtonbridge was closed to regular traffic. However, old Irish Rail 134, one of 15 Class 121-GM diesels, was preserved and has since been restored and repainted into its as-built gray and yellow livery.

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