About briansolomon1

Author of more than 50 books on railways, photography, and Ireland. Brian divides his time between the United States and Ireland, and frequently travels across Europe and North America.

Through the Streets of Brussels.

My experience with the Brussels tram network spans nearly twenty years. This fascinating railway network involves a complex route structure with lots of track and several different types of trams.

Street photography has its fair share of challenges. Automobiles and pedestrians mingle with trams in ways that make it difficult to set up shots.

Further complicating matters is the sedate shades of silver and bronze now favoured by STIB (the transit operator), which I find difficult to photograph satisfactorily.

However, in addition to the regular tram livery are a large number of specially painted advertising trams and a handful of old PCCs in the earlier yellow livery, which certainly add a bit of colour to the fleet.

These photos were all exposed during one afternoon in late March 2015.

STIB_25_Tram_near_Maiser-Patrie-Vaderland_Brussels_P1180929

STIB_25_Tram_near_Maiser_Brussels_P1180938

STIB_T2000_Tram_DeVinci_Brussels_P1180948

STIB_55_Tram_crossing_dual_carriageway_DeVinci_Brussels_P1180958STIB_92_Tram_and_yellow_PCC_at_Scharbeek_Brussels_P1180974

STIB_Nostalgie_Tram_Station_at_Schaerbeek_P1180997

STIB_92_Tram_near_Scharbeek_Brussels_P1180965

STIB_interior_P1190017

STIB_red_Tram_92_route_P1190018

STIB_Route_81_PCC_Janson_Brussels_P1190022

STIB_Route_97_PCC_Janson_Brussels_P1190032

STIB_Route_81_PCC_near_Midi_station_Brussels_P1190039

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Irish Rail 201s at Ballybrophy—a study in colour and light.

It was a typical late summer’s day at the top of Ballybrophy Bank on Irish Rail’s Dublin-Cork mainline in 2006.

I was expecting a procession of passenger trains down road (toward Cork). At the time there was still a good variety of intercity passenger stock and Irish Rail’s 201s were working in four different liveries. This was an opportunity to show the passage of trains.

Here, I’ve presented variation on a theme. I’d mounted my Nikon F3 with 105mm lens on Manfrotto 190PRO tripod. I kept the essential framing the same for each passing train, while making necessary changes to exposure reflecting the changes in light.

Frame 1: Irish Rail 220 with Cravens. Exposed on Sensia 100 with a Nikon F3 with 105mm lens. Exposure calculated with a Minolta Mark IV light meter. Image scanned with an Epson V500, other than scaling for internet presentation, I’ve made no modifications to colour, contrast or exposure.

Frame 1: Irish Rail 220 with Cravens. Exposed on Sensia 100 with a Nikon F3 with 105mm lens. Exposure calculated with a Minolta Mark IV light meter. Image scanned with an Epson V500, other than scaling for internet presentation, I’ve made no modifications to colour, contrast or exposure.

Frame 3, Enterprise painted 206 leads Mark IIIs. Exposed on Sensia 100 with a Nikon F3 with 105mm lens. Exposure calculated with a Minolta Mark IV light meter. Image scanned with an Epson V500, other than scaling for internet presentation, I’ve made no modifications to colour, contrast or exposure.

Frame 3, Enterprise painted 206 leads Mark 3s. Exposed on Sensia 100 with a Nikon F3 with 105mm lens. Exposure calculated with a Minolta Mark IV light meter. Image scanned with an Epson V500, other than scaling for internet presentation, I’ve made no modifications to colour, contrast or exposure.

Frame 5, Irish Rail 211 leads Mark 3s. Exposed on Sensia 100 with a Nikon F3 with 105mm lens. Exposure calculated with a Minolta Mark IV light meter. Image scanned with an Epson V500, other than scaling for internet presentation, I’ve made no modifications to colour, contrast or exposure.

Frame 5, Irish Rail 211 leads Mark 3s. Exposed on Sensia 100 with a Nikon F3 with 105mm lens. Exposure calculated with a Minolta Mark IV light meter. Image scanned with an Epson V500, other than scaling for internet presentation, I’ve made no modifications to colour, contrast or exposure.

Frame 6, Irish Rail 216 leads Mark 3s. Exposed on Sensia 100 with a Nikon F3 with 105mm lens. Exposure calculated with a Minolta Mark IV light meter. Image scanned with an Epson V500, other than scaling for internet presentation, I’ve made no modifications to colour, contrast or exposure.

Frame 6, Irish Rail 216 leads Mark 3s. Exposed on Sensia 100 with a Nikon F3 with 105mm lens. Exposure calculated with a Minolta Mark IV light meter. Image scanned with an Epson V500, other than scaling for internet presentation, I’ve made no modifications to colour, contrast or exposure.

Notice how the quality of light and the position of the train changes the scene.

Normally when photographing moving trains, I’d adjust my framing, angle and the focal length of the lens to reflect changes in lighting, length of train, and the colour/shape of the leading engine as it specifically relates to background and foreground elements.

The effects of sunlight and contrast make a significant difference in the end result.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Steam, Diesel and Electric at Bray Head on Easter Monday.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland operated its annual Dublin-Wicklow Easter Eggspress on Easter Monday.

Irish Rail 218 rests with the RPSI Cravens under the shed at Connolly Station on Easter Monday. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Irish Rail 218 rests with the RPSI Cravens under the shed at Connolly Station on Easter Monday. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Last year I traveled on the train. See my earlier post: Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Easter Eggspress.

This year, I opted to take the DART to Bray and hike the cliff-walk around the head to make these views.

Despite clear skies and warm spring weather, wafting sea fog made for a challenging photographic conditions.

Irish Rail's DART suburban service at Brandy Hole, Bray Head on Monday 6 April 2015. Fuji X-T1 digital photograph.

Irish Rail’s DART suburban service at Brandy Hole, Bray Head on Monday 6 April 2015. Fuji X-T1 digital photograph.

I made a point of photographing DART electric trains and Irish Rail’s intercity diesel railcars while in position for the steam special.

Shortly before locomotive 461 emerged from the tunnels near Brandy Hole, a cloud of fog rose to add a bit of atmosphere.

Sea fog made for atmospheric images.

Sea fog made for atmospheric images.

A DART electric skirts the cliffs at Bray Head. Fuji XT-1.

A DART electric skirts the cliffs at Bray Head. Fuji XT-1.

Fog obscures the tunnels at Bray Head as the Easter Eggspress makes its way south toward Wicklow. Fuji X-T1 digital photograph.

Fog obscures the tunnels at Bray Head as the Easter Eggspress makes its way south toward Wicklow. Fuji X-T1 digital photograph.

By the time engine 461 reached the optimal spot for photography it was in bright sun. Fuji XT-1 photograph.

By the time engine 461 reached the optimal spot for photography it was in bright sun. Fuji XT-1 photograph. I exposed some wide-angle views on colour slide film from this spot that take in the whole scene. 

Steam, smoke and sea mist mark the passing of 461 at Bray Head.

Steam, smoke and sea mist mark the passing of 461 at Bray Head.

An Irish Rail ICR from Rosslare works toward Dublin.

An Irish Rail ICR from Rosslare works toward Dublin.

In addition to these digital photographs, I exposed a series of 35mm colour slides on Provia 100F using my Canon EOS-3 with 40mm pancake lens. The mix of stunning scenery, wafting fog and bright sun made for a spectacular backdrop for the annual special.

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Gent in Six Photos

The other day I posted a selection of images at Gent, Belgium. I made dozens of photos on my recent visit in late March 2015 and I thought I’d post a few more of the most interesting images.

Gent Lijn 24 PCC with castle. Lumix LX7 photo.

Gent Lijn 24 PCC with castle. Lumix LX7 photo.

Fuji X-T1 photo at Gent, Belgium.

Fuji X-T1 photo at Gent, Belgium.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

View from the 22. Lumix LX7 photo.

View from the 22. Lumix LX7 photo.

Brand new low-floor tram on the streets of Gent. Lumix LX7 photo.

Brand new low-floor tram on the streets of Gent. Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Busy Morning in Dublin—April 9, 2015.

A rare sunny day in Dublin. So much for ‘April Showers’ and whatnot.

The telegraph comes to life: ‘The LWR appears ready to depart North Wall.’ Tea cup abandoned mid brew. A sprint to the usual spot.

ICR’s everywhere.

Finally Irish Rail 072 appears with the empty long welded rail train and is blocked at Islandbridge Junction.

Irish Rail ICRs (Intercity Railcars) are making their daily transfer from Connolly to Inchicore. Where's the LWR? Did I miss it? Patience . . .

Irish Rail ICRs (Intercity Railcars) are making their daily transfer from Connolly to Inchicore. Where’s the LWR? Did I miss it? Patience . . .

Venerable Irish Rail 072 (an old General Motors diesel electric with many miles on it) leads the empty LWR (long welded rail train) at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station in Dublin.

Venerable Irish Rail 072 (an old General Motors diesel electric with many miles on it) leads the empty LWR (long welded rail train) at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station in Dublin.

Photos made, and I march down to Heuston Station, board a LUAS tram for Spencer Dock, and walk toward the road bridge at the North Wall. A 201 sounds its horn. I pick up my pace and arrive in time to catch Irish 218 pulling forward with the day’s IWT Liner (for Ballina).

As I walk briskly up the foot path I fish out my X-T1, thumbing the 'on' switch and removing the lens cap. When i get to the parapet of the bridge the IWT is already on the move. Not a minute wasted!

As I walk briskly up the foot path I fish out my X-T1, thumbing the ‘on’ switch and removing the lens cap. When i get to the parapet of the bridge the IWT is already on the move. Not a minute wasted!

The IWT liner pulls forward to Church Road Cabin (now closed).

The IWT liner pulls forward to Church Road Cabin (now closed).

In the interval, the telegraph relays to me that the freshly painted Irish Rail 087 is reported on the Tara Mines-Dublin zinc train. On the previous day, the Tara Mines arrived at the North Wall at 11:40 am.

I keep a sharp eye on the old Great Northern line in the distance. A procession of passenger trains roll up and down the line. Finally, the glimmer of a gray 071. It’s the Tara Mines.

Freshly pained 087 makes its appearance with the laden Tara Mines train from Navan.

Freshly painted 087 makes its appearance with the laden Tara Mines train from Navan.

Freshly pained 087  with the laden Tara Mines train at Dublin's North Wall yard.

Freshly painted 087 with the laden Tara Mines train at Dublin’s North Wall yard.

Irish_Rail_087_w_Tara_Minesw_MK3s_heading_into_Dublin_Port_DSCF5955

Success!

All photos exposed with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera and scaled for internet presentation.

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Irish Rail Freshly Painted 087 at Cherryville Junction

Good Friday 2015 (April 3rd):

After four years out of traffic, Irish Rail class 071 number 087 is back! A visit to Cherryville Junction resulted in these sunlit photographs of the classic locomotive leading the DFDS Liner (a container that runs from Waterford to Ballina).

I exposed this sequence of images using my Fuji Film X-T1. In addition, I made a colour slide using Fuji Provia 100F in my old Nikon F3 with 50mm.

Freshly painted Irish Rail 087 leads the container pocket wagons working as the DFDS Liner on April 3, 2015. The old signal cabin at Cherryville Junction is many years out of service.

Freshly painted Irish Rail 087 leads the container pocket wagons working as the DFDS Liner on April 3, 2015. The old signal cabin at Cherryville Junction is many years out of service.

Trailing view at Cherryville Junction.

Trailing view at Cherryville Junction.

The DFDS Liner with container pocket wagons represents one of the rarest revenue trains in Ireland.

The DFDS Liner with container pocket wagons represents one of the rarest revenue trains in Ireland.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Good Friday at Kildare.

It’s become a tradition to visit Kildare on Good Friday. This day has a history of seeing a good number of freights as well as passenger trains.

Kildare offers a good place to photograph freights running between Waterford and Ballina, since trains need to reverse direction here owing to the lack of a direct connection in the westward direction at Cherryville Junction.

On Good Friday, April 3, 2015, there was the added bonus of a locomotive exchange for the laden timber. Locomotive 071 (the class leader) had come down from Inchicore in Dublin and waited for the arrival of the timber from Ballina (with engine 078).

Although the weather wasn’t the best, I had ample opportunity for photographs. All of these images were exposed between 10:48 and 12:08 am using my Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

A Dublin bound ICR takes the passing loop at Kildare at 0948. A down ICR is making its station stop.

A Dublin bound ICR takes the passing loop at Kildare at 10:48 am. A down ICR is making its station stop. Engine 071 waits on the up main.

The down ICR accelerates away from Kildare.

The down ICR accelerates away from Kildare.

At 10:02 Irish Rail 075 passes with the down IWT liner (Dublin to Ballina).

At 10:57 am Irish Rail 075 passes with the down IWT liner (Dublin to Ballina).

Irish Rail 071 pulls forward to run through the crossovers at the west end of the station to allow the laden timber to pull into the station.

Irish Rail 071 pulls forward to run through the crossovers at the west end of the station to allow the laden timber to pull into the station.

The laden timber was holding west of the station waiting for the light engine to pull forward.

The laden timber was holding west of the station waiting for the light engine to pull forward.

Here the timber is pulling forward at 10:03 am. Locomotive 071 will couple on to the Waterford-end of the train.

Here the timber is pulling forward at 11:03 am. Locomotive 071 will couple on to the Waterford-end of the train.

At 10:21 the up Mark 4 from Cork approaches Kildare.

At 11:21 the up Mark 4 from Cork approaches Kildare.

At 10:29 locomotive 221 with the 10 am Dublin-Cork Mark4 passes Kildare. The laden timber holds on the up-road waiting for a path.

At 11:29 locomotive 221 with the 11 am Dublin-Cork Mark4 passes Kildare. The laden timber holds on the up-road waiting for a path.

An up-road ICR takes the loop at 10:31 am.

An up-road ICR takes the loop at 11:31 am.

Telephoto view of the same up-road ICR.

Telephoto view of the same up-road ICR.

Finally, after the passage of several more passenger trains, the laden timber departs Kildare, taking the crossover from uproad to downroad. The time was 10:58 am.

Finally, after the passage of several more passenger trains, the laden timber departs Kildare, taking the crossover from uproad to downroad. The time was 11:58 am.

Locomotive 219 leads the up IWT liner at 12:08 pm.

Locomotive 219 leads the up IWT liner at 12:08 pm.

Tomorrow: Good Friday highlight, a freshly painted locomotive in freight service at Cherryville Junction.

 Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Gent Revisited—Trams, Castles and Cobble Stones

At the end of March 2015, I furthered my exploration of Gent, Belgium, a small city that features a fascinating narrow-gauge tram network operated by Lijn.

This is an enchanting place to wander around and make photographs.

PCC viewed through castle gate. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

PCC viewed through castle gate. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

PCC detail. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

PCC detail. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

Trams operate on frequent intervals on several intertwined routes with sections of single track, numerous level crossings, and a seemingly endless back drop of classic architecture.

Trams serve the main railway station (Gent Sint Pieters) making possible an all rail journey from myriad points across Europe. I arrived from Brussels on an IC train.

I’ve previously featured Gent in a pair of Tracking the Light posts published on August 27 and 28, 2013. See: Trams of Gent—Part 1 and Trams of Gent Part 2

Tram with castle. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

Tram with castle. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

Tram with castle. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

Tram with castle. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

More soon!

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Modern-1980s Style.

Exposed on March 31, 2015 using a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed on March 31, 2015 using a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

This juxtaposition of a French high-speed TGV against Lego-block architecture fulfills a vision of 1980s modern style. After three decades how well does it hold up?

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Burlington Northern 1991 at Beach, North Dakota.

Desert Storm—Badlands Storm.

Exposed on Fujichrome 100 with my Nikkormatt FTN with a Nikkor f4 200mm lens, then popped off a second photo with my Nikon F3T loaded with Kodachrome. Scanned with an Epson V600 at 4800 dpi, scaled in Photoshop and reduced for internet presentation.

Exposed on Fujichrome 100 with my Nikkormatt FTN with a Nikkor f4 200mm lens, then popped off a second photo with my Nikon F3T loaded with Kodachrome. Scanned with an Epson V600 at 4800 dpi, scaled in Photoshop and reduced for internet presentation.

There’s no beach here. I stood on the edge of the Badlands looking east as a violent thunderstorm raged over the Missouri Valley near Mandan, North Dakota.

The sun was near the horizon as the last of its golden rays filtered across the open landscape. Lightning flashed in the distance.

This had been Yellowstone country in Northern Pacific days: massive 2-8-8-4s were built to move freight across the difficult undulating railroad east of Glendive, Montana.

No Yellowstones for me. By 1994, they were but a distant vision, all scrapped before I was born.

A headlight appears on the horizon. What’s this? A westward empty coal train returning to Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. An unusual white-faced locomotive in the lead.

This was Burlington Northern SD60M 1991, a specially painted to commemorate Operation Desert Storm.

This is among my favorite photographs from my big 1994 trip that began in January near Rochester, New York and ended six months later at Waukesha, Wisconsin.

I’ve made good use of this photo over the years. It appeared in Pacific RailNews 1994 Annual Rails West and again in my book The American Diesel Locomotive published by MBI in 2000.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

April 8, 1995, Rochelle, Illinois.

It was twenty years ago today, I exposed this color slide of Burlington Northern grain hoppers from across a cornfield near Rochelle, Illinois.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Nikon F3T fitted with a Nikkor 200mm lens.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Nikon F3T fitted with a Nikkor 200mm lens.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Five Years Ago-Double-Headed Electrics Lead Ore Over the Bullay Bridge.

Some Irish friends and I spent a week in the Mosel and Rhein Valley regions to photograph special trips organized for the 175th anniversary of German railways.

On this day, April 7, 2010, I exposed this view of a double-headed iron ore train crossing the Mosel on the big bridge at Bullay.

Exposed at Bullay, Germany with my Lumix LX-3.

Exposed at Bullay, Germany with my Lumix LX-3.

Sometimes, as photos age, the ordinary train you caught while waiting, seems more interesting than the extraordinary train that you’d set out to capture in the first place!

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Telephoto view at Zoom.

My title may seem strange but it is descriptive: On March 29th, 2015, I visited the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) station at Bergen op Zoom.

Telephoto photo exposed at Zoom.

Telephoto photo exposed at Zoom.

Working with my Fuji X-T1 fitted with an 18-135mm zoom lens (set to its maximum telephoto setting), I made this photo of an NS Verlengd InterRegio Materieel (VIRM) double-deck electric multiple unit arriving at the station.

Even on Sunday, NS provides a half-hour interval passenger service to Bergen op Zoom. The trains are clean, reliable and well patronized.

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

A Dozen New Photos: Antwerpen Centraal‑Part 2.

Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Among my recent book projects is an illustrated examination of railway station architecture to be published by Voyageur Press later this year. This is an excerpt of my text:

Today’s Antwerpen-Centraal is a blend of architect Louis de la Censerie’s elaborate and elegantly adorned station building and spacious balloon-style shed with two modern new levels. The lowest level provides through connections to the north. The original station opened in 1898, while the improved and expanded modern terminal reopened in 2007.

I revisited this railway wonder of the modern world at the end of March 2015. Yesterday I presented a few interpretive images, today I present an more literal collection of images.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Fuji X-T1 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerp Central Station—Lumix LX7 photo.

Antwerpen_Centraal_station_325_DSCF4687

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Antwerpen Centraal—Reflections March 2015.

Both in the literal and the metaphorical: these photos depict my recent visit to one of Europe’s most elegant railway terminals.

Exposed in Antwerp, Belgium with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed in Antwerp, Belgium with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed in Antwerp, Belgium with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed in Antwerp, Belgium with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed in Antwerp, Belgium with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed in Antwerp, Belgium with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed in Antwerp, Belgium with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed in Antwerp, Belgium with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

La Hulpe Station at Night, March 2015.

On an evening last week, using my Lumix LX-7, I exposed this time exposure of Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges’s (Belgian National Railways or SNCB) Gare de La Hulpe.

This railway line is being transformed from double track mainline line to a quad track line to facilitate an improved suburban service akin to the Paris RER.

Exposed using a Panasonic Lumix LX7 set at ISO 80 at f1.7 for 5 seconds.

Exposed using a Panasonic Lumix LX7 set at ISO 80 at f1.7 for 5 seconds.

To make this image, I rested the camera on the bridge railing, exposed a pair of trial exposures to gauge the lighting conditions, then set the camera (shutter speed and aperture) manually to allow for sufficient exposure of the sky and shadow areas.

As previously mentioned on Tracking the Light, to make successful night photos it is important to give the scene sufficient exposure (usually 2/3s of a stop more than allocated by many built-in camera meter settings), while keep the camera steady for the duration of the exposure. Keeping flare to a minimum is also helpful.

See related articles:

Charleroi to La Hulpe. 

Lumix LX-3—part 2: Existing Light Digital Night Shots.

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Sunrise on the former Chicago & North Western.

I was traveling with Dean Sauvola. Just before sunrise on October 22, 1995 we paused at a favorite grade crossing near Colo, Iowa where I made this image (among others).

Rails to the horizon offer the classic textbook illustration of perspective.

Exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikkormatt FTN with 28mm Nikkor AF lens (focused manually). Exposure calculated with a hand-held Sekonic Studio Deluxe photo cell.

Exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikkormatt FTN with 28mm Nikkor AF lens (focused manually). Exposure calculated with a hand-held Sekonic Studio Deluxe photo cell.

A vertically cropped version of this image was featured in August 2008 TRAINS Magazine, and again at the end of a special TRAINS issue commemorating photography.

 Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

View from Rockville Bridge, 1992.

Here’s another lesson in minimalism. In November 1992, while traveling from Hoboken to Pittsburgh with my father and Clark Johnson Jr., I exposed this Kodachrome slide from the rear platform of private car Caritas that was crossing the former Pennsylvania Railroad stone arched Rockville Bridge.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikon F3T with 35mm perspective control lens. I metered for the sun and glint on the side of the passenger cars and allowed the shadow areas to slip into darkness. There’s just a hint of the Susquehanna River flowing below the bridge and the silhouette of the hills on the far side of the river.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikon F3T with 35mm perspective control lens. I metered for the sun and glint on the side of the passenger cars and allowed the shadow areas to slip into darkness. There’s just a hint of the Susquehanna River flowing below the bridge and the silhouette of the hills on the far side of the river.

 

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Boeing’s on the Streets of San Francisco.

In October 1990, Boeing-Vertol light rail vehicles pass on Carl Street, just west of the Sunset Tunnel.

I exposed this photo on Kodachrome 25 slide film with my Nikon F3T and an f4.0 200mm Nikkor telephoto.

I exposed this photo on Kodachrome 25 slide film with my Nikon F3T and an f4.0 200mm Nikkor telephoto.

My intent was to show the streetcars against a backdrop of San Francisco gingerbread Victorian houses. Selecting the optimal exposure was tricky owing to the low-angle of the sun. I wanted to maintain the bright highlights without risk of under exposing the background.

Although it is tempting in these situations to expose for the highlights, in this case I didn’t want the unnatural ‘nightmare’ effect caused by surreal dark background.

Unlike today, back then I’d rely largely on my handheld Sekonic meter to gauge exposure. Although the F3T had a built in meter, I never found this to be sufficiently accurate to maintain consistent exposures with slide film.

Every morning Tracking the Light posts new material.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Extra Post: Sunset near Bergen op Zoom

A visit to the Netherlands this evening (29 March 2015) yielded this silhouette of an NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) train at sunset west of Bergen op Zoom.

NS_train_at_sunset_near_Bergen_op_Zoom_P1180584

Lumix LX7 view: Sunset on March 29, 2015 a few miles southwest of Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands. I made a similar image on Fujichrome using my Canon EOS 3 with 40mm lens.

 

Canadian National Station at Val Royal.

This scene has completely changed since I made this photograph on Kodachrome in January 11, 1993. Tom Carver and I had taken a trip to Montreal to catch six-motor MLW Locomotives on the move.

Between photographing these diesels, we spent time along Canadian National’s electrified suburban lines.

In the mid-1990s, the route was re-electrified, new equipment was procured and train operation was conveyed from CN to a regional public authority called Société de Transport la Communauté Urbaine de Montreal.

The trackage arrangement at Val Royal was simplified and the station renamed Bois Franc.

January 11, 1993, Val Royal, Montreal.

January 11, 1993, Val Royal, Montreal.

What I recall most about the morning of this photograph was the bitter cold and the difficulties of manipulating my Nikon F3T with numb hands.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Antes Fort, Pennsylvania.

In March 2001, Mike Gardner and I were poised to photograph a Norfolk Southern coal train destined for Strawberry Ridge, Pennsylvania.

As dramatic clouds crossed the sky, I exposed this black & white photograph with my Rolleiflex Model T. A few minutes later I made colour slides of the coal train using my Nikon N90S.

Antes-Fort-PA-March-2001-Br

I like the way the curve of the tracks offers a near continuation of the curve formed by the tops of the trees on the left.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Cal-Train Terminal—4th & Townsend, San Francisco.

I made this image at dusk on August 11, 2009. For me it represents an exercise in symmetry and minimalism.

CalTrain-terminal-SF-CA-Aug

It could be the cover photo for a Sci-Fi thriller. Whatever works.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Altamont, Maryland

On this clouded October morning in 2002, I focused on the old Baltimore & Ohio marker at the top of the famed Seventeen Mile Grade.

Exposed on black & white film using a Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss Tessar lens.

Exposed on black & white film using a Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss Tessar lens.

B&O’s massive EM-1 articulateds had passed this marker. This day it was CSX’s General Electric AC4400s leading an eastward loaded coal train.

Note the spelling on the sign.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Locomotive Geometry: Alco C-430

Finding an interesting locomotive is always an opportunity for photography. Finding a rare locomotive in crisp October sunshine is a great opportunity!

In October 2008, Pat Yough, Tim Doherty and I found Western New York & Pennsylvania Alco C-430 number 430 at the Olean Yard in Allegany, New York.

I think this locomotive has had more owners than I’ve had automobiles. It began as one of ten C-430s on New York Central, giving that railroad more of this rare model than all the other buyers of the type put together.

The C-430 is an attractive machine and I used the sunshine to good advantage. Here are a few of the studies I made of 430 on that bright morning.

Exposed on Fujichrome with a Canon EOS-3 with 100-400mm zoom lens.

Exposed on Fujichrome with a Canon EOS-3 with 100-400mm zoom lens.

WNY&PA_430_Allegheny_Yard_Olean_NY_11Oct2008_Brian_Solomon_193240

430 retains its classification lamps, a vestige of train-order rules that no longer have relevance to operations.

WNY&PA_430_Allegheny_Yard_Olean_NY_11Oct2008_Brian_Solomon_193241

WNY&PA_430_Allegheny_Yard_Olean_NY_11Oct2008_Brian_Solomon_193239

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

CSX Emerges from the Shadows—Middlefield, Massachusetts.

On the afternoon of July 1, 2011, I heard a heavy westward freight ascending Washington Hill near the old Middlefield, Station.

It’s been a long time since there was a station here, but the site remains a dramatic place to photograph the old Boston & Albany line. I got into position for some photography. Nice afternoon sun and inky shadows; what’s the best way to work this?

Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens set to 135mm; 200 ISO, f7.1 at 1/500th of a second.

Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens set to 135mm; 200 ISO, f7.1 at 1/500th of a second. I set the exposure manually, using a meter reading off the ballast. If I’d let the camera program select the exposure, it would have likely over-exposed the front of the locomotive (in other words the front of the engine would appear too light.) The reason for this is simple; the camera meter program would have tried to balance the scene for the dark shadows. Here experience with the equipment, knowledge of the location and an appreciation for light and shade allowed for correct exposure of the scene.

To accentuate the effect of the grade, I used a telephoto perspective, while setting my focus on the front of the locomotive. I waited for the right moment when it was in full sun.

I made a sequence of images, but for me this one best captures the drama of the scene.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Steam in the Gullet; Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Marble City

Sunday Morning, March 22, 2015: I waited patiently at the Con Colbert Road near the top of the Gullet—the cutting west of Islandbridge Junction in Dublin.

In the distance I could see the smoke from the locomotive; it was blocked outside of Heuston Station waiting for a path.

Up and down regular passenger trains gave me an opportunity to check my focus and exposures.

The 10am Dublin-Cork passenger train was led by Irish Rail class 201 number 215. A perfect subject with which to check focus and exposure.

The 10am Dublin-Cork passenger train was led by Irish Rail class 201 number 215. A perfect subject with which to check focus and exposure.

A following Inter City Railcar gave me another test subject. I was mindful that the block front of steam locomotive 461 would result in different exposure considerations than the bright yellow front of the ICR.

A following Inter City Railcar gave me another test subject. I was mindful that the block front of steam locomotive 461 would result in different exposure considerations than the bright yellow front of the ICR.

Past experience photographing steam locomotives in contrasty light has taught me that auto focus systems can easily get confused by wafting steam and smoke. The last thing I need is for the camera to be ‘hunting for focus’ during the moment of peak drama.

I switched my Fuji X-T1 to manual focus and pre-selected a focus point. The beauty of a digital camera is the ability to inspect results on site.

If I planned this correctly, dappled light and direct backlighting would help illuminate the smoke.

Finally, the bark of the locomotive and a volcanic display of exhaust. The camera was set in ‘turbo flutter’ (continuous high) and as 461 worked its way up the Gullet I exposed several strategically timed bursts of images.

Finally, an impressive display of steam and smoke! Locomotive driver Ken Fox works engine 461 upgrade. Fuji X-T1 with 135mm lens.

Finally, an impressive display of steam and smoke! Locomotive driver Ken Fox works engine 461 upgrade. Fuji X-T1 with 135mm lens.

RPSI_461_Marble_City_in_gullet_DSCF4306

This tighter view required a nominal focus adjustment at the last instant. Success!

This tighter view required a nominal focus adjustment at the last instant. Success!

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Heeding a prophecy of doom: Irish Rail 129 at Wellingtonbridge, Co. Wexford.

December 23, 2002 was a cold, wet, dark and mucky; in other words, typical sugar beet weather.

We were visiting the cabin at Wellingtonbridge, watching the machine load beet into ancient-looking four-wheel corrugated wagons. A steady ‘thump, thump, thump’ as the roots plopped into the wagons.

It wasn’t great for photography. But the driver of the laden beet (soon to depart Wellingtonbridge for Mallow, Co. Cork) said to me, ‘Get your photos now, this is all going away . . .’

Sadly, his prophecy came true. Old 129, a class 121 diesel built by General Motors at La Grange, Illinois in 1961, was cut up for scrap only a few months after I exposed this black & white photograph.

Exposed on black & white film with a Rolleiflex Model T.

Exposed on black & white film with a Rolleiflex Model T.

 

Irish Rail’s sugar beet traffic carried on for a few more years (three more than I thought it would). The last laden beet train departed Wellingtonbridge in January 2006. Afterwards, it was a downward spiral. Today, the wagons and loading machine are gone; the cabin is closed and the line rusty.

Yet, in the intervening months and years, I returned dozens of times, and made photos at all times of day and night. By the time the last beet train turned a wheel, I’d made hundreds of images of operation.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Topped and Tailed HOBS in the Gullet.

Or, if you prefer: locomotives fore and aft on a ballast train in the cutting.

The three-track cutting extending from Islandbridge Junction up the grade toward Inchicore in Dublin is known as “the Gullet”.

Permanent way works (track maintenance) on Irish Rail’s Cork line on Saturday March 21, 2015, required operation of HOBS (high output ballast system) trains with locomotives at both ends.

While topped and tailed operations are quite common in some countries, these have been very unusual in Ireland in modern times.

I made several views of this train with an aim to emphasize the locomotives at both ends.

Canon X-T1 image; contrast and exposure adjust in post processing.

Fuji Film X-T1 digital image; contrast and exposure adjust in post processing.

Looking west.

Looking west.

Irish_Rail-088_w_tail_lamps_on_back_of_HOBS_in_Gullet2_DSCF4247

These images were exposed using my Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera. Among the features of this camera is an adjustable fold down rear-view display that allows me hold the camera at arms length over a wall. A built in level feature is especially useful in these circumstances.

For more about the HOBS see my earlier post: Irish Rail Ballast Train—July 28, 2014.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Canadian National Caboose passing Monson Semaphore.

This old upper quadrant semaphore was located in Monson, Massachusetts about a mile from the Palmer diamond. It served as a fixed distant to the absolute signal protecting the crossing and was always in the diagonal position indicating ‘approach’.

I made this image on July 20, 1986 of a northward Central Vermont freight (probably job 562).

Purists may note that Canadian National referred to its cabooses as ‘Vans’. More relevant was that by this date, cabooses were becoming unusual in New England. Conrail began caboose-less operation on through freights a few years earlier.

Exposed on July 20, 1986 using a Rolleiflex Model T with ‘Super slide’ insert to make for a roughly 645-size black & white negative.

Exposed on July 20, 1986 using a Rolleiflex Model T with ‘Super slide’ insert to make for a roughly 645-size black & white negative.

Even rarer in New England were semaphores. Yet this one survived until very recently, when Central Vermont successor New England Central finally replaced it with a color-light. See earlier post: Monson Semaphore Challenge.

A minor point regarding this composition; I’d released the shutter a moment too soon, and so the left-hand back of the caboose visually intersects with the semaphore ladder. This annoys me. Sometimes I like a bit of visual tension in an image, but in this case it doesn’t work.

 

Not that I can go back and try it again, as much as I’d like to!

 

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Eclipsed.

Or I should say clouded. This morning a solar eclipse occurred. So I understand. Heavy cloud prevailed at the beginning of the eclipse in Dublin. I walked along the Liffey hoping to glimpse this cosmic event.

I admit it did get rather dim. I made a variety of cloudy day images.

During the darkest part of the eclipse, I made this view of Grattan Bridge. Could be an ordinary dull day.

During the darkest part of the eclipse, I made this view of Grattan Bridge. Could be an ordinary dull day.

Panoramic view of the River Liffey during the darkest moments of the eclipse.

Panoramic view of the River Liffey during the darkest moments of the eclipse.

I wasn't the only one on Grattan Bridge hoping for a peak at the sun. Panoramic view.

I wasn’t the only one on Grattan Bridge hoping for a peak at the sun. Panoramic view.

About 10am, thinking I’d missed the event, I gave up and went for breakfast. I’m told that about that time the clouds parted and the sun (with moon shadow) made a fleeting appearance in the sky over Dublin. Ironically I watched the remainder of the event on Sky News in the cafe where I enjoyed a full Irish breakfast.

Wrong location, bad luck, and poor timing.

(Apparently they had a great view on the Faroe Islands.)

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Classic Kodachrome: Montreal-built at State Line Crossing.

In the mid-1980s, Canadian National Railway’s Montreal Locomotive Works M-420s were commonly operated on its Central Vermont Railway subsidiary.

It might seem odd in retrospect, but I wasn’t keen on these peculiar locomotives when they were common. Although they were derived from an Alco design, and I was big fan of Alco, I thought they were ugly and not ‘real’ Alcos. I much preferred Central Vermont’s own Alco RS-11s.

  Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film with a Leica 3A fitted with a 65mm Elmar using a Visoflex.

June 25, 1986, State Line Crossing, Monson, Massachusets. Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film with a Leica 3A fitted with a 65mm Elmar using a Visoflex.

My ill-founded prejudices never stopped me from making photographs of the M-420s. And even back in 1986, I was pleased to catch this one leading Central Vermont’s freight 562 across Route 32 in Monson, Massachusetts (immediately north of the Massachusetts-Connecticut State Line).

This is the top of State Line Hill and it was all downgrade from here. I’m standing on a pile of ballast for elevation.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Sky Tram at Dusk.

Here we have a variation on a theme. Previously I published photos on Tracking the Light of Dublin’s LUAS specially painted Sky tram, and on a different day a panned image of a LUAS tram crossing Kings Bridge (Sean Heuston Bridge) near Heuston Station.

The other night on my way over to the Irish Railway Record Society premises (where I’m doing a bit of research in the library), I noted the one-of-a-kind Sky painted tram working outbound.

I dug my Fujifilm X-T1 out of my back pack and made a series of panned images in ‘flutter mode’ of the tram crossing the bridge at dusk.

Exposed digitally using a Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 6400 at 1/8 of a second at f7.1, 32.5mm focal length with a 18-135mm lens.

Exposed digitally using a Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 6400 at 1/8 of a second at f7.1, 32.5mm focal length with a 18-135mm lens.

The Sky tram paused at Heuston Station. In just a few more minutes the last of the blue would fade from the evening sky.

The Sky tram paused at Heuston Station. In just a few more minutes the last of the blue would fade from the evening sky.

Often, I build on past efforts, and this a good example of putting the pieces together. Visually, of course.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Southern Pacific, Bealville, California 1993.

We heard the thunderous roar of EMD 645-E3 diesels laboring upgrade in ‘Run-8’ (maximum throttle.) Thick fog at Bealville in the California Tehachapis amplified the sound.

I was traveling with my friend and fellow photographer Brian Jennison, a veteran of Tehachapi railroad photography.

As the sound faded in and out, I looked for an angle; walking back and forth, I finally settled on this view on the outside of the curve at the often-photographed Bealville horseshoe.

 A version of this image appeared in Pacific Railnews in the mid-1990s when I worked for Pentrex Publishing.


A version of this image appeared in Pacific Railnews in the mid-1990s when I worked for Pentrex Publishing.

On Southern Pacific all train movements were deemed either ‘eastward’ or ‘westward’ in their relation to the direction traveled from milepost 0 in San Francisco, regardless of the compass. In the Tehachapis, a train may be traveling in all directions at the same time owing to the exceptional sinuosity of the trackage.

This uphill freight was moving railroad timetable east.

In the lead was a Rio Grande SD40T-2. It had a transitional lighting arrangement, that included its as-built headlight and oscillating lights, plus recently added ditch-lights and a ‘gumball’ rotating yellow light atop the cab. Again the fog has accentuated the locomotive’s lights.

I was working with my Nikon F3T with Nikkor f1.8 105mm telephoto mounted on my Bogen 3021 tripod and loaded with Fuji 100 slide film (what I used to call ‘Fujiahundred’). I metered the scene with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell.

The sound show was far more impressive than any image I could have made of the train’s approach and passing. I wish I could stand there again in the fog on that April 4, 1993 morning!

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

TRACKING THE LIGHT SPECIAL: Dozens of Photos from Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day-March 17, 2015

It’s been a wild and colourful (mostly green) St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin! Here’s just a few of the many photos I made with my Fuji X-T1.

Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade attracted some half million people. The other million were queuing to cross the Ha’Penny Bridge over the Liffey.

St_Patrick_Liffey_Street-DSCF3920

Stilted_DSCF3704Silly_hats_at_Parade_DSCF3623

See my Dublin Page for more photos!

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Silver-girl_3_DSCF3329Silver-girl_flying_1_DSCF3413Spires-of_color_DSCF3495St_Patrick2_DSCF2948Music_Girl_DSCF3206 Naff_Seller_Henry_Street_DSCF3882 Orange_and_Blue-DSCF3702 Out-of_a_Hat_DSCF3679 Pipers_DSCF3009 Ravens_DSCF3758

Hand_guy_DSCF3578 High-Five_DSCF3148 Hipster_Leprechauns_DSCF3688 Horses_w_carriage_DSCF2781 Kid_w_flag_DSCF3006 LUAS_Smithfield_DSCF3937 Mad_gingers_w_sun_glasses_DSCF3664

Bicycles_2_DSCF3798 Blue_DSCF3443 Butterfly_lady_DSCF3161 Cheerleaders_DSCF3262 Contortionist_DSCF3588 Dancing-bugs_DSCF3477 Flag_wavers_2_DSCF2924 Fox_and_fire_best!_DSCF3738 Grand_Marshall_DSCF3064 Great_pink_wing_DSCF3518

St_Patricks_Day_Golf_GTI_DSCF2971StPatricks_GTi_DSCF2768Sun2_DSCF3568Tri_color_kid-on_Bike_DSCF3807Tuba_in_the-Rain_DSCF2880Wow_DSCF3147

See my Dublin Page for more photos!

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/