All posts by brian solomon

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.

Berkshire Scenic Railway’s RDC-1 is on the roll Memorial Day Weekend

Saturday May 28, 2016, I rode and photographed Berkshire Scenic Railway’s RDC-1 on the former Boston & Albany North Adams Branch. (More RDC photos see: This Budd Could Be For You!)

On Saturday May 28, 2016, Berkshire Scenic Railway's classic RDC-1 worked between North Adams and Renfrew, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Albany branch. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.
On Saturday May 28, 2016, Berkshire Scenic Railway’s classic RDC-1 worked between North Adams and Renfrew, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Albany branch. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.

Last autumn my dad and I rode this classic railway vehicle, but at that time it was being hauled/propelled by a vintage SW8 diesel. Saturday, I found the RDC-1 running as intended as a self-propelled diesel rail car.

I recalled riding RDCs on the Springfield-New Haven shuttle back in the 1970s and 1980s, and on Metro-North branch line trains, as well as Boston area service.

For details on Berkshire Scenic’s Hoosac Valley service which is now running out of North Adams, Massachusetts see: http://www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com

Also see Berkshire Scenic Railway on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/berkshirescenicrailway

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light Post Every Day!

Belfast-Dublin Enterprise arriving Connolly Station.

Recently the cross-border Enterprise service operated by Irish Rail and NIR has undergone an image upgrade.

In early April 2016, I made these images a revamped Enterprise set with engine 207 arriving at Connolly Station in Dublin.

Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 mirrorless digital camera.
Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 mirrorless digital camera.

Enterprise_207_at_Connolly_DSCF2984

Tracking the Light is Daily.

Tracking the Light presents: London Terminals—May 2016; a Dozen new Photos.

London boasts some of the most historic and most famous big city railway terminals.

Earlier this month I visited several of these stations during the course of my travels.

Soon Euston may be dramatically redeveloped. Yet, owing to its 1960s design, this terminal may be among the least photographed in modern times. FujiFilm X-T1 photo, May 2016.
Soon Euston may be dramatically redeveloped. Yet, owing to its 1960s design, this terminal may be among the least photographed in modern times. FujiFilm X-T1 photo, May 2016.
Euston Station, London.
Euston Station, London.
Departure boards at London Euston in May 2016. FujiFilm X-T1 photo, May 2016.
Departure boards at London Euston in May 2016. FujiFilm X-T1 photo, May 2016.

Hassard Stacpoole brought me on a tour of London’s 1960-era Euston Station to show me sites of anticipated changes to this busy terminus as result of its planned redevelopment.

My favorite London station is St. Pancras. Which is yours?

The most elegant and ornate London terminus is St. Pancras. The head house originally served as the Midland Grand Hotel as well as booking offices. Today the grand old building is again a hotel, while the station serves Eurostar trains to Paris, Lille and Brussels as well as domestic services using the old Midland route. FujiFilm X-T1 photo with Zeiss 12mm lens, May 2016.
The most elegant and ornate London terminus is St. Pancras. The head house originally served as the Midland Grand Hotel as well as booking offices. Today the grand old building is again a hotel, while the station serves Eurostar trains to Paris, Lille and Brussels as well as domestic services using the old Midland route. FujiFilm X-T1 photo with Zeiss 12mm lens, May 2016.
St. Pancras train shed was restored during redevelopment in 2007. FujiFilm X-T1 photo with 12mm Zeiss lens, May 2016.
St. Pancras train shed was restored during redevelopment in 2007. FujiFilm X-T1 photo with 12mm Zeiss lens, May 2016.
Kings Cross, London, May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.
Kings Cross, London, May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.
Kings Cross, London, May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.
Kings Cross, London, May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.
Grand Central train at Kings Cross, London, May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.
Grand Central train at Kings Cross, London, May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.
Statue of Isambard K. Brunel at Paddington Station, London. Lumix LX7 photo.
Statue of Isambard K. Brunel at Paddington Station, London. Lumix LX7 photo.
Paddington Station, London. Lumix LX7 photo.
Paddington Station, London. Lumix LX7 photo.
London Victoria on a quite Sunday morning. Lumix LX7 photo.
London Victoria on a quiet Sunday morning. Lumix LX7 photo.
I feature several of London’s stations in my recent book Railway Depots, Stations and Terminals published last year by Voyageur Press.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

All Change! Photographing trains and Clapham Junction and Vicinity—May 2016.

On my visit to London earlier this month, I called into Clapham Junction to visit with my friend Hassard Stacpoole who lives nearby.

Hassard brought me on a tour of the area to highlight the changes south of the Thames since my last visit.

London is a dynamic city. There are cranes and construction sites everywhere you look.

The area around Battersea Park is rapidly being transformed from an old industrial area to a modern residential community.

Using my FujiFilm X-T1 and Lumix LX7, I made these photos from our tour of the area.

Five car Overland trains now serve Clapham Junction.
Five car Overground trains now serve Clapham Junction.

My intention is to compare these images with similar views exposed years ago, as well as photos showing further change from my next visit.

FujiFilm X-T1 digital photograph at Clapham Junction.
FujiFilm X-T1 digital photograph at Clapham Junction.
Clapham Junction.
Clapham Junction.
Wandsworth Road looking toward Battersea Park. Construction now dominates this horizon.
Wandsworth Road looking toward Battersea Park. Construction now dominates this horizon.
The old Battersea Park Generating Station is being repurposed.
The old Battersea Park Generating Station is being repurposed.
Massive modern apartment blocks have sprung up around Battersea Park like mushrooms after the rain.
Massive modern apartment blocks have sprung up around Battersea Park like mushrooms after the rain.
Transportation changes are part of the story.
Transportation changes are part of the story.
Thames bridge on approach to Victoria. Look at all the new building underway.
Thames bridge on approach to Victoria. Look at all the new building underway.
Looking south from Victoria toward Battersea Park.
Looking south from Victoria toward Battersea Park. Here the background is the subject.
In London little remains unchanged for long. Even the train companies play musical chairs with the franchises every few years. How much longer will South West Trains serve Clapham Junction?
In London little remains unchanged for long. Even the train companies play musical chairs with the franchises every few years. How much longer will South West Trains serve Clapham Junction?
A view south of Clapham Junction Station.
A view south of Clapham Junction Station.
A South West Trains emu clatters along south of Clapham Junction.
A South West Trains emu clatters along south of Clapham Junction.
It's been a long time since the London, Brighton and South Coast was a going concern. This is the old station at Clapham Junction.
It’s been a long time since the London, Brighton and South Coast was a going concern. This is part of the old station complex at Clapham Junction.

Tracking the Light posts every day.

London Underground‑May 2016; Ten New Photos.

Tracking the Light presents new material every day! 

Digital photography has made photography of the London Underground vastly easier than with film.

ISO 400 too slow? Notch it up to 1000, or 1600, or higher.

In the old days with film I’d rarely experiment with any lens longer than 100mm underground. Not only were my longer lenses relatively slow, but trying to keep them steady at low shutter speeds was impractical.

Today, I push up the ISO and snap away.

The adjustable rear screen on my FujiFilm X-T1 is a great tool for photographing from the hip. Back in the old days, I’d take the prism off my Nikon F3T for a similar technique, but this made focusing difficult.

I made these photos in Early May 2016. For me the Underground is more than just photos of the trains and tunnels.

Which is your favorite?

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo at West Brompton.
Lumix LX7 photo at West Brompton.
Telephoto view at Embankment with my Fuji X-T1.
Telephoto view at Embankment with my Fuji X-T1.
I like a bit of subtle humor or irony in my photos. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
I like a bit of subtle humor or irony in my photos. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo. Auto white balance is a blessing when working with artificial light.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo. Auto white balance is a blessing when working with artificial light.
View of the Circle Line at Embankment.
View of the Circle Line at Embankment.
Some of the Tube is well below the surface.
Some of the Tube is well below the surface.
Bond Street Station at Oxford Street.
Bond Street Station at Oxford Street.

Underground_DSCF7158

This is London Euston, please mind the gap!
‘This is London Euston, please mind the gap!’

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Exotic Railway Journeys Radio Interview on Wednesday!

Yesterday, Jerry Puffer of KSEN Radio (1150 AM)  in Shelby, Montana interviewed me and we spoke at length about my new book: The World’s Most Exotic Railway Journeys and my upcoming Voyageur Press title: A Field Guide to Trains.

You can listen to the Jerry Puffer show  on-line tomorrow on KSEN Wednesday 25 May 2016 at 4:30 pm Mountain Time (that’s 6:30 pm Eastern Time, and 11:30 pm in Dublin and London).

To reach KSEN’s website click the link below:

http://ksenam.com

Cover photo by Scott Lothes.
Cover photo by Scott Lothes.

The World’s Most Exotic Railway Journeys was published in the UK by John Beaufoy Publishing. The book is available at The Guardian Bookshop, at Amazon, and in select bookshops, including Chapters on Parnell Square in Dublin.

The Field Guide to Trains is available via Amazon.

See: http://ksenam.com for a link to KSEM’s live radio broadcast.

Tracking the Light posts daily!

“That Train Keeps a Rolling . . .

The other day my music-guru Dennis LeBeau phoned from East Brookfield, Massachusetts.

“Come on down to the South Barre Rod & Gun Club on Sunday, my sons and I are playing a gig!”

Where?

“You know it, it’s just across the Mass-Central line south of the Barre/South Barre town line. We’ve got some great bands. Real talent. You’ll like it!”

Lively live music clip

[Click on the video clip (above) for an inspired interpretation of Johnny Cash.]

Mass-Central's line from Palmer to South Barre passes right in front of the South Barre Rod & Gun Club (located off Route 32).
Mass-Central’s line from Palmer to South Barre passes right in front of the South Barre Rod & Gun Club (located off Route 32).

DSCF7961

As it turned out, I was well familiar with the crossing. Over the years I’ve worked this location for photographs of Mass-Central freights.

Mass-Central is a weekday operations, so my Sunday visit was strictly about the music.

Country music has its railway influences, and in the end this tied together nicely.

Dave Pike and the Good Old Boys. That's Dave in the cow boy hat, and music guru/railway photographer Dennis LeBeau on bass.
Dave Pike and the Good Old Boys. That’s Dave in the cowboy hat, and music guru/railway photographer Dennis LeBeau on bass.

P1470890

Dave Pike & the Good Old Boys, The Franklin County Sweethearts, and The Jays, were all playing. These bands have some crossover and were all helping each other out. You can find them on Facebook.

The audience was more lively than these beasts.
The audience was more lively than these stuffed  beasts.

DSCF7870

The Franklin County Sweethearts; Rosie Porter playing bass and singing with Tommy LeBeau.
The Franklin County Sweethearts; Rosie Porter playing bass and singing with Tommy LeBeau.
The Franklin County Sweethearts; Rosie Porter playing bass and singing with Tommy LeBeau and Lexi Weege.
The Franklin County Sweethearts; Rosie Porter, Tommy LeBeau and Lexi Weege.

P1470902

The Franklin County Sweethearts; Rosie Porter playing bass and singing with Tommy LeBeau, and Lexi Weege.
The Franklin County Sweethearts; Rosie Porter playing bass and singing with Tommy LeBeau, and Lexi Weege. (Here I’ve de-saturated the color for a period look).
Rosie Porter steps in for a song or two with Dave Pike and the Good Old Boys.
Rosie Porter steps in for a song or two with Dave Pike and the Good Old Boys.

DSCF7882DSCF7910DSCF7895
DSCF7909DSCF7951DSCF7954

DSCF7883

DSCF7936

Three LeBeaus (Dennis on bass, Tommy on drums, and Paul on guitar) backing Rosie Porter.
Three LeBeaus (Dennis on bass, Tommy on drums, and Paul on guitar) backing Rosie Porter.

P1470879

Tracking the Light Posts New Material Daily.

British Railway’s HST 40 years on.

It’s been more than 40 years since British Railway’s HST (High Speed Train) made its commercial debut.

These comfortable diesel powered 125mph push-push train-sets have worked intercity services on a variety of routes ever since.

Today they are one of the few types of 1970s-era equipment surviving in regular traffic in the United Kingdom.

I detailed the history and development of the HST in my book Railway Masterpieces (Krause Publications, 2002). Here’s an except from my text:

“[British Rail marketed the HST] as the Intercity 125, a name obviously playing on the HST’s high-speed ability. The most successful aspect of the HST development and where BR really scored a coup was how they used the trains. Where the old school might had ordered just a few trains to offer just a handful of premier high speed services, BR introduced a full service of high speed trains on the lines west of Paddington. The Intercity 125 was not just fast, new, clean and more comfortable than older trains, but operated frequently as well and did not cost any more to ride. When the full HST schedule was in service, there were some 48 daily Intercity 125s. This was exactly the sort of convenience needed to lure people away from their cars, and the strategy worked.”

HST at Reading on the old Great Western Railway route from Paddington.
HST at Reading on the old Great Western Railway route from Paddington.
Trailing view of an HST Class 43 locomotive power car at Reading. All HST sets work with Class 43 diesels at each end with Mark3 carriages between.
Trailing view of an HST Class 43 locomotive power car at Reading. All HST sets work with Class 43 diesels at each end with Mark3 carriages between.
Evening view of an HST at Reading. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Evening view of an HST at Reading. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.

Rebuilt HST sets continue to serve several private operators in Britain.

Earlier this month, I traveled on HSTs with my father, and made several opportunities to photograph the trains in some of their most recent paint liveries.

In the shadow of Mallard; a Virgin HST idles at London's Kings Cross on 3 May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.
In the shadow of Mallard; a Virgin HST idles at London’s Kings Cross on 3 May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

 

Eurostar to St. Pancras.

We boarded at Lille Europe and flew a cross northern France on the ground. Breakfast was served to us by the staff. There was a minor delay at Calais and then we plunged into the darkness of the Channel Tunnel.

The Eurostar approaches! Lille Europe station is a modern facility with all the charm of an airport.
The Eurostar approaches! Lille Europe station is a modern facility with all the charm of an airport.
Breakfast (with tea!) was served on board soon after departing Lille.
Breakfast (with tea!) was served on board soon after departing Lille.
In 1980, my brother was the first to photograph his meal (served on a World Airways DC-10). I'm following his example and not that of the millions of copycats.
In 1980, my brother was the first to photograph his meal (served on a World Airways DC-10). I’m following his example and not that of the millions of copycats.
We sat at Calais for a while. At least there was some entertainment such as this 'LeShuttle'.
We sat at Calais for a while. At least there was some entertainment such as this ‘LeShuttle’.

Twenty Five minutes later we emerged again and were soon sailing across southern England toward London. My dad’s phone calculated our speed at 181 mph.

Soon the buildings began to look familiar. I recognized the M25 bridge.

English countryside blurring by at more than 180mph.
English countryside blurring by at more than 180mph.
Approaching London; there's the M25 bridge.
Approaching London; there’s the M25 bridge.

And before we knew it we’d arrived at St. Pancras, London’s most elegant 19th century railway terminal. Last time I’d taken the Eurostar I’d come into Waterloo, and that wasn’t yesterday!

This is a selection of Lumix LX7 photos from the recent trip.

St. Pancras International.
St. Pancras International.

Would you like to read more about St. Pancras? I’ve written about this station in my new book Railway Depots, Stations and Terminals published by Voyageur Press.

The famous ballon-style train-shed at St. Pancras was the first of its kind in the world.
The famous balloon-style train-shed at St. Pancras was the first of its kind in the world.
Morning sun filters through the skylights.
Morning sun filters through the skylights.
Panoramic composite of our Eurostar set under the famous shed.
Panoramic composite of our Eurostar set under the famous shed.
There's an hour time difference between Lille and London.
There’s an hour time difference between Lille and London.
In 2007, St Pancras was re-opened following a compressive upgrading of facilities. Do you remember the dark dingy hole of the mid-1990s?
In 2007, St Pancras was re-opened following a compressive upgrading of facilities. Do you remember the dark dingy hole of the mid-1990s?

Tracking the Light posts daily!

Irish Rail ICR’s with a pastel sky at Kildare.

Irish Rail Intercity Railcars work downroad (away from Dublin) at Kildare.
Irish Rail Intercity Railcars work downroad (away from Dublin) at Kildare.

To make the most of this scene I needed to make some global (overall) and localized contrast adjustments in Lightroom. This was necessary to compensate for the contrast characteristics inherent to the digital file produced by my FujiFilm X-T1.

I worked with the RAW file which has substantially more data than the in-camera JPG (which is compressed and thus offers very little information above what is immediately visible to the eye).

Tracking the Light posts daily.

Illustration in Bordeaux-Four New Images.

Illustration versus documentation: Often I set out to document a scene. My process and techniques are focused toward making images that preserve the way a scene or equipment appear. Often, but not today.

Creation of an illustration may not be intended as documentation. An illustration is created to convey a message; perhaps that needed for advertising, art, or publicity.

While photographing in Bordeaux, I found that the juxtaposition of the modern trams against both modern and historic architectural backdrops looked remarkably like artist’s/architect’s impressional drawings.

So, as an exercise in illustration, I’ve intentionally manipulated the camera RAW files to make them appear more like the artist’s impressional drawings, such as those often displayed as visions of the future.

Bordeaux_tram_DSCF6360

Tram_Bordeaux_DSCF6543

Specifically, I altered the contrast and de-saturated the color palate to mimic a water-color tinted image. I did not destroy the original files, and so I have the benefit of documentation and illustration with the same photos.

Bordeaux_tram_DSCF6444

Bordeaux_tram_DSCF6463

Questions:

Have I done anything fundamentally different here than with images created (augmented) by the manipulation of digital files to produce super-saturated colors, plus intensely contrast adjusted effects that result in dream-like sky-scapes?

Is a posed railway publicity photo that was heavily re-touched by air-brushing or similar alteration to be considered documentation?

In a later post, I’ll explore Bordeaux’s tram network in fully saturated color.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Tracking the Light Visualizes Speed: Traveling by SNCF’s TGV—a dozen new photos.

Société National de Chemin de Fer’s Trains à Grande Vitesse is 35 years old.

Last month (April 2016) I made a series of trips across France on SNCF’s TGV, a means of flying by rail.

And, yes the speed is impressive: it makes the Acela Express seem like it’s coasting.

Here are just a sampling of my Lumix LX7 images from and of SNCF’s TGV and its stations.

TGV arriving at Brussels Midi. Today, TGV operated to a variety of countries across Europe including Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain.
TGV arriving at Brussels Midi. Today, TGV operates to a variety of countries across Europe including Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain.
Room with a view.
Room with a view.
TGV map.
TGV map.

I wrote about the TGV in my book Bullet Trains published by MBI in 2001.

Here’s an excerpt of the text on TGV:

In conjunction with the construction of the new high speed railway called the Lignes à Grande Vitesse (LGV), SNCF developed of the Trains à Grande Vitesse (TGV), an entirely new high speed train. When discussing the French system the LGV refers to the new high speed infrastructure, including the tracks, while TGV refers to the high speed railway technology, including the trains themselves.

Lounge on a TGV Duplex set (a double-deck TGV train).
Lounge on a TGV Duplex set (a double-deck TGV train).
Upstairs/Downstairs at 186 mph.
Upstairs/Downstairs at 186 mph. (And no one to yap at you about moving between cars at speed, let alone descending stairs).
View from the train.
View from the train.
TGV Lyria at the Charles de Gaulle airport station.
TGV Lyria at the Charles de Gaulle airport station.
TGV pauses at Charles de Gaulle airport. Take the plane to the train! It works, just ask Pop.
TGV pauses at Charles de Gaulle airport. Take the plane to the train! It works, just ask Pop.
TGV Duplex after arrival at Bordeaux in southern France.
TGV Duplex after arrival at Bordeaux in southern France.
Typical Frist class seating on the TGV Duplex.
Typical Frist class seating on the TGV Duplex.
Lille Europe, TGV/Eurostar Station.
Lille Europe, TGV/Eurostar Station.

Tracking the Light posts every day.

 

 

 

Antwerp in the Rain; Trams and Bountiful opportunities for Eclectic City Scapes—16 new Photos.

It was a rainy Monday when I arrived in Antwerp. Working with my Lumix LX7, I spent several hours riding the Lijn trams and making photos.

Does the rain and gloom ad atmosphere to this eclectic Flemish port city? There’s a lot of history here.

Lijn has been buying new low-floor articulated Flexity-2 trams to replace its antique fleet of four-axle PCCs, so I was keen to catch the older cars at work while I still can.

(See related posts: Gent Revisited—Trams, Castles and Cobble StonesGent in Six PhotosTrams of Gent Part 2Trams in Basel, Switzerland; 21 April 2016).

A modern Flexity2 tram glides through the rain in Antwerp. Lumix LX7 photo.
A modern Flexity2 tram glides through the rain in Antwerp. Lumix LX7 photo.
Complicated track work makes for a more interesting urban image.
Complicated track work makes for a more interesting urban image. The PCC is almost incidental to the scene.
There are plenty of eclectic establishments in Antwerp where you can grab a bite to eat an enjoy a glass of beer while watching the tram cars grind along cobblestone streets.
There are plenty of eclectic establishments in Antwerp where you can grab a bite to eat an enjoy a glass of beer while watching the tram cars grind along cobblestone streets.
Antwerp enjoys a complex transport system with tram lines on many streets. However, expansion of the tram subway may soon reduce the number of surface services in some parts of the city center.
Antwerp enjoys a complex transport system with tram lines on many streets. However, expansion of the tram subway may soon reduce the number of surface services in some parts of the city center.

Lijn_Antwerp_P1450608

Could a bus be as photogenic in such a setting?
Could a bus be as photogenic in such a setting?

Lijn_Antwerp_P1450638

Among the advantages of photographing on a cold wet day is that there tend to be few people on the streets to get in your way. Not to be antisocial, but masses of urban humility can be a problem when composing tram photos.
Among the advantages of photographing on a cold wet day is that there tends to be few people on the streets to get in your way. Not to sound  antisocial, but masses of urban humility can be a hindrence  when composing tram photos.

Lijn_Antwerp_P1450622

Near the main railway station there's a tram loop.
Near the main railway station there’s a tram loop used by route 11 cars.
This level crossing is a great place to catch the action.
This level crossing is a great place to catch the action.
I don't think everyone was quite as enthusiastic about tram tracks and cobblestones as I was.
I don’t think everyone was quite as enthusiastic about tram tracks and cobblestones as I was.

Lijn_Antwerp_P1450668

Curbside running makes it easier to board the cars.
Curbside running makes it easier to board the cars.
Here's my car now!
Here’s my car now!

Lijn_Antwerp_P1450674

White trams navigating narrow dark cobble-stone streets makes for some interesting contrast. So, would shafts of sun have improved these images?

Tracking the Light posts every day.

 

 

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train on Washington Hill—May 16, 2016.

It was very windy, and I spent the whole morning standing around along the old Boston & Albany mainline reading about 19th century industrial practice while waiting for trains to pass.

I posted the photos I made of an eastward Norfolk Southern detour train near Middlefield, Massachusetts yesterday evening.

My goal was to catch the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train, that was rumored to be on the move.

But, after 8 hours standing in the cold, I decided to head downgrade.

Nearing Westfield, the scanner came to life, ‘clear signal CP109’.

Time for a U-turn.

I’d scoped a location near Huntington.

Unfortunately this neatly coincided with a fast moving cloud. Bad luck.

A dark dirty cloud covered the sun at precisely the wrong moment. (It lifted in time for me to grab a wide-angle view on Fujichrome.)
A dark dirty cloud covered the sun at precisely the wrong moment. (It lifted in time for me to grab a wide-angle view on Fujichrome.)

CSXT_Circus_Train_DSCF7561

A bit of hard driving got me to Washington Summit ahead of the train. The clouds stayed at bay.

All of these images were exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 mirror-less digital camera.

Slides from the event remain latent.

Near Washington Summit at the location known as 'Muddy Pond'.
Near Washington Summit at the location known as ‘Muddy Pond’.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train is a long consist.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train is a long consist.
Containers and trailers were at the back.
Containers and trailers were at the back.

Tracking the Light is Daily!

Tracking the Light NEWS EXTRA! NS/Pan Am Southern Detour on CSX Boston Line.

This morning (May 16, 2016), I was out on the Boston & Albany (CSX Boston Line) for the Ringling Bros circus extra. While waiting word came over the wire that a Norfolk Southern intermodal train for Ayer, Massachusetts was detouring on CSX.

A derailment near Charlemont, Massachusetts (on NS/Pan Am Southern’s Boston & Maine route) on Saturday resulted in a traffic disruption and thus this very unusual move.

A CSXT SD40-2 led the Norfolk Southern consist, presumably because of the cab signaling requirements on the Boston Line .

All photos exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 near milepost 129 east of Middlefield, Massachusetts.

CSX_X800_Middlefield_NS_detour_DSCF7527CSX_X800_Middlefield_NS_detour_DSCF7529CSX_X800_Middlefield_NS_detour_DSCF7530Tracking the Light posts Daily!

Circus Train photos tomorrow!

Hidden Treasures: Preserved Locomotives at Saint Ghislain, Belgium; Don’t miss Brian’s Exposure Guide for old Locomotive sheds.

Locked away in an old locomotive shed at Saint Ghislain, Belgium are a wonderful collection of historic SNCB locomotives maintained by Patrimoine Ferroviare et Tourisme. See: http://www.pfttsp.be/index.php/fr/

Mauno Pajunen organized a visit to this collection and provided translation while Rousman Phillippe offered a guided tour.

I was most impressed by the semi-streamlined stainless-steel clad electric (SNCB 1805) that formerly worked TEE international services and by the Baldwin diesel locomotive built under license.

Until my visit the to the shed at Saint Guislain, I'd only seen this class of locomotive in old photos. The pitched cab profile and stainless-steel side panels are very pleasing. They just don't style locomotives like this anymore!
Until my visit the to the shed at Saint Guislain, I’d only seen this class of locomotive in old photos. The pitched cab profile and stainless-steel side panels are very pleasing. They just don’t style locomotives like this anymore!

SNCB_historic_loco_Saint_Ghislain_DSCF6294

Photographing in a locomotive shed such as this one requires special technique.

If you just let the in-camera meter do the work you will get under-exposed (dark) images such as this. Why? Because the camera meter is trying to balance the scene for the window which leads to overall under-exposure. Action on the photographer is necessary on-site to avoid this problem.
If you just let the in-camera meter do the work you will get under-exposed (dark) images such as this. Why? Because the camera meter is trying to balance the scene for the window which leads to overall under-exposure. Action on the photographer is necessary on-site to avoid this problem.

Direct and indirect lighting from skylights in the roof and large side windows results in extreme contrast with lower regions of the locomotives bathed in darkness that tends to confuse the in-camera light meter. (A meter doesn’t know what your subject is and only provides a balanced reading and doesn’t work in this situation.)

If you are not careful you may end up with an unacceptably dark result. (see above).

By manually controlling the exposure you can compensate for the effect of windows and skylights, thus creating a more pleasing exposure inside the shed.
By manually controlling the exposure you can compensate for the effect of windows and skylights, thus creating a more pleasing exposure inside the shed.

My solution is relatively simple: manually over-expose in range of 2/3s of a stop to 1 stop, and then control highlight detail in post processing.

The easiest way to do this with a digital camera is used a manual mode and then watch the suggested exposure settings offered by the built in meter and then add 2/3s to 1 stop to the recommended value. Thus if the meter suggests exposing a f2.8 at 1/60th of second, open up the aperture to nearly f2.0 without changing the shutter speed.

Another way of doing this is by adjusting the meter to over expose by 2/3 or 1 full stop. Each camera has its own means of doing this.

In my case, I set the ISO to 400, so my average exposure was f4.5 1/60 of a second (camera meter was recommending f5.6 to f6.3, which would have resulted in an unacceptably dark image).

SNCB_historic_loco_Saint_Ghislain_DSCF6338

I adjusted my exposure from scene to scene, while tending toward overexposure based on the meter setting and carefully gauging the histogram to avoid loosing data in the shadow areas.

SNCB_historic_loco_Saint_Ghislain_DSCF6316

Since the highlights of the outside windows and skylights are not important to the overall scene, it isn’t a problem to allow for a loss of detail in these areas.

After exposure, I adjusted the files in post-processing to bring the mid-tones and shadow areas to an expected level.

SNCB_historic_loco_Saint_Ghislain_DSCF6319

This was one of my favorites: a Baldwin diesel built under license. Careful exposure allowed for adequate detail of the trucks and underbody.
This was one of my favorites: a Baldwin diesel built under license. Careful exposure allowed for adequate detail of the trucks and underbody.

SNCB_Baldwin_historic_loco_Saint_Ghislain_DSCF6300

The boiler was outside.
The boiler was outside.
Wide angle close up of Walschearts valve gear. Old Egide was a Belgian after all!
Wide angle close up of Walschearts valve gear. Old Egide was a Belgian after all!

SNCB_historic_loco_Saint_Ghislain_DSCF6314

Another trick is working in confined spaces. For these images I used a super wide-angle lens, specifically a Zeiss 12mm Touit, which I purchased specifically for photography in settings such engine sheds, signal towers and locomotive cabs.

 

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

 

The end of the line for SNCB! A Dozen photos at Quiévrain.

International borders are often bad for railways.

An invisible political boundary (the dashed line on a map) can prove a greater obstacle than a towering mountain range when it comes to impeding railway operations.

In mid-April, my Irish friends and I explored the Gotthard Pass, where massive investment will soon make the old line over the mountain redundant as the new 35.5 mile Basistunnel beneath the Alps will divert most of the through traffic.

A week later I was exploring the border area between northern France and Belgian Wallonia with Mauno Pajunen.

This is in an area of relatively dense population that was once the center of a thriving coal mining community. Quiévrain, Belgium is a town located an hour or so from Brussels and is relatively near to large French cities of Lille and Paris.

The tree growing out of the roof of the old station is indicative the sad state of the railway here.
The tree growing out of the roof of the old station is indicative the sad state of the railway here.
Despite the poor state of the facilities, SNCB continues to provide a relatively frequent passenger service to Quiévrain. Electric trains offer an inexpensive and comfortable way to travel to Mons and Brussels where connections are available to many other cities across the country.
Despite the poor state of the facilities, SNCB continues to provide a relatively frequent passenger service to Quiévrain. Electric trains offer an inexpensive and comfortable way to travel to Mons and Brussels where connections are available to many other cities across the country.

Generally speaking SNCB (Belgian National Railways) provides an excellent service across Belgium, with most stations seeing at least an hourly passenger service and many lines operating with an even greater frequency.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

At one time a through railway line connected Belgian cities of Brussels and Mons with the French city of Valenciennes via Quiévrain . Today, SNCB continues to operate a regular interval passenger service from Brussels to Mons with some trains continuing south to Saint Ghislain and Quiévrain.

But Quiévrain is the end of the line and the state of the station area is a sad reflection of better times now long gone.

This was once a handsome station.
This was once a handsome station.

 

Evidence of the old line remains and the tracks are still in place (although no longer connected).

The town is divided between Belgium and France, with the French town being called Quiéverchain. Differences in the price of tabacco and alcohol between the two countries has led to a thriving business on the Belgian side of the border.

Here we are at the French-Belgian frontier which divides the town of Quiéverchain/Quiévrain. Good luck getting through the place by rail!
Here we are at the French-Belgian frontier which divides the town of Quiéverchain/Quiévrain. Good luck getting through the place by rail!
Oh dear! The connecting stink buggy has arrived.
Oh dear! The connecting stink buggy has arrived.
SNCB provides excellent signage at stations.
SNCB provides excellent signage at stations.

It had been many years since you could take a train directly from Mons to Valencienes.

In theory, you can ride from Brussels to Valenciennes via a change of trains at Lille, but this is the long way around and impractical for regular travelers.

The end of the line for SNCB! (but the tracks once continued into France.)
The end of the line for SNCB! (but the tracks once continued into France.)

SNCB_Quievrain_P1450197

Elsewhere in Europe cross-border services have flourished, yet the end of track at Quiévrain clearly demonstrates how borders create barriers between population centers that need not exist.

Soon you will be able to travel faster than ever before from Zurich to Milan, but not by rail from Mons to Valenciennes!

Only a short walk from the end of track will reveal the old line that once continued across the border. A ghost from another era.
Only a short walk from the end of track will reveal evidence of the old line that once continued across the border. A ghost from another era.
I find disused railways sad, yet fascinating. Like discovering evidence of a forgotten empire.
I find disused railways sad, yet fascinating. Like discovering evidence of a forgotten empire.

SNCF Valenciennes‑Revisited (April 2016). Six NEW photos.

Last October (2015), I visited Valenciennes in northern France. I stopped by again a few weeks ago during my April 2016 wanderings in France and Belgium.

Valenciences_station_DSCF6244

Valenciences_Station_w_tram_DSCF6240

In these views I focused on the old Chemin de fer du Nord Station (SNCF’s Gare de Valencienes) and the surrounding environment.

Using my FujiFilm X-T1, I made images that feature the old station as both subject and background. Notice how selective focus and use of light shifts the central interest from the old building to the tram.

SNCF_Gare_Valenciences_DSCF6278

Outback of the station, there are, of course, SNCF trains and an impressive array of trackage that make interesting subjects in their own right.

Together, the building, trams, SNCF trains and trackage make for a scene, but one not possible to adequately represent in one image. Thus this myriad collection of images. This is a work in progress.

SNCF_Valenciences_DSCF6269

An SNCF train approaches Gare de Valenciennes.
An SNCF train approaches Gare de Valenciennes.

Tracking the Light posts every day! (Have you noticed?) 

Tracking the Light Extra: Rochester, New York—Conrail Shadow.

Some photos age well.

The purpose of this image was intended as a test of Kodak's new T-Max 100 black & white film. Exposed with a Canon A-1 with 50mm lens.
The purpose of this image was intended as a test of Kodak’s new T-Max 100 black & white film. Exposed with a Canon A-1 with 50mm lens.

I made this view of Conrail GP40-2s rolling east at Rochester, New York’s  Amtrak station in November 1986—nearly 30 years ago.

At the time, Conrail was the order of the day, and the GP40-2s were common.

Although sharp and properly exposed, this view was marred by the shadow of the canopy and so at the time I disregarded it.

I’ve amended my opinion, however.

Now the whole scene has changed beyond recognition. Conrail is gone nearly 17 years and last year Amtrak demolished its old station in preparation for construction a new one.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

Strasbourg: 10 photos of Low Floor Trams in a Sophisticated European City

 

Strasbourg_Tram_P1440893It was a pleasantly warm Spring day when I set out with Lumix LX7 in hand to make a few photos of the Strasbourg trams.

Strasbourg was among the first French cities to re-adopt the electric tram, and in 1994 introduced an elegant modern tram system using a pioneer type of low-floor car (the first batch were  built by ABB) called the Eurotram.

I’ve been meaning to visit Strasbourg for a long time, but only recently managed to finally get there.

Any favorites from this selection?

Among my first fews of the Strasbourg tram system. Notice the rail-mounted cleaning truck in the distance.
Among my first views of the Strasbourg tram system. Notice the rail-mounted cleaning truck in the distance.

Strasbourg_Tram_P1440907

Contrast of old and new.
Contrast of old and new.

Strasbourg_Tram_P1440934

Like with many modern tram systems, in Strasbourg you must validate your paper ticket before boarding the car. I noted teams of fare enforcement specialists intimidating non-paying passengers.
Like with many modern tram systems, in Strasbourg you must validate your paper ticket before boarding the car. I noted teams of fare enforcement specialists intimidating non-paying passengers.
Strasbourg offers many places to include the trams in attractive cityscapes such as this one.
Strasbourg offers many places to include the trams in attractive cityscapes such as this one.
A few of the cars were painted in this lime, red and white livery.
A few of the cars were painted in this lime, red and white livery.

Strasbourg_tram_P1440885Strasbourg_Tram_P1440951

News Flash! Metz Station is really cool! (Seven previously unpublished photos)

Located in the north of France, Metz is an industrial city with a long history.

I’ll admit, I’d never given the place much thought until I had to change trains there in late April (2016).

Not only was the old city centre visually fascinating, but the railway station is a real gem!

That’s the great part about exploring without an agenda; you find wonderful things you really didn’t expect to see!

I made these images over the course of my brief visit using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera (fitted with 12mm Zeiss Touit lens).

Interior architecture at SNCF's Metz station. Lumix LX7 photo.
Interior architecture at SNCF’s Metz station. Lumix LX7 photo.
Not an exhibit at the British Museum in London; no, this a bit of architectural detail at the Metz station.
Not an exhibit at the British Museum in London; no, this a bit of architectural detail at the Metz station.
Metz Station exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 with Zeiss 12mm lens.
Metz Station exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 with Zeiss 12mm lens.
Main concourse of the Metz Station.
Main concourse of the Metz Station.
Exterior detail: Metz Station exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 with Zeiss 12mm lens.
Exterior detail: Metz Station exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 with Zeiss 12mm lens.
Luxembourg Railways railcar at Metz Station. Lumix LX7 photo.
Luxembourg Railways railcar at Metz Station. Lumix LX7 photo.
Here's the next leg of my journey in France; a colorfully painted railcar.
Here’s the next leg of my journey in France; a colorfully painted railcar.

Boston & Albany at Rt 148 in Brookfield, Massachusetts, January 2001.

I made this study of CSX’s former Boston & Albany mainline at Brookfield, Massachusetts in January 2001.

Step back a century and there were two main tracks and an array of sidings here; back when the railroad focused on local business in addition to long distance traffic.

Brookfield, Massachusetts. Exposed on black & white negative film using a Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss 75mm Tessar lens.
Brookfield, Massachusetts. Exposed on black & white negative film using a Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss 75mm Tessar lens.

CSX 611 at East Brookfield on the old Boston & Albany.

CSX 611 is a AC6000CW—a big GE diesel by any measure.

In January 2001, My pal T.S.H. and I were making an inspection of the old Boston & Albany between Palmer and Worcester, Massachusetts ( reliving a trip we’d made in the summer of 1984).

Brian Solomon_581952
CSX 611 leads a westward freight on the Boston & Albany route at East Brookfield in January 2001. Black & white 120 size negative scanned using an Epson V750 flatbed scanner and adjusted for contrast using Lightroom.

I exposed this view using a Rollei Model T that I’d bought from Mike Gardner.

My intent was to recreate a view I’d made of westward Conrail freight at the same location 16 years earlier.

Sadly, the old Boston & Albany station at East Brookfield was destroyed by arson in Autumn 2010.

Tracking the Light is on Autopilot today.

Conrail Coal Train in 1988.

It was a hazy sunny August morning when I exposed this trailing view of a Conrail coal train east of Bennington Curve on the famous former Pennsylvania Railroad grade between Altoona and Gallitzin.

Exposed on Kodak Verichrome Pan black & white negative film using a Rollei Model T (with Zeiss f3.5 75mm Tessar lens) with 645 (superslide) insert. Processed in Kodak D-76 diluted 1:1 with water. Negative scanned with an Epson V750, contrast adjusted electronically.
Exposed on Kodak Verichrome Pan black & white negative film using a Rollei Model T (with Zeiss f3.5 75mm Tessar lens) with 645 (superslide) insert. Processed in Kodak D-76 diluted 1:1 with water. Negative scanned with an Epson V750, contrast adjusted electronically.

Tracking the Light is on Autopilot while Brian is traveling.

Belt Railway of Chicago C-424 up close and personal.

It was July 1, 1995 when I made this Kodachrome slide of Belt Railway of Chicago 's Alco C-424 603 at Clearning Yard, Chicago.
It was July 1, 1995 when I made this Kodachrome slide of Belt Railway of Chicago ‘s Alco C-424 603 at Clearning Yard, Chicago.

I’ve always liked the classic lines of Alco’s Century line. This engine was still at work for its original owner when I used my 200mm lens to craft a study of its cab.

Tracking the Light is on auto pilot while Brian travels.

Take a Ride on SNCF.

On 21 April 2016, I had my First Class France Rail Pass Flexi validated at Basel, Switzerland.

My goal was by the first evening to reach Valenciennes (a city in northern France near the Belgian border) using only regional trains, rather than the TGV (plenty of opportunity for high speed travel later in my trip).

I found the challenge as in making local connections since these days SNCF focuses long-distance passengers onto high-speed routes. All very well, unless you want to experience secondary lines and ride trains off-the well-beaten path.

Thanks to Stephen Hirsch and Denis McCabe who helped with my planning, I traveled on a series of TER trains.

After four train-changes reached my destination 15 hours after I boarded the first train on the French side of Basel’s main station.

My first SNCF train was a loco-hauled push-pull service from Basel to Strasbourg. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
My first SNCF train was a loco-hauled push-pull service from Basel to Strasbourg. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Among the benefits of SNCF's secondary trains are large windows, ample space for luggage, and no requirement for advanced reservations which allows for spontaneous travel.
Among the benefits of SNCF’s secondary trains are large windows, ample space for luggage, and no requirement for advanced reservations which allows for spontaneous travel.
I made good use of my pass, and proved a much better value than buying single tickets.
I made good use of my pass, and proved a much better value than buying single tickets.
Old school comfort. Proper 1st class railway travel. Lumix LX7 photo.
Old school comfort. Proper 1st class railway travel. Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo; focus setting on 'manual'.
Lumix LX7 photo; focus setting on ‘manual’.
A rolling panorama of the French landscape.
A rolling panorama of the French landscape.
Plenty of locomotives and trains to be viewed from the window of the train.
Plenty of locomotives and trains to be viewed from the window of the train.

SNCF_View_from_train_at_Strasbourg_P1440869

Tracking the Light posts every day.

Karlsruhe Hbf—Train Shed Geometry and Red Electrics.

Germany’s traditional large railway stations offer endless opportunities for photographic composition.

Over the years, I’ve made several visits to the Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof (main station) and have always found it photographically rewarding. I made these photos a couple of weeks ago  (April 2016.)

FujiFilm X-T1 image.
FujiFilm X-T1 image.
Classic signage. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Classic signage. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

The train-shed lends to making geometric images while providing a visually intriguing setting for train photos. I like the sense of scale that the shed offers.

Any favorites?

An InterCity train pauses for passengers. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An InterCity train pauses for passengers. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
When I first visited Karlsruhe in the late-1990s, DB's 101 class were the latest in new motive power. Now these are battle worn veterans.
When I first visited Karlsruhe in the late-1990s, DB’s 101 class were the latest in new motive power. Now these are battle worn veterans.
The curves of this class 146 electric complement the train shed while the bright red livery makes for a stunning contrast with the monotones of the station environs.
The curves of this class 146 electric complement the train shed while the bright red livery makes for a stunning contrast with the monotones of the station environs.
At the southend of the shed.
At the south end of the shed.
Pay attention!
Pay attention!

DB_Karlsruhe_Hbf_class_146_DSCF5674

Tracking the Light posts every day.

Tracking the Light Extra: Irish Rail 231 in fresh paint works 1100 Dublin-Cork.

Irish Rail has painted 201-class General Motors diesel number 231 into an interim version of the latest Enterprise livery.

This is yet to feature the pink swooshes that now characterize the Enterprise scheme.

This morning (4 May 2016) the clean locomotive worked the scheduled 11am service from Dublin Heuston Station to Cork. I made this image at Islandbridge Junction using my Lumix LX7.

Annoying me was a line of cloud that was just covering the sun. While this appeared to be moving, in fact the cloud was forming as it moved. Bright sun was so close, yet elusive.

This phenomenon is probably explainable by the effects of condensation, wind currents and cool air; but irksome when you are anticipating the sun emerging from nature’s diffusion screen.

Irish Rail 231 on the 11am to Cork at Islandbridge Junction at 1103 on Wednesday 4 May 2016.
Irish Rail 231 on the 11am to Cork at Islandbridge Junction at 1103 on Wednesday 4 May 2016.
Irish Rail 231 on the 11am to Cork at Islandbridge Junction at 1103 on Wednesday 4 May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.
Irish Rail 231 on the 11am to Cork at Islandbridge Junction at 1103 on Wednesday 4 May 2016. Lumix LX7 photo.

Ultimately, the sun came out. About 45 minutes after the train went by. Poor show.

I’ve made minor adjustments to the RAW file to improve contrast.

Tracking the Light posts every day, don’t miss it!

Alco RS-1s at Washington Union Station.

Exposed on Kodachrome 64 with a Leica 3A and 50mm Summitar lens.
Exposed on Kodachrome 64 with a Leica 3A and 50mm Summitar lens.

My brother and I were changing trains at Washington D.C. on December 18, 1984. I had time to stealthily wander down the platforms and make photos of the Alco RS-1s that worked the station.  I was pleased to feature three of the enigines in one image.

Tracking the Light posts every day.

Rastatt Part 2; German freight hotspot.

Several lines come together at Rastatt, Germany, which is an historic city south of Karlsruhe.

Since most through traffic is focused on to a short double track section immediately south of Rastatt , the station serves as a holding area for southward trains queued up to pass through this bottleneck.

In addition to DB’s trains, freight is run by a of variety open-access and private operators. Freights share tracks with passenger trains including high-speed TGV and ICE services and the famous Karlsruhe tram-trains.

I made this selection of images on 19 April 2016 using my FujiFilm X-T1.

A container train passes Rastatt on the morning of 19 April 2016.
A Crossrail container train passes Rastatt on the morning of 19 April 2016.
A DB electric leads at train of swap-bodies at Rastatt.
A DB electric leads at train of swap-bodies at Rastatt.
An SBB Cargo electric waits for a signal to proceed south.
An SBB Cargo electric waits for a signal to proceed south.
The driver of a Crossrail electric cleans his windscreen while waiting for traffic to pass at Rastatt.
The driver of a Crossrail electric cleans his windscreen while waiting for traffic to pass at Rastatt.
A northward BLS freight crosses the double track bridge as it approaches the Restate station.
A northward BLS freight crosses the double track bridge as it approaches the Rastatt station.
Lines at Rastatt host a mix of freight and passenger trains including Regional Expresses.
Lines at Rastatt host a mix of freight and passenger trains including Regional Expresses.
An electric hauled chemical train glides into Rastatt in the evening.
An electric hauled chemical train glides into Rastatt in the evening.
Open access operators are plentiful in Germany.
Open access operators are plentiful in Germany.
Four trains at Rastatt station.
Four trains at Rastatt station, including a stopping Tram Train from Karlsruhe.
Catching antique SBB Re 4/4s at work was a prize.
Catching antique SBB Re 4/4s at work was a prize.
SBB Re 4/4 electrics up close.
SBB Re 4/4 electrics up close.
A diesel leads a local freight from a nearby automotive factory.
A diesel leads a local freight from a nearby automotive factory.
A northward SBB freight glides through Rastatt.
A northward SBB freight glides through Rastatt.
Trailing view of the same train.
Trailing view of the same train.
A regional passenger train passes a freight.
A regional passenger train passes a freight.
Once common, old DB class 151 electrics are now relatively rare on through freights.
Once common, old DB class 151 electrics are now relatively rare on through freights.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

Extra Post: Irish Railway Record Society trip at Athy on 10 April 2016.

Irish Railway Record Society 071 excursion at Athy on the Waterford Line on 10 April 2016.
Irish Railway Record Society 071 excursion at Athy on the Waterford Line on 10 April 2016.

 

If you are not looking at Tracking the Light directly you may need to click the link to see the full photo.

The image was exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1.

The Athy locals were fascinated by this odd looking train that arrived and disgorged its eager passengers.

 

Tracking the Light posts daily.

 

Europe’s Most Colourful Tram City? Lots of NEW photos!

I’ll offer Freiburg as one of Europe’s most colourful tram cities.

The combination of variety of cars, a range of paint liveries (advertising and otherwise), interesting trackage plus varied and interesting historic backdrops makes Freiburg hard to top.

Any suggested contenders?

Photos below exposed in April 2016 using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Tram_HasemannStr_Freiburg_DSCF6008Tram_HasemannStr_Freiburg_DSCF6010Tram_HasemannStr_Freiburg_DSCF6037Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6080Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6098Duwag_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6101Duwag_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6113Duwag_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6116Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6127Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6128Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6143Pepsi_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6157CAF_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6165Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6187arch_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6195Mc_Donalds_arch_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6197Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6200Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6201

Dynamic Duewag Photos; Low angle with glint.

 

Evening sun with a textured fair-weather sky combined with well maintained paving stones and a healthy tree at left made for a visually compelling setting.

Freiburg, Germany still operates some of its vintage Duewag trams that feature a streamlined body and rounded front-end.

To make the most of the svelte classic tram I opted for a low angle and favored the angle of sun for reflective glint. The bicyclist was a fortuitous subject that makes for a more interesting photograph by introducing a human element.

To expose this image I worked my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera with the rear live-view display tilted upward, which allowed me to compose the photo while holding the camera relatively low to the ground.

I adjusted my 18-135mm zoom lens to near its widest angle.

Duewag tram in Freiburg, exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1. RAW file modified to improve contrast and exposure.
Duewag tram in Freiburg, exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1. RAW file modified to improve contrast and exposure.

Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6154

Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6155
Notice the effect of the bicycle’s double shadow?

The real trick was keeping the composition interesting as the action rapidly unfolded.

In post-processing I darkened the sky and lightened the shadow areas to improve overall contrast.

Which of the three images is your favorite?

(This essay was composed while transiting the Channel Tunnel between Calais and Folkstone on 30 April 2016).

Tracking the Light posts everyday.