Step back to September 28, 2020. I had just bought my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera. The foliage was turning, and I hiked up to the famed Frankenstein Trestle to catch the Mountaineer on its ascent of Crawford Notch.
This photo is among my favorites from 2020. I have used it extensively to promote Conway Scenic Railroad. It has appeared in various magazines and newspapers. The railroad sells refrigerator magnets featuring this image in the North Conway Brass Whistle Gift Shop, and we had monochromatic hoodies made up as well.
Saturday, September 17, 2022, Conway Daily Sun featured the photo on the cover of the newspaper.
The photo was exposed with my Z-series 24-70mm zoom set at 26mm, aperture at f4; camera shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second. I made adjustments to shadows, highlights and color temperature and saturation using Adobe Lightroom.
Another tip: So when selecting the appropriate Big Bus Dublin, it is helpful to find a relatively empty tour. Not only will the give you the best seat in on the bus (up top, at the back), but also great freedom to move around to capture the best angles.
The first bus of the day tends to be crowded, while I found those mid afternoon to have ample space.
Here’s an interesting way to make elevated views of Dublin’s trams: ride at the back of an open-top tour bus.
Kris and I bought 48-hour tickets for the Big Bus Dublin, which provides a half-hourly hop-on hop-off service.
This was primarily a way for us to play tourists in Dubln, but I quickly found that it offered an excellent means to photograph the LUAS.
We traveled on three different types of buses. The variety that was most effective allowed me to shoot over the railing at the very back of the bus. Some of the more modern coaches didn’t have this feature, so you should choose your bus carefully.
I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera with a 24-70mm zoom.
Yesterday evening (September 22, 2022), I made a few photos of Dublin’s LUAS trams using my Nikon Z6.
It had been raining much of the day but about 6pm the sun came out, making for some interesting but high contrast scenes.
Back in the old days I’d have worked with black & white film to make the most of this type of lighting, and controlled the contrast chemically. Now, I’m applying contrast controls digitally to my Nikon’s NEF (RAW) files using Adobe Lightroom.
The wee Reading Company has had some new arrivals!
Thanks to my long-time friend and expert model railroader, Rich Reed, my model railroad now has a variety of new equipment.
Rich painted a Reading class I-8 2-8-0 camelback for me. This is an interim paint job while we search for the appropriate Reading Company decals. He also supplied as wedding gifts; a Reading I-10sa 2-8-0 (with conventional cab arrangement); a tiny Reading Company camelback 0-4-0 similar to the class A-4b No. 1187 that used to live at the Strasburg Rail Road, a selection of Reading Co. freight cars and some buildings and other small structures.
I made these photos the other night using my Lumix LX7 to feature some of the additions to my interpretation of coal country.
When you make a lot of photos it is crucial to review and edit the images to select the most appropriate photos for presentation.
But what are the most appropriate images? I’ve often found that my second review of a batch of images will reveal a more interesting selection than the first edit.
The day of our special trip on RDC Millie for our wedding guests, I’d forgotten to pack my SD card reader. However, since my brother lent me a clever device I was able download selected photos from my Panasonic Lumix LX7’s SD card directly to my Apple iPhone. I posted a few of those images on Sunday.
Last night, while recovering from Sunday’s celebrations, I had the time to download and review all of the photos from Saturday’s trip and make the most of them.
Below is my ‘second edit’ from Saturday, September 17th, 2022.
Our special train and upcoming wedding were mentioned on page 9.
Here’s a photo of my sister-in-law Isabelle (left) and Kris (right) holding the Conway Daily Sun aboard Conway Scenic Railroad’s Budd RDC Millie.
I am posting from the wedding venue. I left my SD card reader at home (by accident) so my brother lent me a clever device that allowed me to download my Lumix LX7 SD card to my Apple iPhone. I then forwarded the photos to my Apple MacBook Pro for adjustement and posting to Tracking the Light.
Yesterday (September 13, 2022) I returned to Goves, where the old Maine Central Mountain Division ducks under Route 302 east of Bartlett, NH, to again photograph Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer on its westward run to Crawford Notch.
The other day in my Tracking the Light Post, ‘Poles and Wires Conundrum,’ I described my compositional frustrations with this location.
Working with my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens, I selected a slightly lower position that was a bit closer to the tracks.
On this attempt, the Mountaineer had two units and seven cars, which made for a more photogenic train. Also, it was brightly overcast, which helped to minimize the poles and wires, and I opted for a tight crop.
Last Friday, Conway Scenic’s president and general manager Dave Swirk, asked if I could be available on Monday (September 12) to document the moving of steam locomotive 501 into the North Conway Roundhouse for the first step in its restoration evaluation.
Locomotive 501 is an Alco 2-8-0 built for Maine Central and was a regular freight locomotive on Maine Central’s Mountain Division for many years. It had been part of the Steamtown collection, but when Steamtown relocated from Vermont to Pennsylvania in the 1980s the locomotive was moved to North Conway, N.H. for display.
Until yesterday, 501 had been prominently displayed in front of the North Conway freight house.
The railroad used former Maine Central GP7 573 to move the collection of freight and passenger cars behind the locomotive 501, and then hauled the locomotive from its resting place to the run around track (known as the ‘WA’) in front of the station.
Former Canadian National 0-6-0 7470 was fired up to complete 501’s move to the roundhouse, and I made a series of photos of the two locomotives together.
In addition to photos of the move, I also recorded video using the railroad’s Sony 4K capable video camera.
These images were made using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera and adjusted for color temperature, contrast, and exposure using Adobe Lightroom.
Yesterday, Kris & I made a drive to Vermont to deliver Hans-the-Rooster-Chicken to an animal sacntuary where he will live out his days. Hans has lived in our back yard since 2020 and has faithfully ushered in the new day with his cockadoodeling for many months.
It was a beautiful day and on the way back we stopped at a various places to make photos.
All of these photos were exposed digitally using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.
Assemblies of poles and wires can make or break a photo location.
I’ve been flummoxed by the location on the former Mountain Division known as Goves, where the railroad ducks under Rt 302 on the way to Bartlett.
This is one of a scant few overpasses on the Conway Scenic Railroad. What makes the location difficult are several sets of road-side wires that run both parallel and perpendicular to the railroad line.
Wires and poles can create visually distracting elements that can disrupt a composition . Especially difficult are very heavy black cables in this scene that are thoroughly distracting and difficult to minimize.
Yesterday, I photographed the westbound Conway Scenic Mountaineer at Goves and the poles and wires ended up bisecting the scene in various awkward ways.
Below I’ve included two sets of photos, the top image in each set shows the uncropped image; the bottom in each set shows selective cropping aimed at minimizing the effect of the poles and wires.
Working with my Lumix LX7 last month, I made a variety of photos of St. Lawrence & Atlantic 394 coming down from the border crossing at Norton, Vermont.
When I first attempted to download the SD card from the Lumix, I noticed a serious problem with several of my files.
Portions of the files suffered from corrupted data, with large portions of the image area scrambled.
However, when I viewed the photos in camera, there was no sign of this problem.
Normally, I take the SD card out of the Lumix and used a card reader to couple the card to my MacBook Pro. Then I download the files using a program called ‘Image Capture version 8.0’. Once downloaded, I then upload select images into Lightroom. This saves the files which creates a secondary backup, while allowing me to organize the photos and make scaled and corrected copies.
After a bit of fussing, I decided that what I had suffered wasn’t a write error to the card (which is a very serious problem), but rather a card read error. In otherwords all the information was safely stored my SD card and it was getting corrupted during the downloading process.
What, I ended up doing was using Lightroom to download the card directly. Then I used Lightroom to output my originals in DNG format which I stored in a folder along with the rest of my August Lumix files.
Below, I show the corrupted files as I original saw them (scaled for internet), then the unadjusted DNG files (scaled); and finally my adjusted DNG files.
The lesson: don’t panic if you suffer from corrupted files. Your data may still be recoverable. [Just don’t erase or format the card.]
Friday, September 2, 2022, former Maine Central GP38 252 led the Valley train on its return run from Conway.
I made this view from the roof of the North Conway Station using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom lens.
I set the camera Color Profile to ‘VI’ (Vivid), the white balance was at ‘Auto,’ and the exposure to ‘A’ (aperture priority). I selected f6.3, the camera metering selected 1/500th of a second. I had the lens full extended at 200mm. I was working with the NEF (RAW) file setting.
Adobe Lightroom enables me to apply the camera’s preset color profile to the NEF file while making adjustments to the file. Below are two versions. The top image is basically out of the camera and without modifications except for scaling, the bottom reflects minot adjustments to color temperature, shadow and highlight density, and a slight adjustment to the sky.
I’m not entirely satisfied with the image, so I’ll try it again sometime. Maybe with a slightly longer lens and different lighting.
Yesterday (September 3, 2022), Kris and I stopped in at Conway, NH to observe the arrival of the morning train led by steam locomotive 7470.
This is the last weekend of regularly scheduled steam service for the summer season and I wanted to make a few photos and catch up with steam locomotive engineer Wayne Duffett.
I made these photos of the 7470 and crew at Conway using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom. By working with the variable focal length telephoto I was able to quickly compose images of the crew and their locomotive.
All images were exposed in the NEF (RAW) format, imported into Adobe Lightroom for adjustment, and exported as JPGs for internet display.
Last week , I made this view of St. Lawrence & Atlantic’s train 394 as it worked the yard at Island Pond, Vermont.
There was a bit of an evening sunshower as photographed across the glistening waters of Back Pond. The town’s larger namesake pond, complete with Island, is on the other side of the tracks beyond the trees.