Category Archives: Gallery

This features recent work and exceptional images for display and discussion.

Sunburst on the Boston & Maine.

Alternatively, I could call this Tracking the Light post, ‘28N at Millers Falls.’

Whichever you like.

So what do you do in a situation where a train is coming directly out of the midday sun?

You could

1) give up.

2) go for a sandwich.

3) take up plane spotting.

4) all of the above.

Or you can try something different.

The other day at Millers Falls, Massachusetts I exposed these views looking timetable west on the old Boston & Maine. Train 28N is an eastward autorack destined for Ayer, Massachusetts.

Using a super wide-angle 12mm Zeiss Touit, I set the aperture to the smallest setting (f22), which produces a sunburst effect. To make the most of this effect, I positioned an autumn branch between the camera and the sun.

12mm Zeiss Touit, ISO 800, f22 at 1/125th of a second.

Tracking the Light posts Daily.

 

 

 

 

East Deerfield October Sunrise—Ilford Pan F.

The other morning at Pan Am’s East Deerfield yard I met up with Tim, a fellow photographer.

He asked, ‘Are you going to take that?’—meaning the sunrise over the yard.

‘Yeah, since we’re here. Why not?’

I’ve only made countless photos of this yard in the morning, but that’s never stopped me before.

For this image, I exposed Ilford Pan F black & white film (ISO 50) using a Leica IIIA with Nikkor f3.5 35mm lens. With handheld meter to gauge the lighting, I exposed this frame at f3.5 1/60th of a second.

My aim was to capture detail in the sky and allow the tracks and yard to appear as a silhouette.

East Deerfield Yard looking east at sunrise. October 2017.

I processed my film as follows: Kodak D76 mixed 1 to 1 for 6 min 30 seconds at 68F, followed by stop bath, 1st fix, 2nd fix, 1st rinse, Permawash, 2nd rinse, then 9 min selenium toner mixed 1 to 9 (one part toner to nine parts water), 3rd rinse, permawash, 4th rinse.

After scanning the negative with an Epson V750 Pro flatbed scanner, I made a few nominal adjustments to contrast using Lightroom, while removing unwanted dust-specs.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Wassen Curves on a Dull Day— Swiss Outtakes Part 1

An outtake (spelled with two ‘t’s) is a portion of a work removed during editing.

I’m in the final lap of assembling a book on European Railway travel.

Among my ‘outtakes’ from the section on Switzerland is this digital image that I made last year at the famous Wassen curves on the Gotthard Route.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.

I was traveling with my friends Gerry Conmy, Denis McCabe and Stephen Hirsch.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

NI Railways on the Roll—Panned Views Crossing the Lagan.

A few weeks back on a trip to Belfast, I exposed these views of NI Railway’s CAF-built diesel railcars crossing the River Lagan.

To convey a sense of motion I panned the trains using a relatively slow shutter speed with a medium telephoto lens. By using an even panning motion I was able to keep the train sharp with the background is blurred.

Exposed at f 22 for 1/60th of a second. 135mm focal length.
Exposed at f20 for 1/60th of a second.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Irish Rail InterCity Railcars pass Islandbridge Junction.

It was a bright morning. I was out for the down IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport container train that runs almost daily from Dublin’s Northwall to Ballina, County Mayo).

While I was waiting this Irish Rail ICR (InterCity Railcar) came up road on it approach to Dublin’s Heuston Station.

Sometimes its nice to catch an ordinary train in great morning light.

Lumix LX-7 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Two Too Many Twos at Connolly?

Sometimes a number catches my attention.

The other day I made two photos of Irish Rail 02 22222 arriving at Connolly Station, Dublin.

If I hadn’t had my Lumix LX7 with me and ready to go, I might have been too late to make this photo. And that would have been too bad.

Irish Rail 02 22222 at platform 5, Dublin’s Connolly Station. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

DASH-9 on the PRR.

 

Mifflin, Pennsylvania is a classic location on the old Pennsylvania Railroad.

I’ve visited here intermittently since Conrail days.

A couple of weeks ago, Pat Yough and I made these photos of Norfolk Southern trains passing Mifflin. I exposed these using my FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm f2.0 lens of westward symbol freight 21T.

FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm fixed telephoto lens set at f5.0 1/500, ISO 640.
FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm fixed telephoto lens set at f5.0 1/500, ISO 640.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily

Irish Rail DART crosses at level crossing in Bray.

A northward DART suburban train clears the crossing at Bray, County Wicklow. Lumix LX7 photo.

I exposed this view of a DART train at the level crossing near the station in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. Notice the Irish Sea in the background.

Tracking the Light is on AutoPilot while Brian is traveling.

 

Old Tracks Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

Tracking the Light is Brian Solomon’s daily blog focused on the nuts and bolts of Railway Photography.

Today’s post explores the former Boston & Maine yard at Shelburne Falls (technically Buckland, but I’ll let the pundits argue that privately), now home to the modest Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum. See: http://sftm.org

Last week Mike Gardner visited the site to make photographs of Pan Am Railway’s eastward autorack train symbol 28N. While waiting, I exposed a few views of the disused yard tracks parallel to the old Boston & Maine, now Pan Am, mainline.

Kodak Tri-X processed in Ilford Perceptol 1-1 with water for 8 minutes at 70F, then toned in Selenium for 7 minutes. Negatives rinsed, washed, dried and scanned in color using an Epson V750 Pro.

Pan Am Southern symbol freight 28N at Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

Tracking the Light posts something different every day!

 

Hidden Treasure: 19th Century Stone Arch over Stony Brook.

It always surprises me when I find some vestige of former times that I’ve managed to overlook.

Last week my on the advice of Felix Legere, we explored the old Nashua, Acton & Boston Railroad right of way near Forge Village east of Ayer, Massachusetts.

This 24-mile 19th century railroad was among the lines melded into the Boston & Maine system. In 1875, it carried three passenger trains daily between Nashua and Concord Junction. Near Forge Village it crossed the Stony Brook railroad and a trolley line on an overpass.

The NA&B was an early casualty of Boston & Maine retrenchment and abandoned about 1925.

Today, part of the right of way is maintained as Tom Paul Rail Trail. Felix led our expedition to the railroad’s vintage stone arch bridge over Stony Brook (for which the Stony Brook Railroad was named).

Bridge over Stony Brook. Exposed on Kodak Tri-X using a 50mm Summitar.
Looking east.
View made with 12mm Zeiss Touit.

I made the color photos with my FujiFilm X-T1, and the black & white with a Leica IIIa with 50mm Summitar lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily

Boston & Albany Program May 6th.

Boston & Albany freight house at Palmer, Massachusetts, photographed using a Rolleiflex Model T on Verichrome Pan black & white film in October 1985. Copyright Brian Solomon.

This Saturday, May 6, 2017, I will present a variation of my Boston & Albany program to the New York Central System Historical Society convention, to be held at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

I am listed as the guest speaker and my illustrated talk will begin at about 7pm. This will feature material from the Robert A. Buck collection, and images from the lens of William Bullard (early 20th century photographer), as well as a selection of my own work on the B&A, which spans more than 40 years.

For information on the convention and registration forms see the New York Central System HS website:  www.NYCSHS.org 

or

www.NYCSHS.net

Boston & Albany’s Worcester signal tower shortly before demolition. Copyright Brian Solomon.

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The Secret Muse—Seeking Vision.

Here’s key to a secret, one tightly held: More often than not I make photographs for a specific audience.

This has myriad manifests. It may be something as simple as photographing a friend’s favorite locomotive, or capturing a location once shared by a fellow photographer.

However, often it goes deeper. I’ll aim to capture a scene by working with light, shapes and subject in a way that I hope will appeal to a friend.

Sometimes, I’ll simply forward these photos directly to the person in question. To my father, I’ll send photos from my travels in Europe, to my mother, I’ll email photos of my friends and acquaintances.

I might forward an image to an editor that I made to pique their interest.

If I score something really unusual, I might goad a fellow photographer hoping to push them into exposing a similar or better photograph.

In April 1988, I made this photograph of Conrail’s BUOI working east through the Canisteo Valley near West Cameron, New York.

Yet, often my very best photographs are those that I make to fulfill a personal ideal.

What?

Ok, my most successful images are those I made to please me.

One last secret. I rarely publish these.

Why?

Because I don’t need to.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

 

Brian’s Finnish Railway Program on tonight in Dublin

At 7:30pm tonight, Thursday 9 March, 2017, I plan to  present my illustrated lecture called Night Trains, Pendolinos, Iron ore, Timber and Trams to the Irish Railway Record Society in Dublin.

This will be delivered at the IRRS premises near Heuston Station in Dublin (opposite the entrance to the car park). I will begin at 7:30pm (1930).

VR’s IC-274 arrives at Oulu, Finland on it’s overnight run to Helsinki. I traveled on this train. Exposed using a Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless digital camera.

Tracking the Light posts everyday!

Warm Spring Afternoon along the Canal at Enfield.

On 14 May 2003, I exposed this trailing view of Irish Rail’s Sligo Liner rolling west along the old Royal Canal near Enfield, Co. Meath.

The liner was hauling kegs of beer, mostly Guinness. Long after it left my view, I could here the class 071 locomotive with its EMD 12-645 diesel roaring a way in the distance.

Exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikon F3 with 180mm Nikkor lens.

I intentionally included some foliage in this photograph. Not only do the leaves help block sun from causing flare by hitting the front element of my lens, but they add a sense of depth that would be lost without them.

Helsinki Tram—long pan.

In Aug 2001, I used my new Contax G2 rangefinder to pan this Helsinki tram. A version of this image was published as two page spread in April 2005 Trains Magazine.

Rangefinders offer several advantages when making pan photos.

On Thursday 9 March , 2017, one week from tonight I’ll be giving my Illustrated Lecture called Night Trains, Pendolinos, Iron ore, Timber and Trams to the Irish Railway Record Society in Dublin.

This will be delivered at the IRRS premises near Heuston Station in Dublin (opposite the entrance to the car park). I will begin at 7:30pm (1930).

Tracking the Light posts everyday!

Brian’s Exhibit Reception Tonight at the Valley Photo Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Tonight, Friday January 27, 2017, the Valley Photo Center in Springfield is hosting a reception for my Silver & Steel exhibit between 5:30 and 8:00pm. I plan to present a live slide show (with real 35mm color slides!).

The gallery is in the Tower Square mall at 1500 Main St. in Springfield.

In addition to large framed prints and canvas renditions, I also have a selection silver gelatin black and white prints, as well as giclee prints available for purchase. In addition, I plan to have examples of my books for sale.

Among my photos on exhibit is a large print of this image showing an Irish Rail passenger train near Athenry, County Galway. I exposed this on Fujichrome Sensia II with a Nikon N90S and a 24mm Nikkor lens.

For more information: valleyphotocenterma@gmail.com

Palmer Journal Article from January 12, 2017.

Tracking the Light posts Daily.

Brian’s Silver & Steel Exhibit at Valley Photographer’s Gallery, Springfield MA–Reception Friday January 27th.

 My photographic exhibition at Valley Photo Center in Springfield, Massachusetts is on-going through January 28th. The gallery is in the Tower Square mall at 1500 Main St. in Springfield.

This Friday (January 27, 2017) I’ll be at the gallery for a reception between 5:30 and 8:00pm. I plan to present a live slide show (with real 35mm color slides!). This event is scheduled to coincide with the Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield (just across the Connecticut River).

My exhibit features photographs spanning two decades from the late 1980s to 2008, and depicts trains in a variety of settings including the American West, Pennsylvania, New England and Europe.

In addition to large framed prints and canvas renditions, I also have a selection silver gelatin black and white prints, as well as giclee prints available for purchase. In addition, I plan to have examples of my books for sale.

I exposed this view of a westward Conrail double stack train crossing the former Erie Railroad Starrucca Viaduct in May 1989 using a Leica M2 with 35mm Sumicron lens. This is one of several dozen images on display at the Valley Photo Center in Springfield.
Autumnal image at East Deerfield, Massachusetts. This is one of several dozen images on display at the Valley Photo Center in Springfield.
Not all photographs are made on bright sunny days. I exposed this view in Scranton, Pennsylvania on a wet October evening in 2005. I was working with the Delaware Lackawanna Railroad on my ‘Working on the Railroad’ book—published by MBI/Voyageur Press. This is one of several dozen images on display at the Valley Photo Center in Springfield.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily

Palmer Journal Article from January 12, 2017.

 

Lord Byron at Grand Narrows, Nova Scotia.

‘Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright.’

Profound words for a man who never gazed upon, let alone exposed a photograph.

Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia locomotive 2032 Lord Byron leads freight 306 in July 1997. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikon N90S with 80-200mm Nikkor zoom lens.

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light Posts Daily

 

Retropan 320—My First Experiment.

Czech film manufacturer Foma introduced a new black & white film in 2015 called Retropan Soft (ISO 320).

This is advertised as a panchromatic, special negative film with ‘fine grain, good resolution and contour sharpness’. Among its features are a ‘wide range of half tones and a wide exposure latitude.

I tried my first roll in early December 2016. I have to admit that I was curious, but skeptical. Could this new b&w film change the way I approach film photography? Might it offer something decidedly different than Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5?

Working with an old Nikon F3 and 50mm lens  I wandered around Philadelphia with my brother and exposed a variety of gritty urban images that I thought might benefit from the look advertised by ‘Retropan’.

Foma recommended using their specially formulated Retro Special Developer, so I ordered some from Freestyle Photographic Supplies .

I exposed my film at ISO 320, and processed it more or less as recommended using Retro Special Developer, with two small changes:

I shortened the processing time (as I generally find that manufacturer recommended times are too long and lead to excessively dense negatives); plus I pre-soaked the film in a water bath with a drop of HC110 (as described in previous posts).

The negatives scanned  well, and I was impressed with the tonality of the photographs. I’ve included a selection below.

Please note, that although I scaled the files and inserted a watermark, I have not cropped them or manipulated contrast, exposure or sharpness. These photos are essentially un-interpreted.

Philadelphia exposed on Foma Retropan Soft and processed in Foma Retro Special Developer.
Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia.
42nd Street, Philadelphia.
Philadelphia City Hall. Philadelphia exposed on Foma Retropan Soft and processed in Foma Retro Special Developer.
Evening view from the same street corner as the daylight photo.
Low angle view of an alley.
Buying SEPTA transit tokens.

Stay tuned for my next Retropan test!

Brian Solomon presents something new on Tracking the Light every day.

 

 

Brian Solomon’s Silver & Steel Photo Exhibit January 2017

During January 2017, I’ll have an exhibit of railway photography at the Valley Photo Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The show will run from January 3 to January 28th in the Tower Square mall (formerly Bay State West) in downtown Springfield. The address is: 1500 Main St, Springfield, MA 01103, USA

The exhibit will feature photographs spanning two decades from the late 1980s to 2008, and depict trains in a variety of settings.

Conrail double-stack container train crosses the Starrucca Viaduct on the former Erie Railroad at Lanesboro, Pennsylvania in Spring 1989. Exposed with a Leica M2 with 35mm Summicron lens on Kodachrome 25.
Among the large photographs display is this view of a southward Central Vermont freight crossing the Connecticut River. I exposed it using my Nikon F3T with 28mm lens on Kodachrome 25. A version of this image appeared in Trains Magazine 19 years ago.

Among my underlying themes are scale and environment. Consider the contrast between the view of a light rail tram crossing the Danube in Budapest and the very large print of a freight car wheel in West Virginia.

Highlights include a Conrail stack train crossing Pennsylvania’s Starrucca Viaduct, and Union Pacific freight rolling through California’s Feather River Canyon at the North Fork Bridge.

This is a rare opportunity to buy my framed photography. All prints displayed are available for purchase.

A reception will be held on the evening of Friday, January 27, 2017 between 5:30 and 8:00pm. I’ll be there to give a live slide show (with real 35mm color slides!) Refreshments will be served.

This reception is scheduled to coincide with the Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, just across the Connecticut River.

I hope to see you there on the 27th!

For more information: valleyphotocenterma@gmail.com

New York City’s Empire State Building 20 years Ago.

In December 1996, I made a sequence of photographs from this vantage point off 8th Avenue in Manhattan featuring the Empire State Building.

This is one of many images from essentially the same spot that I exposed to show the changes in lighting over New York City. I intended to use as a multiple slide dissolve sequence in a slide show, although I’ve yet to organize it.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikon N90S mounted on a tripod.

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The Lost Waterfall at Bernardston.

You never know what’s going to change.

Photo exposed using 120 size Ektachrome film. Exposure calculated with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell (light meter).
Photo exposed on 120 size Ektachrome film. Exposure calculated with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell (light meter).

I exposed this view twenty years ago using a Speed Graphic with 120 size roll film back that I’d borrowed from Doug More.

A decade earlier, fellow photographer Brandon Delaney had showed me this bridge at Bernardston, Massachusetts on the Boston & Maine’s Connecticut River Line.

The bridge survives much as pictured here;  today it serves as the route of Amtrak’s Vermonter. However the old mill dam with accompanying waterfall were destroyed sometime after I made this December 1996-view.

Tomorrow, I’ll post a contemporary angle of the bridge.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

A Hint of Colour at Zebreh.

An eastward EuroCity express passenger train running with Slovakian equipment takes the curve on approach to the station at Zebreh, Czech Republic.

It’s mid-October and the trees hint of autumn.

I exposed this view using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera set to the pre-programmed Velvia colour-profile.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Soo Line on Tax Day!

Soo Line on Tax Day!
Soo Line on Tax Day! A Soo Line SD40-2 leads an eastward CP Rail freight near Dalton, New York on 15 April 2004. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 with 45mm Zeiss lens.

The old Erie Railroad is one of my favorite lines.

Mike Gardner and I got a very early start on 15 April 2004. We worked our way west to the Portage Bridge at the Letchworth Gorge in western New York State in time to intercept an eastward CP Rail freight.

We chased this capturing it in multiple locations along the old Erie line to Hornell. At this time Norfolk Southern was the owner operator, while CP Rail operated via Delaware & Hudson trackage rights.

Clear blue dome; bright red EMDs, and great scenery with a good quality chase road made the morning extra productive.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Tracking the Night

(Thanks to Stephen Hirsch for the title suggestion.)

Last week I passed my 50th milepost, so on Saturday evening some friends and I gathered at Nancy Hands pub on Parkgate Street in Dublin.

The Irish railways fraternity was well represented.

I was dressed as the Ghost of Isambard K. Brunel, the famously eccentric, highly regarded Victorian engineer and polymath.
I was dressed as the ghost of Isambard K. Brunel— the famously eccentric, highly regarded Victorian engineer and polymath.

 

Thanks to everyone who dropped by! Special thanks to Paul Dowd for helping to organize the event. Extra special thanks to Helen Collins who created my costume!

These photos are a sampling of images exposed with my Lumix LX7. Some were made by me, others were exposed by various friends at the event.

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Tracking the Night Celebrates Halloween and Brian’s 50th mile mark.

Summer Sun and Stainless Steel—July 2016.

Long Island Rail Road's Hudson Yards on the westside of Manhattan.
Long Island Rail Road’s Hudson Yards on the westside of Manhattan.

Funny how the internet’s autocropping tends makes a mockery of my composition. Be sure to click on Tracking the Light to see the photo as I intended to present it.

I exposed this view of Long Island Rail Road suburban trains at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards using my Lumix LX7. Thin cloud with a hint of air pollution makes for soft brown-tinted light.

Tracking the Light is on Auto-Pilot while Brian is Traveling.

Tracking the Light on Tracking the Light.

Just a word or few on this blog:

For more than three years I’ve made an effort to post something new, each and every day.

If you are not already subscribed, have you considered subscribing? There is no cost: the primary advantage to a subscription is that an automatic notice is sent out with each and every post. This is more reliable than feeds via Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, and even my own Email notices.

I prepare posts in advance and put them in a queue on Word Press. I’ll assign to each posting a date and a time when it is supposed to appear on the web.

Sometimes owing to a technical fault, posts may miss its scheduled posting time. When that happens, I have to manipulate the system and post manually. (Post is both a noun a verb).

I like to keep the site timely, but it’s not intended as an up to the minute news source.

Although I often write daily, I tend plan post schedules so that photos  appear several days after I make them. This is by intent.

That said, sometimes when I find something of immediate interest (such as Monday’s IWT Liner), I’ll make an effort to get the subject out there quickly for public consumption. (Thus Tracking the Light’s ‘Extra Posts’).

In other situations, I’ll capture something unique (or at least very unusual) but opt to hold that back for future presentation.

For every photo I’ve displayed on Tracking the Light, I have dozens more waiting for their day in the sun (metaphorically). The very best have yet to be seen!

For the next few days I’ll be traveling and may not have regular access to the internet. As a result, Tracking the Light will be coasting ‘autopilot.’

This means, I’ve placed a large batch of posts in the queue so that you should see something every day while I’m on the road.

If for some reason, a post misses its posting time, I may not be in a position to fix it right away.

Fear not, new material is being exposed! On digital, and with film.

Stay tuned!

An Amtrak Empire Service train led by a dual-mode GE Genesis diesel makes for a modern silhouette along the Hudson at Castleton, New York in 2004. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 28mm Zeiss Biogon.
An Amtrak Empire Service train led by a dual-mode GE Genesis diesel makes for a modern silhouette along the Hudson at Castleton, New York in 2004. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 28mm Zeiss Biogon.

 

Curves and Catenary; Dublin’s DART at Dalkey.

Autumn sunlight nicely filled the cutting.

Working within the confines of lines, I did my best to frame up this southward DART electric train at Dalkey.

I exposed this view on Ilford HP5 using my Nikon F3 with an f2.0 135mm lens.
I exposed this view on Ilford HP5 using my Nikon F3 with an f2.0 135mm lens.

Brian Solomon is Traveling; Tracking the Light posts daily

Irish Railways Looking Back Ten Years—Presentation in Cork on Monday 3 October 2016.

I’ll be presenting a variation of my slide program Irish Railways Looking Back Ten Years to the Cork Branch of the Irish Railway Record Society at 8pm on Monday October 3, 2016.

The program will be held at the Metropole Hotel in Cork City.

I gave a version of this program titled ONE YEAR ON IRISH RAILWAYS; LOOKING BACK TEN YEARS on 10 March 2016 to the Dublin Branch of the Irish Railway Record Society.

While the core of the program will be similar, I’ve added a variety of new material to keep it interesting and fresh.

Irish Rail 213 at Kent Station, Cork. Exposed on Fujichrome, scanned with an Epson V500.
Irish Rail 213 at Kent Station, Cork. Exposed on Fujichrome, scanned with an Epson V500.
Railway Preservation Society Ireland engine 186 arrives at Farranfore, County Kerry on 6 May 2006.
Railway Preservation Society Ireland engine 186 arrives at Farranfore, County Kerry on 6 May 2006. Notice the effect of depth created by lining up the lighting posts on the right.
Waterford-Ballina Norfolk Liner crosses the River Barrow at Monasterevin.
Waterford-Ballina Norfolk Liner crosses the River Barrow at Monasterevin.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Cover of the Southern Steam—2017 Calendar.

My photo of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s engine number  4 appears on the cover of this year’s Southern Steam Calendar.

RPSI’s former Northern Counties Commission engine number 4 works toward Pearse Station Dublin on 18 Dec 2010. The cool dry conditions combined with a rare blanket of Irish snow made for a classic view of RPSI’s Santa Train. I exposed this view digitally using my Canon EOS-7D.
RPSI’s former Northern Counties Commission engine number 4 works toward Pearse Station Dublin on 18 Dec 2010. The cool dry conditions combined with a rare blanket of Irish snow made for a classic view of RPSI’s Santa Train. I exposed this view digitally using my Canon EOS-7D.

The calendar features the work of a dozen of Ireland’s most talented railway photographers. It is arranged to display one large photo per month.

My view here has been specially cropped for display on Tracking the Light. The calendar displays a larger version of this image.

Southern Steam has been produced by my friends Kevin Meany and Ken Fox for the charity Pieta House—Centre of Prevention of Suicide Or Self-Harm.

Southern Steam—2017 is available in Ireland with proceeds going to the charity. If you are interested is obtaining a copy of the calendar please contact Ken Fox at:

<railwaymad@hotmail.com>

Or Kevin Meany at:

kevinmeanydisplays@gmail.com

To learn more about Pieta House see the charity’s website: www.pieta.ie

Tracking the Light posts EVERY day.

 

 

Irish Rail 080 works Grand Hibernian at Islandbridge Junction—5 September 2016.

 

Click on Tracking the Light to view the uncropped photos.

I watched as a band of high cloud inched across the morning sky.

Irish Rail class 071 diesel number 080 brought Belmond’s Grand Hibernian Mark 3 consist through the wash at Heuston Station. Interesting light with an unusual train.

To hold detail in the textured sky, I used a Lee 0.6 graduated neutral density filter with the darker portion of the filter positioned at the top of the frame.

FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens and Lee 0.6 graduated neutral density filter. Minor post-processing contrast and saturation adjustment was made using Lightroom.
FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens and Lee 0.6 graduated neutral density filter. Minor post-processing contrast and saturation adjustment was made using Lightroom.
FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens and Lee 0.6 graduated neutral density filter. Minor post-processing contrast and saturation adjustment was made using Lightroom.
FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens and Lee 0.6 graduated neutral density filter. Minor post-processing contrast and saturation adjustment was made using Lightroom.

Tracking the Light posts Every Day.

 

 

Norfolk Southern Helpers at Cassandra-July 2010.

Helpers on a unit coal train at Cassandra July1_2010_IMG_1761
On July 1, 2010, helpers work at the back of a loaded coal train. By including some leaves and branches of near by trees I’ve added depth to the photograph.

Norfolk Southern helpers are in ‘run-8’ working at the back of a loaded coal train at Cassandra, Pennsylvania on the famed ‘West Slope’—the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line grade over the Alleghenies.

Morning glint illuminates the tops of the locomotives and accentuates the exhaust smoke for added drama. The train was working upgrade at a crawl.

Exposed digitally using my Canon 7D.

Tracking the Light is daily.

Tracking the Light Special: Ireland’s Grand Hibernian Inaugural Departure from Dublin Heuston Station.

This afternoon, after years of planning and months of preparation, high-end hotel train operator Belmond debuted its latest train; the Grand Hibernian.

This departed platform 2 at Heuston Station at 2:20pm (30 August 2016).

I made these photographs of the train and its Irish Rail crew.

For the railway enthusiast this means the return of locomotive hauled Mark3 carriages to regular traffic.

All images were exposed a little while ago  using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.

Train guards Noel and Mark at Heuston.
Train guards Noel and Mark at Heuston Station, Dublin.
Each carriage is named for an Irish County. Sadly Mayo and Dublin were omitted.
Each carriage is named for an Irish County. Sadly Mayo and Dublin were omitted.

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Oy! Whosat goob?

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Departing Heuston Station on the advertised.
Departing Heuston Station on the advertised.
Green flag to depart.
Green flag to depart.

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Tracking the Light posts EVERY day and sometimes twice!

New England Central at Stafford Springs—August 23, 2016.

The familiar sound of 645 thunder down in the valley spurred me into action.

A southward New England Central freight was climbing Stateline Hill in Monson, Massachusetts. This is an old routine (and yes, I’ve written about this before.)

When I hear a train coming through Monson, I have a few minutes to get organized. In this instance, a brilliant clear blue dome with nice morning light was the deciding consideration.

En route, I heard the southward train get its ‘paper’ (radio–issued track authority) to proceed toward Willimantic, Connecticut. In this instance, I was alerted to the location of the train; south of milepost 55 (near the Massachusetts-Connecticut state line).

I headed for my preferred spot in downtown Stafford Springs, Connecticut south of milepost 49.

FujiFilm XT1 digital photo.
FujiFilm XT1 digital photo.

One advantage of Stafford Springs is that the railroad makes an east-west twist through the village on its otherwise north-south run. This favors the morning light for a southward train.

The other advantage is Stafford’s quaint and distinctive New England setting.

Here's the trailing view that shows the village.
Here’s the trailing view that shows the village.

Photos exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1

Tracking the Light posts everyday!

Palmer, Massachusetts Then and Now; 1984-2016.

Conrail SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester at Worcester, Massachusetts) makes a drop at Palmer, Massachusetts on Ma7 6, 1984.
Conrail SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester at Worcester, Massachusetts) makes a drop at Palmer, Massachusetts on May 6, 1984.

I exposed these two views from almost the same angle on the South Main Street Bridge in Palmer, Massachusetts.

In 1984, Conrail operated the old Boston & Albany, and the main line was then a directional double track route under rule 251 (which allows trains to proceed in the current of traffic on signal indication).

SEPW has stopped on the mainline, while the headend has negotiated a set of crossovers to access the yard and interchange. That’s the head end off in the distance.

I made this 1984 view on Plus-X using a Leica fitted with a f2.8 90mm Elmarit lens.

The comparison view was exposed on July 25, 2016 using  a Lumix LX7 set at approximately the same focal length. Although similar, I wasn’t trying to precisely imitate the earlier view and was working from memory rather than having a print with me on site.

Exposed using my Lumix LX7. I used the ‘A’ mode and dialed in -1/3 to compensate for the bright sunlight and the dark side of the train. This image was extracted from the in-camera Jpeg and compressed for internet viewing, but I also made a RAW file of the same image. Both are to be archived on multiple hard drives.
Exposed using my Lumix LX7. I used the ‘A’ mode and dialed in -1/3 to compensate for the bright sunlight and the dark side of the train. This image was extracted from the in-camera Jpeg and compressed for internet viewing, but I also made a RAW file of the same image. Both are to be archived on multiple hard drives.

Tracking the Light posts Every Day!

Santa Ana, California—Ten Photos in 45 Minutes—August 2016.

During one of my recent Metrolink blitzes, I rode from Los Angeles Union Station to Santa Ana where I changed for an Inland Empire-Orange County Line train running from Oceanside to San Bernardino.

I timed this brief visit to coincide with a flurry of Amtrak and Metrolink trains. I had just 45 minutes to make images of this classic Santa Fe station having never previously explored here.

I found Santa Ana to be an excellent mid-morning location.

The footbridge is photographer friendly and the old Santa Fe building makes for a suitably California setting. The height of the bridge allows for both distant telephoto views as well as wide-angle down-on photos.

I exposed these views digitally using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1.

I arrived on Metrolink train 600 from Los Angeles Union Station. I had enough time to walk to the headend and expose this view with my Lumix LX7 before the train departed.
I arrived on Metrolink train 600 from Los Angeles Union Station. I had enough time to walk to the headend and expose this view with my Lumix LX7 before the train departed.
Metrolink 687 arrives behind a borrow BNSF AC4400CW. This framed view was exposed using my Lumix LX7.
Metrolink 687 arrives behind a borrow BNSF AC4400CW. This framed view was exposed using my Lumix LX7.
A Metrolink F59PHI works at the back of Los Angeles bound train number 687. Here my Fujinon 18-135mm lens gave me a nice view of the train and station from the footbridge.
A Metrolink F59PHI works at the back of Los Angeles bound train number 687. Here my Fujinon 18-135mm lens gave me a nice view of the train and station from the footbridge.
Metrolink 633 is among Metrolink's services that doesn't serve Los Angeles Union Station. This is a short-turn that runs from Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo to Fullerton.
Metrolink 633 is among Metrolink’s services that doesn’t serve Los Angeles Union Station. This is a short-turn that runs from Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo to Fullerton.
By using my 18-135 zoom on my Fuji XT1 I was able to exposed a series of trailing photos of Metrolink 633 as it accelerated away from Santa Ana.
By using my 18-135 zoom on my Fuji XT1 I was able to exposed a series of trailing photos of Metrolink 633 as it accelerated away from Santa Ana.
This is a telephoto view of train 633 from the same vantage point as the photo above.
This is a telephoto view of train 633 from the same vantage point as the photo above.
Metrolink's timetable shows both of its services to Santa Ana as well as Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.
Metrolink’s timetable shows both of its services to Santa Ana as well as Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner.
A detailed view of the Santa Ana station exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.
A detailed view of the Santa Ana station exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.
Amtrak 566 Pacific Surfliner slows for its station stop.
Amtrak 566 Pacific Surfliner slows for its station stop.
Metrolink 802 will take me to San Bernardino. I arrived under partly cloudy skies and departed under a California blue dome. Happy days!
Metrolink 802 will take me to San Bernardino. I arrived under partly cloudy skies and departed under a California blue dome. Happy days!

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday.