Category Archives: Gallery

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

Spin to Howth

Sunday evening Kris and I took a spin to Howth and back on Irish Rail’s DART from Connolly Station.

I made my first trip to Howth on the DART back in March 1998. On that visit I made photos with a Nikon F3T loaded with Fujichrome Velvia.

For Sunday’s visit, I worked with my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm zoom, while Kris made photos with her Fuji XT4.

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Irish Rail’s Connolly Station

Yesterday, I made this photo of an Irish Rail ICR (InterCity railcar) paused at Platform 4 at Dublin Connolly Station.

It was a comparatively quiet Sunday afternoon and dull outside, but the soft lighting made for a perfect time to portray the modern diesel railcar in the Victorian-era railway station.

Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm Z-series Nikkor zoom.

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Ad Trams in the Dublin City Centre.

Over my many visits to Dublin since the start of LUAS tram services in 2004, I’ve made many photos of the various specially decorated LUAS advertising trams that grace the system.

Over the last few days wandering the streets of Dublin, I’ve continued my LUAS photography and focused on a few of the Ad trams that add to the color of the City Centre.

I made these views of Sky television wrapped trams using my Lumix LX7.

Southward Green Line tram crossing the Rosie Hackett bridge over the Liffey
Closer view at the Rosie Hackett bridge.
Eastward Red Line Tram on Abbey Street near O’Connell Street.
Eastward Red Line Tram crossing O’Connell Street.
Westward Red Line Tram on Abbey Street at the Jervis stop.

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Frankenstein-Two Years Ago Today.

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.

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May 1978-Amtrak 448 Passes Palmer.

In May 1978, my father drove us to Palmer, Massachusetts to watch the passage of the eastward Lake Shore Limited (train 448). I made a series of photos using my pre-war Leica IIIA rangefinder on Kodacolor II color negative film.

This trailing view looks east toward the old South Main Street Bridge and Conrail’s Palmer yard. It looks like something nasty happened to the westward signal (at right). A pair of E8s led the train.

Despite their age, these old color negatives have held up reasonably well. I scanned them in 2016 using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner.

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High Contrast Trams

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.

Do these photos work?

If they don’t, I’ll take more later.

LUAS tram on Parnell Street in Dublin. JPG from the unaltered NEF file (No changes to color, contrast, exposure etc).
LUAS tram on Parnell Street in Dublin. This is my adjusted version of the same NEF file. I’ve paid special attention to the sky using Adobe Lightroom’s built in ‘select sky’ mask.
Abbey Street in Dublin. JPG from the unaltered NEF file (No changes to color, contrast, exposure etc).
Abbey Street in Dublin. JPG from the adjusted NEF file.

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HO Camels in Coal Country

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.

In the ‘real world,’ Penn Central and Reading Company camelback 2-8-0s missed each other by more than 20 years.
Look through the trees! That’s a camelback 0-4-0 coming down grade.
West Cressona Yard has a few new additions thanks to Rich Reed!
This Penn Central RS-3 and caboose was a gift to me from Ken Buck that predated my wee Reading Company by almost a decade. The models had been his father’s. Look above the caboose and you’ll see the sign that Rich made for me that advertised Bob Buck’s Tucker’s Hobbies of Warren, Massachusetts.

My RDCs now have a wee station to serve at Minersville.
Schuylkillhaven now has a movie theatre!

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Millie Trip-Second Edit

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.

Sanford, Florida reunion gang.
Richard Jay Solomon holds up the signed copy of my latest book.
Chris Guss shows off his drone at Moat Brook.
Conductor Rob Flannigan and Mass Bay RRE’s Dave Brown.
Millie at the Swift River Bridge.
Photographers on the platform at North Conway, NH.
Family and friends on the platform at North Conway, NH.

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Nine Years Ago: B-17 in the sky.

On September 15, 2013, I observed and photographed an airshow over Dublin.

Working with my Canon EOS7D with 200mm prime telephoto, I made these views of an historic World War II-era B-17 aircraft as it circled the city center.

These photos are scaled versions of the camera-profiled JPGs. Canon’s sensor has a wonderful ability to render sky colors.

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By Goves—Take Two.

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.

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HO Reading Co. Sept 2022.

I’ve been working on my scale Reading Company.

Since the last time I featured my scale railway, I’ve refined and expanded the scenery.

I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 working with a f2.8 70-200mm and high ISO settings.

In post processing I lightened shadows and cooled the color balance to more closely emulate daylight.

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Chicken Run

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.

Tokyo Trolley in Traffic

April 22, 1997: I ascended a footbridge over a busy Tokyo thoroughfare to make photos of the rarely captured Tokyo trolley.

Where most of the railway lines in Japan are meter-gauge, the Tokyo Trolley is unusual because it was an early use of 4 ft 8.5 inch gauge train in Japan. The other big users of ‘standard gauge’ in Japan are the Shinkansen routes.

In yesterday’s post, I described the compositional challenges of poles and wires near Bartlett, NH. Compare those images with the sea of poles and wires in this view!

Exposed on Fujichrome Velvia50 using a Nikon N90S with an AF f2.8 80-200mm Nikkor zoom lens.

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Amtrak California Zephyr

I love to gaze across the great expanse of the desert. On the morning of September 4, 1996, we climbed atop one of the ‘mud mounds’ at Floy in the Utah desert east of Green River and waited for Amtrak No.6—the California Zephyr.

I made this trailing view on Fujichrome Velvia slide film with my Nikon F3T fitted with a Nikkor f4.0 200mm prime telephoto.

Amtrak’s long distance trains were in the transition between the 1970s-era F40PH-2s and the mid-1990s era General Electric GENESIS™ P40s and in this view of the California Zephyr featured one of each locomotives.

At the back of the train was a private car with its single red light marking the rear.

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Telephoto of Steam!

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.

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Sunshower Across the Pond

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.

Exposed digitally using my Nikon Z6.

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Under the old Grand Trunk.

A few miles from Island Pond, Vermont, the former Grand Trunk crosses over Vermont Highway 114.

Aiming to catch St Lawrence & Atlantic’s 394 on the move, I waited patiently until I heard the roar of EMDs.

Working with my Nikon Z6 digital camera fitted with an Z-series 80-200mm zoom lens, and set with the motor drive on high, I waited until just the right moment and then released a burst of images.

Below are my results from three bursts, including one of Conway Scenic Railroad’s new dome that was second car from last.

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To the Border!

Last week I was on a mission from Conway Scenic.

The railroad’s new dome was on the move and expected to cross the border from Canada in the early evening.

I drove to the border station at Norton, Vermont to meet St. Lawrence & Atlantic/St Lawrence & Quebec’s eastward (southward) freight 394 that was in transit from Richmond, Quebec.

Norton is where the US Border Patrol conducts their inspections.

I met the train, and with permission, made a few photographs to document the event. Luckily the train was relatively early and it was still daylight at the time of the crossing.

The whole event went very smoothly.

It was very exciting to see the ‘new’ car. This Budd Vista Dome was built in the 1950s for Northern Pacific’s North Coast Limited and has a long history.

Stay tuned . . . . .

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Compare: RAW versus Camera-Profiled JPG

On August 28, 2014, I made this photo of a down InterCity Railcar on Irish Rail’s Quad Track near Clondalkin in west suburban Dublin.

I was photographing with my Canon EOS7D fitted with a prime f2.8 200mm lens.

I had the camera set up to simultaneously expose a Hi-Res RAW and a color-profiled JPG file using the Canon pre-programed ‘Standard’ setting. (Recorded to the file as ‘sRGB IEC61966-2.1’)

Normally, I’d make adjustments to the RAW file.

In this case, I’ve opted to display the two files without adjustment for point of comparison.

Canon JPG with camera ‘Standard’ color profile: ‘sRGB IEC61966-2.1’
Canon camera RAW (CR2 file).

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Something Random and Familiar

I was looking for something else and I found a box of Fujichrome slides: on it was written ‘VRS’. Nothing more.

Inside are a bunch of gems from early 1998. Photographer Mike Gardner and I had made a trip to Rutland, Vermont where we photographed a Vermont Rail System local freight that worked a Clarendon & Pittsford job to a quarry.

This was just a few weeks before I made my first trip to England and Ireland. Months later when I returned from across the Atlantic, this box of slides sat on my desk. I don’t think I ever look at it. None of the slides are labled and they are all in numerical order.

Today, it has special significance to me. Leading the train is Clarendon & Pittsford GP38 number 203.

That’s former Maine Central 255, now Conway Scenic 255. It is the locomotive I see almost every day! Back then it was just another red VRS EMD diesel.

I scanned the slide using a Nikon LS5000 scanner driven by VueScan software. I scanned as a high-res TIF file then imported into Adobe Lightroom for some minor adjustments.

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Maine Central 252 at West Side Road.

Wednesday (August 24, 2022) I was running errands around North Conway-Conway, New Hampshire. Between stops, I paused for a few minutes at West Side Road to catch the 9:30am Conway train on its return to North Conway.

This featured former Maine Central GP38 252, a locomotive that isn’t often assigned to the Conway run.

Working with my Lumix LX7, I exposed this view as a RAW digital file, then processed the data using Adbe Lightroom to make the most of the image.

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Union Pacific Station-Caliente, Nevada.

I made this photo of the old Union Pacific station at Caliente, Nevada in March 1997. Photographer Mel Patrick and I had been following the Los Angeles & Salt Lake route west from Utah.

Not far from Caliente we’d discovered one of the tires had developed a serious defect. It wasn’t flat, but it was about to be!

We arrived in town too late to visit the local mechanic, so stayed overnight across from the station. Before sunrise, I went over to the railroad and exposed a series of Fujichrome slides of the UP station using my Nikon F3T that I’d fitted with Mel’s 16mm full-frame fisheye.

This unusual lens lent itself to photos like this one.

I’ve only visited Caliente once in my life.

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Tie Train Passes the Station.

Almost every train on Conway Scenic Railroad stops at the North Conway Station.

It is extremely unusual train that passes the station without stopping

Yesterday, while serving in the capacity as ‘Manager on Duty,’ I cleared Work Extra 252 into North Conway from Conway, and granted it permission to drop its caboose at the North Yard before continuing West.

I made this selection of photos as vintage GP38 252 worked passed the 1874 station.

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Morning Light at Conway, NH.

Among the challenges of summer photography on a tourist railroad is that train operations tend to be focused during the middle of the day when the light is comparatively harsh.

Generally speaking, the passengers appear to be more focused on eating breakfast during the early morning, so we schedule the trains for later in the morning. The first train boards at 9:15 am.

The other day, we sent out a work Extra more than an hour ahead of the scheduled Conway train in order for the work crew to get ballast and ties loaded onto the train at Conway before the first passenger train arrived. This made good use of time, and provided me with some photographic opportunities.

I made these photos of the Work Extra at Conway before 9am using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

Occasionally I’m asked about the schedules for the work trains. Unfortunately my answers aren’t very helpful. By definition, a ‘Work Extra’ doesn’t have a schedule. These trains typically have to stay out of the way of the regular passenger excursions. They are called ‘as-required’, and move about the railroad as it suits the crews to get their work done. Plans change quickly and so it can be difficult to know when and where the trains will be more than a few hours or minutes in advance.

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Valley Crew Portraits

Recently, Conway Scenic Railroad invested in new employee uniforms.

Yesterday, I made a few portraits of the Valley crew on the platform of the North Conway station, shortly before the train was ready to board for Sawyers River.

These photos were exposed as NEF Raw files using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm zoom, and processed in Adobe Lightroom to adjuste highlight and shadow detail, over all color temperature, and sky detail.

The advantage of the Nikon NEF Raw is that it captures an enormous volume of data.

I posted versions of these photos to the company’s social media to help promote the railroad.

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GP7 on the Work Extra

The other morning was bright and clear in North Conway, NH.

Locomotive 573 (a former Maine Central GP7) was put to work on Conway Scenic Railroad’s work train.

The work train ran from North Conway to Conway to load ballast and ties.

I made this photo at the Golf Course crossing in North Conway using my Nikon Z6 digital camera with 24-70mm zoom lens.

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Is this pole a nuisance?

The other day at White River Junction, Vermont, I made this photo of the Vermont Rail System yard office and GP38 204 using my Lumix LX7.

I like the classic style railroad building and vintage diesel, but I’m not sure about the pole. Would this photo be better without the pole, or does it lend context and relevance to the image?

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Two Ways to Make a Panorama

Standing at the south end of the platform at White River Junction, Vermont, I envisioned a panoramic image that would show the station and the locomotives parked to either side of the station.

I wanted to convey the sense of Junction, while making use of the nice afternoon sunlight.

Working with my Lumix LX7, I used the ‘panoramic’ function in ‘scene mode’, which allowed me to make a panoramic composite. Moving the camera from right to left while holding the shutter down makes for a sequence of image that are then sewed together in-camera using a preprogramed algorithm .

Lumix LX7 panoramic composite image at White River Junction, Vermont.

Then I set the camera with a 16:9 aspect ratio and made a single frame, which I then cropped manually to give it a panoramic look.

This second method provided better compositional control and is free from the computer generated artifacts associated with composite images, but isn’t as sharp as the composite.

Cropped version of a single 16:9 aspect ratio image aimed at better featuring the locomotives, station, and clouds.

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LUAS Focus

On the evening of August 12, 2015, I made this pair of images of Dublin’s LUAS light rail at the Museum stop on Benburb Street.

I was playing with very close focus for effect. By manually setting the focus in the second image, I selected a focus point on the stone wall, while allowing the tram to dissolve in a sea of blur.

In post processing I corrected the color balance to compensate for the intense yellow-orange tint of the street lights.

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Pacer Crosses the Canal in Leeds

A Northern Rail Pacer style railbus crosses an old canal off the River Aire near the Leeds Railway Station on August 11, 2014.

I made this image from the rooftop of the Doubletree Hotel using my Canon EOS7D with an f2.0 100mm prime lens. The wink of sun on an otherwise dull day made for some wonderful light.

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Canadian Pacific SD40-2 viewed with Hologon.

On October 13, 2003, I exposed this color slide of Canadian Pacific SD40-2 at Binghamton, NY using my Contax G2 rangefinder fitted with a 16mm Zeiss Hologon.

This was a flat field super wideangle lens that corrected for barrel distortion and other lens artifacts typically associated with very wide lenses. However, it was important to kept the film plane level or other types of distortion would alter the shapes of the subjects photographed.

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Southern Pacific on the West Valley

In 1991, Southern Pacific was still routing through freight over its West Valley route between Tehama and Davis, California.

Photographer Brian Jennison and I were on our way to photograph streamlined steam locomotive 4449 at Redding on August 31, 1991 (featured yesterday on TTL), when we intercepted a westward SP freight working its way along the West Valley route.

Although we were a little tight on time for the steam locomotive, we decided to make the most of this fortuitous find, and photographed the freight twice, once just south (timetable west) of Willows, California and again 15 minutes later near Delavan.

This was one of just a few SP trains that I photographed on the West Valley route that was sold off a couple of years later to a short line start-up called California Northern. I revisited this territory in 2003 and again in 2005, to photograph and travel on California Northern’s local freight.

Photos were exposed on black & white film with a Leica M2 fitted with 50mm Summicron, and cropped slightly for effect.

Although 31 years after I made this image, the subject matter resonates with me more than ever, in my opinion, I released the shutter just a moment too soon. I wish I’d centered the locomotive between the signals.
Looking timetable East at Delavan, California. I also made a color slide at this location when the freight got closer.

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Union Pacific SD70ACe-the Dark Side.

Over the last few days I’ve been reviewing thousands of my photos of Union Pacific trains for consideration in a book that I’m completing on the railroad. Consider the photo below:

Six years ago, I was poised at Woodford, California along the former Southern Pacific in the Tehachapis to photograph an ascending Union Pacific freight heading toward Tehachapi Summit.

Leading was a clean SD70ACe with UP’s bold wings painted on the front.

I made a sequence of images as the train passed. This one caught my eye because it really shows the sharp angles of this powerful diesel-electric at work.

The contrast between the sunlit locomotive nose and the inky shadows along the side the locomotive combined with a little telephoto compression helped make for a more dramatic image.

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with a Fujinon X-series 18-135mm lens.

Would an evenly lit photo have the same effect?

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DPU at Tunnel 2-August 6, 2016

Hot dry California sun on the afternoon of August 6, 2016.

We were in that Mecca of train watching places: California’s Tehachapi Pass.

A Union Pacific freight with Tier4 GE’s was working its way timetable east, ascending through Tunnel 2 near Bealville.

At the back of the train was this nearly new unit working as a radio controlled distributed power unit.

JPG exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.

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