Category Archives: photography

CSX Freight Rolls on the Reading; Two cameras, Four photos.

I made these views of a CSX freight operating on the former Reading Company in Philadelphia. My vantage point was from the sidewalk on the road bridge near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge over the Schuylkill.

The day was bright, but partially overcast, which benefitted my photography since bright sun would have resulted in a difficult and unflattering high-contrast situation.

This northward freight was moving slowly, allowing me to work with two digital cameras and expose a series of images as it went by.

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.
A wider view from the same vantage point exposed with my Lumix LX7.
The lighting post provides a hint as to the location ‘City of Phila.’ Lumix LX7 photo.
Trailing telephoto view with the FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom. This offers some interesting roof detail of the General Electric diesels hauling the train.

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Seeking Streetcars on a Rainy November Night; 10 New Photos.

To the uninitiated a cold windy rainy night might not seem like a good time to make urban photographs.

In my eye this is a fantastic opportunity to make unconventional images.

My brother and I planned to ride SEPTA’s No. 15 streetcar along Girard Avenue to have burgers and beer at Johnny Brenda’s located on Girard near the crossing of the Market-Frankford rapid transit line.

I worked with my Lumix LX7 hand-held to expose this selection of images.

Some of the street views were exposed using the Lumix’s ‘night mode’ that exposes a burst of images in rapid succession and combines them in-camera as a composite.

As you can see it was really lashing down and the most difficult part of this exercise was keeping the lens dry.

A Lumix LX7 night-mode image composite exposed at Girard and 41st Street.
A Lumix LX7 night-mode image composite exposed at Girard and 41st Street.
On a route 15 PCC car.
The back of the PCC car near the end of the run.
PCC’s pass on Girard near the Market-Frankford line elevated. Exposed handheld in ‘A’ mode.
A Lumix LX7 night-mode image composite exposed at Girard Avenue and Frankford Street.
A PCC takes the corner from Girard onto Frankford.
This was made with a relatively long exposure for a handheld photo.
Johnny Brenda’s bar was a welcome refuge from the rain.
Beneath the old elevated railway crossing  Girard. Sorry no PCC’s, I wasn’t in the mood to get any more wet that necessary to get home!

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Another SEPTA PCC Pan.

It’s dusk and too dark for a conventional photograph without boosting the ISO to high levels.

So, I opt for a panned image, where I use a comparatively slow shutter speed and move the camera to follow the motion of the subject.

I’ve found that it helps to pick a point on the vehicle and stay with it.

It also helps to begin panning well before the shutter is released and continue to pan without changing your overall motion after the picture has been made.

This last part is crucial. Many pans are ruined when the photographer stops panning (or slows) at the very moment the shutter is released, which unfortunately can be a natural inclination that must be overcome with practice.

I exposed this pan-image of a SEPTA Route 15 PCC car on Girard Avenue on November 5, 2017.
Screen shot showing Lumix LX7 EXIF data including shutter speed, ISO and f-stop.

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Rome on Film.

Using my Nikon N90S with a Nikkor AF 35mm lens, I exposed these Provia 100F slides at Rome’s Porta Maggiore in September 2017.

I often expose color slides in addition to digital images.

I scanned the slides using a Nikon scanner with VueScan software. My initial scans are made at very high resolution (4000 dots per inch or higher) and then using Lightroom I scaled these for internet presentation.

Are these photos better than the digital images? I don’t know. My film photos have different characteristics than the digital images. Also, I like to give slide shows and I find it’s much easier and more satisfying to project original color slides than put together digital presentations.

Slide film works well in certain contrasty situations such as this one.
An antique narrow gauge tram makes a station stop near a centuries old Roman wall at Porta Maggiore.

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Erie Shadows—Piermont, New York.

Piermont, New York was the Erie Railroad’s original eastern terminus. This Hudson River port was so-designated because the railroad was intended to operate within the State of New York. The railroad developed a large pier here for transshipping goods and people via the Hudson to New York City.

The other day my brother Sean and I explored Piermont and it’s Pier. Although there’s very little evidence left of the Erie itself, I was curious to see this once important place. This is part of my on-going research and photography of the old Erie Railroad.

These images were exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1. However, I also exposed a few 35mm color slides that will be useful in future slide presentations.

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Glint on the Water Level Route.

Early November is a great time to photograph along the Hudson.

I made these views from the one-time Erie Railroad terminus at Piermont, New York.

Amtrak’s westward Lake Shore Limited catches the glint of the evening sun near Dobbs Ferry, New York. Meanwhile, a Metro-North electric multiple unit is rolling toward Grand Central.

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm Fujinon lens fully extended. (Equivalent to a 200mm view on a traditional 35mm film camera)

Meet on the old New York Central Hudson Division.
Looking across the wide expanse of the Hudson River toward Dobbs Ferry.

Would a longer lens have produced more effective photos?

(I wish I’d brought my Canon 100-400mm. Maybe next time!).

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Slug-Set on the Connecticut River Bridge

Call this one Telephoto and Wideangle contrasts.

In October I called up to one of my favorite places and made these two views of the GATX slug-set that Pan Am Railways uses to work the East Deefield hump.

During the course of its duties the East Deerfield hump engine routinely pulls cuts of freight cars out onto the Connecticut River Bridge, which makes for ample opportunity to expose photographs.

Sometimes one view doesn’t give you the full picture.

I like the old bridge in this bucolic setting, and this also a great place to picture equipment. I’ve photographed dozens of trains here over years.

One view was exposed with my 12mm Zeiss Touit (wide angle) lens; the other with my Fujinon 90mm telephoto. The wideangle view takes in the scene; the telephoto photo focuses more tightly on the locomotive. By presenting both you get a more complete picture.


In this 12mm wide angle view, notice how the effect of soft sunlight on the bridge helps direct your eye to the locomotive.
On my FujiFilm XT1, the 90mm lens approximates the angle of view offered by a 135mm lens on a traditional full-frame 35mm film camera.

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November 2017 TRAINS Magazine Features my Column on Photography

The November 2017 issue of Trains Magazine, pages 16 and 17, features my column with suggestions for improving your photography.

I offer some simple and obvious suggestions, but more importantly I challenge some common assumptions and provide some valuable counter-intuitive advice.

The nice thing about advice is that if you don’t like it, you can ignore it.

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Oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering the photograph used to illustrate the article was exposed with my FujiFilm XT1 with the Zeiss 12mm lens often mentioned in this blog.

Pan Am Southern at Buckland—Pick the best of three Photographs.

Earlier this month, I exposed these three views of Pan Am Southern’s autorack train 287 working westward at Buckland, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Maine Fitchburg route.

The color view is a digital photo made with my FujiFilm XT1. This is Jpg using the in-camera Velvia color profile, which I scaled for presentation here, but otherwise left it unmodified in regards to color, contrast, saturation etc.

The black & white photographs are film images, exposed with a Leica IIIA fitted with a 1940s-vintage Nikkor screw mount 35mm lens. I used Ilford Pan F (ISO 50) processed in D76 (1 to 1 with water) and toned in selenium for improved highlights.

Telephoto view made digitally with a FujiFilm XT.
Wide-angle view exposed on black & white film.
No locomotive in this black & white photo. Is it always important to feature the locomotives?

I like to work with multiple cameras. I have my favorite of the three photos. Do you have your favorites?

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Irish Rail 202! Hooray!

What? you say.

It’s the elusive 202, found lurking in my archives!

Here’s the backstory: In the dozen or so years between 1998 and when Irish Rail withdrew and stored a portion of its relatively modern EMD-built 201-class locomotives (numbers 201-205, 210-214), I spent a lot of time wandering the system making photos.

I have many hundreds of photos of the 201s in action, hauling passenger and freight trains all over the Irish Rail network.

Some locomotives were common; I must have a hundred photos of class leader 201 on the roll. And every time I turned around, I seem to find 215 leading a train. Actually, I still do! Old 215 is among the 201-class still on the move, albeit in the modern green and silver paint instead of classic orange, yellow and black.

Of the 35 201s, I found that engine 202 was by far the most elusive. A few years ago when scouring my vast collection of more than 15,000 colour slides picturing Irish Rail, I located just three images of 202.

One was from the window of a Mark 3 carriage at Roscommon, one was an image at Limerick Junction of Bo-Bo 176 towing 202 with flat wheels up-road, and the best of the lot was a rainy day image of 202 with a Tralee-Mallow-Cork service near Rathmore, County Cork.

How 202 so thoroughly eluded me during this period baffles me.

Anyway, the other day I was scanning some previously unprinted 120-size black & white negatives, when I found this view of 202 working down-road at Kildare with Irish Rail’s Mark 2 Airbrake carriages. (Which were withdrawn from active service shortly after this photo was exposed).

Irish Rail 201-class locomotive 202 leads Mark 2 Airbrake fitted carriages and a ‘Dutch-van’ downroad at Kildare on 16 August 2002. Exposed on 120 Tri-K using a Rollie Model T with Zeiss Tessar lens. Engine 202 was distinguished from the others in its class because of the different style of type-face on the road number on the front of the locomotive. Do you have photos of 202 on the move? It still exists, stored at Inchicore with other surplus 201 class locomotives.

There are some other rare images on this roll, but this for me is the rarest!

I’ll need to locate the colour slides from that day and see what I find.

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Bright Sun on CSX at Palmer.

The other morning I noticed the points at CP83 in Palmer on CSX’s former Boston & Albany line were set for the controlled siding.

Since CSX’s local freight B740 from West Springfield, Massachusetts often arrives at Palmer in mid-Morning, I thought it was likely I could make some photos.

Bright autumn sun in this classic location made for excellent conditions.

I didn’t have to wait long at the South Main Street overpass, when I heard the short freight dropping down grade toward the Palmer diamond.

I made this sequence using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm Fujinon lens.

CSX local freight B740 takes the controlled siding at CP83 in Palmer, Massachusetts. This will allow B740 to access the leads to Palmer yard and make its interchange.
The classic view of B740 arriving in Palmer. Trains on the controlled siding make for a more pleasing angle to photograph because they are further from south side of the cutting. October morning sun is pleasing light.
Is this view too close?
Trailing view looking toward the Palmer yard.

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New England Central 611—Two Exposures.

Picking the best exposure is an important part of photography.

Today with modern metering, computer guided exposure aids (program modes) and automatic lenses, most photographers don’t spend a lot of time worrying about exposure details.

It might surprise some Tracking the Light readers that in most instances I set my exposures manually, and I only use camera metering in an advisory capacity (In other words I look at the camera meter but don’t necessarily accept its advice).

While I often use my Lumix LX7 in ‘A’ mode, I routinely over-ride the camera’s exposure advice using manual controls. With my FujiFilm XT1 and Canon digital cameras (and film cameras), I almost always set my exposure manually.

Last week, working with my FujiFilm XT1 I made these views of New England Central freight 611 working south of Brattleboro, Vermont. The stunning scenic setting of the Connecticut River backwater combined with dramatic morning cross-lighting and a dark background makes for an excellent illustration of a difficult lighting situation.

Here, many camera automatic modes might grossly overexpose the scene in a misguided attempt to compensate for the dark background.

I’ve metered manually and gauged exposure using the camera’s histogram (set up to show the distribution of pixels in regards to exposure.) I’ve offered two variations here, exposed 1 full stop apart.

A ‘stop’ is a standard increment of exposure. The amount of light reaching the sensor or film doubles/halves with each change of one stop. So going from an aperture setting of f4 to f5.6 (one stop) cuts the light by half. Likewise, a shutter speed change from 1/250 to 1/500 will also cut the amount of light by half.

The darker image was exposed at f5.6 at 1/400th of a second at ISO 400; while the lighter image was exposed at f4 at 1/400th of a second at ISO 400. (In other words the only the aperture setting was changed.)

FujiFilm XT-1 with 90mm lens set at: f5.6 at 1/400th of a second at ISO 400
FujiFilm XT-1 with 90mm lens set at: f4 at 1/400th of a second at ISO 400

Both exposures are acceptable, but you may have a preference for one versus the other. The photos here have not been altered for density, color balance or color temperature  in post processing; both are scaled versions of the camera produced JPGs.

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Portrait of New England Central 3476.

Last week I made this digital portrait of New England Central 3476 using my FujiFilm XT1 with f2.0 90mm lens.

Soft cross lighting combined with a wide aperture made for pleasing photographic conditions to picture this engine against a backdrop of  Vermont colorful autumn trees and distant New Hampshire hills.

The locomotive was working New England Central’s Brattleboro (Vermont) to Palmer (Massachusetts) turn freight, job 611, and was among many images I exposed that day.

This old EMD-built locomotive has a long history, having worked for Southern Pacific and Union Pacific before coming east to New England. I wonder if I crossed paths with it up on Donner Pass, in the Tehachapis, or on former Rio Grande lines in Colorado and Utah?

Brattleboro, Vermont.

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From my Kodachrome Archives: Genesee & Wyoming 51 at P&L Junction.

In March 1987, I exposed this Kodachrome 25 color slide of Genesee & Wyoming GP38 number 51 leading an empty salt train arriving at P&L Junction (P&L infers Pittsburgh & Lehigh) near Caledonia, New York.

At that time Genesee & Wyoming was a New York state short line that had just recently expanded with the creation of the Rochester & Southern to operate the former Baltimore & Ohio (nee Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg) 4th Subdivision between Rochester and East Salamanca, New York via Ashford Junction. (R&S had trackage rights on CSX from Ashford Jct. to East Salamanca).

This train was arriving from interchange with the Delaware & Hudson at Silver Springs. (D&H had trackage rights over the former Erie Railroad line to Buffalo.) It would reverse direction at P&L Junction and head southward on G&W’s own line (seen in the immediate foreground) to Retsof, where G&W served a massive salt mine.

Back then G&W 51 had no special significance, but it does for me today.

Professional Kodachrome 25 (PKM) exposed using a Canon A1 with 50mm lens and processed by Kodak in Rochester, New York.

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Irish Rail at Glounthaune—Two Views.

Earlier this month I made a visit to Cork to present a program on railway photography to the Irish Railway Record Society.

Honer Travers and I spent an afternoon in Glounthaune where I made these photos on Kodak Tri-X using my Nikon N90S with f2.0 35mm lens.

My film processing was very traditional: Kodak D76 (mixed 1 to 1) for 7 minutes 15 seconds at 68F. I agitate very gently to minimize the effect of grain.

Routine operations, such as Irish Rail’s Cork suburban trains, offer great opportunity for creative railway photography. In both of these images, I’ve worked with foreground, middle-ground and background by using shallow depth of field to create a sense of depth.

An Irish Rail 2600-series railcar works toward Glounthaune from Kent Station, Cork.
A Cork-bound railcar accelerates away from its station stop at Glounthaune.

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Sunrise on the New England Central—Working with RAW.

A side-benefit for me of transatlantic jet lag is that I’m wide awake for sunrise.

The other day, I drove to Stafford Springs, Connecticut as the sun was rising.

Typically New England Central 608 passes the village between 7 and 730 am. On this day it appeared about 724 am.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Tuoit lens, I made a series of images of the freight passing.

I carefully exposed my RAW files to retain some sky detail, intending to adjust exposure, contrast and color in post processing.

It would be fallacious to suggest that the RAW file represents reality. It doesn’t.

It is important to understand that the camera RAW file is an equivalent of a ‘negative’ in film photography. The RAW file simply represents the raw data as captured by the camera sensor. This data requires interpretation to produce an image that resembled what the human brain perceives.

I made a series of small adjustments to highlights, shadows, color temperature, and color balance, while working with masks in the sky to control detail and color.

My only regret is that my graduated neutral density filters were still packed away in my luggage, as these would have been useful in this situation by allowing for improved sky detail by effectively selective expanding the dynamic capture of the sensor.

I’ve included both the RAW file (scaled for internet) and my interpreted post-processed JPG. To give hints as to what I’ve done, I’ve also included screen shots of the Lightroom work windows.

This the uninterpreted image. It is a JPG because this necessary for internet presentation. My RAW file was about 33MB which is far too large for presentation here. Significant to my interpretation is that there is greater detail stored in the RAW file than immediately evident in its presentation on the computer screen. Specifically, there is more color and detail in the sky than displayed here.
This is a screen shot of the Lightroom work window of my RAW file. The red blotch in the sky indicates a loss of data in that area owing to over exposure.
This is my finished image following post processing in Lightroom.
Screen shot showing the alterations on the sliders in the Lightroom work window. Notice the relative placement of data in the histogram (graph at upper right).

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Rainbow with Dublin’s LUAS-3 Photos.

On 2 October 2017, I was walking the LUAS Red Line in Dublin. The sun was out but a dark cloud was fast approaching from the north.

I could I see the rain coming.

While watching the sky, I met fellow photographer Ciarán Cooney. He too was watching the lighting conditions unfold, but was heading for the tram.

He said to me, “I have bad luck with rainbows. I suppose I’ll see this on Tracking the Light!”

A minute later he boarded the LUAS tram that appears in these images.

Lumix LX7 photo, Dublin, Ireland.
A LUAS Red Line tram on Benburb Street in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo.
Less tram, more rainbow.

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Irish Rail Heuston Monochrome—September 2017.

Using my old battle-worn Nikon F3T (yeah, that one) fitted with a 1960s-era Nikkor f.14 50mm lens, I exposed a sequence of images in the evening light at Irish Rail’s Heuston Station in Dublin.

I was especially pleased with this view of one of Irish Rail’s Mark 4 sets beneath the train shed. Low light made for contrasty silhouette with lots of texture and exceptional dynamic range.

This was exposed on Kodak Tri-X (black & white negative film) using a fairly wide aperture.

During early October 2017, I processed the film using two-stage development, initially soaking the film in an extremely dilute mix of Kodak HC110 designed to begin development while allowing great shadow detail and greater overall tonality. For my primary development, I used Ilford ID11, diluted 1-1 with water for 8 minutes at 68 degree F. This was followed by a 30 second stop bath and two fixer baths, 1st rinse, hypo-clear batch, 2nd rinse, then 8 minutes in a weak bath of selenium toner (1 to 9 with water), 10 minute final rinse and drying.

I scanned the negatives using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner, with some very nominal final adjustment using Lightroom.

Although my digital cameras feature black & white modes, and I can easily de-saturate a digital file to make a monochrome image, I don’t feel that digital imaging would yield a completely comparable image to this one  made the old fashioned way.

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Monochrome Viaduct

Back in August (2017), I exposed this view of the old Great Northern Railways (Ireland) viaduct at Dromore, County Down using a Leica 3A with a screw mount 35mm Nikkor lens.

My film choice was Kodak Tri-X. Working with this in Dublin, I processed it in Ilford ID11 mixed 1:1 with water.

The negatives were scanned with an Epson Perfection V500 flatbed scanner, then adjusted for contrast using Lightroom and exported as a scaled JPG file.

Honer Travers brought me to the old bridge in her Volkswagen Polo.

It has been many years since the rails were lifted on this old bridge.

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Incidental Photographs from the Munster Double.

Rail tours offer the opportunity to make incidental photos of the railway.

I made these digital photos of Irish Rail while traveling on last weekend’s Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Munster Double.

Sunrise with the DART as v viewed from RPSI’s Munster Double Railtour departing Connolly Station on the morning of 14 October 2017. Lumix LX7 photo.
Irish Rail Mark4 departs Kent Station in Cork on October 17, 2017. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Kent Station, Cork. Lumix LX7 photo.
Irish Rail ICR departs Tralee on 14 October 2017. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.

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RPSI’s Munster Double—Retro-Orange 071s on Parade.

Saturday 14 October was a great day out; Railway Preservation Society of Ireland operated its Munster Double Railtour from Connolly Station in Dublin to Cork and Tralee.

The attraction of this trip was the highly unusual multiple-unit operation of two class 071 diesels together. Both of Irish Rail’s 071s in heritage paint were selected for the trip, which was an added bonus for photographers.

Honer Travers and I joined the trip at Connolly Station and during the course of the day I made dozens of digital images. Below is just a small section.

Connolly Station, Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo.
Connolly Station, Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo.
Island bridge Junction, Dublin, looking toward the famous ‘box’ along the St. John’s Road where many of my sunny day photos are made. Lumix LX7 photo.
Kent Station, Cork. FujiFIlm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Mallow, County Cork. Lumix LX7 photo.
Mallow, County Cork. Lumix LX7 photo.
Mallow, County Cork. Lumix LX7 photo.
Irish Rail 073 detailed view at Killarney.
Killarney. County Kerry. Lumix LX7 photo.
Tralee. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
Tralee. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
Tralee. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
Tralee. Lumix LX7 photo.
Tralee. FujiFilm XT1 with 28-135mm lens.
Paused at a red signal in Killarney, Lumix LX7 photo.
Connolly Station in the evening. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tomorrow I’ll focus on the passengers and people participating in operations.

 

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Revisiting the Rail Confluence at Rome’s Porta Maggiore.

Back in April (2017), on the advice of Stephen Hirsch I visited the tram junction at Porta Maggiore in Rome, and those photos appeared in an earlier Tracking the Light post.

On my recent trip to Rome with Honer Travers in September we revisited this interesting location where several tram routes cross against the backdrop of a 3rd century Roman Wall and the Porta Maggiore city gate.

For added interest, the approach to Rome Termini runs on the east side of the wall and there’s a constant parade of Trenitalia passenger trains.

I like to use the Roman Wall as a frame.

Lumix LX7 photo. Note the FS train on the far side of the arches.
An out of service tram glides along the wall.
That’s the Porta Maggiore (old city gate) behind the tram.
A few  of the older trams still feature this unusual style of pantograph.
A vestige of a narrow gauge interurban line runs through the wall at Porta Maggiore.

I made these photos using my Lumix LX7 digital camera, but also exposed a few colour sldies.

The tram junction sits in the middle of a roundabout (traffic circle) with some of the most irrational driving I’ve ever witnessed. Despite the road chaos, we were able to nip across the street for a gelato (ice cream).

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Irish Rail 080 Works the Scheduled Dublin-Tralee Passenger at Limerick Junction.

Today, 14 October 2017, is the date of the long anticipated Munster Double tour (operated by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in conjunction with Irish Rail), so I thought I’d run these images from 2006 when I photographed Irish Rail 080 working a Dublin-Tralee passenger train passing Limerick Junction.

On Friday, 13 January 2006, David Hegarty and I had been photographing Irish Rail’s sugar beet trains. Toward the end of the daylight we found ourselves at Limerick Junction in time to catch the Friday only ‘down Kerry’ that was still regularly worked with steam-heated Cravens carriages.

At the time, the new Mark4 trains were still being tested and hadn’t yet entered regular traffic.

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

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Ten Subterranean Views: Rome Metro September 2017.

Call it a ‘Retro-Metro’. The Rome metro trains are still covered in graffiti. How 1980s is that?

I made these views using my Lumix LX7 on my visit to Rome with Honer Travers in September 2017.

I’d set the ISO at 200 and 250, and the white balance to ‘auto’, which I’ve found from experience photographing subways tends to yield some of the most effective photographs.

My Lumix is handy for underground railway photography because it’s compact, lightweight, minimally obtrusive, and has a very fast (f1.4) Leica lens that yield sharp images wide open.

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Grand Hibernian Under Kodachrome Skies—Four Original Photos at Islandbridge, Dublin.

A couple of weeks back, I made these views of Belmond’s Grand Hibernian luxury cruise train at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin.

What’s a Kodachrome sky? The old Kodak Kodachrome had the ability to capture a sunny day with vivid contrast; so when you had over-the-shoulder light with fluffy clouds dotting a blue sky we called it a ‘Kodachrome Sky’.

It think it’s safe to say that no one has ever photographed the Grand Hibernian on Kodachrome slide film! And if they have, they will never see their results in vivid colour. (Kodachrome is no longer commercially processed).

I wonder how Belmond’s navy-blue train would have appeared on Kodachrome? The film’s spectral sensitivity tended to render blues with less saturated colour than appeared to the human eye. Yet this was also one of the reasons why a ‘Kodachrome sky’ appeared so vivid on the classic slide film.
Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera. Locomotive 088 moves into place to shunt the Grand Hibernian and haul it across to Dublin’s Connolly Station.
Led by Irish Rail 088, Belmond’s Grand Hibernian is seen on its way toward Connolly Station.
Irish Rail 216 in Belmond navy view paint trails the Grand Hibernian on its way over to Dublin Connolly Station.

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Rome: Nice Light and Colorful Trains.

A couple of weeks ago I made these views of some colorful Trenitalia trains at Roma Termini.

Bright Mediterranean light is pleasant to work with. In this situation I’ve taken the classic approach with the sun over my left shoulder. It was nice to have some interesting, yet static subjects to work with.

I made several digital views with my Lumix LX7, but also exposed some 35mm color slides on Fujichrome Provia.

Lumix LX7 photograph.
Lumix LX7 photograph.

These are the digital images. We’ll need to wait to see how the slides turned out.

Notice my placement of the shadows in the scene.

 

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Roma Termini—September 2017

Rome’s largest station is a vast stub end terminal aptly named ‘Roma Termini’. In addition to nearly 30 platforms, this features a huge shopping mall that is integrated with the terminal facilities.

Rome’s metro lines cross here and there’s a surface tram terminus on the west side of the station.

in late September 2017, I exposed all but one of these photos using my Lumix LX7.

My aim was to capture the bustle and atmosphere of this enormous transport node. At peak times 30 trains an hour depart the station.

Roma Termini is one of more than a dozen major railway stations featured in my upcoming book on European Railway travel.

One hour’s worth of arrivals and departures.

Close up of an FS electric exposed with my FujiFilm XT1.

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TODAY! Monday, 9 October 2017—Railway Photography Program by Brian Solomon in Cork, Ireland.

Tonight (Monday, 9 October 2017), I’ll be presenting my program on Railway Photography to the Irish Railway Record Society in Cork.

This will be held at 8:00pm (2000) at the Bru Columbanus meeting room in Wilton, Cork City.

I’ll display a great variety of railway images exposed in Ireland and elsewhere, with an emphasis on photos of Irish Rail in counties Cork, Kerry, Tipperary and Limerick.

The program will be aimed at enlightening the audience on precisely I how I made images (with detailed technical explanations as required). I’ll take questions at the end.

Class J15 number 186 works near Millstreet, Co. Cork in 2006. Exposed on Fujichrome slide film.

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Monday, 9 October 2017—Railway Photography Program by Brian Solomon to be presented in Cork, Ireland.

Tomorrow (Monday, 9 October 2017), I’ll be presenting my program on Railway Photography to the Irish Railway Record Society in Cork.

This will be held at 8:00pm (2000) at the Bru Columbanus meeting room in Wilton, Cork City. (see Google Maps).

I’ll display a great variety of railway images exposed in Ireland and elsewhere, with an emphasis on photos of Irish Rail in counties Cork, Kerry, Tipperary and Limerick.

The program will be aimed at enlightening the audience on precisely I how I made images (with detailed technical explanations as required). I’ll take questions at the end.

Kent Station, Cork. Exposed on black & white film.
Cobh Junction at sunrise.
Semaphores at Kent Station, Cork. Digital photograph.

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Taking a Spin on Rome’s 19—Five new photos.

Rome’s tram line 19 still uses some pretty old streamlined cars.

Not only do these make interesting photographic subjects, but because they have opening windows the make for a great way to see (and photograph) Rome’s neighborhoods.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens.

I wonder how many cities in Europe still have trams in daily revenue service that are more than 65 years old?

I made these photos in September 2017 using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras during a spin on the 19 while exploring Rome with Honer Travers.

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Trenitalia Double Deck at Roma Trastevere; Zoom versus Prime

It was a bright morning last week when I exposed this view of a Trenitalia double-deck suburban train approaching its station stop at Rome Trastevere en route to Roma Termini (Rome’s main station).

I worked with my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens for this photo.

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a Fujinon f2.0 90mm lens.

Regular readers may have noticed that I’ve been making regular use of this camera/lens combination.

I have four lens for my FujiFilm XT1; 12/27/90mm fixed focal length (prime) lenses, plus an 18-135mm zoom lens. Lately the 27 and 90mm primes have been the most useful.

Why not use the zoom lens more? Here’s three reasons:

1) The 18-135mm zoom not as fast as the primes. My 90mm f2 is 2.5/3 stops faster that the 18-135mm.

2) The 18-135mm zoom isn’t as sharp.

3) I find that the discipline of working with a fixed focal length lenses lends to stronger images. This is an abstract notion, but often seems to be true.

Over the years I’ve gone back and forth between a preference for zooms over primes. It’s the toss up of convenience over image quality. There’s no one ‘right’ solution. But when I look back at my images that I prize the most, many of them have been exposed using prime glass.

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Roman Forum

Here’s something different for Tracking the Light.

A tourist snap.

Nothing fancy. Nothing tricky. No special equipment or techniques to describe.

This is just a view of ancient Rome from a footpath exposed a week ago using my Lumix LX7.

There’s no rails in sight. (Although Honer Travers and I rode a tram to get here.)

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