Category Archives: photography

Lucky Lumix at Jefferson Drive

On Monday, I was running errends. My timing wasn’t coincidental, as the Norfolk Southern New Holland Branch local often passes through my neighborhood around 9am.

The day before it ran a little late, but as previously posted, I managed to catch it anyway.

On my way to the market, I noticed that the local was stopped at Cork interlocking near Greenfield in Lancaster, so I completed shopping quickly. On my way back, I saw the train had moved on.

On spec, I zipped over to Jefferson Drive, where the branch crosses near our apartment. As I approached the crossing, I heard the throb of classic EMD engines.

The train was cautiously approaching the crossing. I stopped, parked, grabbed my Lumix LX7 (which I carry with me for just such occasions) and made this series of photos as it crossed Jefferson Drive.

It was the same pair of NS SD40Es, that I’d seen the day before. These engines had worked out of Cresson, PA as helpers, but have since been bumped to other duties.

I was curious to know more about these locomotive, and looked up their road numbers on-line. According to an SD40E roster maintained by Chris Toth on the site: , I found that NS SD40E 6304 had be rebuilt from NS SD50 6522 in January 2009, and SD40E 6342 was rebuilt in September 2011 from NS SD50 5430, originally Conrail 6753.

Learning that makes me curious. In the 1980s, I made hundreds, perhaps thousands of photos of Conrail SD50s. I’m sure I have an image of that locomotive in blue paint in my Conrail files. I’ll keep my eyes open for it and plan a follow-up post when I do.

Stay tuned.

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Donner Pass- March 22, 1991

Below are two images from my ‘lost’ Kodachrome file.

These were exposed on one of my many trips on California’s Donner Pass to document Southern Pacific in the 1990s.

On this day, SP had called a train with its BIG snow-service Jordan spreaders at each end to help clear the line over the pass.

I was set up at the east end of the snow shed complex at Norden near Donner Summit. While SP’s crew adjusted the wings on the Jordan for an eastward move to clear snow, I made a series of exposures using my Nikon F3 on Kodachrome 25. Back in the 1990s, I had deemed the two images displayed here as less than optimal.Until I scanned them the other night, they had never seen the light of day.

The top exposure was part of a bracket sequence and is a bit ‘hot’ (1/3 stop overexposed). It was challenging to select the correct exposure in bright sunbleached snow , which is why I’d made the bracket to begin with.

The middle image was exposed using a circular polarizing filter in my effort to reduce glare and obtain better highlight detail. Unfortunately, this was a cheap filter and lent a slightly cyan tint to the scene. Also, I didn’t compensate properly for the effect of the filter on my exposure, so the image is about 1/2 stop too dark. The bottom image is an adjusted/color corrected version of the middle image.

Kodachrome 25, exposed using a Nikon F3T with f4.0 200mm lens. Approximate exposure f5.6 1/250th.
Kodachrome 25, exposed using a Nikon F3T with f4.0 200mm lens and circular polarizer. The image below is from the same scan.
Same scan as the middle image: Kodachrome 25, exposed using a Nikon F3T with f4.0 200mm lens and circular polarizer. This image was adjusted in post processing to correct for the cyan color balance and improve overall appearance.

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Late sun at East Strasburg, PA.

Sometimes accidentally trying something different yields a better result.

The other evening, Kris and I went out to watch Strasburg Rail Road’s 6pm train on its return run.

It was a beautiful and clear, and I’d hoped to make a photo from either Carpenters or Paradise Lane. However we were delayed, and the best that I could do was to reach East Strasburg Station.

The railroad had a Thomas-the-Tank event going on earlier in the day. While, normally, I avoid these events, which are geared toward a much younger enthusiast and tend a attract big crowds, in this case the event worked to my advantage.

To make room for the Thomas train, the railroad had cleared out a row of equipment that had been stored on the siding adjacent to the run-around track opening up a classic view of the station. Normally this stored equipment blocked the view (and the evening sun light) from the north side of the tracks of an in-coming train.

So our tardy arrive produced some fortuitous photos.

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More Classic Conrail-‘Look Ma No Ditchlights!’

Recently I retrieved several cartons of slides long stored out of sight.

Most of these were in their original yellow Kodak boxes. By-in-large these are the slides that didn’t meet my exacting standards at the time of exposure.

As I’ve illustrated in previous episodes of Tracking the Light, today these boxes contain lost gems.

A photograph that I rejected 30 years ago for a minor defect may look pretty good today.

This view of Conrail C30-7A No. 6550 eastbound at Palmer, Massachusetts caught my attention. Not only is this the class-leader for one of my favorite Conrail locomotives, but it was exposed in bright October sun in a style much the way I’d like to photograph the train today.

So what was wrong with this photo? Why did this sit in the dark for 33 years? Three points come mind.

One: the photo is ever so slightly off level, probably about 1 degree. Back in the 1990s I was very sensitive about maintaining level. I typically carried a line-level with me at all times and almost always used a tripod to help ensure level. This is less of a problem today because my Nikon Z series and Lumix LX7 both feature a level in the heads up display.

Two: My composition is ever so slightly ‘off’. All things being equal, I should have positioned the camera slightly lower to the ground so that I could see a gap above the top of the rail to more clearly show the wheels better. Also this may have minimized the trees behind the locomotives.

Three: I was a film snob in 1990. Normally, I used Kodachrome 25. But for some season I loaded my camera with Kodachrome 64. I found this film did a poor job of rendering the sky which tended to appear as a greenish blue ‘aqua’ shade rather than the bluer ‘azure’ that was common with K25.

While I can’t do much about problem No. two, fixing the level and adjusting the color profile are easily accomplished in post processing. The top photo is my unaltered original; the bottom is my adjusted version, and I altered the sky to appear more like it would with K25.

Scan from my original Kodachrome 64 slide. This is unaltered (without correction). Exposed using a Nikon F3T with f4.0 Nikkor 200mm lens.
This my corrected version of the orginal scan. My goal was to make it look more like a Kodachrome 25 slide.

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Hint of Autumn at Willow Road

Sunday morning, I went out on spec to see if I could catch Norfolk Southern’s New Holland local working its way out the branch. After a half hour wait and a drive to inspect a few locations, I found nothing moving, so I returned home.

About half an hour after I got back, I was just about to take Boomer-the-dog for his morning walk, when I heard a train sounding for the Greenfield Road crossing.

Without heistation, I grabbed my Nikons and headed back out again to see if I could get ahead of the train.

I drove poste haste to Willow Road and headed east to the grade crossing. I arrived about 3 minutes ahead of the freight and had enough time to set up.

The last time I made photos here, I used my 24-70mm lens, so this time I made some longer views using a 70-200mm lens. I was able to get a little more elevation this time, which allowed for a better composition.

I also made some wideangle photos of the train approaching the crossing, but I’m saving these for a later post.

Oh, and when I got home, I brought the cross-legged Boomer for his walk!

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom lens.
I like this version. The bird in flight over the train is an added bonus. The train crew waved as they roared up the grade.

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Our First Anniversary!

Today’s post is dedicated to my wife, Kris.

We were married at the Indian Head Resort in Lincoln, New Hampshire one year ago—September 18, 2022.

I made the symbolic photo two years earlier while on a caboose ride with Kris on Conway Scenic’s Conway Branch.

Happy Anniversary!

FujiFilm XT1. In camera JPG. September 2020.

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More Golden Glint

Clear sky above, sun low to the horizon, off axis by about 20-25 degrees, and filtered by lots of particulates in the air make for excellent glint light conditions.

Strasburg Rail Road 89 had just arrived back at East Strasburg Station with the 6pm train (which recently replaced the 7pm train on the Friday and Saturday schedule).

I made this digital photo handheld with my Nikon Z6 fitted with a 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series zoom, and with nominal adjustments to the NEF RAW files in post processing to correct color balance and contrast.

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Koblenz Hbf—September 16, 2019.

On this day four years ago, I was on my way from the Bonn/Köln Flughafen to Boppard, Germany, I changed trains at the Koblenz Hbf.

During the interval between trains, I made this series of photographs with my FujiFilm XT1.

To improve upon the flat lighting, using Adobe Lightroom, I made minor adjustments to contrast, color temperature, and color saturation.

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89—a Lesson in Contrast Control

Wednesday, I made this photo of Strasburg Rail Road 2-6-0 No. 89 at the East Strasburg, Pa., station.

I imported the Nikon NEF RAW file into Adobe Lightroom, where I implemented a variety of adjustments aimed at producing a better balanced photo with greater highlight and shadow detail, superior color rendition, and more even overall contrast.

I manually implemented corrections similar to the results created by composite algortihms employed by many contemporary smart phones used as cameras.

So that you can see how I implemented some of the changes, I’ve included screenshots of my Adobe work screen.

This is a JPG made from the NEF RAW file without adjustment. Note the lack of detail in shadow and highlight areas and high contrast.
First round of adjustments in Lightroom. Note the postion of the Highlight and Shadow sliders. Also watch the histogram at the top of the page to see how it changes from window to window.
Second round of adjustments: in this window I’ve manually lowered overall contrast, placed the black in the shadow and whites in the highlights, while increasing saturation and warming the color temperature. Notice how the histogram shows how I’ve moved the pixel distribution toward the center of the graph, which reflects the lower overall constrast.
In this window, I’ve chosen the ‘select sky’ control. All the corrections here were made to the sky to improve the detail in the clouds and the overall contrast of the sky relative to the scene. The intent was to replicate how the sky appeared and not to make an unworldly dramatic sky out of ordinary thermal clouds.
Final adjustment: I used the ‘clarity’ slider to globally improve the contrast by giving the image a little ‘snap’ that doesn’t significantly change the shadow or highlight detail. It might seem counter intuitive to lower the overall contrast and the increase it with the ‘clarity’ control, but this can really work to make for a more natural scene out of a high contrast RAW file.
This was my end result. It’s not perfect, but its looks a lot more realistic and pleasant than the unadjusted high-contrast NEF file.

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Steam, Smoke and Soft Sun

Last week, I made this view of Strasburg 475 at Cherry Hill road in Strasburg, PA.

High thermal clouds softened the midday summer sun.

There was a time in my Kodachrome days that I would have cursed the puffy clouds if they so much filtered the midday sun. However, I’ve found that in several ways slightly filtered sun, especially during the highlight of midday, leads to better photos.

With my digital cameras and post processing, I make the most of shadowed light, while the softened sun offers better contrast on the locomotive.

I made this view using my Nikon Z7-II, and I adjusted my NEF RAW files with Adobe Lightroom.

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Two Main Track

On directional double track, trains proceed on signal indication in the current of traffic. On Two Main track, both tracks are signaled in both directions, which allows trains to proceed on either track in either direction on signal indication.

Last week, I made these views of the westward Amtrak Keystone train 647 on the close track at Leaman Place, PA. From what I could ascertain, it had run around another train on the far track near Parkesburg.

While this move was fully signaled, I thought it was comparatively unusual in that it was the first time I’d seen a regularly scheduled Amtrak westbound using the near track at this location. This made for photo opportunities that I might not have considered if the train was on the far track.

I made this motor drive sequence using my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

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Steaming Tender Revisited

On our brief visit to New England over the weekend, Kris and I visited the Steaming Tender restaurant in the old Palmer, Massachusetts Union Station.

This is an old favorite haunt with lots of authentic railroad memorabilia.

We both ordered the broiled haddock. It was excellent!

I made these photos using my Nikon Z7-II.

There was a noticeable abscence of railroad action. Until a few years ago, Palmer was a busy railroad town. But on our recent visits, the rails have been distressingly quiet.

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Mountaineer in the Boston Globe Magazine

An article by By Patricia Harris and David Lyon in the Boston Globe Magazine features one of my photos of Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer ascending Crawford Notch near the Arethusa Falls grade crossing.

This image has been part of my autumn Mountaineer repertoire for a while and is among photos I made of the train in autumn 2021.

I exposed it with my Canon EOS7D with 100mm prime Canon telephoto.

Here’s a wee secret: part of the visual success of this photo is that the nose of the engine is not the focal point. This a counter-intuitive trick I learned many years ago when exposing Kodachrome, and where many photographers miss the mark. By placing the focus on something other than the main subject you can make a more inviting image.

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Bus Tours Cover! (And a hard drive hunt)

My photo of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer graces the cover of September/October 2023 Bus Tours Magazine.

For this post I thought it would be nice to say something useful about the photo.

Finding it proved challenging. It’s not like I have one photo of the Mountaineer on Crawford Notch. More like one-thousand. I’m not bragging. It made finding this one a real challenge.

The image was not in the usual Mountaineer selections. An image from the same location has appeared a number of places in recent months, and that photo was made with my Canon EOS7D. But this photo was a puzzle. It wasn’t made with the Canon, but rather with my Nikon Z6. Once I found the correct day in October 2021, I reviewed several sequences looking for a vertical wide-angle.

I was coming up with a goose-egg. Finally after some searching, I started reviewing my original NEF RAW files and found the image I was looking for. This was exposed as a horizontal and cropped vertical!

Below are three versions. The cover of Bus Tours Magazine; the original un-modified NEF RAW file, and an approximation of the modified and cropped file.

Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens; set to 30mm, ISO 200 f8.0 1/320
Cropped and adjusted version of the above file.

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Cobblestones and Trams—Eight Years Ago!

It was on this day eight years ago—September 8, 2015—that my Irish friends and I traveled up the Rhein by train to Mainz, Germany.

In the evening light, I made a few views of the slim-gauge trams navigating narrow streets in the historic city center. And believe me, there was time for a bier in there too.

FujiFilm XT-1 with 27mm f2.8 pancake lens set at f2.8, 1/60th sec, ISO 200.
FujiFilm XT-1 with 27mm f2.8 pancake lens set at f2.8, 1/60th sec, ISO 200.

Here’s a useful photo tip; to allow the LED signs to appear clearly in photos, set the shutter speed to 1/60th or less, and time your shutter release so that the sign is showing just one sequence at time (in a situation where the sign may be scrolling). Note that in the above photo that the sign is mid-scroll, but on the top photos the sign is easy to read.

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Old Pennsylvania Railroad Station at Leola

Just a short distance up line from our new home is this old Pennsylvania Railroad station on the New Holland Branch at Leola.

I made these photos the other evening using my Lumix LX7 digital camera.

It’s been decades since the last passenger train operated over the line and I wonder what this station was like in its heyday.

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Glint Light across the Soyfields

September Sunset at Esbenshade Road in Strasburg. Filtered late summer sun made for classic golden glint light.

Years ago, I made a project of captureing trains in the glint light on Kodachrome. This film had a wonderful ability to render glint that made for many stunning slides.

The other night I used my Nikon Z7-II to capture the fading summer sun.

To make the most of the scene, I set the camera to ‘M’ (manual) and dialed in my shutter speed and aperture by using the in-camera histogram to get the most effective pixel distribution from dark to-light . This resulted in about a stop darker than the in-camera meter was suggesting in ‘A’ mode (automatic).

After exposure, I balanced the image with post processing controls using Adobe Lightroom. In this way I was able to maintain detail in the sky and on the side of the train, while keeping the shadows from becoming opaque.

Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set to 52mm; ISO 100, f18 at 1/200th of second. File adjusted in Post Processing.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set to 70mm; ISO 100, f9 at 1/250th of second. Camera set manually. RAW File adjusted in Post Processing.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set to 70mm; ISO 100, f7.1 at 1/250th of second. Camera set manually. RAW File adjusted in Post Processing.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set to 24mm; ISO 100, 4.0 at 1/500th of second. Camera set manually. RAW File adjusted in Post Processing.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set to 70mm; ISO 100, f4.0 at 1/320th of second. Camera set manually. RAW File adjusted in Post Processing.

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Double-headed Ore Train in the Mosel Valley.

On the afternoon of September 4, 2015, I made this photo with my FujiFilm XT1 of double-headed Class 189 electrics leading a loaded iron ore train through a vineyard near Klotten, Germany in the Mosel Valley.

This was on a week long visit to Germany with my Irish friends. We scored numerous excellent locations while exploring the Mosel and Rhein Valleys.

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Stopping 649 with 1/2500th second

Crisp evening light.

Amtrak Keystone 649 was two minutes down from the advertised and cruising to make up time to reach its Lancaster, PA station stop on schedule.

I made this view at Leaman Place using a Nikon Z7II with 24-70mm lens, my shutter was set to 1/2500th of a second.

My drive was set to ‘turbo flutter’. As the train approached, I made this burst of images.

ACS-64 610 leads Amtrak Keystone 649 at Leaman Place, PA.

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4-8-0 Rods Down

Many classic steam photographers aimed to photograph steam locomotive ‘rods down’ as to best portray the equipment.

Part of this visual approach stemmed from the classic builders photos where locomotives were posed for their official portrait.

Catching a moving engine with its rods down is easier said than done. In addition to checking focus, watching foreground and background elements, you need to be thoroughly in-tune with the motion of the reciprocating parts, or simply get lucky.

While working on my latest book on steam locomotives, I’ve been looking at a lot of classic locomotive pictures.

The other day, I made this sequence of photos showing Strasburg Rail Road’s 4-8-0 475 working toward the Esbenshade Road crossing.

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Irish Rail Rail Train at Clondalkin

I’m waiting for someone to call me out on title redundancy.

Actually, according to my notes, this Irish Rail permanent way consist is called the ‘rail trucks.’

It was nine years ago that I joined my friend Colm O’Callaghan on an adventure to the west Dublin suburbs to catch this elusive train on the move.

We set up at near Clondalkin looking east toward the Park West and Cherry Orchard station on the recently opened quad track section of the Dublin-Cork main line.

I made this view using my Canon EOS 7D with an f2.0 EF 100mm USM prime telephoto lens. Exposure was f5.6 1/500 at 200 ISO. I adjusted the file using Adobe Lightroom. Below are three variations, each described in the caption.

Canon CR2 Raw file without adjustment, converted to JPG for internet presentation.
Same CR2 RAW file as above, but with nominal color corrections made in Lightroom.
Cropped and color corrected version of the Canon CR2 RAW file, scaled as JPG for internet presentation.

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View from the Open Car

It’s always a pleasure to take a train ride.

Strasburg Rail Road’s excursions offer open cars which are a pleasant way to spend a summer’s afternoon in Pennsylvania Dutch country.

The other day, our friend Dan Cupper, invited Kris and I to travel on the railroad, so we rode behind former Canadian National Railways 89 to Leaman Place and back.

I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm Z-series zoom.

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475 puts on a Good Show

We drove to Cherry Hill Road which is approximately the half-way point on the Strasburg Rail Road.

We didn’t have to wait long before a low mournful whistle announced the approach of the returning 2pm train.

Over the last month, most of Strasburg’s excursion have been led by 2-6-0 number 89, so I was pleased when I saw former Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 number 475 come into view.

As the train pulled away from the Groff’s picnic area, the engineer made a spectucular show of steam and smoke as the train slowly accelerated upgrade.

I made these photos with my Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm lens as Kris recorded the performance with her iPhone.

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Cumbres Pass on Chrome-Scan Comparison

As I write this I am in the final stages of preparing my latest book on steam locomotives for Kalmbach Media.

This is tentatively titled, “Steam by the Numbers” and examines the development and application of steam locomotives in America organized by wheel arrangement.

While many of the illustrations for the text are historical photographs, I have scoured my collection for appropriate photos that I feel provide dynamic illustrations of steam locomotives at work.

Among these is a photo that I made nearly 25 years ago showing doubleheaded former Rio Grande three-foot gauge 2-8-2s at Cumbres Pass, Colorado.

I’d scanned originally this slide in 2010. However, on critical examination of the scan, I found that it wasn’t up to my current standards. Scanning, like so many aspects of photography is an art, and requires patience and experience.

Rather than suffer with a substandard image, or cut the photo from the book, instead I located the original slide and re-scanned it.

I didn’t record the details of my original scan. However with my recent re-scan, I used a Nikon LS-5000 (Coolscan) slide scanner powered by VueScan 9.8.04 software.

I used the ‘fine’ setting and set the scanner to 4000 dots per inch, while using the ‘Auto Levels’ color profile setting. I then imported the scan into Lightroom for postprocessing, which included lightening shadow areas, warming the color balance, and introducing some sharpening.

Below are examples of the original scan and the improved re-scan.

This greatly enlarged section of the original scan shows that the image suffered from a loss of sharpness, blocked shadows, and a cyan edge-effect.
This is the my most recent scan including my post-processing improvements. This is a cleaner, sharper scan with better color and better overall exposure that is better suited to publication.
Englarged section of the improved scan. This more clearly shows detail in the photograph to the point of revealing the grain structure of the film. Altough it isn’t perfect, it is much better than my flawed scan from 2010.

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Irish Rail diesel trains August 28, 2013

Here’s a few views from my old Canon EOS7D from ten years ago.

I’ve Imported the old Canon CR2 (RAW) files into Lightroom (version 5.5) to make a host of minor adjustments that were not available to me at the time of exposure.

Although this older Canon digital camera didn’t capture as much data as my modern Nikons, it still did a wonderful job of preserving the scenes.

It’s been a long time since the 071s wore the black and silver livery.

Irish Rail 074 leads an empty ballast train down road near Hazelhatch. This is the ‘HOBS’ (High Output Ballast System).
A 200mm view near Clondalkin in West Dublin of a down ICR on the quad track section.
Up IWT liner approaching the Memorial Road Bridge with 071 class locomotive 083.
The Up-Cork rolls through ‘the Gullet’ on the last leg of its run to Dublin’s Heuston Station. I made this view from Memorial Drive. 28 August 2013.

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Locomotives—August 27, 2016

Seven years ago today, I caught up with photographer Mike Gardner for a morning of photography near Palmer, Massachusetts.

It was a beautiful and clear sunny New England day. I made these photos using my old FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm Fujinon zoom lens.

New England Central 3039, a former Canadian National GP40-2L at Palmer, Mass. Fuji XT1 w 18-135mm lens set at 104mm f9 1/500, ISO 400.
CSX Q422 eastbound at Warren, Mass. Fuji XT1 w 18-135mm lens set at 123mm f5.6 1/500, ISO 400.
CSX Q422 eastbound at Warren, Mass. Fuji XT1 w 18-135mm lens set at 18.5mm f7.1 1/500, ISO 400.

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Glory to the old Metroliner Cabs

In its day, the Budd-Metroliner was America’s answer to the Japanese Shinkansen. This fast electric train (MP85) was built for Pennsylvania Railroad and some briefly carried PRR-Keystone heralds before Penn-Central assumed operations of PRR’s lines in 1968. The Metroliner service was introduced using the Metroliner cars in the early years of Penn Central.

In 1971, Amtrak assumed operation of the Metroliner and continued to use the former PRR/PC trains for fast services on the former PRR between New York and Washington D.C.

The Metroliner body style was the basis for the Budd-built Amfleet cars that were introduced in the mid-1970s, and which remain standard for many Amtrak trains today.

Amtrak later assigned locomotive hauled Amfleet consists to its Metroliner services. In their waining years as self-propelled electric trains the former Metroliner train sets worked Amtrak Keystone services to Harrisburg.

Today, some of the much modified old Metroliner cab cars survive on Amtrak’s five-car push-pull sets, many of which are assigned as standard consists to the New York-Philadelphia-Harrisburg Keystone trains. Until 2014, these consists also routinely worked the Vermonter when it was still routed via Palmer, Massachusetts.

I made these views of Amtrak’s former Metroliner cab cars passing Gap, Pa., a couple of week ago.

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Steam to Kilkenny—Ten Years Ago!

On August 25, 2013, I traveled behind 2-6-0 461 on the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s The Marble City that ran from Dublin’s Connolly Station to Kilkenny and back via Athy.

At various stops along the way, I made digital photos using my old Canon EOS7D with a 28-135mm lens.

Although I’ve previously published some of these photos on Tracking the Light, for this post I’ve re-edited my selection and made a variety of up-to-day post processing adjustments using Adobe Lightroom, which I didn’t use back in 2013.

Hard to believe this was ten years ago!

Safety valves are lifting at Hazelhatch as The Marble City was overtaken by the down Cork led by Irish Rail 215.
At Kilkenny, I made this roster shot of old 461.
A view from the road bridge at Athy, Irish Rail’s up Dublin-Waterford train was making its station stop while RPSI’s steam crew filled 461’s tank with water.
Classic portrait of the footplate crew at Athy. Look’s like someone needs a cup of tea.

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Steam working in Low sun at Carpenters.

I like 2-6-0s. Old Canadian National No. 89 is a fine looking machine.

It has been getting a work out this summer and I’ve seen it on numerous runs between East Strasburg and Leaman Place over the Strasburg Rail Road.

A couple of weeks back a clear evening made for ideal conditions to catch the 7pm train on its return run from Leaman Place.

I exposed this telephoto view as the train worked upgrade near Carpenters.

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Glinty Reflections in the Susquehanna.

We found a shady place to park in Harrisburg’s Fort Hunter Mansion Park over looking Norfolk Southern’s Rockville Bridge.

We were hoping to catch a coal train. Instead, an eastward autorack freight came rolling across the bridge. As this was passing, a second an eastward train crossed the bridge on an adjacent track—and was blocked from view by the autoracks.

I made this view using my Z7-II fitted with a 70-200mm lens.

Staying in the shade of the trees in the park helped to reduce flare from the sun in the western sky.

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Trailing views at Esbenshade Road.

Over the summer, Kris and I have been photographing Strasburg Rail Road’s late weekend train, the 1900 departure, which is a favorite of mine because it catches the low sun on its return to the East Strasburg Station.

I think that this past weekend might have been the last opportunity to work with the sun on this train for a while.

I made these trailing views at Esbenshade Road near Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm
Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

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Gorgeous Evening Light

The evening began with dissipating fluffy clouds. As the sun sunk in the western sky, I anticipated a colorful late summer sunset.

We drove to Strasburg, where I made this sequence of photos of Strasburg Rail Road’s J tower, and various equipment on dispay at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and in the Strasburg Rail Road’s yard using my Z7-II with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series lens.

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Sunset and a Clear aspect at Greenfield

The days are getting shorter. You can see it in the evening sky.

Yet, the sunsets are vivid.

I’ve been looking for ways to better feature the color position light signal at milepost 64.5 near Greenfield in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I made this view with my Nikon Z7-II and Nikkor Z-series 70-200mm lens of Amtrak Keystone train 653 racing west by the signal. This train had Amtrak’s ACS-64 electrics at both ends; locomotive 621 was leading westbound; and 668 was at the back.

I’d guess that something was amiss with the former Metroliner cab car at the westend of the train.

In this instance because the signal is the subject, I picked a trailing angle and selected a slower ISO setting and comparatively slow shutter speed to allow the train a little bit of motion blur, while keeping the signal sharp.

When I try this again, I may zoom in tighter on the signal.

ISO 200, f3.5 at 1/160th second. 70-200mm lens set to 98mm.
ISO 200, f3.5 at 1/320th second. 70-200mm lens set to 98mm.

This is just a cropped and adjusted view of the photo at center above. However, it approximates how large I’d like to frame the signal in a future image.

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