Category Archives: Rail transit marathon

Czech Tram on Fomapan

In Autumn on 2016 on a vist to Prague, I made this view with a Nikon F3 using the Czech B&W film Fomapan 100.

I’d read about this film, and bought several rolls in Prague which I put to good use during the duration of my trip.

Upon my return to Dublin, I processed the film in Ilford ID11 diluted 1:1 with water, then scanned the negatives with an Epson V500 scanner.

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Streetcar at Night on ET160 Comparative Scans

Last night I made two scans of an ET 160 (Tungsten balance) Ektachrome slide. This film was designed for use with incandescent lighting.

I exposed this slide as part of sequnece of night images at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT in December 1993.

The first scan was using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner powered with Epson Scan 2 software. The second was using a Nikon LS5000 Slide scanner powered with the latest VueScan software (version 9.7.96).

Other than scale the scans for presentation here, I made no changes to color, exposure, sharpness etc.

I’ve included a greatly magnified portion of each scan for comparison.

Epson V600 scan; 3200 dpi TIF format, scaled for internet.
Nikon LS 5000 scan at 4,000 dpi TIF format, scaled for internet.

V600 scan enlarged.
Nikon LS 5000 scan enlarged

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Kenosha—First Digital Photos

Some of my earliest digital photographs were exposed in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In Novemeber 2008, I’d traveled to Chicago to visit with photographer Chris Guss and attend the annual Beecherfest railroad slide program.

At the time I was exclusively using film to make photos. Chris lent me his Canon EOS 50D and we spent several days in northern Illinois and Wisconsin making photos.

We stopped in to Kenosha, where we traveled on the streetcar loop and made photos of the vintage PCCs.

I exposed this view using my 100-400mm Canon zoom fixed to Chris Guss’s Canon 50D.

It was almost a year before I bought my own digital camera, and 18 months before I invested in a Canon EOS-7D.

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LUAS on Provia—18 Oct 2022

A month ago—LUAS on Provia—18 Oct 2022—I made these photos of LUAS trams working the Green Line in the Dublin City Centre using a Nikon F3 with Provia 100F (RDPIII) color slide film.

During our trip to Ireland I exposed 7 rolls of film along with hundreds of digital photos. This is just a sampling of a few photos from our last day in Dublin.

Last night, I scanned the slides using a Nikon LS 5000 (Super Coolscan5000) slide scanner powered by VueScan software and then imported the scanner’s hi-res TIF files into Adobe Lightroom for minor color and exposure corrections.

I find that film offers a different quality of image, which is part of the attraction. But, I also find that working with my old Nikon F3s produces different compositions than I get when making photos digitally. So despite the inconvenience of carrying both film and digital cameras and the comparatively high cost of exposing color film, I continue to work with both film and digital media.

Fuji Provia 100F slide exposed using a Nikon F3 with f2.5 105mm telephoto lens.
Fuji Provia 100F slide exposed using a Nikon F3 with f2.5 105mm telephoto lens.
Fuji Provia 100F slide exposed using a Nikon F3 with f2.8 24mm wideangle lens.

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Dublin & Kingstown Revisited

In mid-October, I traveled the length of the old Dublin and Kingstown route to meet with my friends in Dun Laoghaire.

The Dublin and Kingstown Railway was opened in 1834 between Westland Row (today Pearse Station) and the harbour in Kingstown (now called Dun Laoghaire).

It was the first railway in Ireland and often claimed as the world’s first suburban railway.

Today, this route is operated as a portion of Irish Rail’s Dublin Area Rapid Transit electric service and hosts InterCity services to/from Rosslare Europort.

I had excellent autumn sun for my spin to Dun Laoghaire and stopped off at a couple of stations to make photos using my Nikon Z6 digital camera.

Approaching Seapoint.
Seapoint station stop.
DART interior.
Dun Laoghaire .
Dun Laoghaire .

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Blue Sky Glass LUAS Duck Under the Loop Line.

In mid-October, I was on my way over to Connolly Station, when I noticed the Ad-wrapped Sky LUAS tram gliding west on the Red Line near the Loop Line Bridge.

Working with my Lumix LX7, I made this view as the tram passed below the bridge.

The unusually decorated tram looked good in the rich morning sun.

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LUAS crossing O’Connell Bridge

During our October visit to Dublin, I made this trailing panned photo of LUAS Citadis tram 5040 crossing the famed O’Connell Bridge.

I was working with my Lumix LX7 set at ISO 80, shutter speed 1/100th of a second, and f6.3. The key was maintaining a steady pan motion as the tail-end of the tram passed me.

O’Connell bridge is noteworthy for being wider than it is long.

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DART at Dublin Pearse.

Dublin’s Pearse Station, formerly known as Westland Row, is credited as the world’s oldest city railway station in continuous use.

This has served as a passenger station since 1834 when it opened as the Dublin terminus for the Dublin & Kingstown Railway.

The balloon style train shed was built many years later.

While traveling around Dublin earlier this month, I arrived at Pearse with an aim of photographing the trainshed following extensive works to repair it. The last time I’d visited Pearse was back in November 2019, nearly three years ago.

I made several photos of passing DART suburban electric trains under the shed using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera.

Then, I spotted an old friend and we caught up over a few pints at a nearby pub, as you do.

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Evening on the Cobh Branch.

Thanks to our friends in Cork, the other evening Kris and I made a few photos of Irish Rail’s Cobh Branch near Cork’s Kent Station.

It had rained (and rather hard at that) before the clouds cleared for some intense evening sun. These were great conditions for photos.

Irish Rail’s 2600-series diesel railcars have been working the Cork-Cobh run since my first visit in 1998, but now these are on borrowed time.

I made these digital photos using my Nikon Z6. I’m curious to see how my Kodak Ektachrome 100 slides will turn out.

It was beginning to rain when I made this photo of 2600-series railcars arriving on Plaform 1 in Cork. Within the hour the skies had cleared.
Less than an hour after the above photo, I made this view of an arriving train from Cobh.
Good ol’ 2616 at Kent Station, Cork.
Cork-bound train from an overhead bridge.

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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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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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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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Trams at Place Royale in Brussels.

Using my first Lumix LX7, I made this series of photos of the route 93 trams passing Place Royale in Brussels, Belgium on August 18, 2014.

It was dusk and the light was fading rapidly while taking on that royal blue hue that last for just a few minutes.

Effectively making photos at dusk is always a challenge. I had the camera set to ‘A’ mode (Aperture Priority).

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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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Metrolink JPG

Six years ago (July 29, 2016), I made this view of a Metrolink passenger train from the footbridge at the Fullerton, California station using my FujiFilm XT1.

This file is a scaled view of the in-camera JPG exposed with Fuji’s ‘Velvia’ color profile, designed to digitally emulate the colors of its popular slide film.

Fullerton is a neat place to watch and photograph trains. The busy triple-track line hosts a continual parade of BNSF freights and both Amtrak and Metrolink passenger trains. The setting features several old railroad stations, lots of modern signaling and lovely palm trees.

On that day, I arrived by train.

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Where is Everybody?

In June 2008, I visited San Diego, California for the day and traveled around on the famous San Diego Trolley.

I made this view of the Orange Line near downtown.

I can’t help but wonder, where is everybody?

I’ve photographed light rail in dozens of cities, and usually there’s lots of people about. This was a pleasantly warm weekday afternoon in San Diego and there’s virtually no one on the street. Bizarre!

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PCCs with John Gruber—July 11, 2016

On July 11, 2016, John E. Gruber collected me at Lake Forest, Illinois. I’d just recently arrived from the East Coast on Amtrak’s Cardinal.

After lunch, we drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin to photograph and travel on the historic PCC trolley cars that operate in a two-mile loop through the center of the town.

It was a beautiful afternoon for photography on the shore of Lake Michigan. I made this pair of images using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.

In 2016, I made this post to Tracking the Light:

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2016/07/15/kenosha-wisconsin-pccs-july-2016/

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Ten Years Ago May 11th

On May 11, 2012, I made this digital photo with my Lumix LX3 of a LUAS Tram (dressed in Emirates advertising) passing Arnotts department store on Abbey Street in Dublin.

Less than two weeks ago we visited Arnotts on a shopping trip.

Now back in New Hampshire Arnotts just seems like a dream.

Exposed using a Lumix LX3 on May 11, 2012.

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Waiting for the DART on Platform 5

Last Monday (25 April 2022) , we arrived at Dublin’s Connolly Station by LUAS tram and made our way to Platform 5 to catch the DART to Blackrock.

The sun was high in the sky as I focused on a northward DART while waiting for our train south.

All photos were exposed digitally using my Panasonic Lumix LX7.

Looking Back Six Years

On April 27, 2016, I was visiting Bordeaux, France with my father Richard Jay Solomon. I made this view using my Lumix LX7 of a Bordeaux Tram crossing the river Garonne.

The Bordeaux tram system makes extensive use of a ground based electrical power distribution system to avoid the necessity for overhead wires. To minimize the danger of electrocution this system is designed so the positive feed is only activated when the tram is over the individual hot feeds.

April 21, 2013—Overground Interior

Nine years ago I made a counter-clockwise journey around London on the then-new Overground network.

During the course of this trip, I made this image of the interior of a nearly empty Overground train using my Lumix LX3

Panasonic Lumix LX3 set at f2.4 1/160th of a second, focal lenght = 7.9mm

Fuji’s colors at Freiburg

Among the qualities of my FujiFilm XT1 was that the camera’s built in JPG preset color profiles are tailored to emulate traditional Fujifilms.

My two favorites were ‘Provia’ and ‘Velvia’.

I was using the latter color profile in this April 20, 2016 view of a tram on the outskirts of Frieburg, Germany.

Exposed with a Fujinon 18-135mm zoom at its widest focal length, camera set at ISO 200, f7.1 at 1/500th of a second. Photo scaled for internet without changes to exposure, contrast, color or sharpness.

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A Day Late: my double save from 11 April 2012.

My old Lumix LX3 had the ability to save a handful of photos in the camera’s built in memory (without an SD card).

This was a great benefit, especially in those moments where suddenly I realized that, “Oh Sh!#! I left the SD card on my desk!”

Not a problem, the camera would store the image internally for downloading later.

On 11 April 2012, I had one of those unforgettable “Oh Sh!#!” moments when I’d spotted a colorfully painted LUAS tram on Abbey Street in Dublin and when I went to photograph it the camera advised me I was saving to the internal memory.

Phew!

That was ten years, and three Lumixes ago.

However, not only did the camera save the photo, but it was able to save both as a JPG and as RAW. And this was lucky, because a pesky afternoon cloud had just drifted in front of the sun, so my photo was very constrasty and slightly underexposed. Working with Lightroom I was able to lighten the original photo, correct the color temperature, and level the image.

My scaled but otherwise un-adjusted Lumix LX3 RAW photo.
This image was created by working with the RAW file in Adobe Lightroom to bring up detail in shadow areas, correct the color balance and level, and lighten the overall exposure while retaining desired color saturation.

No hope with getting that kind of double save if you forgot to put film in camera! (Been there, done that!).

In two weeks time, I hope to be making use of my latest Lumix on the streets of Dublin!

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Lisbon-1 April 2019

On this day three years ago, photographer Denis McCabe and I wandered the narrow streets of Lisbon, Portugal.

I used my Fuji XT1 to make this portrait oriented view of a classic tram navigating a steep narrow street.

Iridient software does a more effective job of interpreting the data from the Fuji camera RAW files than Lightroom.

Last night I imported the Fuji camera RAW file into Iridient for conversion to DNG format and then imported the DNG file into Adobe Lightroom for minor adjustments tothe color, constrast and exposure in order to make the most of the camera sensor.

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Porto Metro-March 30, 2019

Three years ago, March 30, 2019, I exposed this view of the Porto Metro at Trindade Station (Portugal).

This modern light rail metro system was built, in part, on the right-of-way of a traditional narrow gauge railway line that served Trindade station as its city center terminus.

Photographer Dennis McCabe and I explored this Metro system on a very wet day in April 2014, and returned in 2019 to much brighter weather.

I exposed this view from the platforms at Trindade Station using my Lumix LX7.

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Dublin’s LUAS at Heuston-10 March, 2014 & 10 March, 2015

When in Dublin, I’d walk by Irish Rail’s Heuston Station almost daily.

In the evening on 10 March 2014, and again one year later, I captured views of the passing LUAS trams at Heuston.

Where the setting and scenes seem routine, I always try to make a new angle on the subject.

10 March , 2014, tram 3025 glides away from its Heuston Station stop, the 1840s headhouse and offices of the station loom to the left. LX3 photo.
Tram 3021 hums over Sean Heuston Bridge on its way to Heuston Station. Exposed using a Fuji XT1 with zoom lens. 10 March 2015.

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Sky in the Shadow of Guinness

On March 2, 2015, I walked across the Sean Heuston Bridge (formerly Kingsbridge) toward Heuston Station.

I’ve crossed this 19th century cast iron span over the Liffey perhaps a 1000 times (maybe more) during the many years I spent photographing Dublin.

LUAS tram 3019 decorated to advertise Sky Fibre (cable television) was working westbound toward its station stop at Heuston when I made a snapshot with my old Lumix LX7. The Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate looms to the left.

This is the camera JPG, scaled for internet presentation without modifcation to color balance, color temperature, contrast or sharpness.

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Leipzig Tram Square

Among the desirable qualities of the Rolleiflex Model T was its square format.

While in my early years of using a Rollei I tended toward overuse of the 645 Superslide insert which provided a rectangular negative. I later decided that I preferred the basic square.

In June 2001, I traveled to Germany with a Rollei T, and exposed numerous 120 rolls of black & white film.

In Leipzig, I made this image of a tram on Fuji Neopan 400. I processed this roll using a mix of Agfa Rodinal Special. Unfortunately, I slightly overprocessed the negatives, a problem easily corrected after scanning, using Adobe Lightroom to adjust contrast and shadow density. The end result offers broad tonality.

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New Trams: April 2002

Although Dublin’s new LUAS tram system would not commence operations for another two years, in April 2002 the first batches of Alstom Citadis trams had already arrived.

I was invited on a tour of the Red Cow depot as a member of the Irish Railway Record Society, and made this view of tram 3013, which at the time was a ‘short’ three-section tram.

Recently I scanned this negative along with numerous other images exposed on the same roll of film. It’s amazing how much has changed over the last twenty years in Ireland.

LUAS Red Cow Depot, Contax G2 photo, April 2002.

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Trams in Graz

In January 2012, I was visiting Graz, Austria with Stephen Hirsch and Denis McCabe.

I made this photo of trams meeting on a pedestrianized street in the ciry center using my Canon EOS 7D.

Below are two versions of the same image.

Camera jpg

The top image is the in-camera JPG, scaled for internet.

The bottom is my interpretation of the camera RAW file with adjustments to exposure, contrast, color temperature and color saturation implemented with Adobe Lightroom to improve the scene.

Interpreted RAW image adjusted in Lightroom.

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Blue Line at Aquarium

Two weeks ago, Kris and I visited the New England Aquarium before taking a spin on the Blue Line to Revere Beach.

I made this photo at Aquarium using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camara.

I exposed in ‘A’ (automatic) mode using RAW which produces an NEF file.

Scaled, but unadjusted NEF file converted to JPG for internet presentation.

Unadjusted, the NEF file appears dark. This is because the A mode metering compensates for the artifical lighting in an effort to hold detail in the highlights.

To make a pleasing photo, it is necessary to adjust the file in postprocessing to modify contrast, exposure and color balance/color temperature.

This shows the same NEF file following adjustments.

I have included a screen shot of the Adobe Lightroom work-window to demonstrate where I moved the slide controls to make the necessary adjustments.

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Green Line Government Center

On our travels around Boston two weeks ago, Kris and I changed trains at MBTA’s Government Center station.

40 years ago I photographed MBTA’s PCCs squeeling through these subterranean tunnels. Those cars are largely a memory, as are the Boeing-Vertol ‘LRVs’ that replaced them.

So on the most recent visit to MBTA’s Green Line, I made these photos of more modern trolleys in the arificial light of the subway tunnels using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

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