Category Archives: Rail transit marathon

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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).

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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/

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light explores railroad photography daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily

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!

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light is Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Views from the Orange Line

Last Thursday evening, October 21, 2021 (10-21-2021), as we rode north on MBTA’s Orange Line I snapped digital photos from the window of the train looking down on MBTA’s former Boston & Maine lines radiating from Boston’s North Station.

We paced an outward commuter train for about a minute.

This reminded me of similar efforts photographing trains through the glass when I was a teenager.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Chinese Orange Line Cars at North Station

Thursday, October 21, 2021, I had my first experience with MBTA’s new Orange Line subway cars built by Chinese firm CRRC in Springfield, Massachusetts.

It was odd for me because the ‘Old’ cars were delivered when I was in High School. I recall going on a Orange Line shop tour in 1983 with my old friend Dan Howard to see the ‘New Cars’ (now the ‘Old’ Cars). This had been organized by the Mystic Valley Railway Society.

Kris and I were on our way to Malden, Massachusetts so that I could give a talk on Tracking the Light to Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts at the old Pearl Street Station.

I made these orange line images using my Nikon Z6 mirroless digital camera.

Old cars at the New North Station Orange Line station.
The new CRRC Orange Line subway cars.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

LUAS at Museum

Seven Years ago: on the evening of September 14, 2014, an inbound LUAS Red Line tram makes a stop at Museum on its way to the Dublin City center.

I made this photo by placing my Lumix LX7 on the footpath to steady the camera for a comparatively long-exposure, while proping up the lens with the lens cap to obtain the desired level.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Five Years ago at Santa Ana

On August 4, 2016, I spent a little while at the Metrolink station in Santa Ana, California on the old Santa Fe photographing passenger trains coming and going.

As modern adapted stations go, Santa Ana is cool.

This view was made from the footbridge over the tracks. I was putting my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera through its paces.

Working with Lightroom, I made adjustements to color temperature, contrast and color saturation to improve this Fuji RAW file. I wanted to make the most of the California color palate.

Metrolink F59PHi 877 works at the back of train 687.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Sodium Vapor Light-Six Years Ago

On the evening of August 2, 2015, I made these photos of Dublin’s LUAS trams gliding along Benburb Street near Heuston Station, just a short walk from my old apartment at Islandbridge.

These are unaltered JPGs scaled from larger JPGs made by my old Lumix LX7 digital camera. I set the white balance to ‘auto’ and let the camera make the color temperture adjustment internally.

One of the nice things about digital photos is that every file has a date stamp, so when I want to find a photo from exactly six years ago, the process of locating it is relatively straightforward.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Ten Years Ago in Munich.

On this day, May 16, 2011, I exposed this telephoto image of a number 20 tram in Munich, Germany.

I was working with my Canon EOS7D with a fixed 200mm f2.8 telephoto.

Notice the unusual point-work on the tram track in the foreground.

Selective focus made possible by the relatively wide aperture with a long focal length lens helps direct the eye to the primary subject, allowing for other elements of the scene to remain slightly out of focus.

Tracking the Light posts daily!

Stuttgart, Germany June 1999.

I made a brief visit to Stuttgart during a trip to Germany and Switzerland in 1999.

On my first afternoon in Stuttgart, I exposed this Fujichrome Sensia II (ISO 100) color slide of a classic tram ascending away from the city center. Notice the effects of cross lighting. (The sun is to the left of the camera).

At the time I was working with an N90s with 80-200mm zoom lens, my standard camera combination for the period.

I’ve found that different types of equipment lend to different sorts of compositions. I wonder what images I would have made in Stuttgart if I could have carried the Nikon Z6 that I own today?

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Bordeaux—Five Years Ago.

It was a clear pleasant afternoon in Bordeaux, France on April 29, 2016, when I made this photo of a wireless Alstom tram using my first Lumix LX7 digital camera.

I was visiting this elegant French city on business with my father.

Bordeaux opted for a ground-based power supply for its modern tram system in historic areas of its city center.

Below are two variations of the same photo. The top is the camera produced JPG (scaled for internet without adjustment), the bottom is my interpretation of the camera RAW file with adjustments made using Adobe Lightroom.

Lumix LX7 camera generated JPG with the VIVID color profile, scaled fro internet presentation.
Lumix LX7 RAW file interpreted using Adobe Lightroom; shadows lightened, level improved, and color balance adjusted. Note the hue of the tram.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!

April 22, 2016.

Five years ago I spent the day exploring the modern tram system centered on Valenciennes, France.

This is a model system that was built and equipped by Alstom.

FujiFIlm XT1 photo.

This was my second visit to this moderately sized French town and its immediate suburbs.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!