Category Archives: Tips and Technique

Grand Hibernian—17 September 2016

Five years ago, I was poised at the army bridge near Mosney over the old Great Northern line to photograph the, then new, Belmond Grand Hibernian on its run from Dublin to Belfast.

This luxury tour train made weekly tours of the Irish network in season.

Irish Rail class 201 number 216 was painted to match Belmond’s train set, and was routinely assigned to the train.

Belmond’s choice of a dark navy blue made for challenging photos in conditions other than bright sun. In photos, this shade of blue often appeared almost black, and when lightened using post processing software tended to shift green.

In this view, I selectively lightened the front of the locomotive, and applied minimal lightening to the shadow areas of the entire scene. I’ve attempted to retain the true color of the train as best I can.

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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.

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Misty Mountaineer

Yesterday (September 9, 2021) I traveled on the headend of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer to Crawford Notch in order to calculate train timings for this month’s timetable change.

Among my jobs at the railroad, in addition to Marketing, is that of timetable planner.

When we reached the old Maine Central station at Crawford, I climbed down from the locomotive to make a few photos from the ground, then boarded again for the run-around.

All photos were made using my Nikon Z6 and processed using Adobe Lightroom.

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The End for an Old GP?

Yesterday I learned through social media that New England Central 3850 suffered a main generator fire while climbing State Line Hill (located in my hometown of Monson, Massachusetts.)

Over the last 26 years, I’ve made countless photos of this antique EMD diesel-electric at work and at rest.

While I cannot predict the future, I know that often with older diesels, a main generator failure may represent the kiss of the scrapper.

When it came to New England Central in 1995, 3850 carried the number 9531, which is how I picture it in the December 1996 view below.

I made this photo at Palmer, Massachusetts using a mix of artificial lighting, including electronic strobe for fill flash, and my original Fujichrome slide is strongly tinted.

I scanned this slide using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner driven by Epson Scan 2 software. Working from a high-resolution TIF file, I initially scaled the photo without corrections.

Then, working with slider controls in Adobe Lightroom, I implemented a variety of color corrections, plus contrast and exposure adjustements to overcome flaws with color balance and exposure. Below are both results for point of comparison.

This is a scaled JPG of the uncorrected scan which reflects how the original slide appears to the eye. Compare this with a partially color corrected version below.
Above is my first color-corrected scan aimed at better representing the colors of the locomotive as they would have appeared to my eye at night. Although imperfect, it is an improvement over the original slide.
Here’s an alternative version aimed at further reducing the green tint from the mercury vapor light and reducing overall contrast. This is closer to the way the scene would have looked.

Tracking the Light is a Daily Photoblog focused on railroads.

NIR-Derry 5 April 2002

NI Railways had a minimalist presence in Derry, Northern Ireland when I visited there on 5 April 2002.

The railway station consisted of a 1960s-era bus shelter style building and a single platform serving two tracks, situated flush with the River Foyle.

I made these photos while boarding an NIR 80-class railcar bound for Belfast.

My camera was a rugged Contax G2 Rangefinder fitted with 45mm Zeiss Planar lens and loaded with Kodak Tri-X black & white film. I used a red filter to alter the black & white tonality and boost contrast.

For me the film’s contrast and stark spring lighting was well-suited to the minimalist railway infrastructure.

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Ballast Train

The unusual moves; the uncommon train; the special unscheduled and unexpected operation. These are what fascinate me about railroads.

On most days, Conway Scenic operates its selection of normally scheduled excursion. By contrast it’s work trains are comparatively rare.

Yesterday, September 3, 2021, Conway Scenic’s former Maine Central GP7 No. 573 ran light to from North Conway to Conway to collect a pair of ballast cars that were expected to be loaded.

After lunch the engine returned with the ballast cars to North Conway where it ran around and proceeded back to Conway.

I was on-hand to make these photos using my Nikon Z6.

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Same Bridge—Different Day

Tracking the Light is a blog that focuses on the process of railroad photography, and how certain techniques produce different results. Light, angle and season play an enormous role in the end result.

In yesterday’s Tracking the Light, I featured a misty autumn-morning view of a westward Guilford Rail System freight crossing the bridge over the Deerfield River on approach to the east portal of the Hoosac Tunnel.

See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2021/08/28/misty-morning-at-east-portal/

Today, I’m featuring a photo exposed a few months later (February 2005) of another westward freight crossing the same bridge: winter versus autumn; south side of the bridge versus the north; and later in the morning. Another difference was my choice of lens: 45mm on the winter view; 180mm on the autumn.

In addition, I’ve included two slightly different versions of the February 2005 photo, as well as one of the photos from yesterday’s post for point of comparison.

This freight was EDRJ, which Pat Yough and I followed all the way to the Hudson River and beyond!

Compare this view with the verson below.- 45mm lens.

February 13, 2005. In the above photo I made slightly different adjustments in post processing in regards to color temperature and exposure.

Both images were made from a scan of the same slide, which had been exposed on Fujichrome film using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 45 mm Zeiss lens.

Here’s the comparison view that was posted with yesterday’s (August 28, 2021) Tracking the Light. Fujichrome with 180mm lens, October 2004.

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Nostalgia for a Bad Slide.

Languishing in my Miscellaneous Railroad Seconds file (Bad Slides) from 1982-1983 was this back lit winter view of the Central Vermont Railway yard in Palmer, Massachusetts.

I’d exposed this Kodachrome 64 slide using my old Leica 3A fitted with 50mm Sumitar.

This is a technically flawed photo. It is considerably off-level. The exposure is slightly on the dark side. The composition is a bit loose. And the color is decidedly magenta owing to a processing abnormality on the part of Kodak.

As an exercise, I decided to scan the slide and import into Lightroom to see if I could improve it.

I’ve included the unadjusted scan. A screen shot of the adjustment window. And, my final adjusted image.

My unadjusted scan.
Leveled, cropped, color and contrast corrected scan.

Screen shot of the Adobe Lightroom work window showing the degree of change during an early edit of my ‘Bad Slide’. I ended up taking out even more magenta.

I ended up wondering how I might photograph this scene today, using my most modern cameras. Also I wonder, is my ‘bad slide’ really all that bad? It may mean little to random viewers, but it conjured up in my memory the Palmer Yard of my youth. There’s a pair of idling Central Vermont Alco RS-11s, and in the distance the train they had recently delivered. Just about everything in the photo reminds me of how exciting I found railroading when I was 13.

Would a ‘better’ photo convey the same feeling for me?

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Chocorua Dam on Ektachrome

In the villiage of Chocorua in Tamworth, New Hampshire is an historic mill dam.

I made this atmospheric view of the Chocorua Dam last October on Kodak Ektachrome 100. Using a comparatively slow shutter speed shows movement in the water.

A couple of weeks ago I scanned the color slide with my Epson V600 scanner. Final presentation for viewing here required nominal adjustment in Adobe Lightroom.

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Meadville viewed with a Canon.

Over the years I’ve used a great variety of Camera-film combinations.

In 2009, I largely worked with a pair of Canon EOS-3s loaded with Fujichrome.

On an October trip to photograph along the old Erie Railroad, I had one of my EOS-3s fitted with a Canon 100-400mm. The morning of the 6th, I caught Western New York & Pennsylvania’s HNME (Hornell, New York to Meadville, PA) arriving a Meadville.

A dozen years earlier I’d photographed the same Montreal Locomotive Works diesel working the Cartier Railway in Quebec using Nikon cameras loaded with Kodachrome.

I wonder how I might capture this scene today with my current camera combinations?

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20mm view of the Arcade & Attica

On a foray to western New York state in July 2009, I made this 20mm wide-angle image of the Arcade & Attica tourist train near Arcade, New York.

I was working with RVP-100 (Velvia 100, no ‘F’), exposed using a Canon EOS-3.

Velvia 100 had a red-bias that makes for a difficult image to scan in a high contrast situation, such as this view of the steam locomotive.

Working in Adobe Lightroom, I made a variety of changes to contrast and color balance to help compensate for the red-bias color slide.

Adjusted slide-first version.
Final adjustment.

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Empty Beet on the Barrow Bridge:

On December 28, 2005, toward the end of Irish Rail’s final beet season, I stood on the western shore of the Barrow, where I aimed a Nikon F3 fitted with a 180mm f2.8 lens and loaded with Fujichrome toward the multiple span Pratt truss that crosses the river.

NI Railways 112 (on loan to Irish Rail) worked east across the span at about 5mph with a train of four-wheel empty beet wagons.

Last night I scanned the nearly 16-year old slide using my Epson V600 scanner at relatively high resolution (3200 dpi) then imported the resulting TIF file into Lightroom.

The RAW scan exhibits a minor red tint. To compensate I made a variety of changes. First I moved the black point to the limit of data loss with the aid of the histogram. This adjusted the tonal range of the slide, then I worked with green-magenta and blue-yellow color correction sliders to balance the color, while paying close attention to hue in the shadow areas. 

Finally I made some nominal contrast and saturation changes to make for a more pleasing image before outputting as a medium resolution JPG  crafted for optimum internet presentation.

Below is the unadjusted JPG along with my final adjusted JPG for comparison. Since every computer screen is slightly different and provide varied interpretations of my images.

the proof of  success for my adjustments may be in the color prints that I have yet to make.

This is a JPG made from the unadjusted TIF scan. Notice the slightly red hue and a lack of a rich black tone.
This is the scan following adjustment.
Screen shot of the Lightroom work window.

In addition, I’ve also included a screen shot of the Lightroom control panel so that you may see how I’ve moved the sliders to improve the scan.

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Midnight Sun

You’ve heard of the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’, well here it is!

On my July 2002 trip to Sweden’s Torne Träsk, I made this late evening view of the sun gracing in the northern sky.

This photo was exposed on the same 120 roll of Tri-X as yesterday’s Tracking the Light photo of an LKAB iron ore train.

Exposed using a German Rollieflex Model T. When I returned to Dublin, I processed the film in a custom mix of Ilfotec HC developer. Recently I scanned the film using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner powered by Epson Scan 2 software, then made minor adjustments to contrast using Adobe Lightroom.

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Arctic Ore at Torne Trask

On a July 2002 morning, I made this view of an LKAB class Dm3 heavy electric passing the disused electric substation at Torne Träsk, Sweden.

My friend Markku Pulkkinen and I spent several days in high summer exploring the Malmbanen that connects Swedish iron ore mining areas in the Arctic with the port of Narvik in Norway.

At that time, many of the ore trains were still powered by the massive three-section Dm3 siderod electrics.

Working with a vintage German Rollieflex Model T, I exposed this view on Kodak 120 Tri-X in the 2 ¼ inch square format. When I returned to Dublin, I processed the film in a custom mix of Ilfotec HC developer. Recently I scanned the film using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner powered by Epson Scan 2 software, then made minor adjustments to contrast using Adobe Lightroom.

For the Facebook output and lead-in image I cropped the square photo, but this view is uncrossed. 

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Provia 100F on the Rhein

Among the photos in my ‘Scan pile’ was this Fujichrome Provia 100F slide of a northward SBB Cargo train on the westbank of the Rhein near Lorch, Germany

It was among the color slides that I chose to scan during the week using my old Epson V600 flatbed scanner powered by Epson Scan 2 software.

Yesterday, I had prints made from some of my recent scans and was impressed by the way the scanning captured detail in the film right down to the grain.

Provia 100F color slide exposed on September 17, 2019.

Tightly cropped version to show detail.

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Cal Train at Bayshore—A Scanner Story

The other day I uploaded Epson Scan 2 to drive my ten-year old Epson V600 scanner.

I decided to make a few test scans and selected this Fujichrome color slide I exposed of a San Jose-bound Cal Train at Bayshore, California on August 13, 2009.

I was delighted with high-quality scan using this improved scanner-driver combination. I imported the TIF file into Adobe Lightroom to make minor adjustments to color and contrast in order to improve the Web-presentation.

This is a scaled Jpg from the adjusted TIF.

Original 35mm slide exposed on Fujichrome using a Canon EOS3 with 100mm lens.

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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.

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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.

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Ludmilla at Dresden

Twenty years ago on a visit to Germany, I spent a couple of days photographing around the historic city of Dresden.

This black & white photo at the Dresden Neustadt station features a former DR (East German Railways) Russian-built diesel-electric, DB class 234, a type colloquially known as a ‘Ludmilla’. 

June 2001.

Working with myvintage German-made Rolleiflex Model T, I made this photo on 120-size Fuji Neopan 400 roll film. I processed the film in Agfa Rodinal Special (not to be confused with Agfa Rodinal) mixed 1-32 with water for 3 min 45 seconds. I scanned the negative using an Epson flatbed scanner. 

Also see: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2020/12/20/dresden-june-2001/

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Amtrak’s Lake Shore in 2003

I’ve been reviewing 40 years worth of Amtrak photos for an article I’m writing for a German magazine.

In the mix of old chromes was this 2003 view of the eastward Lake Shore Limited east of milepost 129 between Chester and Middlefield, Massachusetts on CSX’s old Boston & Albany mainline.

Relatively few of Amtrak’s P42 Genesis diesels were painted in the short-lived Northeast Direct livery, making this a relatively unusual photo.

Working with a Nikon fitted with an f2.8 180mm telephoto, I was trying to make the most of a heavily backlit situation in early October. In situations like this I’d typically use my notebook to shield the front element of my lens to minimize the effects of flare. Backlighting autumn foliage helps accentuate the colored leaves.

On this day Amtrak was the booby prize; I was really after the Ringling Brothers Circus Train that was coming east from Selkirk Yard. And that photo is stored in a different file.

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Misty Evening at Crawford

There was a low ceiling at Crawford Notch, NH the other evening. The tops of the mountains were in the clouds, yet the tracks and station were clear from mist.

Kris & I arrived after sunset when there was just a hint of daylight remaining. Regular readers of Tracking the Light may recognize that I like to make photos at twilight, and often work my cameras when there is very little light remaining in the sky.

Below are three interpretations of the same Nikon NEF RAW file that reflect minor adjustments to contrast, color temperature and color saturation.

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Mifflin, PA—Nov 2001

The old Pennsylvania Railroad Middle Division is a favorite stretch of railroad.

I first visited this location on the heavily traveled east-west trunk route back in 1988 with my old pal TSH.

In November 2001, Mike Gardner and I were on a week-long photograph blitz of Pennsylvania and paused a Mifflin for a few hours to make photos of the action.

A Norfolk Southern eastward freight led by a former Conrail DASH8-40C rolls by the old Pennsylvania Railroad station at Mifflin, PA.

I exposed this Fujichrome color slide using my Contax G2 rangefinder fitted with a 28mm Zeiss Biogon lens. The Zeiss lens was extremely sharp from corner to corner while offering exceptional color rendition.

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Dark Chrome at Talent

July 3, 1992, I was poised on a hillside in Talent, Oregon to photograph Southern Pacific’s eastward RVME-M (Roseville to Medford manifest) on the sinuous Siskiyou Line

My Nikon F3T was loaded with Kodachrome and fitted with a 35PC lens.

An unfortunate cloud drifted in front of the sun moments before the freight descended into view.

Last night I opted to import a scan of this dark chrome into Adobe Lightroom where I imposed a series of small adjustments.

Below are two images: a scaled version of the othersie unadjusted scan, and my re-interpreted photo.

I can’t change the clouds, but I can lighten the image and adjust the color temperature and contrast to make for a nominally more pleasing photo.

Unaltered scan of SP’s RVME-M at Talent, Oregon.

My re-interpreted image.

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North Pownal Eleven Years Ago

On this date, July 17, 2010, I exposed this series of digital images with my Canon EOS 7D fitted with a prime Canon f2.8 24mm lens.

This camera was very new to me at the time. It was my first digital SLR and I had purchased it on advice of Chris Guss just a month earlier.

I bought it to augment my first digital camera, a Lumix LX3 (first of four similar cameras).

I was traveling with David Hegarty, and we caught Pan Am Southern’s intermodal freight symbol 22K passing through the curves on the Boston & Maine Fitchburg line at North Pownal, Vermont.

This famous photographer’s location is located in the far south-west corner of the state.

This morning, I made some nominal adjustements to the Canon RAW files using Adobe PhotoShop to correct for color temperature and bring in detail in the shadows and highlights.

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Rainy Day at Tobyhanna

In October 2005, I traveled with Delaware-Lackawanna’s PT98 that operated from Scranton to Slateford Junction, Pennsylvania.

At Tobyhanna the eastward freight stopped to switch, and I made a few photos on Fujichrome using a Nikon F3. It was pouring rain, so I made the best of it.

I scanned this image using a Nikon Coolscan 5000, and adjusted the TIF raw file in Adobe Lightroom to correct the color temperature and color balance while adjusting contrast and shadow detail.

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Gray Locomotives in High Sun—Variations on a theme.

High sun—when the sun is at or near the highest point in the sky—can be a difficult time to make railroad photos. The harsh contrast presented by midday light makes for unflattering and abrasive visual conditions. But does that mean we should refrain from photography? I know many photographers who might say ‘Yes.’

Last month on the way to Moosehead Lake, Kris Sabbatino and I paused at Pan Am Railway’s sprawling Waterville Yard where we made a few photos of a freight sitting near the east end of the yard.

Guilford painted GP40s are a rare item these days, and worthy of documentation. Soon all of Pan Am Railways may be swept into CSX, giving a growing urgency to photographs of this New England railroad system.

I made several images of the GP40s idling in the yard using my FujiFilm XT1. In Post processing, I adjusted the camera RAW files making slight changes to contrast, exposure and color temperature. Below are four similar variations of the same scene.

These top two variations were created from the same RAW file and primarily differ in the interpreatation of color and contrast, whith particular attention to lightening the shadow areas on the top image.

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Woodsville—Classic Chrome

On October 8, 1992, I made this Kodachrome 25 slide of the old Boston & Maine station building at Woodsville, NH.

Although a relatively subtle quality, notice that the verticals are parallel with the sides of the photo. This was made possible by working with a Nikkor 35mm PC (Perspective Control) lens. This had an adjustible front element used to keep vertical lines from visually falling away from the film plane (when the camera was kept level).

I miss my old PC lens, which I sold in 1997.

The line in front of the Woodsville Station was lifted in the mid-1990s.

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July 4th Fireworks at North Conway.

Last night Conway Scenic Railroad operated its annual Firecracker Expresses to carry spectators from Conway to North Conway for a patriotic fireworks display.

Although it had been raining all afternoon, the sky cleared off at sunset, and the fireworks went ahead as scheduled, beginning just after 930pm.

As part of of my role as Conway Scenic’s Manager of Marketing & Events, I helped organize our special trains and their promotion. Several hundred people rode the trains which operated as advertised.

My Fiancé Kris Sabbatino and I traveled on the Firecracker Express to North Conway and made photos of the railroad’s iconic station and the explosive displays.

It was an excellent event.

Working with my Nikon Z6 Mirrorless digital camera mounted on my antique Bogen tripod, I made a variety of time-exposures.

Years ago I’d photographed fireworks using color slide film. I realized that I hadn’t done this in a long time and this was my first serious effort to capture a fireworks display digitally. I was a bit rusty at getting my timing right, but after missing a few of the loud bangs in the sky, I managed to refine my technique.

Working with the camera at ISO 200, my exposure times ranged from 4 seconds to 30 seconds, while I varied my f-stop between 4.0 and f11.

In general, I found I obtained my most satisfactory results at about 10 seconds at approximately f8.

After exposure, I imported the camera’s RAW NEF files into Adobe Lightroom for contrast and color adjustment. Through this technique I was able to improve the sky detail and balance the appearance of the images to reflect the scene more closely as I saw it. The benefit of the Nikon Z6 is its sensor’s exceptional dynamic range.

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Telephoto Ektachrome at East Northfield

In 1990, I’d bought a second-hand F4 Nikkor ‘prime’ 200mm telephoto. For several years I made great use of this lens to photograph trains across the West.

Through the 1990s, my photography was telephoto heavy.

These days, I’ve shifted my focal length wide.

Most of my digital photos are made with focal lengths between 16-70mm (super wide to short telephoto).

But, when I tend toward the longer telephoto range, I still reach for my film cameras.

Partially because I have several excellent long telephotos for my Canons, but also because when I think ‘long’, I think film.

So when Kris Sabbatino and I visited the Junction at ‘East Northfield,’ Massachusetts on March 8th (2021), I made this long view on Ektachrome using my old Canon EOS-3 with f2.8 200mm lens. This winning camera-lens combo has served me well for nearly 15 years.

Perhaps, it helps that I’m photographing a classic train with 1960s-1970s vintage EMD diesels bracketed by searchlight signals.

New England Central southward 611 approaches the junction at East Northfield, Massachusetts on March 8, 2021. Ektachrome 100 slide film.

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Night Photo—Secret Revealed!

I made these images the other night when Kris & I were photographing the St Lawrence & Atlantic’s westward road freight (train 393).

Night photography isn’t easy, or straight forward.

There’s a variety of approaches.

These images were exposed during the last hints of daylight.

To capture the train in motion in very low light I used a ‘secret combination’: a telephoto with a wide maximum aperture and a high ISO setting on the camera.

The telephoto minimizes the relative movement of the train to the camera sensor; the wide aperture lets in greater amounts of light and thus allows for a faster shutter speed. Likewise, the higher ISO also contributes to using a faster shutter speed.

However, the real secret was exposing manually, taking into account of the very bright headlights relative to the over all scene, while taking a position relatively off axis to the headlights to avoid the very bright lights directly hitting the front element of the lens.

FujiFilm XT1 with f2.0 90mm lens, camera set to ISO 3200 and 1/60th of a second.

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Semaphore Silhouette-Ely, Vermont.

We paused last winter at Ely, Vermont where I made this silhouette on Ektachrome of the old Boston & Maine station and its historic train order semaphore.

This was one of several slides I made that day of railroads in Vermont.

Why film? Because it works. Because some photos made on film wouldn’t as well if exposed digitally. But most importantly, because I like film. I made my first Ektachrome color slide c1971, and some 50 years later, I still occasional expose slides.

Canon EOS-3 loaded with Kodak E100; 40mm Canon pancake lens set at f22. Film processed by AgX lab. Slide scanned using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner.

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Long Days on the St Lawrence & Atlantic.

The long days of summer offer a rare opportunity to catch Genesee & Wyoming’s St. Lawrence & Atlantic through freights in daylight.

Last Friday, 25 June 2021, my fiancé Kris Sabbatino and I drove to Locke Miles, Maine, east of Bethel, where we set up along South Pond to wait for the westward freight, job 393.

The light was fading when we finally heard a distant whistle.

Our friend Andrew Dale had been keeping us updated as to the trains’s westward progress.

I made this image of the leading locomotives reflecting in South Pond using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera. I set the ISO to 800, the aperture to f4.0 (my widest setting), and the shutter speed to 1/100th of a second.

After the train passed we pursued it West into the night.

24-70mm Nikkor zoom set at 53mm. Full frame sensor

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Ektachrome on the Cape

In April, Kris Sabbatino & I made a visit to Cape Cod, where we spent a morning at West Barnstable photographing the Mass Coastal and visiting a chicken farm.

Mass-Coastal operated a ballast train with its rare GP28 (as previously featured on Tracking the Light). Working with my vintage Canon EOS-3 with 100-400mm image stabilization zoom, I exposed a slide sequence on Kodak Ektachrome E100 reversal film.

The film was processed by AgX lab in Michigan, and last night I scanned a few of the slides using a Epson Perfection V600 flatbed scanner powered by Epson software. After scanning, I imported the TIF files into Adobe Lightroom for color and contrast fine-tuning.

My finished results are below.

Mass Coastal GP28 with_Ballast train at West Barnstable, Massachusetts, 1138am 23April2021._
Mass Coastal GP28 with_Ballast train at West Barnstable, Massachusetts, 1138am 23April2021._

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Greenville Junction—Westbound at the Station

Finding trains on CP Rail’s Moosehead Subdivision requires patience and good luck. On our visit last weekend Kris Sabbatino & I found that operations consisted of basically one road freight in each direction a day.

Moosehead Lake is an area of exceptional scenic beauty and Greenville, Maine is a lovely rural town with several fine places to eat. We only spent a small portion of our visit to the area line-side waiting for trains, but kept our ear to the ground anticipating the sounds of an approaching freight.

Several times, Kris heard or spotted a train before I did. And this was a huge help in getting into position line side with time enough to make photos of the passing freight.

One evening at Greenville, we heard a distant whistle, and drove west to the old Greenville Junction station to photograph its passage.

Lighting at the station was tricky. The evening sky exhibited subtle hues of magenta and blue, while the station building was in shadow. Light levels were low enough to require a high ISO setting on the camera to stop the action.

For these photos, I worked with my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm Fujinon zoom lens. I set the camera to ISO 1000.

In post processing, I converted the Fuji RAW files to DNG format using Iridient X Transformer, then imported these into Lightroom for adjustments. These included lightening the shadows, while darkening the highlight regions to hold detail and color in the sky, plus some contrast and color control.

For comparison, I’ve included the unmodified In-camera JPG and the adjusted DNG versions of the same image at the bottom of this posting.

Greenville Junction, Maine. Fuji RAW file converted to DNG format and adjusted using Adobe Lightroom.
Greenville Junction, Maine. Fuji RAW file converted to DNG format and adjusted using Adobe Lightroom. Compare this version to the unmodified in-camera JPG of the same image below.
Screenshot of the in-camera JPG file with information showing details of exposure.

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IRRS Special at Cultra

On 12 April 2003, I traveled on the Irish Railway Record Society special from Dublin to Northern Ireland. This operated with NI Railways GM 111 class diesels and NIR Mark II carriages.

I made this photo during a photographers stop at Cultra on the Bangor Line.

This was exposed using a Contax G2 rangefinder loaded with FUJI Neopan 400 black & white film.

I processed the film using Agfa Rodinal Special mixed 1-32 for 3 minutes 45 seconds at 70 degrees F. I scanned the negatives last year with an Epson V600 flatbed scanner.

I’ve composed this post several days in advance as I am ‘off the grid’ for several days.

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Dublin Monochrome Sunset—12 APril 2003.

I’d just returned to Dublin from Belfast on an Irish Railway Record Society special train.

Working with my Contax G2 rangefinder loaded with Fuji Neopan 400 black & white film, I composed this silhouette of the signals and buildings near Dublin’s Connolly Station.

I processed the film using Agfa Rodinal Special mixed 1-32 for 3 minutes 45 seconds at 70 degrees F. I scanned the negatives last year with an Epson V600 flatbed scanner.

This post was prepared in advance as I am ‘off the grid’ for a few days.

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