Category Archives: Tips and Technique

Inky Gloom at Wilmington, Delaware.

Last night a damp inky gloom greeted us as we alighted from Amtrak’s Vermonter at the former Pennsylvania Railroad station at Wilmington, Delaware.

A SEPTA Silverliner V electric multiple unit set sat on the opposite platforms waiting to depart for Philadelphia.

I made several exposures with my Lumix LX7. Working with the RAW files in Lightroom, I maximize the amount of visual information in the photos by lightening shadows and darkening highlights while adjusting contrast and color saturation.

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Millers Falls High Bridge—Two Views.


Why make one photo and when you can get two?

I like to work with more than one form of media.

In this instance, New England Central’s southward 611 (Brattleboro to Palmer turn) was crawling across the antique Millers Falls Highbridge in its namesake Massachusetts town.

My vantage point was the 2007-built Route 63 highway bridge.

This is more than a century newer than the parallel railway span.

First I exposed a burst of digital photos using my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with 90mm lens. Then I made a single black & white photo on HP5 using a Nikon F3 with 50mm lens.

By design the black & white view is textured. I realize that black & white doesn’t appeal to everyone, yet I’ve worked in black & white for my entire life, and I often find my traditional film photos more interesting to look at than the digital images.

And that is why I do both.

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CTrail 6695 on the Move.

On the evening of December 4, 2018, I panned CTrail train 4461 led by engine 6695 at the new Berlin, Connecticut station.

Berlin is brightly lit and makes for a good vantage point to watch and photograph passenger trains on the Hartford Line.

To make this pan photo, I set the shutter speed at 1/30thof second, fixed a point in my view finder and moved my camera and body in parallel with the train in a smooth unbroken motion as it arrived at the station.

New Haven bound Trail 4461 arrives at Berlin, Connecticut on December 4, 2018.

Panning is a great means to show a train in motion.

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Northfield, Massachusetts: New England Central Timeless Monochrome?

Last week on a trip along the Connecticut River Valley with fellow photographer Mike Gardner, I exposed this view of New England Central job 611 at Northfield, Massachusetts.

Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F3 with a Nikkor f1.8 50mm lens. Film scanned using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner. Negatives adjusted using Lightroom.

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Dusk at Raton, New Mexico.

These days the only regular trains to use the old Santa Fe Raton Pass crossing are Amtrak 3 and 4, the Southwest Chief. The days of helpers over the three percent are all but a memory.

This day two weeks ago: Arriving on No.4, we had more than ten minutes at Raton to stretch our legs and take in the mountain air.

I used the opportunity to make some twilight images of Silver Splendor, the Budd-built Vista-Dome that I was traveling on.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 and Zeiss 12mm Touit lens, I exposed several views in the blue glow of evening. Dusk is a great time to balance the light inside the passenger car with outside illumination.

f2.8 1/15th of a second, ISO 1600.

f3.6 1/15th of a second, ISO 1600.

f3.2 1/15th of a second, ISO 1600.

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Semaphores on the Santa Fe—Five Photos.

Between Albuquerque and Raton Pass (on the New Mexico-Colorado state line) I counted three bastions of Union Switch & Signal style-T2 upper quadrant semaphores on our journey over the former Santa Fe in Vista-Dome Silver Splendor.

I watched the blades drop from the vertical as we passed—a scene I’d not witnessed for many years.

The view of a semaphore dropping from ‘clear’ to ‘stop and proceed’ as seen from Vista Dome Silver Splendor on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

Lumix LX7 photo near Las Vegas, New Mexico.

East of Las Vegas, New Mexico. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

In 2018, these signals represent the last large collections of active semaphores on any North American mainline.

The Style T2 was detailed in my book Classic Railroad Signals in a sidebar titled ‘Sante Fe Semaphores Survive in New Mexico’ by John Ryan and the late John Gruber.

Classic Railroad Signals was published by Voyageur Press in 2015. It is available at:

https://www.quartoknows.com/books/9780760346921/Classic-Railroad-Signals.html?direct=1

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Irish Rail Four-Wheel Cement—May 2005.

Yesterday, 30 November 2018, I located a collection of my Irish Rail slides from 2005. Among them were these views of ‘bubble cement’  trains (consisting of pressurized four-wheel powdered cement wagons) passing Islandbridge in Dublin on 26thof May that year.

These were exposed on Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO) and processed at Photocare on Abbey Street in Dublin.

I scanned these using an Epson V750Pro flatbed scanner making large TIF files, then made colour and contrast adjustments using Lightroom to improve presentation. In addition, I also implemented some digital sharpening to make the photos prior to outputting as scaled JPGs (for Internet presentation) to  make these appear closer to modern digital images.

Irish Rail 134 and 156 lead a Platin to Cork cement train at Islandbridge Junction on 26 May 2005. Exposed using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 45mm Zeiss lens.

Empty cement led by Irish Rail 077 approaches the Phoenix Park Tunnel in Dublin on 26 May 2005. Exposed with a Nikon F3T.

Irish Rail stopped operating cement through Dublin about a decade ago, and so these views are now historic.

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Relics at Lamy, New Mexico—November 2018.

As we approached our station stop Lamy, New Mexico, I relocated from Silver Splendor’s dome, where I’d been enjoying the old Santa Fe mainline journey at the head-end of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, tothe car’s dutch doors to make photos of antique equipment stored line-side near the station.

The ability to photograph from opened dutch doors is a rare pleasure on modern trains.

In my youth, I’d spent hours soaking in the atmosphere in the vestibules of trains, making photos with my old Leica 3A.

Santa Fe Southern at Lamy, New Mexico.

Santa Fe Southern at Lamy, New Mexico.

Lamy station, New Mexico.

Amtrak station Lamy, New Mexico.

I exposed these modern photos using my FujiFilm XT1.

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New Mexico Revisited: Soaking in BNSF’s Transcon on the Move.

It had been more than 20 years since my last visit to New Mexico. This was my first by rail.

I was on my way east with Dave and Rhonda Swirk and Derek Palmieri of New Hampshire’s Conway Scenic Railroad, documenting  Budd Vista-Dome Silver Splendor on its journey from Los Angeles to its new home in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

As we glided east at the head-end of Amtrak number 4 theSouthwest Chief,we met or overtook dozens of freights, many of them intermodal trains, on BNSF’s former Santa Fe Transcon.

Wow, BNSF sure runs a lot of freight!

Dave Swirk enjoys breakfast near Gallup, New Mexico. Exposed using a FujiFIlm XT1.

View from Silver Splendor near the Arizona-New Mexico state line.

BNSF westward freight near the Gallup, NM station .FujiFilm XT1.

BNSF eastward freight as seen east of Gallup. Lumix LX7 photo.

BNSF’s former Santa Fe has several long sections of split alignments, where mainline tracks are not adjacent. A westward freight can be seen off in the distance to the north of Amtrak No. 4. Lumix LX7 photo.

BNSF westward intermodal freight. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

BNSF westward intermodal freight. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Amtrak No.4 paused at Marmon, NM for traffic to clear. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

I exposed these photos digitally using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1.

Part of the challenge of making photos of trains from the train is trying to compose while in motion of moving subjects. Not only does this make if difficult to level the camera, but it leads to motion blur and other potential defects.

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Inky Gloom and Artificial Light: Metrolink at Riverside California.

I exposed these views using my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit lens.

Key to my success was the high ISO setting (ISO 5000) and auto white balance setting that adjusted and balanced myriad artificial light sources.

Lacking a tripod, I positioned and steadied the camera on the half open ‘dutch door’ of private passenger car Silver Splendor as it was paused across from the Metrolink train storage sidings in Riverside, California.

My exposures were about 1/2 second at f2.8 (ISO 5000).

To make the most of the photos, I imported the camera RAW files into Lightroom and adjusted highlights and shadows to make for more pleasing final images.

November 17, 2018, Riverside, California.

November 17, 2018, Riverside, California.

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Tracking the Light Extra: Fullerton by Night—Dome Car on the Southwest Chief.

Saturday evening, November 17, 2018, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief—train number 4—made its scheduled station stop at Fullerton, California, its first after departing Los Angeles Union Station.

Budd Vista Dome Silver Splendor  was in consist on its big trip east.

The dome was met by some of its California fans who waited trackside to see it off on its journey.

Silver Splendor was making the trek to its new home on the East Coast after many years entertaining travelers in the West.

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, train no.4, pauses at Fullerton, California.

Former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Budd-built Vista Dome on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief at Fullerton, California on November 17, 2018.

Fullerton, California.

A view East on the old Santa Fe at Fullerton. Seven hours earlier I’d been making photos from that footbridge.

I exposed these views hand-held using my FujiFilm X-T1.

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Fullerton by Day: Metrolink from LA.

On November 17, 2018, I made this view of Metrolink train 662 eastbound on the old Santa Fe at Fullerton, California.

To make the most of the palm trees that line the platforms, I cross-lit the train, exposing from the north-side of footbridge over the line.

Metrolink’s white locomotive hauling a mix of white and  stainless-steel cars effectively reflect light on the shadow side of the train, which make for a more even exposure and help balance the photograph by compensating for the otherwise inky darkness of the high-sun shadows.

These views are looking west . I used a telephoto lens that compresses the row of palms.

Some seven hours after I made this image, I was back at Fullerton again. Stay tuned for my nocturnal views from the same station.

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Palms, Sun and Glass: Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.

I prefer the term  ‘Anaheim Station’.

Last week, working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit lens, I exposed these digital photos of one of California’s most modern, and most impressive railway stations.

This is such an impressive looking building that I drove past it while I was trying to find it!

Slightly diffused mid-morning sun made for nearly ideal lighting to make the most of this facility.

Would front lighting make for a better photo?

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center is abbreviated ‘ARTIC’.

Backlit diffused sun with overhead skylights made for a difficult exposure.

View with a 12mm Touit lens.

Footbridge to go from the station building to the Metrolink platforms.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, train 1565, paused at Anaheim. 12mm Touit view.

Do you have any favorites?

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Metrolink Pacific Sunset.

Last Friday, November 16, 2018, as the sun dropped near the horizon and a layer of cloud and haze filtered the light, I repositioned myself from San Clemente Pier, northward to the Metrolink Station at San Clemente, California.

I selected my location in order to make photos of a southward, Oceanside-bound suburban train with the sun setting over the Pacific.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a 12mm Zeiss Touit lens, I exposed several sunset silhouettes as the train arrived onto the station platform.

To make the most of the sunset lighting, I exposed manually for the sky, allowing the locomotive and cars and other terrestrial objects to appear dark.

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Blasted Charger on the Beach: What to do when you over expose.

I was hoping to make a photo of one of Amtrak’s new Siemens Charger locomotives working the Pacific Surfliner.

I typically set my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera manually.

Most of the time this works well, as I gauge my exposures using the in-camera histogram. However, I’d become distracted immediately before the train arrived in the scene, and I grossly over exposed my sequence of photos.

Luckily, since I typically expose both RAW and JPG files I was able to work with the overexposed RAW image and correct for some of my exposure error using Lightroom.

Below are examples of the overexposed camera JPG and corrected RAW files, as well as a screen shot of the Lightroom work panel showing the position of exposure, contrast, and saturation control sliders into order to show how I successfully corrected the photo.

This is the unadjusted camera JPG which shows the degree of overexposure.

This is my first version of the restored image, a Lightroom produced scaled JPG created from the camera RAW file. Notice how I was able to extract highlight detail all but lost in the Camera JPG above.

My refined restored version of the over exposed photo.

Here’s the screen shot of my Lightroom work window. Notice the positions of the adjustment slider controls and histogram.

This is what some might call ‘Fixing it in Photoshop’, although I used Photoshop’s cousin, ‘Lightroom’, rather than the classic program.

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4 Views: Los Angeles Metrolink at San Clemente Pier, California.

Just a few views of Metrolink trains on the old Santa Fe Surf Line at San Clemente, California.

California evening sun, surf and palm trees make for a nice light in a pleasant setting.

I exposed these photos from San Clemente Pier last Friday.

Using an 18-135 zoom lens gave me the needed flexibility to adjust my field of view as the trains passed.

Metrolink train 641 at San Clemente.

Los Angeles Metrolink train 641 at San Clemente, California.

Los Angeles Metrolink train 641 at San Clemente, California.

Los Angeles Metrolink train 609 at San Clemente, California.

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BNSF Stack Train at Fullerton, California—November 2018.

The triple-track mainline at Fullerton, California is a great place to watch and photograph trains.

In addition to a steady procession of transcontinental container traffic, Amtrak and Metrolink passenger trains operate over the line and make stops at the old Santa Fe station.

Centralized Traffic Control with bi-directional signaling on all three lines allows dispatchers flexibility to route trains in either direction over any mainline track. There are crossovers immediately east of the station platforms.

The challenge of photographing from the pedestrian bridge is navigating the wire mesh. While my Lumix LX7 with its small diameter lens did a better job of getting through the fence, I opted for my Fuji camera because I wanted a longer telephoto lens to bring in the stack train which had stopped on the middle line waiting for a signal.

BNSF Stack Train at Fullerton, California. I made this view on Friday November 16, 2018 using my FujiFilm XT1 with a 18-135mm Fujinon zoom lens.

I made this view on Friday November 16, 2018 using my FujiFilm XT1 with a 18-135mm Fujinon zoom lens.

Trailing view of the eastward double stack at Fullerton featuring locomotives working remotely as ‘Distributed power’ at the back of the train.

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Vermonter Crosses the Connecticut at Windsor Locks

On the afternoon of November 14, 2018, I exposed this view from the east bank of the Connecticut River looking across toward Windsor Locks as Amtrak’s northward Vermonter crossed the circa 1906 New Haven Railroad-built bridge.

To help balance the contrast and better retain detail in the sky, I used an external graduated neutral density filter made by Lee Filter.

This is a 0.9ND or three stops grad filter.

In addition, I adjusted the camera RAW file to maximize highlight and shadow detail, control contrast and improve saturation.

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Los Angeles Green Line at LAX

After arrival at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), I made my way to the Metrorail light rail station.

You have to take the LAX ‘G’ bus to get there.

Buying the fare took a bit of skill.

This photo was exposed in ‘Scene-mode, night photo’. It is a composite image created digitally.

Once up on the platforms, which are elevated high above ground level at the Aviation-LAX station, I made a few photos of passing trains using my tired and battle work LUMIX LX7. Then I boarded a Green Line train to change for the Blue.

I processed these photos using  Adobe Lightroom.

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Morning Freight on the old Boston & Maine.

On the morning of November 14, 2018, I made these views of Pan Am Railway’s EDPO (East Deerfield to Portland, Maine manifest freight) crossing the Connecticut River as it left it’s western terminus on the old Boston & Maine Railroad Fitchburg route.

This side-lit scene benefitted from diffused directional light and a textured sky.

FujiFilm XT1 set for Velvia color profile with 18-135mm zoom lens.

FujiFilm XT1 set for Velvia color profile with 18-135mm zoom lens.

I exposed the photos using my FujiFilm XT1 and processed the RAW files to reveal maximum shadow and highlight detail while emphasizing the rich morning light.

Tracking the Light is on Auto Pilot while Brian Solomon is Traveling.

Tracking the Light aims to Post new material Daily.

Berlin at Night.

Last night, November 12, 2018, my father and I paid a visit to the new Berlin, Connecticut station to collect a visitor from Amtrak 412.

The train was running behind the advertised, which gave me time to make a few photos of the well-lit modern facility.

Ground level view of the new Berlin, Connecticut station. I steadied the Lumix LX7 by resting it on the curb stones.

Amtrak train 412 pauses to let off two passengers at Berlin. Wide-angle view with a Lumix LX7.

Amtrak train 412 pauses to let off two passengers at Berlin. Slightly tighter view.

Pan of the Amtrak P42 diesel working at the back of train 412.

I featured Berlin back in June at the time of the CTrail Hartford Line commuter train start up.

See: TEN photos: All-New Berlin Station—Connecticut, that is!

Also see: Berlin, Connecticut Revisited.

These photos were exposed using my resuscitated Lumix LX7. I worked in RAW and adjusted the files in post processing to optimize highlight and shadow placement, present more pleasing contrast, and improve color saturation.

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New England Central-12mm Broadside View.

Clear evening, northward freight, five units and a deck-girder bridge; working with my FujiFilm XT1, I made this broadside view at Three Rivers, Massachusetts of New England Central’s 611 on its return run from Palmer to Brattleboro, Vermont.

My Zeiss 12mm Touit is a special application lens. It’s very wide, very sharp, and free from barrel distortion. However, its necessary to keep the camera level to avoid line convergence as a result of the wide field of view.

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Raccoon at Mallow

Irish Rail has two of it 201 class General Motors diesel painted in a simple livery; silver with a broad black stripe (plus yellow semi-circle upfront). These have been coined ‘raccoons.’

Although 231 had been working the Mark 4 sets on the Dublin-Cork run for several weeks, I was still momentarily puzzled when I spotted the down Cork approaching Mallow back in February 2018.

‘What’s this?’ I thought, expecting something green.

‘Ah! 231, of course.’

I always like it when I get something unexpected, yet if I had known this was approaching, I’d probably have positioned myself on the far platform.

Photos exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom.

I made some exposure and contrast adjustments to this wide angle view to allow for greater detail and more balanced exposure on the shadow-side of the train.

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Four Orange SDs—New England Central’s 611 at Three Rivers.

A clear sky and low autumn sun begs for photography.

Yesterday, Mike Gardner and I visited Palmer, Massachusetts for lunch at the Steaming Tender, located in the old Union Station, where CSX’s former Boston & Albany crosses New England Central’s former Central Vermont.

Not a wheel turned. So after lunch, I ascertained that New England Central’s 611 was close. Off we went, driving north.

At Three Rivers we saw the freight crawling south through town and hastily set up our photograph.

Nothing fancy; this is just a traditional three-quarter view of a colorful freight in nice afternoon light with late autumn foliage. There’s something satisfying about that.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

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Cover Photo: Southern Pacific on Donner Pass in 1991.

I exposed this Kodachrome 25 slide at the west portal of Tunnel 41 in a heavy snow squall. Lighting was low, so I used my f1.8 105mm Nikkor telephoto at its maximum aperture.

Southern Pacific bought the photo from me and in the early 1990s used a cropped version on the cover of the company magazine (the Southern Pacific Bulletin).

Unfortunately the original image received rough treatment during pre-press and was returned to me with scratches and dust imbedded in the emulsion.

A westward SP freight exits the wooden snowsheds protecting the west portal of tunnel 41 ‘The Big Hole’ on California’s Donner Pass.

Working with Lightroom, I’ve partially restored the image digitally.

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Borris Viaduct in Silver.

Last month, Ken Fox, Donncha Cronin and I explored the old Great Southern & Western Railway viaduct at Borris, County Carlow, see: Magnificent Vestige at Borris, County Carlow. [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5Qe].

In addition to digital photos, I made a select few film photographs.

For me there’s something fascinating and compelling about putting a relic of former times on film. It’s just more real.

Miles from Dublin.

View from the viaduct.

Photos were exposed using a Canon EOS3 with 40mm pancake lens on Kodak Tri-X; and the film processed in Ilford ID11 stock developer mixed 1 to 1 with water for 7 minutes 30 seconds at 68F, then scanned with a V500 flatbed scanner and imported into Lightroom for final adjustment.

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CSX at Smithton, Pennsylvania: JPG versus RAW.

Here’s an archived digital view I made in the summer of 2011 at Smithton, Pennsylvania along CSX’s former Baltimore & Ohio mainline.

Bad luck, just as this eastward freight came into view, a fair weather cloud muted the afternoon sun. I made a sequence of photos with my Canon EOS 7D.

This is the un-manipulated camera JPG file, scaled for internet presentation. Notice the bluish color balance, the bleached looking clouds and sky, and relatively flat contrast on background trees.

Working with Lightroom, I re-worked the image starting with the camera RAW file. Unlike the camera Jpg which is compressed, the RAW file contains greater amounts of information than maybe immediately evident.

By making nominal adjustments in post processing, I was able to create a more pleasing photograph. I worked on the sky, locally bringing in highlight details in the clouds by moving the highlight slider control to the left, which scales back the relative brightness of the highlight areas.

On a global level (for the whole file), I brightened shadows, warmed the color balance, increased saturation and adjusted contrast.

Lastly, I focused on the train and made very slight (subtle) adjustments to the exposure by lightening and changing contrast.

For comparison, I’ve included both the unaltered in-camera JPG and two versions of the altered camera RAW file.

This is my first version of the adjust RAW file. I felt it was a bit too warm and still too dark, so I made further adjustments as seen in the my second version below.

Here’s my second version of the adjusted RAW. I made a few subtle changes to improve the overall appeal of the image.

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Six Years Ago Today; Ireland’s Bord na Mona near Edenderry on 3 November 2012.

On this day six years ago, Denis McCabe and I were on an exploration of Ireland’s narrow gauge Bord na Mona (Peat Board) operations radiating from the Edenderry generating station located near the village of Clonbullogue, Co. Offaly, when we discovered this view from overhead bridge over the double track narrow gauge line.

I exposed my photo using a Canon EOS7D with 200mm prime lens. Nominal overexposure resulted in a slightly washed out image.

Six years after the fact, I worked with the RAW File in Lightroom, to bring back some of the sky detail not apparent in the camera-produced Jpg, while aiming to improve colour saturation and colour balance.

This is a scaled version of the camera JPG. Notice the washed out sky and low colour saturation.

Working with the camera RAW file, I brought back highlight detail while improving overall colour balance and saturation to more closely resemble the original scene.

See: Gallery 8: Irish Bog Railways—Part 1

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CSX on this day Five Years Ago-November 2, 2013.

Five years ago today, I made this view of a westward CSX autorack train on the old Boston & Albany near mp 67 from Route 148 in Brookfield, Massachusetts.

This was exposed digitally using my Canon EOS 7D with a fixed focal length 200mm ‘prime’ lens. This view is the camera produced JPG, scaled for internet presentation.

November 2, 2013.

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Trains Podcast: Conversations with Brian Solomon, Episode 8

Conversations with Brian Solomon, Episode 8

Brian Solomon sits down with Trains’ passenger columnist Bob Johnston and retired Amtrak engineer Craig Willett to talk about the national passenger carrier. This is the second in a multi-part conversation that began in Episode 2.

Take a listen on the Trains Magazine website:

http://trn.trains.com/photos-videos/2018/09/conversations-with-brian-solomon.

Chris Guss, Trains’ Brian Schmidt, Bob Johnston and Craig Willett in the Kalmbach recording studio in August 2018. Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1.

Amtrak’s Cardinal on the old Chesapeake & Ohio in Virginia.

Amtrak Capitols passenger train on the Union Pacific at Pinole, California in May 2008.

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Irish Rail at Portarlington, Then and Now Views: Deja Vu all over again.

I was trolling through the archives searching for views of Irish Rail’s Mark 2 airbrake carriages and came across this view of class 071 locomotive 088 at Portarlington in summer 1998.

Irish Rail 088 leads a westward train of Mark 2 airbrake carriages at Portarlington in summer 1988. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia (100 ISO) using a Nikon F3T with 135mm lens.

It makes for a fascinating comparison with a similar photo I made of the same locomotive hauling the recent Railway Preservation Society of Ireland autumn tour arriving at the modern Portarlington station.

Same locomotive, same location, looking the same direction but viewed more than 20 years apart. The tracks have been re-aligned, platforms extended, new footbridge constructed, and houses built in the distance, while 088 now wears Irish Rail’s gray and yellow livery.

In retrospect, I wish I’d located the vintage photograph prior to the tour so I could more closely match the angle.

The 1998 view is made from the old footbridge which is now out of service. The October 2018 photo was exposed from the modern footbridge, which is situated further east and slightly higher.

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Irish Rail 227 in Three Photos.

Irish Rail 227 is another of the workhorse 201 class diesels.

This is part of my continuing series featuring Irish Rail’s Class 201s to commemorate my 20 years of photography on Irish Railways.

Irish Rail 227 works down road at Cherryville Junction on 6 May 2000. Exposed using a Nikon N90S fitted 400mm Tokina Lens on Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO).

Connolly shed, the rarely photographed end of 227.

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When Reality Looks Like Fantasy—Kingsbridge Monochrome

Yesterday, I had one frame of film left in my Nikon F3.

I’d been exposing photos of Dublin’s North Side and I wanted to process the film before dinner.

I exposed this view of Heuston Station and the old Kingsbridge (now Sean Heuston Bridge) on frame 37.

The sky was impressive; dark blue with textured clouds rolling across it like a flowing tapestry.

To make the most of the usual light, I did a few tricky things.

I exposed the film for the sky and clouds with the intention of some non-standard chemical processing.

To make the most of the shadows with out roasting the highlights, I presoaked the film in a very dilute bath of Kodak HC110 at 75F for 6 minutes with very little agitation. Then, I drained the presoak solution and processed the film in Ilford ID11 mixed 1-1 with water at 68F for 7 minutes (considerably less than the recommended time).

The results were even better than I expected.

Looking across Dublin’s Croppy’s Park toward Kingsbridge and Heuston Station. Exposed using a 24mm Nikkor lens on an F3 SLR camera loaded with Ilford HP5 black & white film. Processed for maximum dynamic range.

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Irish Rail and Autumn Colours in County Cork

Earlier this month, Ken Fox and I explored railways in County Cork.

Rusty autumnal foliage enhanced the pastoral scenery.

I made these views using my FujiFilm XT1. By warming the colour temperature I made the most of the season.

Trailing view of an Irish Rail ICR heading toward Mallow from Kent Station Cork seen near Rathduff, Co. Cork.

Looking toward Cork City at Mourne Abbey.

View near Mourne Abbey, October 2018.

Irish Rail Mark4 set from Dublin to Cork near Mourne Abbey.

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Kingsbridge Silhouettes—Lessons in Sunset.

As the sunset on Dublin, Monday a week ago (15 October 2018), I used my FujiFilm X-T1 to expose several series of silhouettes as LUAS trams crossed the old Kingsbridge (now formally Sean Heuston Bridge) over the River Liffey.

This 27mm view captures the whole scene. By contrast, the telephoto (90mm) views are more tightly focused on the tram and arch of the bridge.

My goal was to capture the rays of sun bursting through the windows of the tram cars.

I only had a few minutes where the sun was in the optimal position, and luckily LUAS was operating trams on short headways, so I had several opportunities.

My camera was set for ‘turbo flutter’ (continuous high or ‘ch’ on the left-hand dial) which exposes a rapid burst of images when pressing the shutter button.

90mm view.

This is my favorite of the more than three dozen exposures I made.

By exposing for the sky and sun, I allowed the shadows to become an inky black. Using the smallest aperture (f22 on my 90mm lens) creates the sunburst effect while also allowing for better definition of the sun in the sky.

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I went to the Shops and Scored Three Cool Trains!

I went to the Shops and Scored Three Cool Trains!

Yesterday was a bright sunny morning in Dublin. I coordinated my walk to SuperValu at Heuston South Quarter to neatly coincide with the passage of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner.

I timed this well and only waited a few minutes at Islandbridge Junction. Rather than my normal angle from ‘the box’, I opted for an over the wall view a little further up.

Irish Rail 077 leads the down IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction.

Continuing along St. John’s Road toward Dublin Heuston Station, I was surprised to hear another 071. I peered over the wall to discover that Irish Rail 073 (in heritage orange paint) had come down to shunt Belmond’s Grand Hibernian.

Hearing the distinct sounds of an EMD turbocharged 645 diesel tempted me to look over the wall as I walked along the St Johns Road toward Supervalu. This is what I saw; Irish Rail 073 moving down to shunt the Belmond cruise train. An ICR (InterCity Railcar) sits by the valeting plant.

Walking back from SuperValu, I made this view of 073 shunting Belmond’s Grand Hibernian consist.

Dashing to SuperValu, accomplished my shopping in record time, and returned trackside to catch 073 bringing the Grand Hibernianthrough the wash, and then stopped in front of me at Islandbridge Junction. As this was happening Paul Maguire sent me text to alert me that the elusive Sperry train was on its way over to me.

The view from the box of 073 shunting the Belmond train through the carriage wash. I’ve made slight enhancements to the image to make the most of the dramatic autumnal sky and lighten shadows.

Minutes later, Irish Rail 076 with Sperry came across to Platform 10 where it was scheduled to run around before heading to Bray.

Blocked by the Belmond! When one cool train gets in the way of another. Yet, the two trains together are the real story. I can’t say that previously I’d ever photographed the Belmond and Sperry train at the same time.

I walked around to Conyngham Road to catch the Sperry train on its way into the Phoenix Park Tunnel.

Not bad for a trip to the shops!

An Irish Rail ICR is working toward Connolly Station as viewed from the Conyngham Road. In the distance is the Sperry train opposite Platform 10 at Heuston Station.  I’ve made slight enhancements to the image to make the most of the dramatic autumnal sky and lighten shadows.

Irish Rail 076 throttles up as it leads the Sperry rail testing train into the Phoenix Park tunnel. I’ve made slight enhancements to the image to make the most of the dramatic autumnal sky and lighten shadows.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!