Pan Am EDPO out of the sun—Lessons in Lightening Shadows.

There used to be a philosophy discouraging photographers from shooting into the sun.

Some types of older equipment (without decent flare control systems) tended not to produce appealing photos when looking toward the sun, while many films didn’t have adequate dynamic range for capturing the contrast range from direct sun to inky shadows.

I’ve found that by using a very wide lens, with a tiny aperture setting, I can get some interesting and satisfactory results by looking directly into midday sun.

Years ago, I’d accomplished this with my Leica and a 21mm Super Angulon on black & white negative film (Kodak Panatomic-X ISO 32 was a good choice).

In more recent times, I use my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Tuoit, set at its smallest aperture (f22), which leads to the starburst effect as result of diffraction from the very small polygon opening.

I work in RAW, and then digitally manipulate the files in post processing using Lightroom. Specifically, I uniformly lighten the shadow areas to partially compensate for the extremely contrasty setting.

It helps to partially block the sun, as in this image near Forge Village in Westford, Massachusetts.

Pan Am Railways EDPO (East Deerfield to Portland) works the old Stonybrook Line at Forge Village. Exposed with a my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Tuoit; 1/30thof a second at f22, ISO 200.

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