As a youngster I’d get up early in anticipation of Saturday morning cartoons.
I had no sense of time back then and sometimes would wake before the networks would begin their broadcast. In those situations I’d stare with anticipation at the ‘test pattern’ on the TV until the cartoons began.
If you are seeing this post it’s because I’ve been too preoccupied with travel and the making of photographs to prepare a fresh post. If time permits, I’ll plan on posting again later in the day.
PS: At least my ‘test pattern’ is an original photo with a train in it!
Tracking the Light aims to Posts Every Day, even when Brian is on the road.
In my early days, picturing former Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 electrics was one of my main photographic interests.
I held Amtrak’s newer E60 electrics is disdain. These modern, boxy electrics appeared to be supplanting the GG1s. For me they lacked the historic connections, the elegant streamlined style, and the character of the GG1. They were bland and common.
I may not have been fond of the E60s. But I always photographed them. They were part of the scene, and important elements of modern operations.
Recently I rediscovered these E60 photos along with some other long-missing black & white negatives.
In the 1980s, I often bemoaned the ‘telegraph wires’ as I called the code lines that lined most mainlines.
It seemed like more often than not, railroads placed these multiple-tier code lines on the south side of their mainlines. This inevitably interfered with my photography and plenty of otherwise good photographic locations were fouled by the rows of poles and the wires between them.
In early 1989, when Conrail was cutting down the old code lines east of Buffalo. I thought, Hurray! Good riddance!
However, I quickly realized how wrong I’d been. In fact I’d been photographing the wires for years.
Yes, the code lines made for a visual challenge. And, undoubtedly these sometimes got in the way. But they were part of the railroad. Traditionally, they were key to its operations and often serving as a crucial part of the signaling system. They had been there since the steam era. After all, the railroad was more than just locomotives rolling along at speed.
It occurred to me how I’d often improved my photographs by working with the wires. The visual elements and patterns added by the army of time-worn polls connected by rows of cables made for more compelling images.
After the code lines were gone, the brush started to grow. And that’s now a much worse photo-hazard than the wires ever were.
This photo dates me. I found it looking through some scans for another project and it struck a chord, so I thought I’d put it up. In the 1970s and early 1980s, my grandparents lived at Co-op City in the Bronx, and every summer my brother Séan & I would travel to New York for a week-long visit. These trips provided me with great photo opportunities; their apartment overlooked Amtrak’s former New Haven line connecting New Rochelle with Penn Station (Hell Gate Bridge route), and we would regularly explore the city. My grandfather had spent most of his life in New York and he enjoyed showing us around. This day we took a bus from Co-op city to the old IRT station at Gun Hill Road. Back then I always carried my antique Leica IIIA with Summitar lens. New York’s subway was a favorite subject and I made many photos of it, most of them not so good. I inherited this habit of photographing the subway from my father, who had been making photos of the subway system since the mid-1950s. I was only 13 when I made this image. I processed it in the sink using Kodak Microdol-X developer. I admit that my processing technique was about as raw as my imaging skills. Despite these flaws, I think I did a pretty good job of capturing the scene. That was 32 years ago! Seems like forever. I scanned it on my Epson V600 and cleaned up the scan in Photoshop. This is full frame, although I adjusted the contrast slightly to make up for what I lost in processing.