Note: To get the full picture, you will need to view this post on Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light.
I like to find non-standard angles and unusual perspectives to make common subjects, uncommon.
In April 1989, an Amtrak F40PH leading Amfleet, was about as common as it got.
I’d set up along Conrail’s former New York Central Waterlevel Route at milepost 399, near the School Road grade crossing, east of Batavia, New York.
Working with a Leica M2 with 200mm Telyt prime telephoto attached using a Leica Visoflex and fixed to a Bogen 3021 tripod, I selected a rail-level view.
My angle deliberately forces the eye away from the primary subject. Why do this? The bright Amtrak train already dominates the scene, so by forcing the eye downward it makes for an unusual angle that better captures your attention.
An unwise photo editor, might try to crop the bottom 20 percent of the image in a misguided effort to center the train from top to bottom.
Sadly, photographer’s compositions are too often foiled by less insightful editors.
On December 5, 2014, my brother and I, stood on the platform at Overbrook, Pennsylvania along the former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line.
Working with my Canon EOS 7D, I exposed this photo of an approach medium aspect on an old PRR position light signal. At left, Amtrak’s westward Pennsylvanian—train 43—glides toward the station behind P42 number 71.
I made a host of minor modifications in post processing aimed at improving the camera RAW file.
In June 1994, I exposed this Kodachrome 25 slide using a Nikkormat FTN fitted with a Nikon AF28mm lens (focused manually) of Amtrak number 5, the westward California Zephyr as it worked upgrade along the Truckee River on Southern Pacific’s famous Donner Pass crossing.
The other day, I scanned this slide and then imported the unmodified scan into Adobe Lightroom to make corrections.
Kodachrome 25 was an amazing film with very fine grain and a tremendous exposure latitude. Among the difficulties with the Kodachrome emulsions was its cyan/red color bias. When the film was fresh it tended toward a cyan (blue-green) bias, and as it aged it shifted red.
The roll I used was relatively fresh and required significant color adjustment to produce a near neutral bias.
I’ve included scaled versions of: the unmodified scan, the color and contrast adjusted scan, and the Lightroom work window.
A few weeks ago on Tracking the Light, I described my early experiences with Kodak’s Ektachrome LPP (a warm-tone emulsion with subtle color rendition), of which I received a free-sample from Kodak back in August 1993.
Among the other photos on that roll, was this view exposed shortly after sunrise of Amtrak’s Los Angeles-bound Coast Starlight crossing Southern Pacific’s massive Benicia Bridge near Martinez, California.
I had loaded the film into a second-hand Nikkormat FTN that I fitted an f4.0 Nikkor 200mm telephoto.
This slide sat in the dark until I scanned it on October 6, 2020.