Swiss railways tend to be known by three letter abbreviations of their names.
The initials ‘BLS’ represent the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon Bahn, a standard-gauge mainline trunk-line with several branches in central western Switzerland.
It was a pleasant evening three weeks ago, when Denis McCabe and I photographed a procession of BLS freight and passenger trains at Spiez. What I found remarkable was the great variety of equipment operated by this colourful Swiss line.
I exposed these photos over the course of an hour using my FujiFilm X-T1.
On 20 April 2016, I made this image of a Swiss BLS Cargo (Bern Lötschberg Simplon) electric leading a northward freight on DB’s (German Railways) heavily traveled double-track line north of Freiburg, Germany.
Although clear and sunny, the direction of the light was directly behind the locomotive, which is anything but ideal.
To make the most of this awkward lighting situation, I opted to feature the flowering tree that was well-lit by the angle of the sun, and work with the locomotive in silhouette, while taking a low angle to minimize distracting elements on the far side of the line.
In post processing, I’ve lightened the shadow areas of the RAW file to restore detail and improve the overall contrast to the locomotive.
Below are both the unimproved RAW file (only scaled for presentation) and my modified file.
Views from the East Side of the Rhein—September 2013.
For me the Right Bank (east side) of the Rhein has always been more challenging and more intriguing. This side has more freight, but the vistas are more difficult to access. Certainly getting the viewpoints that I envision take a little more work.
On this trip, with the help of maps and some advice from local photographers, I found several satisfactory spots to work from.
Where the Left Bank (west side) remains dominated by passenger traffic (with the occasional freight slotted in), the Right Bank is primarily a freight route, with the requisite hourly (half-hourly at peak times) stopping passenger train.
Since my last visit to the Right Bank in 2010, the passenger service has been upgraded with modern Stadler three and four piece Flirt-model railcars. The tide of freight ebbs and flows, but its not difficult to get four or five freights at one location in a relatively short span of time.
It seems that no sooner than one train has clattered out of sight when the next is on its way. If action on the east side ebbs too much, there are plenty of boats and barges on the Rhein as well as trains on the left side. Regardless of what happens, I find it easy to expose lots of images.