The other day I found this Kodachrome 64 slide in my 1980s ‘Seconds File’.
‘Seconds’ meaning ‘not so good.’
Its been a long time since Burlington Northern E9s worked Chicago-Aurora commuter trains.
My photography skills in August 1984 were rudimentary and my sense of exposure was less than ideal.
So! I made a multi-pass scan of the old slide using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 slide scanner operated with VueScan software (version 9.6.09).
In post-processing using Lightroom, I made a host of adjustments to contrast, exposure and color balance, while manipulating shadows and highlights locally and introducing a degree of electronic sharpening in an effort to overcome some of the technical inadequacies of the original slide.
In mid-July 1994, I spent several days photographing along Burlington Northern’s former Northern Pacific mainline in western North Dakota. Here the railway snaked through the Badlands, with the landscape characterized by unusual geological formations.
On the evening of July 12, 1994, BN sent a fleet of westward empty coal trains (described as ‘coal cars’ on the railroad) over the NP between Mandan, North Dakota and Glendive, Montana. At 7pm I caught this empty led by an SD60M at Sentinel Butte. Fast moving fair weather clouds made for some complicated lighting and a tricky exposure, but ultimately resulted in a more dramatic photograph.
This was my second experience with this line. My first was viewing the line from the dome of the North Coast Limited some 24 years earlier. I was only four years old on that trip, but the train ride gave me lasting memories. My dad exposed slides from the dome and dutch-doors of the train and from the Vista dome, but I wasn’t yet working with cameras.