Tag Archives: #Boston&Maine

Setting up the Photo Freights.

Most of the year, Conway Scenic Railroad’s historic freight cars quietly reside in the railroad’s North Yard, although few cars, such as our ballast hoppers are assigned to maintenance service.

Today, Saturday September 5th, we plan to operate a pair of demonstration photo freights for our scheduled Railfan’s Day event.

In preparation, we needed to spot cars at key locations in order to make pick-ups, just like a traditional local freight. In conjunction with this work, we needed to position two flatcars used for our weekly work train, and I wanted to scope locations and remove brush.

Working with former Boston & Maine F7A 4266 and our GP35 216 we gathered cars and make our positioning moves.

Today’s photo freights should be led by 4266 plus former Maine Central GP7 573 which share the traditional EMD-inspired maroon and gold paint scheme.

These are among the photos I exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 (scaled for internet presentation). I also made a few color slides for posterity.

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Boston & Maine F7A 4266 Works the Mountaineer—four new photos.

Yesterday, Boston & Maine F7A 4266 led the Mountaineer westbound to Crawford Notch.

This may not seem like a big deal for long time observers of New Hampshire’s Conway Scenic Railroad, as it has occurred in previous years. However, it was the first time I’d ever witnessed this locomotive outside of the yard, and the first time I’d photographed it working a train. (This locomotive is owned by the 470 Club, which also owns sister B&M F7A 4268 that is undergoing an operational restoration.)

I thought it was pretty cool to finally see this antique on the move!

All going well, 4266 will work the train again today as well as the 930am Conway run.

Site of the Intervale, NH station.
Bartlett, NH.
Approaching the Gateway at Crawford Notch.
Approaching the Gateway at Crawford Notch.

This coming weekend, September 5th and 6th, Conway Scenic will host its annual Railfan’s Weekend. Owing to constraints imposed by the on-going Covid-19 epidemic, the event will necessarily be scaled back from previous years. However, 4266 is scheduled to work a pair of photo-freights on Saturday, and an Extra Photographers Special Mountaineer on Sunday.

The Photo freight has space for a few passengers, and tickets may be ordered online or from the CSRR ticket office (603-356-5251).

I made these photos using my FujiFilm XT1.

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Telephoto on the Boston & Maine

1986 was a transitional year.

Boston & Maine was making its image transition to Guilford. While Guildford’s B&M acquisition had occurred a few years earlier, many B&M locomotives still retained their B&M blue paint. This period of transition on the railroad coincided with transitions in the way I made photos.

Here a pair of GP7s was leading the southward EDSP at Keets Road in Deerfield, a short distance south of Deerfield Junction. Notice the small stenciled Guilford ‘G’ on the short-hood of the locomotive.

B&M_GP7_1575_at_Keets_Road_Xing_south_of_Deerfield_Jct_Near_East_Deerfield_MA_410pm_July_8_1986 (file name for slide scan].

I’d recently discovered the superior qualities of Kodachrome 25. While very slow, this yielded great color, exceptionally fine grain, and about 2 ½ stops of exposure latitude.

For this slide, I had my Leica IIIA mounted to a Visoflex fitted with my father’s 200mm Leitz Telyt. This seemingly Rube-Goldberg inspired arrangement was klutzy compared with a conventional single lens reflex, it allowed me to use telephoto lenses and gave me an ability to selectively pinpoint my focus. The nature of the Visoflex screen did not encourage focusing on a central point.

As previously described on Tracking the Light, I often use focus to direct the viewers eye in relation to my compositions, while allowing portions of the image to be less than pin sharp, which can produce a pleasing effect too often lost with modern hyper-sharp digital photography. The combination of a long lens with slow film produced endless opportunity for focus experimentation.

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View from the South Tower

The other day, positioned in the South Tower of the North Conway, New Hampshire Station, I caught former Maine Central GP38 252 leading Conway Scenic Railroad’s Valley train on its return run from Conway.

Although backlit, the contrast nicely separates the train from its setting.

Soon this scene will change: the old Fire Station to the left of the railroad is going to be demolished and a new, larger station will be built to replace it.

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All Quiet at Whitefield, New Hampshire—Three Photos.

The tracks are in place. The famous ball signal still stands. But it has been months, years perhaps, since the last revenue train visited the old Boston & Maine line through Whitefield, New Hampshire; longer still for the former Maine Central, which has become overgrown.

These lines remain on the periphery of the American general network; but for how much longer?

On April 25, 2020, Kris Sabbatino and I visited Whitefield on a trip exploring Coos County. I made these photos on Fuji Acros 100 black & white negative film.

Looking northeast. Note the famous ball signal at right.

Saturday we processed the film in Agfa Rodinal Special (not to be confused with ordinary Rodinal) for 3 minutes 45 seconds, then following regular processing and washing, we toned the negatives in selenium solution for 9 minutes and rewashed following archival procedure.

Last night I scanned the film using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner.

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Boston & Maine Station at Ely, Vermont with Cotton Candy Sky.

On Friday January 24, 2020, I made a series of photos of the former Boston & Maine station at Ely, Vermont.

These views were made looking south toward White River Junction and show the station in partial silhouette against a wintery cotton-candy sky.

I exposed them in RAW using my Lumix LX7 and processed the files using light room to make the most of the dramatic sky.

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Distant Raging Fires Make For Rosy New Hampshire Sunsets.

Fires in Canada and as far away as Alaska have resulted in layers of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere.

During the day this has resulted in gausy skies that diffuse the sun.

At dusk the dust and ash contribute to some stunning sunsets.

Last night, I noticed a rosy glow in the west as I sat editing video in the North Tower of North Conway’s former Boston & Maine station.

Working with my Lumix LX7, I exposed these views in the fading light.

The sky had a magenta hue that reminded me of Stockholm sunsets after the Icelandic volcano eruption of 2010.

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Sunday Test Pattern

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.

Boston & Maine GP7 1575 works the Conn River yard at Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1988. Scan from a Kodachrome 25 color slide.

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.

The Big Bore.

In New England, ordinary people with virtually no knowledge of railroads are aware of ‘The Tunnel’.

They’ll ask me, ‘Have ya been up to that Housantonic Tunnel?’ Or comment, ‘That Hoosick Tunnel, by North Adams, it’s the longest in the world, Right?’

I’d like to speak with an etymologist, or someone with a deeper understanding of the evolution of New England names. I’ll bet that Hoosick, Housatonic and Hoosac all have the same root, but I’m more curious to know about how and when the variations in spelling originated.

But, it’s really the tunnel that interests me; 4.75 miles of inky cool darkness, occupied by legends, stories and ghosts and serving a corridor for trains below the mountain.

The other day, Mike Gardner and I made a pilgrimage up to New England’s longest tunnel; Boston & Maine’s famous Hoosac. (Please note correct spelling).

While waiting for westward freight EDRJ, that was on its way from East Deerfield, I exposed these photos with my FujiFilm XT1.

Telephoto view to draw in the East Portal.


The portal can’t be too dark, but the shafts of sunlight streaming down can easily be over exposed. As a result, I exposed for the light, than adjusted my RAW files in post processing to make for a more balanced image. This isn’t ‘fixing the photo,’ it’s maximizing the data capture and adjusting it for the most pleasing result.

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