Tag Archives: #Central Vermont

Central Vermont Alco RS-11

Forty-two years ago I regularly listened to the radio program Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy adapted from the books by Douglas Adams and presented by BBC.

My father had bought a Grundig portable radio that received shortwave among other frequencies. In the wee-hours, this allowed me to tune in this exotic program from across the pond.

One of the themes of Hitchhikers was the number 42, which was the answer to the ultimate question of the Life, the universe, and everything.

During this same time, I took a photography class at the Wilbraham & Monson Academy taught by Mark Bistline. Among other things, Mark introduced me to Ilford HP5 black & white film. Until that time, I’d largely only used Kodak films.

My father drove me to the Central Vermont Railway yard in Palmer, Massachusetts. I exposed my roll of HP5 with my Leica 3A rangefinder, making a series of images of CV’s Alco RS-11 number #3614 that was idling there.

I also made a recording of the locomotive. I don’t know what became of the recording, but the HP5 negatives still remain in my collection 42 years later.

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Nostalgia for a Bad Slide.

Languishing in my Miscellaneous Railroad Seconds file (Bad Slides) from 1982-1983 was this back lit winter view of the Central Vermont Railway yard in Palmer, Massachusetts.

I’d exposed this Kodachrome 64 slide using my old Leica 3A fitted with 50mm Sumitar.

This is a technically flawed photo. It is considerably off-level. The exposure is slightly on the dark side. The composition is a bit loose. And the color is decidedly magenta owing to a processing abnormality on the part of Kodak.

As an exercise, I decided to scan the slide and import into Lightroom to see if I could improve it.

I’ve included the unadjusted scan. A screen shot of the adjustment window. And, my final adjusted image.

My unadjusted scan.
Leveled, cropped, color and contrast corrected scan.

Screen shot of the Adobe Lightroom work window showing the degree of change during an early edit of my ‘Bad Slide’. I ended up taking out even more magenta.

I ended up wondering how I might photograph this scene today, using my most modern cameras. Also I wonder, is my ‘bad slide’ really all that bad? It may mean little to random viewers, but it conjured up in my memory the Palmer Yard of my youth. There’s a pair of idling Central Vermont Alco RS-11s, and in the distance the train they had recently delivered. Just about everything in the photo reminds me of how exciting I found railroading when I was 13.

Would a ‘better’ photo convey the same feeling for me?

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Morning Sun at East Northfield.

Last Monday, March 8, 2021, Kris Sabbatino and I, followed New England Central’s southward 611 freight.

I drove us to my old standby location at East Northfield, where the NECR line toward Palmer, Massachusetts and New London, Connecticut diverges from the old Boston & Maine Connecticut River line (now operated by Pan Am Southern).

As the train approached I exposed a series of photos using my Nikon Z6.

I’ve displayed two variations of the same image.

The top image is a camera generated JPG with color set to Nikon’s Vivid profile.

The bottom image I created from the NEF RAW file in Adobe Lightroom by manipulating color, contrast, and saturation to emulate my FujiFilm XT1’s in-camera ‘Velvia’ mode.

This in-camera JPG was created by my Nikon Z6 set to VI ‘Vivid’ color profile.
Working with Adobe Lightroom, I adjusted the Camera NEF RAW file by lightening shadows, adjusting saturation, fine-tuning contrast settings, and warming the color balance.

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