Tag Archives: Connecticut

Amtrak Shuttle Crossing the Connecticut River—February 6, 2019.

Last February the Connecticut River was swollen.

I made this telephoto view of a northward Amtrak shuttle (running from New Haven, Connecticut to Springfield, Massachusetts) using a Nikon F3 with a 105mm lens and loaded with Fuji Acros 100 black & white film.

I like the way the Amtrak train glints in the morning sun.

To maximize tonality and detail, I used a split-development process, first soaking the film in a very dilute mixture of Kodak HC110, then using a more concentrated mix of Rodinal for primary development.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

NEW ENGLAND CENTRAL Elephant Style—Four GP38s Lead 608—Two Slides from 2004.

New England Central 608, working from Palmer, Massachusetts to Willimantic, approaches Mansfield Depot, Connecticut on October 11, 2004.

For today’s Tracking the Light, I fished out a pair of slides I made back in October 2004 during a chase with New England Central 608 south from Palmer, Massachusetts.

On that day the freight was led by four GP38s, all facing southward, and I was seeking a location to capture this unusual event. (For the record, out of the photograph, there was a fifth GP38 in consist facing north).

Although imperfect, owing to clutter and brush in the foreground, I selected this elevated view north of Mansfield Depot.

I scanned the slides last night in preparation for this post. I don’t think they’d ever been out of the box before. Luckily I’d recorded the date and particulars on the slide box which saved me have to scan through my notebooks from 15 years ago.

I do recall that a friend of mine was visiting from across the pond and he was impressed by the ‘colletion of GMs’ as he called them, working that morning’s train.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

CT Rail, Farmington River and Fishermen.

Last Thursday, May 9, 2019, photographer Mike Gardner and I set up at the former New Haven Railroad stone arch viaduct over the Farmington River at Windsor, Connecticut to catch CT Rail ‘s southward commuter train number 4407 .

When we arrived a line of a half dozen fishermen were in position on the south bank of the river.

Shortly before the train was due to pass, most of them concluded fishing and began to pack up.

It turns out that the Farmington River bridge is more famous as a place to fish than as a place to picture trains. There’s a plaque about the fishing and everything! Who knew?

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with a 12mm Zeiss Touit.

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CT Rail Spring—Connecticut River Crossing.


We are approaching CT Rail’s first anniversary of service in June 2019.

So this has been is the first full Spring to ride and photograph the new Connecticut sponsored passenger service on the ‘Hartford Line.’

Last Thursday, photographer Mike Gardner and I headed to Warehouse Point, across the Connecticut River from Windsor Locks to make a few photos.

It was dull in the morning, but by midday the sun beamed through the cloud cover and made for some nice light with fresh Spring greenery along the riverbanks.

We caught CT Rail 4406 on its northward run to Springfield, Massachusetts on the old New Haven Railroad bridge.

Exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Classic Chrome: Amtrak F40s at New London, Connecticut.

On March 24, 1997, Mike Gardner and I spent the afternoon photographing around New London, Connecticut. This was shortly before Amtrak began electrification.

I made this view of a pair of F40PHs leading train 175 west of the New London station.

Who would have thought the omnipresent Amtrak F40 would be the subject of a classic photo?

Exposed on Kodachrome using a Nikon N90S with 80-200mm AF zoom lens.


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Double-Headed Meatballs at Bridgeport.


For me the AEM-7s will always be ‘meatballs’. This name is twice-removed metaphorical allusion. The AEM-7 was derived from the Swedish class Rc electric. The allusion to meatballs is a reference to ‘Swedish meatballs’ and thus shortened to just meatballs, with Sweden being implied.

On December 27, 1986, my old pal TSH and I paid a visit to Bridgeport, Connecticut on a tour of former New Haven Railroad properties.

I made this photograph using my father’s Rollieflex Model T with 645 ‘super slide’ insert.

In my mind the composition made perfect use of the rectangular window. I wonder what I would have come up with if I’d exposed the view as a square?

In my notes, I have a photographic log sheet with details from our December 27, 1986. This should include time, film-type and exposure information, as well as the train number/name. Unfortunately my notes are nearly 3,800 miles away!

In the days after exposing this photograph I made a large print, 11×14 or 16×20 in size, which has sadly vanished. Perhaps, someday I’ll make another.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!


Connecticut Southern freight at Warehouse Point, Connecticut.


It was nearly two weeks ago that Paul Goewey and I intercepted Connecticut Southern’s northward road freight at Warehouse Point, Connecticut.

I made these tight views near the east-end of the big bridge over the river using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm telephoto.

Classic EMD diesels are among the attractions of Connecticut Southern’s freight.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Another View: New Haven Railroad’s Stone Arch Bridge at Windsor, Connecticut.


Sunday, I featured a photo of Connecticut Southern’s southward road freight crossing the old New haven Railroad bridge over the Farmington River at Windsor.

Today’s photo is of the same structure, but in the morning from the east side.

Amtrak train 147 at Windsor, Connecticut. Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

This classic bridge is easily accessible with good parking, which makes it a nice place to catch trains on the Springfield-Hartford-New Haven Line (now marketed by CT Rail as the ‘Hartford Line’).

Brian Solomon is Traveling: Tracking the Light Normally Posts Daily

Connecticut Southern Crosses the Farmington River at Windsor.


Here’s a follow up from Saturday’s post about traveling on CT Rail.

My CT Rail train had overtaken the southward CSOR freight south of Springfield. So when I got off at Windsor Locks, I drove to this location and waited for the freight to follow.

High water in the Farmington River made for a mirror-like reflection.

Brian Solomon is Traveling; however Tracking the Light Normally Posts Daily

CT Rail Hartford Line from Windsor Locks to Springfield.


On Monday February 4, 2019, I took a spin on CT Rail from Windsor Locks, Connecticut to Springfield, Massachusetts and back. The fare was a reasonable $4.00 in each direction and I bought my tickets from the fare machines at the stations.

Traveling by train presented an opportunity to visit with my old friend Jack May, who had traveled up from the New York metro area.

XT1 photo.
CT Rail train interior. Lumix LX7 photo.
Connecticut Southern freight seen from the cab-car of the Northward CT Rail train. I was riding in the coach and photographed through the windows. The freight is shoving back from West Springfield Yard in preparation for its southward journey toward Hartford.

Restored Springfield Union Station. Lumix LX7 Photo.

Restored Springfield Union Station. Lumix LX7 Photo.

I made a few photos using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras. It was a nice bright day! I scoped additional line-side locations from the train.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Monday, January 14, 2019: New England Central at Eagleville Dam (Part 1).

In the last light of a winter’s evening, I exposed this view of New England Central’s southward 608 as it approached Eagleville, Connecticut.

Which is the subject of the photo: the train or the waterfall?

Exposed digitally using a FujFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

New England Central 608 Stafford Springs—Part 3.


As New England Central 608 approached downtown Stafford Springs on January 14, 2019, I set my Nikon F3 to expose a textured image.

The old buildings adjacent to the tracks are as much of a visual attraction as the train itself.

Working with an f1.8 105mm lens, I exposed three frames of Kodak Tri-X.

To process the film, I used my custom tailored split process, that uses two developers, followed by selenium toning of the fixed negatives. This maximizes the tonality of the film, while giving me glossy highlights. A secondary effect of the toner is the slight lavender hue.

After processing, I scanned the negatives in color using an Epson V750 scanner.

Although Brian is traveling, Tracking the Light still Posts Daily.

New Haven on New Years Eve—It Ain’t Pretty, but it’s busy!


Many years ago, my old pal T.S. Hoover and I would make a project of photographing the old New Haven Railroad during the holiday season.

This past New Years Eve (December 31 2018), I maintained this tradition, although that wasn’t my intent!

I was transferring from Amtrak 405 from Springfield to Amtrak 195 from Boston. Let’s just say the Boston train wasn’t holding to the advertised and I had ample time to wander around and make photographs of the passing action.

New Haven isn’t pretty,  high level platforms combined with a plethora of poles, catenary masts, catenary, signs, garbage, stray wires and other visual clutter hasn’t improved this classic setting, but there’s a great variety of equipment on the move.

Shoreline East lurking on left, CT Rail Hartford Line on right; FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
CT Rail Hartford Line train. Lumix LX7 photo.
Shoreline East train with a former Amtrak P40 at the back departs eastward for Old Saybrook. FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

Metro North M8s on left, old M2s on the right. FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens..

No GG1s, RDCs, FL9s, E8s or other relics that made this a fascinating place when I was a teenager. For that matter there weren’t any E60s, AEM-7s, F40s or SPV-2000s either.

Boston-bound Acela Express. Lumix LX7 photo.

Boston-bound Acela Express. FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

And finally, train 195! Hooray! Lumix LX7 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Stafford Springs and New England Central 608: Part 2.


On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, I revisited the scene at Stafford Springs, having made photos there two days earlier.

In fact, I’ve been photographing trains passing this Connecticut village since the early 1980s, but I find it always helps to try to look at an old place with fresh eyes.

I like the arrangement of old brick buildings, the tracks along the creek/old mill race, and other elements characteristic of southern New England.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens, I exposed these views of New England Central 608 on its return journey from Palmer to Willimantic.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

CTrail 6695 on the Move.

On the evening of December 4, 2018, I panned CTrail train 4461 led by engine 6695 at the new Berlin, Connecticut station.

Berlin is brightly lit and makes for a good vantage point to watch and photograph passenger trains on the Hartford Line.

To make this pan photo, I set the shutter speed at 1/30thof second, fixed a point in my view finder and moved my camera and body in parallel with the train in a smooth unbroken motion as it arrived at the station.

New Haven bound Trail 4461 arrives at Berlin, Connecticut on December 4, 2018.

Panning is a great means to show a train in motion.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Berlin at Night.

Last night, November 12, 2018, my father and I paid a visit to the new Berlin, Connecticut station to collect a visitor from Amtrak 412.

The train was running behind the advertised, which gave me time to make a few photos of the well-lit modern facility.

Ground level view of the new Berlin, Connecticut station. I steadied the Lumix LX7 by resting it on the curb stones.

Amtrak train 412 pauses to let off two passengers at Berlin. Wide-angle view with a Lumix LX7.

Amtrak train 412 pauses to let off two passengers at Berlin. Slightly tighter view.

Pan of the Amtrak P42 diesel working at the back of train 412.

I featured Berlin back in June at the time of the CTrail Hartford Line commuter train start up.

See: TEN photos: All-New Berlin Station—Connecticut, that is!

Also see: Berlin, Connecticut Revisited.

These photos were exposed using my resuscitated Lumix LX7. I worked in RAW and adjusted the files in post processing to optimize highlight and shadow placement, present more pleasing contrast, and improve color saturation.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

 

 

Hey! I Thought This Train Seemed Familiar!

I experienced the new CT rail Hartford Line commuter train for the first time on Saturday.

CT rail in Berlin, Connecticut on June 16, 2018.

I had this distinct sense of Déjà vu.

Then I reviewed the cover of my new book: Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe.

Wow! It’s like a German train at Berlin. Berlin, Connecticut, that is.

A German electric multiple unit graces the cover of my book.

CT rail 6400 crosses an old stone arch bridge at Windsor, Connecticut on Sunday June 17, 2018.

DB and CFL (Luxembourg Railways) EMUs working together on the famous Hanging Viaduct in Germany’s Mosel Valley.

I’m commenting on the paint liveries, not the equipment or the services.

Tracking the Light Posts EVERY day!

 

If you haven’t seen it, check out my latest book: Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe, now available from the Kalmbach Hobby Store.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01304

New CT Rail Hartford Line Commuter Trains—First Day in Eight Photos!

Working with my FujiFilm X-T1, I exposed more than 100 photos of the new Connecticut commuter rail service on the Hartford Line.

There’s nothing like the first day.

Train rides were FREE.

Springfield, Massachusetts on June 16, 2018.

Springfield, Massachusetts on June 16, 2018.

Springfield, Massachusetts on June 16, 2018.

 

Amtrak 461 at Berlin, Connecticut on June 16, 2018.

Yesterday, June 16, 2018 the long awaited CT Rail Hartford Line Commuter service commenced.

My father and I traveled on the first train from Berlin, Connecticut to Springfield, Massachusetts. It was a bright clear morning.

Contrast was a challenge, and for some of these photos I imported the camera RAW image into Light Room for exposure, color balance and exposure adjustment.

Amtrak 460 at Berlin, Connecticut on June 16, 2018.

CT Rail 6653 at Berlin, Connecticut on June 16, 2018.

CT Rail 6653 at Berlin, Connecticut on June 16, 2018.

CT Rail 6654 at Berlin, Connecticut on June 16, 2018.

 

If you haven’t seen it, check out my latest book: Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe, now available from the Kalmbach Hobby Store.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01304

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

 

 

Tracking the Light EXTRA: CTRail Free Train Ride Today!

Today, June 16, 2018, the long awaited CTRail service began public operation on the Springfield-Hartford-New Haven Line.

Free rides were on offer on both the new CTRail trains and some Amtrak services.

CTRail staff at Berlin supplied complimentary tickets!

My father and I traveled on the first northward train (CTRail 6400) between the new station at Berlin, Connecticut and Springfield. The train was very well attended!

More free train rides are available on the route tomorrow (Sunday June 17, 2018).

CTRail’s first public forward run, train 6400, makes its stop at Berlin, Connecticut. Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit.

The view near Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

I made many photographs over the course of the day and I’ve yet to look at all of them. Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

See: http://www.hartfordline.com

Tracking the Light posts EVERY Day! (Sometimes twice!)

 

 

New England Central in the Snow.

Sun and freshly fallen snow makes for a nice setting.

New England Central job 608 was making its way from Palmer back to Willimantic with about 20 cars of freight.

In the lead was one of the railroad’s original GP38s, still wearing the classic blue and yellow livery that was applied to these locomotives at the time of New England Central’s start-up in 1995.

I made this view at Plains Road south of Stafford, Connecticut.

Although much of the location was shadowed, a shaft of sun on the grade crossing made for photo opportunity with a telephoto lens. I stood back a bit to allow for slight compression effect owing to the longer focal length, and aimed to frame the leading locomotive between the crossing signals.

This distant view shows how the light was falling on the scene. I set my camera to ‘turbo flutter’ (motor drive at ‘continuous high’) and exposed a burst of images when the locomotive approached the window of sunlight on the crossing.

I set my focus point slightly off-center to hit the locomotive square in the nose.

FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens set at 104mm (equivalent to a 156mm focal length on a traditional 35mm film camera). ISO 200, f7.1 1/500th of a second.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Connecticut Trolley Museum Winterfest—2017.

Snow, crisp cold air, and lots of decorative holiday lights: that’s the attraction of Connecticut Trolley Museum’s Winterfest.

Here’s a tip (two really): When making photos in this environment it helps to have a good solid tripod. And, if you going to bring a tripod that uses a clip-on system to attach the camera to the tripod head, IT REALLY HELPS to make sure you have your clip!

Last night, I exposed these photos using my FujiFilm X-T1 firmly mounted on a Gitzo Trip. I planned my visit to the Connecticut Trolley Museum to coincide with sunset, so that I could make use of the last of daylight before the inky black of night set in.

Connecticut Company car 1326 in the Tunnel of Lights. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Connecticut Company car 1326 in the Tunnel of Lights. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Connecticut Company car 1326 in the Tunnel of Lights. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Boston Elevated Railway car. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens. RAW File with Tungsten light balance, shadows boosted in post processing.

Boston Elevated Railway car. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Boston Elevated Railway car. FujiFilm X-T1 with 27mm pancake lens.

Boston Elevated Railway car. FujiFilm X-T1 with 27mm pancake lens.

Connecticut Company 1326 with FujiFilm X-T1 and 27mm pancake lens.

I experimented with my camera’s pre-programmed color temperature settings while also trying various Fuji film color profiles. With one or two images, I adjusted the RAW files to make the most of the scene.

By the time I was done with my first round of photography my fingers were pretty numb.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday.

Housatonic Railroad at Canaan Union Station—November 2017.

A little more than a month after the events of 911, the historic Canaan, Connecticut Union Station was destroyed by fire.

Thankfully the classic structure has since been reconstructed and today it stands along the Housatonic Railroad line where the old Central New England route once crossed.

Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a 18-135mm Fujinon zoom lens set at 98mm.

Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a 90mm Fujinon prime lens.

Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a 90mm Fujinon prime lens.

I made these photos last week on a visit to Canaan. Sometimes it helps to be in position at a sunrise and watch how the light changes as the sun climbs into the sky.

I featured the old Canaan Union Station in my book Railroad Stations published by MetroBooks in 1998.

For more information on the station see: https://canaanunionstation.com/history/

Tracking the Light Posts Daily

 

Tracking the Light EXTRA: Three Photos Live from Amtrak 55 The Vermonter

I’m posting live from Amtrak 55, the southward Vermonter south of Berlin, Connecticut on July 6th, 2017.

Below are three views from the Lumix LX7, processed from RAW files using Lightroom while traveling on the train.

Amtrak train 55, the southward Vermonter arrives at Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Lumix LX7 photo adjusted from a camera RAW file in Lightroom to improve sky detail, lighten shadows and increase saturation.

Inside Amtrak number 55 near Windsor, Connecticut.

Windsor station; not a stop for the Vermonter. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!

(Sometimes TWICE!)

Going Against the Grain.

Sometimes, I push the limits.

The other morning in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, I exposed this view of New England Central’s northward freight that runs daily from Willimantic, Ct., to Palmer, Massachusetts.

The train was coming hard out of a clear morning sun. Using a Leica IIIA fitted with a Nikkor 35mm screw-mount lens, I exposed this view on Foma Retropan 320.

Retropan is a comparatively coarse grain emulsion that offers a distinctly different range of tones than expected with Ilford HP5, Kodak Tri-X, or other black & white films in the same sensitivity range.

It also produces a characteristic halo-effect in bright highlight areas.

I processed the film more or less as recommended using Foma’s specially formulated Retro Special Developer, and then scanned it with an Epson V750 Pro flatbed scanner. I made minor adjustments to contrast in Lightroom.

As I anticipated, my results from this experiment are more pictorial than literal.

A photo of the setting at Stafford Springs, Connecticut.

New England Central’s freight with EMD diesels working long-hood first at Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Retropan’s halo effect combined with the large amounts of flare from the sun hitting the front element of the lens contributes to this interpretive image.

Tracking the Light posts something different every day.

Berlin, Connecticut Revisited.

This is a follow up to my Tracking the Light post of December 23, 2016, where I explained that on Wednesday December 21, 2016, Otto Vondrak sent me the sad news that the old station at Berlin, Connecticut had been gutted by fire.

This was reported as a ‘total loss.’

I generally avoid accidents, derailment sites, and fires. However, a few weeks ago, I decided I should take a look at the remains of the Berlin station before the scene was made unrecognizable.

This was not an easy photo to make. I have a lot of happy memories of this place. Exposed in January 2017 on film using my Nikon F3.

Here’s the Berlin Station’s arched window as it appeared in September 2004.

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light posts daily.

Shore Line East at Clinton, Connecticut.

Last summer, fellow photographer Pat Yough and I made a project of exploring the old New Haven Shoreline route between New Haven and Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

We decided that some of the locations we investigated on summer evenings, would have better lighting on a winter afternoon.

So on January 29, 2017, we re-visited the Shore Line East station at Clinton, Connecticut and photographed a processions of trains.

Here’s a view of Shore Line East train number 3645 working west with a locomotive painted for the old New Haven Railroad.

This colorful engine was a bonus since many Shore Line East trains run with old Amtrak Genesis P40 diesels in faded Amtrak colors.

Exposed with a Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera.

Amtrak 163 at Old Saybrook, Connecticut—January 29, 2017.

For a change, I thought I’d present a three-quarter lit view of a nice clean train on a clear sunny January afternoon. (If you are viewing on Facebook, be sure to click the link to Tracking the Light to see the un-cropped image).

Often on Tracking the Light I detail unusual or uncommon photographic techniques. I’ve discussed how to make pan photographs, how to work with graduated neutral density filters, how to expose at night or in very low light.

I made this at Old Saybrook. Pat Yough and I were wandering around Connecticut after the BIG Railroad Hobby Show, and we paused here to catch Amtrak 163 led by clean ACS-64 635.

Nothing fancy about this photo, although I’ve include the relevant details in the caption, just in case you are curious.

Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a 18-135mm Fujinon zoom lens; set at 43.9mm (equivalent to a 66m focal length in 35mm SLR terms). ISO 200, f7.1 at 1/500th of a second. Metered manually using the center weighted camera meter. Both shutter speed and aperture were set manually. Color profile is Fuji’s Velvia (a built-in camera preset). Other than scaling for internet presentation, I made no color correction, contrast, exposure or gamma adjustments to the camera-output JPG file.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Amtrak’s Berlin Station Destroyed by Fire.

The old New Haven Railroad station at Berlin, Connecticut was a local favorite. Until recently, it was among the last small staffed Amtrak stations with an historic structure in southern New England.

My friend, and Tracking the Light reader, Bill Sample was a regular Amtrak Station Agent at Berlin. For me Berlin was like stepping back to that earlier era, when the small town station was the portal for travel. Bill would often help me plan trips and buy the most effective ticket for my travel plans.

The station itself was a gem. The interior retained characteristics of an early twentieth century station, complete with chalkboard arrival and departure information and rotating ceiling fan.

In recent months, the old Berlin station had been closed as part of double-tracking between Hartford and New Haven and related station renovations and construction of high-level platforms. The old building was to be integrated into a modern facility designed for more frequent service.

Wednesday (December 21, 2016), Otto Vondrak sent me the sad news that the old station had been gutted by fire. Media sources reported that the building was a ‘total loss.’

These Lumix LX3 digital photos show the building as I remember it in recent years.

Lumix LX3 photo.

Lumix LX3 photo.

Berlin was once an important junction with diamond crossings.

The photographic lesson is: never take anything for granted no matter how familiar it is. Someday it may be gone without warning.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

Ghostly Remains of a Cedar Hill Hump Yard—November 18, 1984; Four Photos.

 

On this date 1984, my friends and I explored the ruins of New Haven Railroad’s Cedar Hill Yard (near New Haven, Connecticut).

In its heyday this vast facility had been a main gathering point for carload freight, and one of the largest yards in New England.

We were fascinated by this relic of the earlier age, when New England was a major manufacturing center and freight moved primarily by rail.

By 1984, Conrail still had a presence at Cedar Hill, but this was just a shadow of former times.

I exposed these images using my Leica 3A with 50mm Leitz Sumitar.

Here I’ve corrected the level, as at that time I had the unfortunate habit of tilting my camera 3-5 degrees off level. These days both my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras have built in view-finder levels. Great features for modern cameras!

cedar_hill_yard_nov_18_1984brian_solomon_663062

View from an old hump tower. What better month to photograph an abandoned yard than November?
View from an old hump tower. What better month to photograph an abandoned yard than November?

An old 40ft New Haven Railroad boxcar that still had its New Haven markings. A fascinating relic.
An old 40ft New Haven Railroad boxcar that still had its New Haven markings. A fascinating relic.

Stark ruins of an industrial age.
Stark ruins of an industrial age.

Today Tracking the Light looks back!

New England Central at Stafford Springs—August 23, 2016.

The familiar sound of 645 thunder down in the valley spurred me into action.

A southward New England Central freight was climbing Stateline Hill in Monson, Massachusetts. This is an old routine (and yes, I’ve written about this before.)

When I hear a train coming through Monson, I have a few minutes to get organized. In this instance, a brilliant clear blue dome with nice morning light was the deciding consideration.

En route, I heard the southward train get its ‘paper’ (radio–issued track authority) to proceed toward Willimantic, Connecticut. In this instance, I was alerted to the location of the train; south of milepost 55 (near the Massachusetts-Connecticut state line).

I headed for my preferred spot in downtown Stafford Springs, Connecticut south of milepost 49.

FujiFilm XT1 digital photo.
FujiFilm XT1 digital photo.

One advantage of Stafford Springs is that the railroad makes an east-west twist through the village on its otherwise north-south run. This favors the morning light for a southward train.

The other advantage is Stafford’s quaint and distinctive New England setting.

Here's the trailing view that shows the village.
Here’s the trailing view that shows the village.

Photos exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1

Tracking the Light posts everyday!

Tracking the Light Extra—Connecticut Trolley Museum.

This afternoon on the way to catch Amtrak 57, the southward Vermonter, my dad and I stopped in for a visit to the Connecticut Trolley Museum at East Windsor for old time sake.

Three cars were on the line today. We went for a spin on a vintage 1902 Brill-built open car.

Connecticut_Trolley_Museum_P1480731

Connecticut_Trolley_Museum_P1480739

Connecticut_Trolley_Museum_P1480744

Connecticut_Trolley_Museum_P1480750

Connecticut_Trolley_Museum_P1480755

Connecticut_Trolley_Museum_P1480756

These photos were exposed using my Lumix LX7, downloaded to my laptop on board Amtrak 57, manipulated in Lightroom, and then uploaded to Tracking the Light courtesy of Amtrak’s WiFi. From my camera to the world: a demonstration of the miracles of modern technology.

(A contrast with my black & white processes).

 

Tracking the Light posts at least once per day!

 

 

Connecticut’s Shore Line Trolley Museum—June 19, 2016.

 

Back in the day, summer always meant that my father would bring my brother and me to one of the New England Trolley museums. Back then we’d ride back and forth and Pop would read the Sunday newspaper.

I’d make photos with my Leica.

This year for Father’s Day, I brought Pop to Connecticut’s Shore Line Trolley Museum located near East Haven, Connecticut. We used to know this as the Branford Trolley Museum (it is operated by the Branford Electric Railway Association).

FujiFilm XT1 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo. Pop remembers Johnstown Traction Company 357 from its days in Pennsylvania.
Lumix LX7 photo. Pop remembers Johnstown Traction Company 357 from its days in Pennsylvania.

Pat Yough, visiting from Pennsylvania, joined us and we all made photos. Turns out that fathers are admitted free of charge on Father’s Day. So that was a bonus.

Pop used his vintage Rolleiflex, which prompted a comment from the motorman,

“You’re still using film?”

Pop responded, “Sure, and you’re still running a trolley. Today is my ‘retro day’”.

They even had an old IRT Subway car on the move. (Pop said, “these aren’t ‘old’, I remember when they were new!”).

Lumix LX7.
Lumix LX7.

NYC subway car interior. Exposed with a Leica 3A with 21mm Super Angulon. HP5 processed in HC110.
NYC subway car interior. Exposed with a Leica 3A with 21mm Super Angulon. HP5 processed in HC110.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

Connecticut Company 775.
Connecticut Company 775. Exposed with a Leica 3A with 21mm Super Angulon. HP5 processed in HC110.

Exposed with a Leica 3A with 21mm Super Angulon. HP5 processed in HC110.
Exposed with a Leica 3A with 21mm Super Angulon. HP5 processed in HC110.

An unlike combination; streetcars from Atlanta, Georgia and Montreal, Quebec. Exposed digitally with a FujiFilm XT1.
An unlikely combination; streetcars from Atlanta, Georgia and Montreal, Quebec. Exposed digitally with a FujiFilm XT1.

Tracking the Posts Daily.

Amtrak’s Montrealer at South Norwalk, Connecticut—30 years ago today.

On June 25, 1986 at 7:18 am, a trio of Amtrak AEM-7s lead the Southward Montrealer (Montreal, Quebec to Washington D.C.) over Metro-North at South Norwalk.

My pal, T.S.H. and I were trackside from 6:50 am. Our primary objective was to catch the venerable former New Haven Railroad FL9s on the move.

Three AEM-7 electrics lead Amtrak's Montrealer. All pantographs are up. Now, how cool is that?
Three AEM-7 electrics lead Amtrak’s Montrealer. All pantographs are up. Now, how cool is that?

Exposed on June 25th 1986 using a Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss 75mm Tessar lens, loaded with Kodak 6043 (120 size Tri-X); f5.6-f8 (f6.3) 1/500th of a second. Processed in D76.
Exposed on June 25th 1986 using a Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss 75mm Tessar lens, loaded with Kodak 6043 (120 size Tri-X); f5.6-f8 (f6.3) 1/500th of a second. Processed in D76.

The Budd-built Heritage Fleet always looked nice behind the AEM-7s.
The Budd-built Heritage Fleet always looked nice behind the AEM-7s.

The late running Montrealer was an added bonus. We knew this as ‘The Bootlegger’—a prohibition-era term relating to the train’s cross-border activities.

Today, this photograph seems doubly appropriate because Amtrak’s AEM-7s made their farewell trip just a week ago.

 

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Amtrak Acela at Speed; when one thousandth of a second isn’t fast enough.

Madison, Connecticut: until June 2016, I’d never made a photo there in my life, and as it turns out I was there twice inside of a week.

This isn’t really a coincidence; having scoped the location on June 7th, I returned a few days later to make the most of light on the long days.

I exposed these views from the Shore Line East station of Amtrak’s westward (southward) Acela train 2173 flying along the former New Haven Railroad Shoreline route.

For this angle, I employed my FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Tuoit and a graduated neutral density filter (to retain sky detail). My shutter speed was 1/1000th of a second.

I had the motor drive set on ‘CH’ (continuous high), a setting I descriptively call ‘turbo flutter.’ This automatically exposes a burst of images in rapid succession.

Normally there’s only nominal differences between the frames, but in this situation the train’s rapid motion combined with my super-wide angle perspective resulted in considerable changes in the relative placement of the head-end.

Amtrak Acela 2173 at Madison, Connecticut.
Amtrak Acela 2173 at Madison, Connecticut.

Amtrak Acela 2173 at Madison, Connecticut.
Amtrak Acela 2173 at Madison, Connecticut.

Amtrak Acela 2173 at Madison, Connecticut.
Amtrak Acela 2173 at Madison, Connecticut.

Also, as it turns out, 1/1000th isn’t fast enough to stop the action. Maybe next time I’ll try 1/2000th.

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Canaan Union Station—10 June 2016

Like the legendary Phoenix, Canaan Union Station has been reborn from its own ashes.

I photographed the original gothic revival station at Canaan, Connecticut  in March 1997.

Sometime after  I made my 1997 images, a terrible fire consumed much of the classic board and batten style building.

This morning (10 June 2016)  I made these images at Canaan of the largely restored station.

Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.

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Ghost of the route of the Ghost Train; When ‘Airline’ meant Railroad!

 

The old Boston New York Airline Railroad was a 54-mile line that connected Willimantic and New Haven, Connecticut.

This was built decades before the first aeroplane made its first flight. In theory it offered a direct route between its namesake points, but in practice it wasn’t really all that straight and itself never reached Boston or New York.

It did however, serve as part of a through route for New York & New England’s premier Boston-New York Express, which in its heyday in the 1880s-1890s was famous for its use of passenger cars that were painted gloss-white.

It was known as the ‘White Train’ or to residents along the line that saw it pass in the night as the ‘Ghost Train.’

Exposed digitally with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Exposed digitally with a FujiFilm X-T1.

Today the old Airline is a hiking trail. I made this photo west of Willimantic.

Maybe there’s a true ghost train that passes on windless winter nights?

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