After photographing Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s private charter crossing the Liffey in Dublin, and catching the train with the TESCO painted Red Line tram at Gardiner Street, I walked briskly to make more photos of the train arriving at Connolly station.
Steam locomotive number 4 was unhooked and sent to Connolly shed, while Irish Rail 082 took its place to bring the RSPI Cravens across to Inchicore Works.
I made these photos using my FujiFilm XT1.
The camera battery was flashing red and my storage card was alarmingly low on pixels. Where were my film cameras? Not with me at Connolly.
Friday morning, 6 September 2019, I took position at the far end of Dublin Connolly Station platform 4 to photograph RPSI’s Empty Cravens arriving from the Inchicore Work in preparation for boarding and departure of the annual Steam Dreams excursion. (More on that tomorrow!).
I wanted to make both long telephoto and wide angle views of the train. To accomplish this I could use my FujiFilm XT1 with a telephoto and then switch to my Lumix LX7 as the train approached.
However, for the sake of convenience instead I opted to work exclusively with the XT1 for this sequence, and fitted the camera with a 18-135mm zoom lens.
There’s no one ‘right’ way to execute an image (or images) but different equipment choices will produce varied results.
One reason for my using the XT1 for the whole sequence was a function of the lighting conditions. My Panasonic Lumix LX7 is an excellent camera in many respects. However, I’ve found that it has a slightly narrower dynamic range, probably owing to smaller file size.
In many situations this subtle difference doesn’t matter, but with Friday’s lighting, I wanted to be able to pull in sky detail in post processing, and from past experience the XT1 RAW files leave more to work with than those from the LX7.
When I see a thick fog rolling in during the fading light, I see photo opportunities everywhere.
Fog is one my favorite photographic conditions, and the thicker, the better!
The fine thick mist has many benefits. It acts as a diffuser, which spreads the light, reducing contrast between the brightest highlights and shadows. It also tends to allow for photography in every direction, which opens up numerous angles and perspectives that I may not consider on a bright day.
Most importantly fog adds depth and mystique to a scene, making even the most mundane places intriguing, while masking unsightly elements such as garbage, graffiti and wires.
The other evening a thick fog settled over Dublin and I made my way to Connolly Station. Below are a few views from my Lumix LX7.
All were exposed using Kodak Tri-X black & white film, which I processed in Ilford ID-11 (1-1 at 68 degrees F for 7 minutes 45 seconds, plus extended presoak with very dilute HC110 to pre-activate development.)
I scanned the negatives using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner.
Yesterday, the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) operated a pair of excursions from Dublin’s Connolly Station to Greystones, County Wicklow and return using former Dublin & South Eastern 2-6-0 461.
The trains were well patronized, which demonstrates a continued interest in Irish steam trains.
Dull weather prevailed, while cool temperatures made lots of steam condensation.
Sometimes I find that dull days makes for better steam photos.
Here’s a sample of digital images I made with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Most required contrast and saturation adjustment in post-processing.
On the day, steam locomotive 461 had done the honors for the paying passengers.
After the train arrived back at Connolly, freshly painted Irish Rail 071 (class leader) tied onto the empty carriages to bring them across to Inchicore.
I exposed this view at the end of the day using my Nikon F3 with 24mm lens. Using my perfected chemical recipe, I processed the Fuji Acros 100 film in Kodak HC110 then toned the negatives with selenium solution. Finally, I scanned them and made minor adjustments in Lightroom (mostly to remove dust spots).
Why black & white? Why film?
I’ve always exposed film, and while digital photography tends to dominate my image making, I still expose the occasional roll of B&W or color slide film.
Yesterday, I displayed an image of Dublin’s Heuston Station bathed in green light; today, I feature Connolly Station. These Dublin railway terminals are among the oldest big city stations in continuous use in the world.
Connolly Station features classic Italianate architecture typical of many large stations world-wide.
The greening of Connolly for St. Patrick’s Day is a more subtle treatment than on some of Dublin’s structures.
As is often the case this time of year in Ireland, it was a largely gray day. Steam locomotives present a difficult subject on warm dull days. As a result, I opted to travel on the train, rather than stake out a spot in the countryside to try for the one ‘master shot’.
This gave me ample opportunity to make close-ups of the locomotive, its crew, and friends traveling with the train. As well as pictures from the window.
I’d intended to bring my trusty old Nikon F3 to make a few color slides, but on the previous evening, I’d been making time exposures of Dublin and the trusty old battery in the F3 gave up the ghost. Failing to follow my own advice, I didn’t have a spare. (Although I have plenty of spare cameras).
As a result all of my images of “The Marble City” trip were exposed digitally. Some with my Lumix LX3, others with my Canon EOS 7D with 28-135 zoom. Check Tracking the Light over the next few days to view some of my results.