It’s always fun to play with a new piece of equipment. I’d just bought a 16mm flat field Hologon super wide angle lens for my Contax G2 and I used this to make some dramatic photos inside Washington Union.
This lens is specially corrected to eliminate barrel distortion (commonly associated with super wide lens design) but it must be kept completely level to avoid perspective convergence to vertical lines in the image. A bubble-level is provided in the clip-on viewfinder to aid with the leveling process.
For this image, rather than make any effort to keep the camera level, I happily embraced the effect of perspective convergence to make for a dramatic image of Washington Union’s magnificent barrel-vault ceiling.
During a visit with John Gruber at the old Omaha Union Station, where we met with the late-Bill Kratville, I made a series of photographs with my Contax G2 on Fuji 100 Acros black & white film.
The station is an art deco gem and well suited to the tonality of black & white photography.
I worked with my 16mm Hologon and 45mm Zeiss Planar and processed the film in Dublin using my customized formula for Agfa Rodinal Special developer (not to be confused for the more common Agfa Rodinal).
Recently, I scanned these negatives using my Epson V600 flatbed scanner, then scaled the image-files for presentation here.
Ballybrophy is a rural station on Irish Rail’s Dublin-Cork main line. It’s probably the smallest community on the route to retain an active passenger station and survives as result of it being the connection to the Nenagh Branch.
Most trains blitz the place at track speed. A few miles east of the station is a summit known as the top of Ballybrophy Bank. Here a lightly used road crosses the line on a bridge which offers a nice view for Cork trains.
I’ve made many visits to Ballybrophy over the years, both to ride the Nenagh Branch and to photograph trains on the mainline.
These images were exposed on an unusually sunny June 3, 2006 using my Contax G2 rangefinder.
The classic old stone railway station at Ballybrophy is a treasure. There’s plenty of time between trains to study the architecture. Contax G2 with 45mm lens.
In the damp evening gloom on July 18, 2003, Irish Rail’s signalman at Clonmel awaits the arrival of the Waterford-Limerick passenger train. He holds the metal staff that will authorize the train to proceed over the line to Tipperary.
Often the most telling railway images don’t emphasize a train. In this photo, the Irish Rail General Motors diesel and Cravens passenger carriages are incidental. Here: the evening light, poised signalman eying the approaching train and quiet rural station tell the story.
I exposed this photo on Fujichrome Sensia 100 using my Contax G2 rangefinder with 28mm Biogon lens on a Bogan tripod. It was part of a series of images I made that evening at Clonmel of the signalman, the station and passing trains.
One of my all-time favorite Irish Rail subjects was the annual weedspraying campaign. Every spring, a Bo-Bo would be allocated to haul the ancient looking contraption that functioned as the weed spraying train. Over the period of several weeks this would gradually make its way across the network.
Highlights of the campaign typically included travel over a variety of lines closed to traffic and this made for high adventure! [scene censored to protect the innocent]. I also made countless images of the train on regularly used lines.
Yet, finding the train could be a challenge, as it often didn’t hold to its program. Equipment difficulties were among the cause for delay.
On this bright morning in the second week of May, several of us had intercepted locomotive 175 with the spray train at Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary and followed the train toward Waterford. I made this image from the Fiddown bypass just east of the old station at Fiddown. The distant signal for Fiddown gates can be seen in the distance.
It was a brilliant clear afternoon ten years ago, when Tim Doherty, Pat Yough and I followed Guilford Rail System’s EDMO (East Deerfield, Massachusetts to Mohawk Yard, Schenectady, New York) freight westward into the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.
Rich blue skies, rusty foliage and a great sunlight make October a great time to photograph in New England.
I exposed this image on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 28mm Biogon lens. At the time Canadian Pacific Railway EMD SD40-2s were commonly assigned to this run, which made it a popular photographic choice.
I made this unusual view of Metro-North’s former New Haven Railroad Westport Drawbridge using my Contax G2 rangefinder with a 16mm Hologon lens. When kept perfectly level this lens allows for non-converging perspective of vertical lines, however off-level it produces extreme vertical convergence.
The antique electrification on this movable span was an ideal subject to explore this lens’s peculiar perspective. My vantage point was from a public walkway easily accessed from the westbound platform MN’s Westport Station. I’d first photographed this drawbridge in November 1985 using my dad’s old Rollei Model T with black & white film. Bright sunlight and low fair-weather clouds add depth and contrast.
Working with Westinghouse, New Haven Railroad had pioneered high-voltage alternating current overhead electrification for mainline use in the early years of the 20th century.