Tag Archives: #Conway Scenic Railroad

Holiday Decoration Work Extra.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving—November 24, 2021, Conway Scenic called a work train for the Conway Branch to put up decorations for upcoming Santa’s Holiday Express Christmas themed trains.

I was on-board to assist with decorating while documenting the run. It was a perfectly clear bright sunny morning.

At Moat Brook I organized a special photo stop. At Conway we held for the regularly scheduled Valley train that was operating with RDC #23 Millie.

I made all of these photos using my Lumix LX7 digital camera.

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From 203 to 255—GP38 at North Conway

The other morning I was up early to make daylight of photos of Conway Scenic Railroad’s latest arrival: former Vermont Railway System’s Clarendon & Pittsford GP38 203, originally Maine Central 255.

This heritage locomotive was deemed ideal for Conway Scenic because mechanically and electrically it perfectly matches the railroad’s GP38 number 252 . The two locomotive were part of the same order of GP38s from Electro-Motive Division back in autumn 1966.

CSRR will shortly renumber 203 back to 255. Initially it will operate in a modified version of the red and white livery pictured here.

As soon as it is practical to do so, the railroad will plan on applying green and gold paint to the locomotive to match 252.

I exposed these photos using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

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Fine Foliage at the Gateway

Over the last ten days I’ve made several trips over Crawford Notch to capture Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer with the autumnal leaves.

I exposed this image from atop the Gateway cutting using my Nikon Z6 Mirrorless camera with f4.0 Nikkor Z 24-70mm zoom lens.

Backlit autumn leaves tend to appear more vivid as the sunlight illuminates the leaves like colored bulbs.

The classic Maine Central yellow was based on the yellow-orange color of the autumnal foliage.

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Frankenstein Foliage

Yesterday, I made this image of the Mountaineer descending at the Arethusa Falls grade crossing against a backdrop of autumnal foliage and the famous Frankenstein Cliff in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

A shaft of sun illuminated the front of GP35 216 which made for a tricky exposure.

I’d preset the camera settings in manual mode, anticipating the bright yellow front of the engine catching the wink of sun. Further adjustment of highlight and shadow areas was necessary in post processing.

Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera with 24-70mm Nikkor zoom lens. NEF Raw file adjusted in Adobe Lightroom.

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Storm LIght

Last week I found the most dramatic light of the day on return to North Conway from Crawford.

I made this view at the Golf Course crossings timetable east of the Conway Scenic Station.

This is the unadjusted camera produced JPG, scaled for internet.

Rich low sun with dramatic clouds make for a stunning view of Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer.

Exposed using my Nikon Z6 digital camera.

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Bright Colors on the West Slope.

The leaves are changing noticeably later this year as compared with last year.

East of Crawford Notch, New Hampshire the foliage is still a bit on the green side, but to the west the colors are turning.

This is one of the best railroad autumn foliage photos I made thus far. It shows Conway Scenic Railroad Mountaineer on the Crawford-Fabyan leg of its run.

September 29, 2021.

Will this foliage season live up expectations, or will the trees go from green to brown?

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Mountaineer at the Girders

Foliage season has begun in the White Mountains.

On Wednesday, I shadowed Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer on its ascent of Crawford Notch.

Ironically, one of the most dramatic unobstructed views of the line can be obtained directly off Route 302, the road which runs parallel to the railroad in the Mount Washington Valley.

I exposed this photo of the Mountaineer on ‘the Girders’ bridge near the scenic vista pull-off at Crawford Notch using my Nikon Z6 digital camera. I processed the camera’s NEF file using Adobe Lightroom to lighten shadows and correct the color temperature, while nominally boosting saturation.

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Mountaineer at the Gateway

The other day I drove to Crawford Notch to see how the autumn foliage was progressing.

It’s not as colorful as it was this time last year.

I set up in the Gateway Cut east of Crawford siding, where I waited for GP35 216 with the eastward Mountaineer.

Here I featured the rocks as a key part of my compositions. I like the contrast between the yellow locomotive and the brown-gray stone.

It was raining lightly when the train rolled by me.

Exposed using a Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera with 24-70mm lens.

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Travels with a Ballast Train-Part 1

On Friday, I was attached to the Conway Scenic Railroad ballast extra, which I documented, but also used as transportation to make video of the Conway Valley train.

Working with my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera, I made this sequence of photos of the ballast train in the rich September morning light.

It was a beautiful day to make photos. More to follow!

Kearsarge station on the Redstone Branch in North Conway, NH.
Kearsarge station on the Redstone Branch in North Conway, NH.

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Bright Morning at the Station.

Friday morning I walked to North Conway station where I work.

It was a brilliant sunny day with a cool breeze and a textured sky.

The week after Labor Day is traditionally quiet. A lull in the masses. The summer crowds have gone, the leaf peepers have yet to arrive.

The leaves around the station are already showing hints of autumn color.

Everyday prospective train riders call and ask if the day of their trip will be during peak foliage—As if Conway Scenic Railroad’s ticket agents are visionaries or fortune tellers.

Conway Scenic Railroad’s North Conway, New Hampshire station.

I made these photos from North Conway, New Hampshire’s Schouler Park using my Nikon Z6 Mirrorless digital camera and processed the NEF RAW files using Adobe Lightroom.

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Misty Mountaineer

Yesterday (September 9, 2021) I traveled on the headend of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer to Crawford Notch in order to calculate train timings for this month’s timetable change.

Among my jobs at the railroad, in addition to Marketing, is that of timetable planner.

When we reached the old Maine Central station at Crawford, I climbed down from the locomotive to make a few photos from the ground, then boarded again for the run-around.

All photos were made using my Nikon Z6 and processed using Adobe Lightroom.

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Ballast Train

The unusual moves; the uncommon train; the special unscheduled and unexpected operation. These are what fascinate me about railroads.

On most days, Conway Scenic operates its selection of normally scheduled excursion. By contrast it’s work trains are comparatively rare.

Yesterday, September 3, 2021, Conway Scenic’s former Maine Central GP7 No. 573 ran light to from North Conway to Conway to collect a pair of ballast cars that were expected to be loaded.

After lunch the engine returned with the ballast cars to North Conway where it ran around and proceeded back to Conway.

I was on-hand to make these photos using my Nikon Z6.

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Meet with the Governor at Bartlett

Yesterday (Sunday August 29, 2021), Conway Scenic Railroad hosted New Hampshire’s Governor Chris Sununu on his Super 603 Thank You Tour.

I was closely invovlved with the logistical planning for the Governor’s special train. We needed to continue to operate our regularly scheduled Valley trains, so I planned a meet at Bartlett.

This was excuted in traditional fashion. Speed through Bartlett is limited to ten mph. Conway Scenic’s Valley Train returning from Sawyers cleared for the special by reversing into the siding near the Bartlett freight house. There was no delay to the Governor’s train, and the absolute minimum delay necessary to the Valley.

Working in my capacity as Manager, Marketing & Events, I made these photos of the meet from the special using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

View of the Valley Train from the Governor’s special.
Valley engineer Wally Hills tips his hat to the special.
Conductor Adams on the Valley waves from the rear platform of open-end observation lounge Gertrude Emma, as the Governor’s special rolls through Bartlett on the main track.

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High short Hood South

Yesterday at Conway Scenic we turned GP35 216 on the turntable.

Now the high short hood is facing south.

This directional change was performed for operational reasons, but has also opened up a variety of photographic possibilities, especially on the return run of Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer from Crawford Notch.

I made these views in the North Conway, NH yard using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

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Gertrude Emma back in the Sun.

On July 26, 2021, Conway Scenic placed its popular open-end parlor-observation lounge Gertrude Emma back in traffic.

During its time in the company roundhouse the car was refurbished inside and out.

The car was built by the Pullman Palace Car company in 1898 for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s flagship train, Pennsylvania Limited that connected Jersey City (across the Hudson from New York City) with Chicago via Pittsburgh.

The colors it wears are aimed to recreate its period livery.

I made these photos for Conway Scenic Railroad’s Facebook and Instagram pages using my Panasonic Lumix LX7.

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Lens, Light, Location!

There are many ways to picture a train passing the same place. The challenge is to find new and different ways to make photos at familar spots.

I work at the North Conway Station, NH which is just a short walk from my apartment, and I photograph there almost daily.

Several times in the last couple of weeks I have featured photos of the returning Conway train approaching the North Conway Station.

I’ve reviewed some of my earlier posts, while including my photos from Wednesday afternoon. These were made using my old Canon EOS7D with an older model Canon 100-400mm zoom lens.

I’d brought this 100-400mm to work so that my office partner, Trainmaster Mike Lacey, could make some telephoto digital photos with the lens.

However, before I handed the lens over to him, I figured I may as well use it capture the Valley coming up the Hill to North with GP9 1751 in the lead.

Canon 100-400mm lens extended to 340mm.
Canon 100-400mm lens extended to 250mm.

For comparison, here are two of the earlier photos previously posted to Tracking the Light.

This is the view from Tuesday’s Tracking the Light post that show the same train, at the same location, but from ground level with a very smoggy sky. Made with my Nikon Z6 mirror less with a 24-70mm lens.
Last week’s photo. This is the afternoon Valley train passing the semaphore on a bright day. Also from ground level, but at a broader angle.

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Smoky Light in the White Mountains.

Yesterday (26 July 2021), the White Mountains were obscured by hazy smoke that had settled upon the Mount Washington Valley as a result of raging forest fires in the West.

The sun was out, but an eerie gauzy brownish-fog was lingering in the low-lying areas filtering the light.

Working with my Nikon Z6, I made these photos in the smoky light of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Valley Train coming up the Hill from Conway. This was a stark contrast to the similar images I made last week of the Valley train arriving at North Conway.

North Conway, New Hampshire.

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Valley at the Golf Course

Yesterday afternoon was sunny and pleasant in North Conway, NH.

As part of my job as Manager Marketing & Events at Conway Scenic Railroad, I made a few photos of our afternoon Valley Train from Conway returning to the North Conway station.

On the final leg of its short journey down the Conway Branch this ascends a short 3 percent grade and crosses the Golf Course Crossings.

A former Maine Central Style B lower quadrant semaphore decorates the east-end of our yard. (The semaphore does not serve either a control or protective function).

I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 mirror-less digital camera and processed the camera’s NEF RAW files using Adobe Lightroom.

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Misty Arrival at Crawford.

Traveling on the head end of Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer, I was first off the train upon its arrival at Crawford station.

Although often Crawford is crowded with people when the Mountaineer arrives, the damp misty weather appeared to have discouraged all but few on-lookers.

I made this view of the train with low flying clouds shortly before the engine was uncoupled for the run-around in preparation for the return to North Conway, NH.

Believe it or not, one of the most common complaints from travelers on Conway Scenic is ‘The train came back the same way it went out!’.

If we came back any other way, that would be a pretty good trick!

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View from the Head-End

Saco River trusses at Glen, NH.

The other day I traveled on the head-end of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer in order to take notes on running times to help revise the schedule, and to make photos for publicity, marketing and the company files.

This is a selection of the images I exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm Fujinon zoom lens.

Bartlett, NH.
Bartlett Roundhouse.
3rd Iron.
Near milepost 81 on the ascent to Crawford Notch.

WIlley Brook Bridge.
Crawford Notch near mp 84.

Working with the camera’s RAW files, prior to post processing, I converted the files to DNG format using Iridient software and then for final presentation adjusted the DNG files using adobe Lightroom .

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Frosty Scene on the Redstone Branch

Last December, we brought GP7 573 out on the Redstone Branch to clear the line of snow. It was the furthest east that I’d traveled on the line as we went all the way to the East Conway Road crossing.

The effective end of track for Conway Scenic is the Saco River Bridge east of East Conway Road.

Working with my Canon EOS 3 fitted with a 40mm pancake lens, I made these images on Kodak Ektachrome E100 color slide film.

The great dynamic range of color slide film, combined with its broad tonal range and delicate colors still makes it a perfect choice for making photos in circumstances like these.

Dec 2020.

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Boston & Maine 4266

Yesterday morning was glorious and sunny in North Conway, NH.

Members of the 470 Club (a group that has preserved and owns several pieces of historic railroad equipment based at the Conway Scenic Railroad) were repairing former Boston & Maine F7A 4266 at the North Conway roundhouse..

I made these views using my Panasonic Lumix LX7.

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July 4th Fireworks at North Conway.

Last night Conway Scenic Railroad operated its annual Firecracker Expresses to carry spectators from Conway to North Conway for a patriotic fireworks display.

Although it had been raining all afternoon, the sky cleared off at sunset, and the fireworks went ahead as scheduled, beginning just after 930pm.

As part of of my role as Conway Scenic’s Manager of Marketing & Events, I helped organize our special trains and their promotion. Several hundred people rode the trains which operated as advertised.

My Fiancé Kris Sabbatino and I traveled on the Firecracker Express to North Conway and made photos of the railroad’s iconic station and the explosive displays.

It was an excellent event.

Working with my Nikon Z6 Mirrorless digital camera mounted on my antique Bogen tripod, I made a variety of time-exposures.

Years ago I’d photographed fireworks using color slide film. I realized that I hadn’t done this in a long time and this was my first serious effort to capture a fireworks display digitally. I was a bit rusty at getting my timing right, but after missing a few of the loud bangs in the sky, I managed to refine my technique.

Working with the camera at ISO 200, my exposure times ranged from 4 seconds to 30 seconds, while I varied my f-stop between 4.0 and f11.

In general, I found I obtained my most satisfactory results at about 10 seconds at approximately f8.

After exposure, I imported the camera’s RAW NEF files into Adobe Lightroom for contrast and color adjustment. Through this technique I was able to improve the sky detail and balance the appearance of the images to reflect the scene more closely as I saw it. The benefit of the Nikon Z6 is its sensor’s exceptional dynamic range.

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First 2021 Mountaineer

Last Saturday, June 19th, Kris & I met the first Conway Scenic Railroad Mountaineer of the 2021 season at Crawford Notch, NH on the former Maine Central Mountain Division.

We spoke with the crew and arranged to make photos from the sunny side of the tracks.

A few days later, I posted some of these to the Conway Scenic Facebook page, which is among my jobs as Manager of Marketing & Events for the railroad.

File converted from Lumix RAW file.
Color adjusted and saturation increased working with the RAW file in Adobe Lightroom.
I was trying to minimize the placement of automobiles parked along Rt 302 adjacent to the tracks., while featuring the textured sky.

I made these photos with a Lumix LX7 compact mirrorless digital camera fitted with external view finder.

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INSPECTING FRANKENSTEIN

Last week, I traveled with Wayne Duffett of TEC Associates on the fourth of four Conway Scenic Railroad bridge inspections.

Midway through the day we inspected Frankenstein Trestle, a steel/iron tower supported viaduct that was built in sight of the ridge of the same name.

Frankenstein is really two bridges, one inside the other as the result of a strengthening effort by the Maine Central in 1930.

I made these images of the famous bridge using my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm zoom lens.

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Photo Freight Second Edit

During the course of last weekend’s special Railfan Photo Freight hosted by the Conway Scenic Railroad, I made several hundred images of the train and its preparation.

Today, I’m just getting through the editing of these images.

A few days ago I posted: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/wp-admin/post.php?post=31266&action=edit

Today, I offer this selection, all exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm lens.

Conway, NH.
View from the head end working west near Bartlett, NH.
Run by at Second Iron, west of Bartlett, NH.
Looking west near Cobb Farm Road.

I converted my Fuji RAW files using Iridient X-Transformer and made adjustments to color and contrast using Adobe Lightroom. When I make contrast adjustments, I generally use the ‘highlights’, ‘shadows’, and ‘contrast’ slider controls.

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Wide View at Crawford

Two years ago I made my first trip to Crawford Notch by road in 20 years.

I was on my way to the Conway Scenic Railroad at North Conway to write an article for Trains Magazine.

One thing led to another, and two years later Crawford is now a regular place on my visit list! I was up there again yesterday in HyRail truck TC-205 as part of a bridge inspection with Wayne Duffett of TEC Associates .

This photo was exposed on May 29, 2019 using my FujiFilm XT1 with a Zeiss 12mm Touit. I’ve posted two versions, one more saturated than the other.

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Speeders over Crawford Notch

This is my second installment of photo covering the private speeder trip on Conway Scenic Railroad over Crawford Notch. I acted as pilot on this rare opportunity to travel on the railroad using vintage Fairmont rail motorcars.

See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2021/05/23/speeder-trip-part-1/

I was traveling in the lead car as part of a group of 15 vehicles.

We proceeded from the State Yard at Kearsarge on the Redstone Branch in North Conway, NH to Mountain Junction in Intervale, then continued west on the Mountain Division through Bartlett and up the mountain over Crawford Notch.

I made these images using my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm lens. Camera RAW files converted to DNG format using Iridient X-Transformer and the adjusted for color, contrast, exposure and saturation using Adobe Lightroom.

Bartlett, NH.
Near Frankenstein bridge.
Mp 83 looking west toward Mount Willard.
Site of the Mount Willard Section House.
Site of the Mount Willard Section House.
Milepost 84 at Crawford Notch.

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Speeder Trip-Part 1

On Friday, May 21, 2021, I served as the pilot for a private speeder trip over the Conway Scenic Railroad.

The speeders were largely from a Pennsylvania-based group that consisted largely of various privately owned Fairmont cars.

I traveled in the lead car and made photographs of the trip as it progressed westward over Crawford Notch. This first batch features Conway Scenic’s Redstone Branch from the State Yard at Kearsarge to Mountain Junction in Intervale.

These photos are scaled JPGs from larger JPG files exposed with my FujiFilm XT1 using the Velvia color profile.

It was a beautiful, if unseasonably warm Spring day for a run over the former Maine Central Mountain Division.

Stay tuned over the coming days for more photos!

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Roping Willey Brook Bridge-Some Gravity Defying Photos!

Last week involved high adventure!

The most adventurous was inspection of Conway Scenic’s Willey Brook Bridge in Crawford Notch (NH)—From below track level—by climbing through the girders with ropes, and abseiling the central support.

All activities in accordance with proper procedure.

I’ve accompanied bridge inspector Wayne Duffett of TEC Associates on several of Conway Scenic’s bridge inspections, but this one was by far the most memorable.

I made my photos using a Lumix LX7.

There’s a time an a place for a big camera, and times and places for small ones. A 4×5 studio camera would not have been well suited for this day’s photography.

Supplemental photography was supplied by Wayne’s pocket Nikon AW130 digital camera (a water proof model).

And there I am among the girders.
Not a place to visit if you have a fear of falling.
I don’t fear heights, but that first step is a doozie!

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HyRail at Hazens Eastbound!

Yesterday I traveled by road to the western reaches of Coway Scenic’s line at Hazens in Whitefield, N.H., with Wayne Duffett of TEC Associates.

At Hazens we set on the railroad to run east over the line to inspect bridges. This was the first leg in our latest adventure as part of the annual Conway Scenic bridge inspection.

I was a perfect day, sunny, warm and very pleasant.

I made these photos using my latest Panasonic Lumix LX7. Files were scaled from the camera-generated JPGs using the V (or Vivid) color profile. I made no alterations to color, contrast, exposure or sharpness.

The bridges got bigger as we worked eastward. More photos to come over the coming days.

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May 6th Conway Branch Work Extra.

It was a great day for a work train!

We had beautiful clear skies with fluffy fair weather clouds. It was warm with a slight wind, and the trees were just beginning to leaf out.

I traveled on the train, primarily riding in the caboose, and made photographs when it stopped to perform maintenance along the line.

I made these digital photos with my FujiFilm XT-1 with 16-55mm zoom lens. All of the images were processed in Adobe Lightroom, to adjust contrast, color temperature and saturation.

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Clear Day at Moat Brook

Among the most pictured locations on Conway Scenic’s former Boston & Maine Conway Branch is the wooden pile trestle at Moat Brook.

This stream is named for the Moat Mountains compass west of the railroad.

A few weeks ago during my bridge inspection with Wayne Duffett of TEC Associates, I carefully studied the bridge and its environs, considering how to best find a different angle on the bridge.

It occurred to me: while the bridge is often photographed, the stream itself is not. The reason is simple: much of the year there is very little water in the stream.

Last week Thursday and Friday were very wet. But Saturday was clear and sunny.

I walked the line and secured a new vantage point compass east of the famous bridge and along the swollen stream, where I captured the returning Valley train led by GP35 216 with engineer Tom Carver at the throttle.

These photos were exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm lens,

I posted variations of these images on Conway Scenic’s Facebook page to assist with promotion of the popular Valley train on its Conway run.

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Bridge Inspection

Bridges fascinate me.

I wrote about them in a book in 2007.

Kris Sabbatino has called me a ‘Bridge Goob’ (which translates to ‘rabid bridge enthusiast’.)

Trusses are my favorite.

Of all the trusses, I think I like the Whipple Truss the best. But these have become exceedingly rare.

Earlier this week, I joined Conway Scenic’s bridge inspector Wayne Duffett on the annual inspection of the bridges on our Conway Branch.

We traveled in a company HyRail truck from Conway to North Conway and Wayne inspected all the bridges and culverts on the line.

I made several hundred photos to document the event.

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WORK TRAIN RAW AND JPG

Friday, April 9, 2021, Conway Scenic Railroad operated a Work Extra on its Conway Branch. The sky was clear and blue and the sun bright. This was a perfect opportunity to experiment with my Nikon Z6 digital camera.

Although I purchased this image making machine six months ago, I haven’t come close to mastering it.

The Z6 has an amazing ability to capture and store visual information.

However, to best translate the Nikon RAW (NEF) file requires a bit of study and interpretation, and it is in the interpretation that I am still learning.

Below are two images of the Work Extra, and two interpretations of each. The top in each sequence represents the camera-JPG output with built-in Vivid color profile (scaled but otherwise unadjusted in post processing). The bottom of each sequence is my interpretation of the NEF file using Lightroom, where I’ve made nominal changes to color temperature, shadow and highlights, and overall contrast.

Camera JPEG with built in Vivid color profile. No changes to exposure, color temperature or contrast in post processing.
NEF (Camera RAW) file adjusted using Adobe Lightroom to correct for color temperature, contrast, and shadow/highlight exposure.
Camera JPEG with built in Vivid color profile. No changes to exposure, color temperature or contrast in post processing.
NEF (Camera RAW) file adjusted using Adobe Lightroom to correct for color temperature, contrast, and shadow/highlight exposure.

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