Tag Archives: DART

Electric Night Photos: ISO 80 versus ISO800


I tried to pick and exciting sounding title! These are some more of my thoughts on railroad night photography, the nuts and the bolts:

The other evening at Clontarf Road in Dublin, I was experimenting with various ISO settings in preparation for a more serious photo I was about to expose under the wires on Irish Rail.

Normally with my Lumix LX7, I limit the ISO settings to between 80 and 200, because this camera tends to get noticeably noisy/grainy at the higher settings.

Higher ISO increases the effective sensitivity of the sensor but does so at the expense of image quality, especially in regards to exposure latitude and noise. (Technically that’s not exactly correct, but for the sake of space and clarity that’s how I’m going to explain it here.)

In my night situation using a higher ISO setting will allow me a faster maximum shutter speed, which I need to stop a train in motion. Yet with each one-stop increment the image quality suffers more severely.

Keep in mind with each doubling of the ISO, the camera gains one stop: So, ISO 100 to 200 is one stop, 200 to 400 one stop, etc; and each jump allows an equivalent one stop increase in shutter speed. So in the lighting conditions at my location and using my LX7 aperture set at f1.4, ISO 100 allowed 1/15 of a second; ISO 200 1/30th; ISO 400 1/60th; ISO 800 1/125. Obviously, I needed to go higher than ISO 200 to stop the action. (Or simply pan the train, but that’s a story for another post).

Here are two views of static DART electric trains in low light that I made simply as comparison tests to see how the higher ISO setting compared visually. (Ignore the minor variations in composition).

At the small size displayed for internet viewing there’s only a slight difference. One is at the camera’s minimum ISO setting which is 80; the other is at 800, which three and a third stops faster.

ISO 80.
ISO 800. Notice the increased noise, especially evident in the sky and shadows.

Stay tuned for the main event!

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A Moment in Time: Suburban Train Crossing Amiens Street—February 2019.


Every so often everything really comes together.

As Jay Monaghan and I walked along Dublin’s Amiens Street in the fog, I heard an Irish Rail train blast its horn approaching the platforms at Connolly Station.

There wasn’t much time to react. I made fine adjustments to my Nikon F3 as I put the camera to my face and released the shutter.

This image was among photographs exposed on 27 February 2019 on Ilford HP5.

I processed this using a development technique to maximize dynamic range and tonal response.


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Under and Over in Dublin.


I made these views the other day on Beresford Place near Bus Aras in Dublin.

An outbound LUAS tram on the Red Line had stopped for traffic Gardner Street, while a southward DART suburban train rolled across the Loop Line Bridge on its way from Connolly Station to Tara Street.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

This is the sort of common scene that is repeated hour after hour, day after day, and yet only rarely get recorded.

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Dublin’s Pearse Station, Spring 1998.


Pearse Station features a capacious Victorian-era balloon-style train shed. Presently this is under-going restoration making for seen very different scene today than this one that I exposed 21 years ago.

I was very impressed by the Pearse Station shed and exposed a number views to make the most of the structure.

This is among my favorites. I’m standing near the south entrance to the shed, and the illumination effects resulting from combination of the broad southward opening and skylights produce an excellent effect on the train and platforms.

My composition is simple, yet clever. I’ve centered the DART train— which some photographers would frown upon, insisting instead on arbitrary placement using rules of thirds or other preconceived notions—and so made the most of the train shed, which is really the subject of my image.

By allowing for greater amounts of interior space to the right of the train, I’ve caused visual tension, while helping to expand the space in the photograph occupied by train shed. This draws the eye away from the train, while the lighting on the front of the train pulls the eye back. Placement of the rails to the lower right corner has another effect, allowing the eye to follow lines of perspective back to the north opening of the shed.

A novice artist might crop this image by cutting the space to the right of the train, moving the corner from the rails, and thus spoiling the intended effects while placing greater emphasis on the DART train, and in so doing ruining my intended composition. 

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Dublin’s DART: Twenty Years Ago.


Here’s a late 1990s view on Amiens Street in Dublin in front of Connolly Station.

The 1980s-era DART electric suburban train isn’t remarkable; except for a nominal change of paint and end lights, these cars look much the same today.

However, so much else has changed, which makes the photo look dated, and fascinating now.

I exposed this Fujichrome colour slide using my Nikon F3 with 135mm lens, probably in the Spring of 1998, and no later than Spring 1999. At the time of exposure, the scene seemed so unremarkable, I didn’t bother to put a date on the slide mount.

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DART Impressions—1998.


In my first year photographing in Ireland, I made many photographs of Irish Rail’s electric suburban service that is branded as ‘DART’ for ‘Dublin Area Rapid Transit’.

This is a selection of four color slides exposed back in 1998.

Connolly Station 1998.

Howth.

Howth.

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Variety and Colour at Howth Junction in Eight Views—October 2018.

Howth Junction is a double junction (two running lines) where the Howth Branch diverges from the Dublin-Belfast main line.

Both routes are electrified for DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) services.

I made these views digitally using my FujiFilm X-T1 on a visit with Jay Monaghan last week.

In addition to DART electric trains, I made photos of Irish Rail diesel suburban services, the Dublin-Belfast Enterpriselong distance train, and a laden Tara Mines zinc freight.

Some autumn foliage near the junction made the location more colourful.

Dublin bound DART departs Howth Junction.

A DART train from Howth enters the main line. DART is now scheduled on ten minute intervals.

Malahide bound DART approaching the down platforms.

The same train as above paused at the platforms for passengers.

The Belfast bound Enterprise doesn’t stop for passengers at Howth Junction.

Irish Rail 077 leads the laden Tara Mines run toward Dublin port.

Irish Rail 29000-series CAF built diesel railcars head toward Dublin.

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DART in the Snow.

On the 18th of March, snow fell in Dublin, again.

I made these views at Connolly Station of a southward DART suburban train using my FujiFilm XT1.

The trick is not underexposing the snow.

Falling snow can make for a great sense of depth.

Connolly Station, Dublin.

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Irish Rail DART crosses at level crossing in Bray.

A northward DART suburban train clears the crossing at Bray, County Wicklow. Lumix LX7 photo.

I exposed this view of a DART train at the level crossing near the station in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. Notice the Irish Sea in the background.

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DART on the Loop Line at Dusk

Is this a railway photo?

At dusk on the evening of March 2, 2017, I exposed this view of the River Liffey in Dublin.

An Irish Rail DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) electric train is crossing the Loop Line bridge on its way to Connolly Station.

Exposed using a Lumix LX7; f2.2 at 1/5th of a second, ISO 200. Camera mounted on a Gitzo mini tripod.

The most prominent elements of the image are the Custom House, an 18th century relic of the British Imperial presence in Ireland, and coloured lights reflecting in the Liffey. The railway takes a secondary role.

When the Loop Line bridge was built in the late 19th century, pundits moaned that it spoiled the view of the Custom House. Were they lazy or just being ironic?

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Curves and Catenary; Dublin’s DART at Dalkey.

Autumn sunlight nicely filled the cutting.

Working within the confines of lines, I did my best to frame up this southward DART electric train at Dalkey.

I exposed this view on Ilford HP5 using my Nikon F3 with an f2.0 135mm lens.
I exposed this view on Ilford HP5 using my Nikon F3 with an f2.0 135mm lens.

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Tracking the Light on-going Photo Challenge: Ireland’s Oldest Railway

The Dublin and Kingstown Railway dates to 1834, which makes it among the earliest steam railways built outside of England.

Today the route composes a part of Irish Rail’s electrified Dublin Area Rapid Transit system. Outer suburban and Intercity trains (to Rosslare), plus occasional Railway Preservation Society Ireland steam trains also use the line.

Much of the old D&K is scenically situated along the Irish Sea, yet the electrification masts and wires, combined with sea walls, fences, graffiti and suburban growth can make it difficult to obtain a satisfactory vista with the line.

In late August, I rode the DART from Tara Street Station to Blackrock, where I exposed these views using my FujiFilm XT1.

My train accelerates away from the platform at Blackrock. The modern footbridge makes for a dominant visual element, but also offers a photo platform.
My train accelerates away from the platform at Blackrock. The modern footbridge makes for a dominant visual element, but also offers a photo platform.

A Dublin bound German-built DART train approaches Blackrock. I aimed to feature the terrace houses above the line while minimizing the visually obnoxious elements of catenary and graffiti covered seawalls.
A Dublin bound German-built DART train approaches Blackrock. I aimed to feature the terrace houses above the line while minimizing the visually obnoxious elements of catenary and graffiti covered seawalls.

This view from the modern footbridge shows the old Blackrock Station. Here soft lighting is a real benefit.
This view from the modern footbridge shows the old Blackrock Station. Here soft lighting is a real benefit.

I applaud Irish Rail for installing attractive maps near the station. More of this please.
I applaud Irish Rail for installing attractive maps near the station. More of this please.

 

Looking toward Blackrock station and Dublin.
Looking toward Blackrock station and Dublin.

A 29000-series diesel multiple-unit approaches Blackrock. I made this view from the public footbridge south of the station. Here the terrace houses make for added interest and a nice compositional element. The Irish Sea is on my left, but there's a host of ugliness between the railway and the water.
A 29000-series diesel multiple-unit approaches Blackrock. I made this view from the public footbridge south of the station. Here the terrace houses make for added interest and a nice compositional element. The Irish Sea is on my left, but there’s a host of ugliness between the railway and the water.

Here, soft afternoon lighting helped minimize obtrusive elements, but there’s little in the photographs that convey the historic significance of the line.

The challenge continues . . .

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Dusk on Dublin’s Dart—March 2016.

The other evening some friends and I traveled from the Dublin city centre to Blackrock on the DART-Dublin’s electrified suburban rail-transit service.

The DART branding mimic’s the Bay Area’s third-rail rapid transit brand ‘BART’ (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

While sometimes my rail travel is focused on the making of photos, this trip had another primary purpose; yet with my Lumix LX7 at the ready, I used every opportunity to make photos.

Pearse Station, Dublin (formerly Westland Row).
Pearse Station, Dublin (formerly Westland Row).

Under the shed at Pearse Station, Dublin.
Under the shed at Pearse Station, Dublin.

Dusk at Blackrock.
Dusk at Blackrock.

DART at Blackrock station.
DART at Blackrock station.

Panned DART electric cars at Blackrock.
Panned DART electric cars at Blackrock.

Somehow I think Victorian aesthetic sensibilities would have found this modern footbridge at Blackrock hideous beyond reason.
I think Victorian aesthetic sensibilities would have found this modern footbridge at Blackrock unnecessarily hideous.

DART at Blackrock.
DART at Blackrock.

Significantly, Dublin’s Pearse Station, formerly-known as Westland Row, is credited as the world’s oldest city terminus in continuous use. It was opened in 1834 with the Dublin & Kingstown Railway. Of course, the D&K has the distinction as the world’s earliest operating suburban railway.

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Living the Dream—25 years on.

Tracking the Light on Silver . . .

Yesterday, November 20, 2015, I located my notebook from August 1990. I opened it at random, trying to find some information on photographs I made on Donner Pass that year. Instead I found this observation dated August 7th:

I think digital photography is the future of photography in several areas, but to some extent silver photography will always exist.

Today, I processed two rolls of Fuji Across 100 that had been sitting on my desk for more than year.

Among the photographs was this self-portrait I exposed at Connolly Station, Dublin on April 21, 2014.

Exposed using a Nikon F3 with 50mm lens on Fuji Across black & white film; processed in HC110 (dilution B) for 4 minutes 45 seconds; negatives toned in selenium and scanned using an Epson Perfection V600 flatbed scanner.
Exposed using a Nikon F3 with 50mm lens on Fuji Acros 100 black & white film; processed in HC110 (dilution B) for 4 minutes 45 seconds; negatives toned in selenium and scanned using an Epson Perfection V600 flatbed scanner.

The real lesson here: take notes.

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Views of the DART.

Dublin Area Rapid Transit—April 2014.

In 1984, the DART began electric services between Howth and Bray. This offered an improvement to existing Dublin suburban services by wiring existing routes. The service was later extended to Greystones and Malahide.

An 8600-series DART pauses at platform 5 in Connolly Station. April 2014.
An 8600-series DART pauses at platform 5 in Connolly Station. April 2014.

The line between Pearse Station (formerly Westland Row) and Dún Laoghaire (formerly Kingstown) had been opened in 1834 and is considered the world’s oldest suburban railway.

The hum of DART’s electric multiple units are a familiar tone of Dublin transport.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve made several images of DART trains during my travels around Dublin. All were exposed with my Canon EOS 7D.

The DART crosses over lines leading toward the North Wall—one of the few grade separated junctions in Ireland.
The DART crosses over lines leading toward the North Wall—one of the few grade separated junctions in Ireland.

DART interior view.
DART interior view.

A DART train arrives at Howth on April 23, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
A DART train arrives at Howth on April 23, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

Dublin Area Railway map in Irish.
Dublin Area Railway map in Irish.

A view of an 8600-series DART at Tara Street Station as seen from the Railway Preservation Society Ireland's Easter Eggspress.
A view of an 8600-series DART at Tara Street Station as seen from the Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Easter Eggspress.

Connolly Station, Dublin.
Connolly Station, Dublin.

Approaching Connolly.
Approaching Connolly.

Platform 6 at Connolly Station.
Platform 6 at Connolly Station.

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