So do you go out in poor light to catch something unusual? That’s your choice.
Sometimes I hold off for fine weather or good light to make images. Other times I’m faced with catching something in prevailing conditions. The railway doesn’t run for sunshine.
Once a week Irish schedules an extra IWT Liner (International Warehousing & Transport—Dublin North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo). In recent months, this has operated with the elusive container pocket wagons (CPWs). But it doesn’t necessarily run every week.
I have plenty of photos from Islandbridge Junction, and no shortage of images depicting the IWT Liner, and while I’ve photographed the CPWs over the years, last week I knew for certain (that’s railway certain, which is at best uncertain) that the CPWs were on due to pass.
Some readers might wonder why I persist with traditional black & white photography, when modern digital imaging is easier and doesn’t involve all that messing about with chemistry.
The reasons are simple:
I like tradition. I’ve always made black & white photos and processed my own film. While there have been gaps in my black & white work (usually owing to a lack of adequate facilities), I like the continuity by occasionally working with a consistent medium.
My black & white efforts can achieve desired results that may not be equivalent to images made digitally.
Because traditional black & white photography is more difficult, I feel it hones my image making skills.
I process my negatives in an archival fashion and I scan them digitally. This leaves me with greater chances that the images will survive for generations than images strictly stored on ephemeral digital media.
Some years ago, someone asked me if I had adjusted to the switch to digital photography. I said, “I still haven’t adjusted to the switch to color!”
However, just because I continue with the time-honored tradition of black & white photography, doesn’t prevent me from also working digitally.
As regular viewers know, I routinely expose, present (and occasionally publish) modern digital images. In fact I find that two types of photography complement each other nicely.
On June 15, 2016, I posted two views of Pan Am Railway’s leased Slug Set working in East Deerfield hump service and paused on the Connecticut River Bridge east of the yard.
I asked readers to voice an opinion on their preferred image, while explaining that one was exposed on black & white film the traditional way and the other exposed digitally as a monochrome image.
I’ve weighed the comments, email and Facebook messages and found that the response was more or less evenly split, with a slight leaning to the top image (film). One respondent voiced a dislike of both images (see comments).
Below are the two vertical images with details of how they were made.
Both images were scaled for internet presentation using Lightroom.
Below is a comparison between two photos; one exposed digitally and one made with film. (Hint: click on Tracking the Light to see both).
I made these the other day of Pan Am’s hump engine working on the Connecticut River Bridge at East Deerfield, Massachusetts.
I won’t bore you with excessive detail, but one was made as a black & white image with a digital camera . The other was exposed in a traditional manner on black & white film, processed chemically and then scanned and scaled.
So: which image do you prefer? (number one or number two).
Oh, and by the way, it is up to you to decide which was made with film and which was not.