Twenty-Five years ago, I was exploring Irish Rail, and seeing this amazing railway for the first time.
Dublin’s Pearse Station impressed me. The capacious Victorian train shed with a mix of electric and diesel trains reminded me of Philadelphia’s great termini; Broad Street and Reading Terminal.
But also because it was the oldest big city station in continuous use. The station opened in 1834 and although greatly altered over the decades, this had always served as a Dublin hub.
Today, it is rare to find a diesel here, except on permanent-way trains, and more rarely on RPSI diesel tours. Yet, back in 1998, it was a common sight to find a 201-class General Motors diesel-electric working a push-pull Mark3 set in suburban service. The sound of the big GM was amplified under the shed.
I made this photo on Fujichrome Sensia (100 ISO) using a Nikon F3T with 24mm Nikkor wide-angle lens. Looking at this photo today, it amazes me how few people were on the platform.
Working with a 1960s era Nikkor f2.8 135mm lens on a Nikon F3T, I made this view of DB passenger trains from beneath the arched trainshed at the Köln Hauptbahnhof (Cologne, Germany).
It was a hot day in August 1998. The camera was loaded with Fuji Sensia 100 color slide film, an emulsion that I found to be well suited to the soft light of German summer. This rendered the colors well, especially DB red, while handling the extreme contrast.
The slide was scanned using a Nikon LS5000 slide scan powered by VueScan 9.7.99 software. Set at: 64 bits per pixel (64 bit RGB), scan resolution 4000 dots per inch, fine mode, color profile ‘white balance’ and output as a TIF file. Minor corrections were implemented in post processing using Lightroom version 5.5.
I made this view in the blue light of dusk on an April evening in April 1997 at Tokyo’s busy Shinjuku Station.
At the time it was the busiest railway junction station in the world, handling more daily passengers that even London’s famous Clapham Junction.
I have used this photograph and others from my 1997 visit in a variety of publications over the last 25 years.
I exposed the photo on Fujichrome with my Nikon N90S mounted on a tripod. I was emulating a style of railway photography popular in the the Japanese magazines at the time which used the extreme blurring of a train through a scene to infer motion.
On an afternoon in August 2009, I stood atop a parking garage near Jack London Square in Oakland, California where I made this view featuring an Amtrak Capitols train against a backdrop of the city’s sprawling port facilities.
I was working with a Canon EOS3 fitted with a 100-400mm zoom lens to expose a Fujichrome slide. This was several months before buying my first digital camera.
During my five week stay in California that year I exposed more than 80 rolls of color slide film. Many of my photos featured scenes around San Francisco Bay. At the time I envisioned writing a book on San Francisco, but I didn’t get sufficient interest from my publishers at the time to move that proposal forward.
I made a brief visit to Stuttgart during a trip to Germany and Switzerland in 1999.
On my first afternoon in Stuttgart, I exposed this Fujichrome Sensia II (ISO 100) color slide of a classic tram ascending away from the city center. Notice the effects of cross lighting. (The sun is to the left of the camera).
At the time I was working with an N90s with 80-200mm zoom lens, my standard camera combination for the period.
I’ve found that different types of equipment lend to different sorts of compositions. I wonder what images I would have made in Stuttgart if I could have carried the Nikon Z6 that I own today?
On a whirlwind trip to Belgium, France and Germany in Spring 1999, I made this long telephoto image of the high-speed Thalys departing Brussels Midi for Paris.
I was working with my original Nikon N90S that I’d bought secondhand from Mike Gardner two years earlier fitted with a Tokina 400mm fixed telephoto that I bought from Doug Moore in the early 1990s.
Most unusual was I was working with a short-lived slide film emulsion sold as Fujichrome MS 100/1000 that offered variable ISO through push/pull processing.
I’d rated this film at ISO 200, which gave me an extra stop over the Fujichrome Sensia II (ISO 100) that I normally used. Fuji offered processing for this film that came with a special mailer on which you would tick a box to select the desired ISO for processing.
The lighting was also unusual: it had been raining, but shafts of diffused sun light were peaking through heavy fast moving clouds.
The effect of the 400mm lens compressed the complex array of track on approach to the busy Brussels terminal.
On the evening of November 27, 2003, I used my old Contax G2 rangefinder to expose this Fujichrome Sensia color slide of Irish Rail’s Nenagh Branch train departing Roscrea, County Tipperary.
This was toward the end of regular locomotive hauled trains on the branch. A few weeks later Irish Rail’s 2700-series diesel railcars would assume most of the runs on this branch, although locomotives with sets Cravens carriages would still occasionally make an appearance on the line into 2004.