From late 1998 through early 2000, I was almost continuously on the road.
I made lots of photos, sent them for processing, plucked out a few choice slides for books, slide shows, etc, and then put the rest in a carton which I promptly mis-placed.
I recalled photographing this Conrail westward freight at CP406 in Batavia, New York in January 1999. I’d been traveling with GVT’s local freight with an Alco RS-11. Although one of the photos from this morning was recently published in September Trains Magazine as an illustration for my discussion on Alco diesels, I couldn’t locate the rest of roll, or most of the other photos from that trip!
In fact many others from 1999 were also beyond reach.
So, Monday (Aug 26, 2019) in my continuing quest for Conrail images, I finally found the long lost box, in it were a great many photos that have remain unseen since the demise of Conrail at the end of May 1999. Twenty years ago.
Conrail’s ‘convention cab’ SD70s were short-lived on the Water Level route east of Cleveland. These were built to Norfolk Southern specs during the Conrail split, assigned NS numbers and then all went to NS following the divide (as intended). This view was one of the only photos I ever made of a Conrail SD70 on the CSX side of Conrail before the split.
It was the last of the Conrail SD70s and only about two months old when I made this photo in January 1999. I think it is safe to say that 2580 was the last New locomotive built for Conrail (as a Class 1 mainline carrier). Thoughts?
Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon N90s with 80-200mm zoom lens, scanned with a Nikon Coolscan 5000.
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.
On the evening of February 9, 1994, I exposed the final frame on 36 exposure roll of a Southern Pacific eastward freight ascending Donner Pass at Yuba Pass, California near where I-80 crosses the railroad.
I used an old Nikkormat FTN for this view and exposed the film with the aid of a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell light meter.
This photo demonstrates two things. Firstly the enormous dynamic range of Fujichrome slide film. Secondly, my ability to get the most out of each roll.
At the time I had very little money and yet spent what little I had on film and fuel for my car. I would routinely save the final frame of a roll for something special.
About this time I submitted a page of 20 35mm color slides to the well-known editor of a major railroad magazine, all frame number 37 and 38. I did this to check his attention to detail to see what he’d say.
Years later when I met him face to face, I’d mentioned this effort to him, and he admitted that he’d never even noticed.
You do know that I like to hide things in plain sight? Right? It always astounds me when no one seems to notice. (Rest easy, there’s nothing to see here except a California sunset.)
Typically when I post photos under the ‘Classic Chrome’ heading, I use this to infer photos made from decades past.
Sometimes what was good then is good now.
I made these slides earlier this month (February 2016) using my Canon EOS-3 and Fujichrome Provia 100F. The slides arrived back from the lab and I promptly scanned them using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000.
The common qualities of all four images, in addition to the way they were made, is that they feature classic American diesel locomotives in the snow near Eaglebridge, New York.
Back in December and January, I borrowed Pat Yough’s Fuji X-T1 and exposed a few photos.
Quite a few in truth, and often more than I was expecting because I’d set the motor drive to its highest setting (I call this ‘turbo-flutter’) and every time my shutter finger drifted anywhere near the shutter release I’d record bursts of images.
Despite this haphazard approach, I managed to make a few reasonable images, some of which I’ve presented here on Tracking the Light, and rapidly convinced myself that I really needed a Fuji X-T1.
Actually, I’d previously experimented with Pat’s Fuji X-E2 and was quite convinced I wanted one of those as well.
So after weeks on contemplation and pondering, I finally ordered the camera. Now comes the hard part; learning to use it efficiently.
Based on past experience, I figure it will take me about six months to really get in-tune with this new equipment.
When I’m out making photos, I want my manipulation of a camera to be second nature. If I’m fumbling for the correct settings, or wasting time consulting camera manuals, I can’t really make the best possible images.
Also, every type of equipment has its strengths and weaknesses. Finding those and exploiting this camera to best advantages will take time.
In the meantime, I’ve turned the motor drive setting down a few notches and experimented with the camera’s capabilities. I’m still trying to figure out the focusing options . . .
Norfolk Southern’s former Nickel Plate Road mainline from Buffalo to Cleveland navigated 19th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. This unusually long section of street trackage offered some great photographic opportunities. In October 1994, I was visiting Erie on my way from West Virginia to Wisconsin, and I made this image of a lone NS GP59 leading a westward double-stack train down 19th Street. The soft light of a dull day works well here by allowing the texture and hues of autumnal foliage to offer the illusion of a long corridor, with effect of haze giving added depth. The train seems endless. I was working with a Nikormat FT3 with Nikkor f4.0 200mm lens on a Bogen tripod and Fujichrome 100 slide film.
This street trackage was sacrificed as a condition of the Conrail split in the late 1990s. To eliminate the slow running and please unsympathetic neighbors of the railroad, NS shifted its operations through Erie to the parallel former New York Central grade-separated line (owned and operated by CSX after the 1998-1999 split.)