On the afternoon of September 4, 2015, I made this photo with my FujiFilm XT1 of double-headed Class 189 electrics leading a loaded iron ore train through a vineyard near Klotten, Germany in the Mosel Valley.
This was on a week long visit to Germany with my Irish friends. We scored numerous excellent locations while exploring the Mosel and Rhein Valleys.
On my July 2015 visit to Finland, my host Markku Pulkkinen did an excellent job of finding interesting railway subjects.
Early in the morning on July 26, 2015, we set up on the outskirts of Oulu to catch VR T5220, a freight forwarding iron ore mined in Russia to a Finnish plant. The freight wagons were Russian, the locomotive is a VR Group class Sr2 electric of Swiss design.
I had just purchased my first Adobe Lightroom for my then-new Apple MacBook Pro and was beginning to learn how to use this tool to make the most of my Fuji RAW files.
This was a revelation as the programs sliders made it easy to make adjustments to shadow and highlight detail, as well as color temperature and color balance corrections, which help make for much better photos when used judiciously.
I’m now working with a more advanced version of Lightroom with this I created two JPGs created from the Fuji RAW file. The top was scaled without any adjustements; the bottom reflects adjustments to color temperature, saturation, plus highlight and shadow area changes. Notice the difference in the detail to the sky.
On this day three years ago, photographer Denis McCabe and I wandered the narrow streets of Lisbon, Portugal.
I used my Fuji XT1 to make this portrait oriented view of a classic tram navigating a steep narrow street.
Last night I imported the Fuji camera RAW file into Iridient for conversion to DNG format and then imported the DNG file into Adobe Lightroom for minor adjustments tothe color, constrast and exposure in order to make the most of the camera sensor.
August 23, 2016, I made this bright morning view of a short southward New England Central freight at Stafford Springs, Connecticut.
The attraction was the single GP38 wearing the classing blue and gold paint in rich morning sun.
Over the years, I’d photographed trains in Stafford Springs (Stafford on the railroad) from many angles. On this morning, I was pleased to get this view without any automobiles in the way of the train, and feature the row of brick buildings behind the tracks.
I made these images the other night when Kris & I were photographing the St Lawrence & Atlantic’s westward road freight (train 393).
Night photography isn’t easy, or straight forward.
There’s a variety of approaches.
These images were exposed during the last hints of daylight.
To capture the train in motion in very low light I used a ‘secret combination’: a telephoto with a wide maximum aperture and a high ISO setting on the camera.
The telephoto minimizes the relative movement of the train to the camera sensor; the wide aperture lets in greater amounts of light and thus allows for a faster shutter speed. Likewise, the higher ISO also contributes to using a faster shutter speed.
However, the real secret was exposing manually, taking into account of the very bright headlights relative to the over all scene, while taking a position relatively off axis to the headlights to avoid the very bright lights directly hitting the front element of the lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with f2.0 90mm lens, camera set to ISO 3200 and 1/60th of a second.
Yesterday (Sunday February 21, 2021) a clear blue dome made for excellent winter photographic conditions.
Kris Sabbatino and I went out to picture Conway Scenic’s afternoon Snow Trains.
We caught the 3pm departure passing Glen, New Hampshire.
After exposing a few Provia 100F color slides of the train crossing the truss bridge over the Ellis River, I made this view with my FujiFilm XT1 as the westward train approached the grade crossing.
I’ve presented two versions. The first is the camera-JPG using the Fuji Veliva color profile. The second is a JPG made from the camera-RAW, which I first converted using Iridient X-Transformer to a DNG file, then working in Adobe Lightroom I made very slight adjustments to the highlights and shadows to maximize the detail in the image while retaining the color profile.
Notice the difference in the amount of highlight detail in the snow, particularly to the left of the train. Also notice the tint of the green paint on the front of locomotive 216.
On this day four years ago, I re-visited the former Southern Pacific crossing the Tehachapi mountains.
At Walong, popularly described as the ‘Tehachapi Loop’—where in the 1870s SP’s chief engineer William Hood applied this spiral arrangement to gain elevation while maintaining a steady gradient—I photographed this BNSF eastward intermodal train. (train direction is by timetable, not the compass.)
Working with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with an 18-135mm Fujinon zoom, I made this photograph with the lens set to 21.6mm in order to take in most of the helical track arrangement. Exposure was f8 at 1/500 of a second at 200 ISO.
In recent months, New England Central’s Willimantic-Palmer freight, job 608, has been largely nocturnal while the railroad undertook a major rehabilitation program.
New rail, ties and crossing protection have been installed. The switches at State Line are improved. And the railroad is in the best shape it’s been in decades.
Monday morning, December 10, 2018, I heard 608 working north through Monson.
That afternoon, I heard the train on its return run. So Pop (Richard J. Solomon) and I headed out to intercept it.
We caught it at both ends of the siding at State Line, then proceeded to Stafford Springs, where I made these views using my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with 12mm Zeiss Touit lens.
High contrast low December sun proved challenging. To make the most of the light, I applied an external graduated neutral density filter tapered and positioned to hold the sky exposure.
Compare the camera produced JPG file with adjusted RAW images. (There is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. The JPG reflects a ‘pre-profiled’ camera setting based on Fuji’s Velvia color setting. The RAW’s were adjusted by me to reflect conditions at Stafford Springs.)
In post processing, I worked with camera RAW files by lightened shadows, darkened highlights, and reduced overall contrast while warming color temperature and slightly boosting saturation.
As we departed Stafford, I noticed a better angle to catch the train. Stay tuned!
On the evening of December 4, 2018, I panned CTrail train 4461 led by engine 6695 at the new Berlin, Connecticut station.
Berlin is brightly lit and makes for a good vantage point to watch and photograph passenger trains on the Hartford Line.
To make this pan photo, I set the shutter speed at 1/30thof second, fixed a point in my view finder and moved my camera and body in parallel with the train in a smooth unbroken motion as it arrived at the station.
Panning is a great means to show a train in motion.
I exposed these views using my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit lens.
Key to my success was the high ISO setting (ISO 5000) and auto white balance setting that adjusted and balanced myriad artificial light sources.
Lacking a tripod, I positioned and steadied the camera on the half open ‘dutch door’ of private passenger car Silver Splendor as it was paused across from the Metrolink train storage sidings in Riverside, California.
My exposures were about 1/2 second at f2.8 (ISO 5000).
To make the most of the photos, I imported the camera RAW files into Lightroom and adjusted highlights and shadows to make for more pleasing final images.