Tag Archives: Germany

Hanging Viaduct-German Outtakes Part-3

I’ve been reviewing hundreds upon hundreds of photos for my book on European Railway Travel.

Here’s a view I  like but it didn’t make the cut because I’m using a similar angle that works better. It was one of several views that I made on film, although was also working with my digital cameras that day.

This pictures the famous ‘Hanging Viaduct’ in the Mosel Valley near Bullay.

Exposed on Fujichrome Provia 100F using a Canon EOS3 with 100mm lens.

Two years ago I visited this unusual railway construction with my friends Gerry Conmy, Stephen Hirsch and Denis McCabe.

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Train with Castle Rejected! German Outtakes Part 2.

Another example of some photos that didn’t make the final cut for my book on European Railway Travel.

You might think that catching a train with medieval castles in the background is pretty neat.

It is.

But I have many photos at this curve at Oberwesel on the busy Rhein left bank route. I’ve selected several potential candidates from this excellent German location and these two just didn’t seem book worthy.

Exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.

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German Outtakes-1

As mentioned last week, I’m in the final lap of assembling a book on European Railway travel.

This image is among my ‘outtakes’ from the section on Germany.

I have hundreds of photos along the Rhein. I like this one because it shows the twin tunnels on the right bank opposite Oberwesel, but the wires in the sky annoy me, as does the clutter in the river at right and shrub on the left.

There’s better photos to select from for my book.

A Swiss Cargo freight works forward along the Rhein in September 2015. Really? That was two years ago? Gosh, where does the time go? Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1.

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Underground, on the Surface, and on the Elevated: Trams in Köln.

Just a few views from the lens of my Lumix LX7: trams on the roll in Köln during my recent visit.

Köln’s extensive light rail network has endless opportunities for photographs. Over the years I made a few images, but I’ve long felt a more extensive exploration is in the cards.

Someday . . .

At the Dom/Hauptbahnhof station.
Rudolf Platz, Köln.
On an elevated structure approaching Neusser Str.

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Köln Hbf—March 2017

At the end of March 2017, I revisited the Köln Hauptbahnhof (main railway station).

It was almost 21 years since I made my first visit here with my dad back in 1996.

I was delighted to see that a few of the old East Germany class 143 electrics were still on the move. Once very common, these old electrics have become relatively scarce.

This image was exposed digitally using my Lumix LX7.

Köln Hbf in March 2017.

Bavarian Twilight; Call this Photography in Mixed Lighting or Rabbits at Dusk.

Dusk is a great time to make captivating images, provided you get the exposure right.

I made this view at Buchloe, Germany in southwestern Bavaria. It was a little while after sunset, and the cool glow of a winter’s evening sky made for some interesting lighting. The platforms at the station were lit using common sodium vapor lamps, while a lamp in the yard on the left appears to be of the mercury vapor variety.

Among the advantages of twilight is the ability to find a good balance between natural and man made light. Once the glow in the sky fades, the black of night makes balanced exposures more difficult.

Here, I opted to use a Fujichrome emulsion (probably Provia 100F) that had filtration layers designed to minimize discoloration from the spectral spikes typical of man-made lighting, such as sodium and fluorescent sources. These spikes are largely invisible to the human eye, but can produce unnatural color casts on slide films.

A DB class 218 rests at Buchloe, Germany on 17 January 2007.

One of the features of this image is the old DB Class 218 diesel, a type known colloquially as a ‘Rabbit’ because of its rabbit-ear exhaust stacks.

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Missing Photo File: Dresden, April 2002.

On 30 April 2002, I found myself in Dresden and perishing low on film.

I’d been photographing in Poland and Slovakia for the better part of two weeks and underestimated how many photos I’d make. (Those who know me well, will recall this being a common occurrence on big trips).

Anyway, I’d found a shop with some black & white film, and exposed a roll of HP5 using my Nikon N90S, (trying to stretch out what little slide film I had left), and making parsimonious use of my 120 film.

This had me in a knot, as Dresden is a visually fascinating place, and I was seeing images everywhere I looked!

When I got back to Dublin, I processed the roll of HP5 in ID11 (Ilford’s relative equivalent to Kodak’s D76) and sleeved it, but I never got around to making prints.

The other day (May 2016), I was searching for some German tram photos, when I rediscovered this roll mixed in with a host of other unprinted B&W negatives from the mid-2000s.

A preserved four-wheel tram grinds along in Dresden on 30 April 2002. I exposed this image using a Contax G2 with 28mm Biogon lens on Ilford HP5 black & white negative film. I used a deep red filter to adjust contrast. The other day I scanned it using an Epson V600 and then adjusted the file using Lightroom to tweak shadow detail and eliminate dust specs.
A preserved four-wheel tram grinds along in Dresden on 30 April 2002. I exposed this image using a Nikon N90S with 24mm lens on Ilford HP5 black & white negative film. I used a deep red filter to adjust contrast. The other day I scanned it using an Epson V600 and then adjusted the file using Lightroom to tweak shadow detail, improve sky contrast, and eliminate some unwanted dust specs.

What immediately caught my eye was this silhouetted image of a preserved four-wheel tram. Searching the internet, I can conclude this is a museum car operated by the StrassenbahnmuseumDresden.

This group has a website:

http://www.strassenbahnmuseum-dresden.de/index.htm

And a Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/StrassenbahnmuseumDresden

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Karlsruhe Hbf—Train Shed Geometry and Red Electrics.

Germany’s traditional large railway stations offer endless opportunities for photographic composition.

Over the years, I’ve made several visits to the Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof (main station) and have always found it photographically rewarding. I made these photos a couple of weeks ago  (April 2016.)

FujiFilm X-T1 image.
FujiFilm X-T1 image.
Classic signage. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Classic signage. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

The train-shed lends to making geometric images while providing a visually intriguing setting for train photos. I like the sense of scale that the shed offers.

Any favorites?

An InterCity train pauses for passengers. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An InterCity train pauses for passengers. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
When I first visited Karlsruhe in the late-1990s, DB's 101 class were the latest in new motive power. Now these are battle worn veterans.
When I first visited Karlsruhe in the late-1990s, DB’s 101 class were the latest in new motive power. Now these are battle worn veterans.
The curves of this class 146 electric complement the train shed while the bright red livery makes for a stunning contrast with the monotones of the station environs.
The curves of this class 146 electric complement the train shed while the bright red livery makes for a stunning contrast with the monotones of the station environs.
At the southend of the shed.
At the south end of the shed.
Pay attention!
Pay attention!

DB_Karlsruhe_Hbf_class_146_DSCF5674

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Rastatt Part 2; German freight hotspot.

Several lines come together at Rastatt, Germany, which is an historic city south of Karlsruhe.

Since most through traffic is focused on to a short double track section immediately south of Rastatt , the station serves as a holding area for southward trains queued up to pass through this bottleneck.

In addition to DB’s trains, freight is run by a of variety open-access and private operators. Freights share tracks with passenger trains including high-speed TGV and ICE services and the famous Karlsruhe tram-trains.

I made this selection of images on 19 April 2016 using my FujiFilm X-T1.

A container train passes Rastatt on the morning of 19 April 2016.
A Crossrail container train passes Rastatt on the morning of 19 April 2016.
A DB electric leads at train of swap-bodies at Rastatt.
A DB electric leads at train of swap-bodies at Rastatt.
An SBB Cargo electric waits for a signal to proceed south.
An SBB Cargo electric waits for a signal to proceed south.
The driver of a Crossrail electric cleans his windscreen while waiting for traffic to pass at Rastatt.
The driver of a Crossrail electric cleans his windscreen while waiting for traffic to pass at Rastatt.
A northward BLS freight crosses the double track bridge as it approaches the Restate station.
A northward BLS freight crosses the double track bridge as it approaches the Rastatt station.
Lines at Rastatt host a mix of freight and passenger trains including Regional Expresses.
Lines at Rastatt host a mix of freight and passenger trains including Regional Expresses.
An electric hauled chemical train glides into Rastatt in the evening.
An electric hauled chemical train glides into Rastatt in the evening.
Open access operators are plentiful in Germany.
Open access operators are plentiful in Germany.
Four trains at Rastatt station.
Four trains at Rastatt station, including a stopping Tram Train from Karlsruhe.
Catching antique SBB Re 4/4s at work was a prize.
Catching antique SBB Re 4/4s at work was a prize.
SBB Re 4/4 electrics up close.
SBB Re 4/4 electrics up close.
A diesel leads a local freight from a nearby automotive factory.
A diesel leads a local freight from a nearby automotive factory.
A northward SBB freight glides through Rastatt.
A northward SBB freight glides through Rastatt.
Trailing view of the same train.
Trailing view of the same train.
A regional passenger train passes a freight.
A regional passenger train passes a freight.
Once common, old DB class 151 electrics are now relatively rare on through freights.
Once common, old DB class 151 electrics are now relatively rare on through freights.

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Europe’s Most Colourful Tram City? Lots of NEW photos!

I’ll offer Freiburg as one of Europe’s most colourful tram cities.

The combination of variety of cars, a range of paint liveries (advertising and otherwise), interesting trackage plus varied and interesting historic backdrops makes Freiburg hard to top.

Any suggested contenders?

Photos below exposed in April 2016 using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Tram_HasemannStr_Freiburg_DSCF6008Tram_HasemannStr_Freiburg_DSCF6010Tram_HasemannStr_Freiburg_DSCF6037Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6080Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6098Duwag_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6101Duwag_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6113Duwag_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6116Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6127Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6128Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6143Pepsi_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6157CAF_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6165Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6187arch_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6195Mc_Donalds_arch_Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6197Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6200Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6201

Dynamic Duewag Photos; Low angle with glint.

 

Evening sun with a textured fair-weather sky combined with well maintained paving stones and a healthy tree at left made for a visually compelling setting.

Freiburg, Germany still operates some of its vintage Duewag trams that feature a streamlined body and rounded front-end.

To make the most of the svelte classic tram I opted for a low angle and favored the angle of sun for reflective glint. The bicyclist was a fortuitous subject that makes for a more interesting photograph by introducing a human element.

To expose this image I worked my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera with the rear live-view display tilted upward, which allowed me to compose the photo while holding the camera relatively low to the ground.

I adjusted my 18-135mm zoom lens to near its widest angle.

Duewag tram in Freiburg, exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1. RAW file modified to improve contrast and exposure.
Duewag tram in Freiburg, exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1. RAW file modified to improve contrast and exposure.

Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6154

Tram_Freiburg_DSCF6155
Notice the effect of the bicycle’s double shadow?

The real trick was keeping the composition interesting as the action rapidly unfolded.

In post-processing I darkened the sky and lightened the shadow areas to improve overall contrast.

Which of the three images is your favorite?

(This essay was composed while transiting the Channel Tunnel between Calais and Folkstone on 30 April 2016).

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DB Rabbits on the Run near Lindau—four new photos.

Among my favorite German locomotives are the old ‘Rabbits’ (classes 215-218 and rebuilds), so-called because of their rabbit-ear shaped exhaust stacks.

On Monday, 18 April 2016, Gerry Conmy, Dennis McCabe, Stephen Hirsch and I made a project photographing this declining class of diesel on the line running east from Lindau.

Rabbit down grade racing toward Lindau.
Rabbit down grade racing toward Lindau.
Double headed rabbit climbing east from Lindau with a Zurich-Munich IC train.
Double headed rabbit climbing east from Lindau with a Zurich-Munich IC train. Note the exhaust stacks.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

DB_218_east_of_Lindau_DSCF5388

The Zurich-Munich long distance trains are still worked with these vintage machines. Several years earlier, Dennis and I had explored locations on this scenic non-electrified double track line.

Soft morning light aided the effect of the pastoral setting.

I exposed these views using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Rastatt, Germany: Part 1 TGV and the Tram Train.

The railways around Karlsruhe, Germany are some of the most versatile and most thoroughly integrated in the world.

Karlsruhe was the pioneer of the ‘Tram-train concept,’ which enabled trams to utilize the heavy rail network.

As a result, trams can travel on city streets and reach beyond using the DB network.

Rastatt, south of Karlsruhe is a busy place where you can see high-speed passenger trains, Intercity and Regional Express passenger trains, freights, and Karlsruhe tram-trains using the same rails.

An SNCF TGV approaches Rastatt on DB rails.
An SNCF TGV approaches Rastatt on DB rails.

I made these views of a French TGV and tram-trains in April 2016 using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. It was a bright morning and nearly ideal for photography.

The imaging challenge at Rastatt is making the shadows work for you and not against you. The curve of line, platform canopies and shadows cast by catenary masts and wires all result in visual elements that can make or break an image.

You have to love it: the TGV was 'looped' (over taken) by a Tram Train at Restatt.
You have to love it: the TGV and a freight were both  ‘looped’ (over taken) by a Tram Train at Restatt.

TGV_Rastatt_DSCF5522Tram_and_TGV_Rastatt_DSCF5524Tracking the Light posts Daily.

Freiburg, Germany: New Tram on Cobblestone Streets.

Freiburg has a complex tram system with a great variety of equipment.

I made this view with my Lumix LX7 a week ago that features a new CAF tram gliding along cobblestone streets.

I’ve opted for a low angle to emphasize the cobblestones and the contrast between new and old.
I’ve opted for a low angle to emphasize the cobblestones and the contrast between new and old surfaces.

More Freiburg trams in future posts.

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Magnificent Railway Stations: Köln Haubtbahnhof—Part 2

Would you believe that 35 of 38 frames of this roll of 35mm film were exposed of the Köln Haubtbahnhof?

Back in August 1998, I was working with an old Nikon F2 and three lenses, I wandered the platforms of this great station to preserve it on black & white film.

I processed my film at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin and made a few proof prints at the time.

Köln Hbf in August 1998, exposed on Ilford HP5.
Köln Hbf in August 1998, exposed on Ilford HP5. Looming beyond the station is the famous Dom, Köln’s massive gothic cathedral.
Köln Hbf in August 1998, exposed on Ilford HP5.
Köln Hbf in August 1998, exposed on Ilford HP5.

Koln_1998©Brian_Solomon_663638

Köln Hbf in August 1998, exposed on Ilford HP5.
Köln Hbf in August 1998, exposed on Ilford HP5.

The images presented here were scanned digitally from my original negatives using an Epson Prefection V600 flatbed scanner and adjusted in post processing using Lightroom.

For color photos of the  Köln Haubtbahnhof and many other stations check out my new book: Railway Depots, Stations & Terminals published this year by Voyageur Press.

See: http://www.quartoknows.com/books/9780760348901/Railway-Depots-Stations-Terminals.html

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Magnificent Railway Stations: Köln Haubtbahnhof-Part 1

Among my favorite large railway station’s: The Köln Haubtbahnhof.

I’ve visited this great German railway palace on several occasions over the last 20 years and find that it always inspires my photography.

I made these images on a visit in August 1998. All were made on one roll of Ilford HP5 exposed using a Nikon F2.

Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 50mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 50mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens.

The Köln Haubtbahnhof is among great European stations featured in my new book Railway Depots, Stations & Terminals published this year by Voyageur Press. Don’t miss out, order your copy today!

http://www.quartoknows.com/books/9780760348901/Railway-Depots-Stations-Terminals.html

Also see my previous post:

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2015/08/30/new-book-railway-depots-stations-terminals/

More photos of Köln coming soon!

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Koln_1998©Brian_Solomon_663633

German Class 140 in Classic Livery near the Loreley Rock.

In early September, my friends and I witnessed the passage of this old German class 140 electric in classic green paint.

Every day in late morning or early afternoon it would work south along the Rhein’s Right Bank (east side) with a freight.

On this day we hiked out to the Loreley statue on a peninsula near the famous Loreley Rock at bend in the river. I made these photos with my FujiFilm X-T1. As the freight drew closer, I opted to pan, which helps set apart the green locomotive from the hillside beyond.

Near the Loreley.
Near the Loreley.
By panning, I've improved the visual separation between the locomotive and the background.
By panning, I’ve improved the visual separation between the locomotive and the background.

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Rails through the Street at Mainz at Dusk—8 photos!

During my Rhein travels in September, I had the opportunity to make a few photographs of the narrow gauge tram network at Mainz.

In the fading light of that day, I exposed these photos using my FujiFilm X-T1 and Lumix LX-7.

Mainz is one of dozens of German cities with an active tram network. Someday, I hope to be able explore it fully.

Panning and low angles a nice trick from making more dramatic tram pictures.

Lumix LX7 of a tram in Mainz. Here I've composed the photo to emphasize the track work and street paving. LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 of a tram in Mainz. Here I’ve composed the photo to emphasize the track work and street paving. LX7 photo.
A slight pan sets the tram apart from the background. LX7 photo.
A slight pan sets the tram apart from the background. LX7 photo.
Spot the subject. LX7 photo.
Spot the subject. LX7 photo.
Narrow gauge for narrow streets. Fuji film X-T1 photo.
Narrow gauge for narrow streets. Fuji film X-T1 photo.
Tram with fountain. LX7 photo.
Tram with fountain. LX7 photo.
Panning helps compensate for a slower shutter speed while conveying motion.
Panning helps compensate for a slower shutter speed while conveying motion. LX7 photo.
Passengers are part of the scene. LX7 photo.
Passengers are part of the scene. LX7 photo.
LX7 photo.
LX7 photo.

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Hanging Viaduct—Bullay—Eight Views.

Among the distinctive features of Germany’s Mosel Valley route is the Hanging Viaduct southwest of Bullay.

To avoid a circuitous loop in the Mosel, this double track electrified line crosses the river on a combined road/rail bridge and punches through a ridge. Upon exiting the tunnel, the line clings to a steep hillside populated with vineyards supported by an unusual curved Hangviadukt, a ‘hanging viaduct.’ (A sort of half-bridge, whereby half the structure is built into the hillside.)

Earlier this month, Denis McCabe, Gerry Conmy, Stephen Hirsch and I made a visit to this famous structure, photographing it from a variety of angles.

The railway cooperated by running a variety of trains. Footpaths through the vineyards and surrounding areas offer many vantage points.

In addition to mainline trains, a branch railcar traversed the viaduct in each direction hourly.

The famous Hanging Viaduct looms above the vineyards like some ancient wall. Lumix LX7 photo.
The famous Hanging Viaduct looms above the vineyards like some ancient wall. Lumix LX7 photo.
A freight bound for France rolls westward over the Hanging Viaduct. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A freight bound for France rolls westward over the Hanging Viaduct. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
DB electrics about enter the tunnel at the east end of the Hanging Viaduct near Bullay. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
DB electrics about enter the tunnel at the east end of the Hanging Viaduct near Bullay. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A branch railcar meets a DB regional local train on the Hanging Viaduct. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A branch railcar meets a DB regional local train on the Hanging Viaduct. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Signs offer location advice.
Signs offer location advice.
A viewing platform at the westend of the viaduct offers this view. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A viewing platform at the westend of the viaduct offers this view. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Sun and clouds made for dappled light. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Sun and clouds made for dappled light. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An express passenger train to Luxembourg catches the sun. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An express passenger train from Luxembourg catches the sun. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

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Scenery Supreme with MittlerheinBahn

MittlerheinBahn operates modern Siemens-built electric multiple units on all-stops local trains on the picturesque Left Bank route between Köln and Mainz, Germany.

Trains operate on an hourly basis throughout the day, with more frequent services at peak times.

The service is affordable, comfortable and the scenery provides an unending tapestry of wonder.

These trains come at such regular intervals, it would be easy enough to let their passage go undocumented while waiting for more unusual movements, such as freights with colourful engines. But I always try to make the most of all trains.

Over the course of a week I exposed dozens of images of MittlerheinBahn’s trains, often using them as a catalyst for complex scenic compositions. Would these views work if there were no trains in them?

Köln Hbf. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Köln Hbf. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Take a spin! These trains offer a smooth ride at a reasonable price. Large windows provide a great view of the scenery. Lumix LX7 photo.
Take a spin! These trains offer a smooth ride at a reasonable price. Large windows provide a great view of the scenery. Lumix LX7 photo.
A view from a vineyard near Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A view from a vineyard near Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Two ways to see the Rhein; by train and by ship. A view south of Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Two ways to see the Rhein; by train and by ship. A view south of Boppard. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
At Oberwesel, where castle towers and walls make for a Medieval setting. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
At Oberwesel, where castle towers and walls make for a Medieval setting. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Climb a tower for a better view. (Really I was waiting for a freight, but we'll get to that in a later post.) FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Climb a tower for a better view. (Really I was waiting for a freight, but we’ll get to that in a later post.) FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Local trains pass on opposite sides of the Rhein, both were in motion. (as were the clouds!)
Local trains pass on opposite sides of the Rhein, both were in motion. (as were the clouds!)
A wink of sun north of Bingen. Would this be a more interesting image if the train was closer, but bathed in shadow?
A wink of sun north of Bingen. Would this be a more interesting image if the train were closer, but bathed in shadow?

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Double-headed Empty Coal Trains

Pairs of red electrics leading more or less uniform consists of coal cars make for great subjects as they wind their way along the supremely scenic Rhein Valley.

Most locomotive-hauled trains traversing Germany’s Rhein Valley work with just a single locomotive, and an ever-greater number of passenger trains use electric multiple units.

By comparison to continual parade of these more common trains, dual-red electrics on coal trains/and empties are relatively rare, and only make an appearance every few hours (often just after you move to change locations).

Here I display two empty trains train, both exposed on 10 September 2015. The first is a morning view on the Left Bank with a pair of DB class 185 electrics, the second is in the evening on the Right Bank across from Oberwesel.

Both feature scenery and sunlight.

Glorious clear morning sun makes for a post card view of DB 185s passing Boppard-Hertenach on the Left Bank. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Glorious clear morning sun makes for a post card view of DB 185s passing Boppard-Hertenach on the Left Bank. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Late in the day, a pair of elderly class 151 Co-Co electrics lead empties exiting a tunnel opposite Oberwesel. Within half and hour the sun had dropped below the ridge line, leaving this scene in shadow. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Late in the day, a pair of elderly class 151 Co-Co electrics lead empties exiting a tunnel opposite Oberwesel. Within half an hour the sun had dropped below the ridge line, leaving this scene in shadow. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Freight with Castle, Rudesheim

There’re some locations that just jump out at you. This view of the Rhein’s Right Bank is one of them. The combination of the river with vineyards rising above punctuated by the ruins of a medieval castle make for a postcard view.

The railway is an added bonus. Red Die Bahn locomotives are a nice touch. It helps to have bright afternoon sun.

DB_Doubleheaded_Chemicals_train_w_Castle_near-Rudesheim_DSCF2152

DB_185_Freight_across_Rhein_w_Castle_near-Rudesheim_DSCF2165Exposed near Rudesheim, Germany using my FujiFilm X-T1

 

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Heavy Load Rolls Along the Rhein—You don’t see this every day!

Four photos!

There we were, poised at Filsen on the Right Bank line anticipating a northward train, but not knowing what would come around the bend next.

Previously, my attention to the signals, had revealed that once the signal cleared to green, a train would pass within 3-5 minutes. However, more than 8 minutes had passed. I wondered what was the cause of the delay.

Then, we were surprised by a lone DB class 145 electric hauling an exceptional load: twenty axles distributed the weight of this Schnabel railcar.

Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

DB_transformer_car_at_Filsen_close_DSCF2342

Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

While this was not what I expected to see on the move, my cameras were ready to record what passed. In addition to these digital images, I exposed a 35mm colour slide for posterity.

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Flirts along the Rhein

 

Flirt at Kaub, Germany. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera from platform level using the positionable rear display.
Flirt at Kaub, Germany. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera from platform level using the positionable rear display.

Right Bank passenger services are largely provided by Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbahn. Trains are operated by VIAS Gmbh as Stadt-Expresses use Stadler Flirt electric multiple units and make local stops between the Koblenz Hbf (on the Left Bank) and the Frankfurt area.

Every hour all day long (with half hourly intervals at peak times) these modern Flirts glide along the supremely scenic Rhein Valley, working between the seemingly continuous parade of freights on the same line.

The cars stand out nicely against lush back drops and make for interesting photographic subjects. The tricky part is selecting the correct exposure to avoid over-exposing the lightly coloured trains.

A northward Flirt approaches Filsen. This early morning service catches the glint of the rising sun. Mist is the air makes for added atmosphere, but complicates the exposure. Here I've opted to set the exposure manually to retain highlight-detail on the side of the train. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A northward Flirt approaches Filsen. This early morning service catches the glint of the rising sun. Mist in the air makes for added atmosphere, but complicates the exposure. Here I’ve opted to set the exposure manually to retain highlight-detail on the side of the train. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A grab shot of a Flirt exposed with my Lumix south of the famous Loreley Rocks.
A grab shot of a Flirt exposed with my Lumix south of the famous Loreley Rocks.
I was focused on the tug boat when this Flirt emerged from the tunnel at Oberwesel. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
I was focused on the tug boat when this Flirt emerged from the tunnel at Oberwesel. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Another angle from Oberwesel, this view from the top of an old stone tower that was part of the city walls. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Another angle from Oberwesel, this view from the top of an old stone tower that was part of the city walls. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
View from the Right Bank opposite Oberwesel. Lumix LX7 photo.
View from the Right Bank opposite Oberwesel. Lumix LX7 photo.
Flirt near Bingen. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Flirt near Bingen. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Glinty Flirt reflects in the Rhein near Kaub. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Glinty Flirt reflects in the Rhein near Kaub. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

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Tracking the Light Special Post: Refugee Train in Germany—September 2015.

Every so often, events in the news play a role in my daily photography. Last week, I was waiting with my friends for a Regional Express on the platform at Mainz, Germany, when an unscheduled train of InterCity carriages arrived.

There was no destination given on the depart boards.

The doors did not open.

No announcement was made.

Exposed hand-held with FujiFilm X-T1 and 27mm lens.
Exposed hand-held with FujiFilm X-T1 and 27mm lens.

DB_Special_at_Mainz_DSCF6830 DB_Special_at_Mainz_DSCF6822

A glance at the passengers on-board told the story. This was a trainload of refugees operated by DB AG as part of a greater humanitarian effort in Germany.

Seeing the people on board, appearing weary and exhausted, I thought of my own ancestors, who more than a century ago fled their home countries to seek a better life.

In the case of last week’s passengers, DB provided a nice comfortable train for this portion of their journey.

After a few minutes pause, the nameless service was on its way again.

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The International Railway Journal featured an article on the refugee trains.

See: http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/europe/db-uses-100-trains-to-transport-22000-refugees.html?channel=

Exceptionally Busy Double Track—September 12, 2015—Dozens of photos!

Die Bahn/Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) operates an intensive nation-wide railway network. The traffic on many lines is impressive.

Conveying volume in photographs is perhaps best done with image sequences.

On the morning of September 12, 2015, Stephen Hirsch, Denis McCabe, Gerry Conmy and I arrived at the Bonn-Beuel station (located on the Right Bank line between Koln and Koblenz) to make a few photographs.

Our choice of locations was fortuitous. As it turned out, planned line works at the Bonn Hauptbahnhof on the Left Bank line had resulted in diversions, and this normally busy line was pushed to its potential capacity.

In addition to the normal half-hourly passenger service and parade of freights, the line was also handling InterCity and EuroCity long distance express trains, plus a mix of freights that might ordinarily use the Left Bank route.

In addition to the two main tracks, Bonn-Beuel has passing loops (passing sidings), which were well used this day. In several instances, a train was held on the main track, while higher priority traffic was routed via the loops around it.

This selection of images is intended to demonstrate how DB handled a mix of traffic on a double track mainline; keep in mind that stopping passenger trains and freights coexisted on the same route.

I’ve included the time that each photograph was exposed, and organized them in chronological order.

10:35 am. Looking south at Bonn-Beuel. A freight is in the loop, a diverted IC train is northbound, while an diverted IC is accelerating away from the station in the distance.
10:35 am. Looking south at Bonn-Beuel. A freight is in the loop, a diverted IC train is northbound, while another diverted IC, southbound,  is seen accelerating away from the station in the distance.
10:36 am.
10:36 am.
10:36 am.
10:36 am.
10:38 am.
10:38 am.
10:39 am.
10:39 am.
10:42 am. Notice the freight rolling away on the near line in the distance. I 'm sorry to say I missed the coming on shot, as I was distracted by the other two freights coming toward me.
10:42 am. Notice the southbound freight rolling away on the near line in the distance. I ‘m sorry to say I missed the coming on shot, as I was distracted by the other two freights coming toward me. (One is hidden by the southbound)
10:42 am.
10:42 am.
10:47 am.
10:47 am.
10:53 am.
10:53 am.
10:56 am.
10:56 am.
10:59 am.
10:59 am.
11:02 am.
11:02 am.
11:06 am.
11:06 am.
11:06 am.
11:06 am.

I decided to relocate to the island platform, as this offered a better angle for the sun.

11:10 am. Looking north at a southward EC train bound for Switzerland.
11:10 am. Looking north at a southward EC train bound for Switzerland.
11:11 am.
11:11 am.
11:13 am.
11:13 am.
11:14 am.
11:14 am.
11:17 am.
11:17 am.
11:18 am.
11:18 am.
11:18 am.
11:18 am.
11:21 am.
11:21 am.
11:24 am.
11:24 am.
11:24 am.
11:24 am.
11:27 am.
11:27 am.
11:27 am.
11:27 am.
11:29 am.
11:29 am.
11:32 am.
11:32 am. Regional express arrives.
11:33 am. Regional Express departs.
11:33 am. Regional Express departs.
11:35 am.
11:35 am. Southward IC arrives at Bonn-Beuel.
11:36 am. Panoramic composite of a DB class 101 with southward IC train.
11:36 am. Panoramic composite of a DB class 101 with southward IC train.
11:38 am.
11:38 am.
11;40 am. Notice the southward freight passing in the distance. Obviously my view of this was blocked by the passenger train.
11;40 am. Notice the southward freight passing in the distance. Obviously my view of this was blocked by the passenger train.

To avoid getting blocked again, I walked further south along the platform.

11:47.
11:47.
11:48 am.
11:48 am.
1150am_Green_class_140_Bonn-Beuel_DSCF2851
11:50 am. An old DB Class 140 in heritage olive green paint.
11:53 am.
11:53 am.
11:59 am.
11:59 am.

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TRAXX Roll Freight at Kaub—September 11, 2015

The Right Bank of the Rhein is a busy freight corridor. Trains run in waves, and often follow each other several minutes apart on their north-south journey across Germany.

Kaub station sits wedged into a hillside with a castle above, and a sweeping curve to the south. In the afternoon, the sun swings around, which makes it a great place to photograph trains on the move.

Bombardier’s TRAXX locomotives family includes several classes of electrics. While the DB red class 185s may seen repetitive, open access operations make for a bit of variety. It seems that there’s always another freight working its way up or down the Rhein Valley. And this provides an opportunity to refine photographic angles and technique.

Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.
Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.
Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.
Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.
Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.
Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.
VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.
VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.
5:24pm.
Kaub, 5:24pm.
Kaube, 5:28 pm.
Kaub, 5:28 pm.
Southward empty auto train at Kaub, 5:40 pm.
Southward empty auto train at Kaub, 5:40 pm.
Swiss BLS intermodal train at Kaub, 5:58 pm.
Swiss BLS intermodal train at Kaub, 5:58 pm.

I made this selection using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Extra Post—Freight from the St. Goar-St. Goarhausen Rhein Ferry.

The wonders of technology! I’m writing and posting this from a bus on the roll. The bus offers better WiFi than I have in my apartment.

Anyway, here’s a view I made from the Rhein ferry looking down river toward the famous Loreley Rock on Wednesday September 9, 2015.

Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1. One of the great features of this camera is the active level in the viewfinder. Such a tool aids making level images from a boat!

St Goar, Germany.
St Goar, Germany.

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Blue and Silver Electric at Speed—September 10, 2015.

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The fine art of the pacing shot was perfected many years ago. In the steam era, Jim Shaughnessy and others paced big steam across the prairies and grasslands in a quest for dramatic images.

I was traveling along the west bank of the Rhein a couple of days ago with Denis McCabe, Stephen Hirsch and Gerry Conmy.

The railway here is exceptionally busy. The sun was bright and we were searching for photographic locations.

‘Green signal. Southbound.’

A minute later, ‘there’s a train overtaking us!’

I unrolled the window, switched my Lumix on, set it to ISO 80 at f8 and used the ‘A’ (aperture priority) mode, and exposed this series of images in rapid succession.

Lumix LX7 photo, south of Boppard, Germany on September 10, 2015.
Lumix LX7 photo, south of Boppard, Germany on September 10, 2015.
Lumix LX7 photo, south of Boppard, Germany on September 10, 2015.
Lumix LX7 photo, south of Boppard, Germany on September 10, 2015.

P1310673

By using the  settings described above, I allowed the camera meter to adjust the exposure to compensate for changing lighting conditions, while insuring the slowest possible shutter speed to maximize the effect of background blur.

Complicating the exposure was the reflective silver paint.

Other than scaling for internet presentation, I have not altered these images in post processing.

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Tracking the Light EXTRA: Taurus, Intermodal, and the River Rhein—September 10, 2015

Yesterday (September 10, 2015)  was an exceptionally clear and bright day in the Rhein Valley.

The conditions were ideal for photographing across the river, which opened up numerous photo locations.

Gerry Conmy, Dennis McCabe, Stephen Hirsch and I selected this view near St. Goarhausen. Behind us is the double track west bank (or ‘Left Bank’) line.

In addition to DB (Deutsche Bahn—Germany Railways), there a great variety of private and open access operators on the Rhein Valley lines.

I used my Lumix LX7 to capture a southward freight led by a Siemens Taurus electric against an impressive cliff-face as intermodal ships pass in the river. There’s always something interesting to watch alone the Rhein. This was just one of dozens of trains we photographed yesterday.

Southward freight near St. Goarhausen, Germany, September 10, 2015.
Southward freight near St. Goarhausen, Germany, September 10, 2015.
Southward freight near St. Goarhausen, Germany, September 10, 2015.
Southward freight near St. Goarhausen, Germany, September 10, 2015.

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Yellow Rabbit with a Stone Tower; Oberwesel—8 September 2015

Germany’s Rhein valley is one of my favorite places to photograph railways.

Here dual double track lines operate on either side of the river, and wind among stunning scenery, with castles and medieval architecture.

The variety of trains makes it even better. I never know what to expect next.

How about a a yellow rabbit in work train service?

(Germany’s class 215, 216, 217, and 218 diesels have become known as ‘rabbits’ because of their unusual exhaust stacks.)

Exposed with a Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless camera. File modified in post processing to control contrast and adjust exposure.
Exposed with a Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless camera. File modified in post processing to control contrast and adjust exposure. Note the Right Bank line on the far side of the Rhein.

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Bonn-Beuel Revisited—3 photos.

Way back in August 1998, I was visiting a friend in Bonn for a few days. One warm evening I took the tram across the Rhein to Bonn-Beuel bahnhof on the heavily used right bank (east bank) line.

Fast forward 17 years: Along with my friends Denis McCabe, Gerry  Conmy and Stephen Hirsch, I revisited this location.

The trams still stop in front of the DB railway station, and it looks much the way I remember it.

LX7 photo.
LX7 photo, September 4, 2015.
LX7 photo.
LX7 photo.
LX7 photo.
LX7 photo, September 4, 2015.

Tracking the Light posts new material all the time.

Vineyard View at Hatzenport, Mosel Valley, Germany, September 5, 2015.

 

Terraced vineyards and stunning scenery make for a picturesque setting to photograph trains.

Looking west at Hatzenport, Germany.
Looking west at Hatzenport, Germany.

Using my Lumix LX7, I framed up the all-stops DB local train with some grapes in the foreground and an 18th century church in the distance.

The Lumix lens offers excellent depth of field, camera controls permit precision focusing.

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Modern Day Interurban

On September 3, 2015, I made this photo of an interurban electric from Bonn gliding along the streets of Köln.

The Bonn and Köln tram systems are linked via interurban connections.

Exposed digitally using a Fuji X-T1 mirrorless camera.
Exposed digitally using a Fuji X-T1 mirrorless camera.

One hundred years ago the Bay State Electric Railway was one of the most extensive interurban electric networks in the world. Today it is all but unknown. Yet, Interurban lines survive in Germany.

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German Panorama—Looking Down on Köln.

The KölnTriangle building in Köln Deutz on the east bank of the Rhein offers a magnificent view of the railway bridge and the famous Dom.

A few days ago, Gerry Conmy, Stephen Hirsch, Denis McCabe and I spent about an hour watching the trains here. To the northeast is the Köln Deutz Bahnhof and a maze of related trackage. Beyond is a junction and a yard.

From above, it’s like an enormous model railway.

LX7 photo.
LX7 photo.

Photography is challenging because of the plate glass barricades in the roof garden. I largely overcame difficulties with reflections and dirt by using a very wide aperture and holding the camera lens as close as possible to the glass, while shading the camera with my hand.

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