Tag Archives: glint

Cape Glint Captured Digitally!

I made these trailing views of Cape Cod Central’s Dinner Train at Sagamore, Massachusetts in the final minutes of direct sun.

The broad open channel of the Cape Cod Canal adjacent to the railroad plus an open area with minimal shadowing caused by line-side brush and structures made for an ideal place to capture the low-evening sun reflected off the classic passenger cars.

I exposed a burst of photos with my Fujifilm XT1 digital camera with 18-135mm Fujinon zoom set at approximately 50mm.

Exposed at f22 1/125th second at ISO 200. Camera RAW file adjusted in Lightroom to control contrast and maximize highlight detail with slight balancing/lightening of shadows.
Next frame in the sequence. Exposed at f22 1/125th second at ISO 200. This is the camera produced JPG with Velvia color profile, and except for scaling for internet was without post-processing altering or adjustment.

Exposed at f22 1/125thsecond at ISO 200. Raw file adjusted in Lightroom to control contrast and maximize highlight detail with slight balancing/lightening of shadows.

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Working With Glint: Cherry Orchard and a Late Running Liner.

Last week, Irish Rail operated a late IWT liner that departed Dublin in the evening, instead on its normal mid-morning path.

A group of my friends went to Cherry Orchard in the west Dublin suburbs to capture this relatively unusual move. While waiting for the freight, I made views of the evening passenger parade.

The sky was clear of clouds and sun was aligned with the Cork line making some interesting possibilities of glint and silhouette photographs.

In the 1990s, I exposed hundreds of images in this type of dramatic lighting conditions. The characteristics of Kodachrome 25 slide film made it well suited to glint photographs and I had my K25 exposures refined to a high art.

Glint photographs are more difficult to capture digitally, and I find that I have to control contrast and use digital masks/digital applied graduated neutral density filters in post processing to obtain the results that I expect.

An up-cork with a Mark 4 push-pull set catches the evening glint at Cherry Orchard.
I made this view of a down road Intercity Railcar from the north side of the line.

 

Irish Rail’s IWT liner roars toward the setting sun.
Glint light is an excellent means of capturing the drama of railways in motion.

Key to this exercise is underexposing a raw file sufficiently to retain detail in the sky and glinty areas of the image, than lighten shadows while making localized highlight adjustments in post processing.

These photos were made using my FujiFilm X-T1.

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NJ Transit with Soft Glint—a Lesson in Light

Air pollution, fluffy clouds and very low sun can create some wonderful soft lighting.

Evening glint is a fleeting ephemeral condition.

The Northeast Corridor in central New Jersey is an ideal place to make use of soft glint.

Long tangent sections of track, a favorable north-east to southwest alignment and ample quantities of air-pollution plus very frequent service, allow for excellent opportunities as the light shifts and fades.

I made these photographs at Jersey Avenue in New Brunswick.

Exposed using anFujiFilm X-T1 digital camera with 18-135mm lens. Camera set at ISO 1000, 1/180 of a second at f7.1. Here I’ve set the white balance to ‘auto’, however typically I recommend that for glint photography a white balance setting for ‘daylight’ will yield redder more impressive photos.
ISO 1250, f5.6 1/250th using the Fujifilm ‘Velvia’ color profile, with white balance set to ‘auto’.

Getting the exposure right is crucial for successful glint photos.

I usually use manual settings. I’ve found that when exposing for glint light it is important pay careful attention to the highlight  and shadow areas.

I avoid clipping the highlights (as result of over exposure), but also make sure that I don’t stop down (reducing the amount of light reaching the sensor ) too much, which will make the shadows completely opaque.

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New Brunswick in the Razor Shaft of Glint.

Over the shoulder light is easy to work with but doesn’t always make for the most dramatic images. When possible, I like to find dramatic lighting and to see what I can make of it.

So here we have an unusual, captivating and difficult lighting situation.

Looking down the New Brunswick, New Jersey station, fellow photographer Pat Yough and I found this brief shaft of light made by the setting winter sun.

Luckily during the few minutes where sun penetrated New Jersey’s concrete canyons we had a flurry of trains to catch the glint.

NJ Transit train 7004 has an electric at the back of the consist. I like the way a bit of reflected light catches the front of the engine.
The old Pennsylvania Railroad station at New Brunswick, New Jersey seems out of place with the modern buildings that now surround it. This view focuses on the classic architecture.
NJ Transit 3856 is bound for New York City.
Boxy double deck coaches make for an interesting composition. The stainless-steel sides catch the glint nicely.
Amtrak train 186 races eastward through New Brunswick as NJ Transist 3937 departs the outbound platform.

I made these images with my FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a Lee 0.9 graduated neutral density filter to hold sky detail. I made nominal adjustments to shadow and highlight contrast to improve the overall appearance of the images.

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Pan Am catches the Glint at East Deerfield Yard on July 30, 2013.

Pan Am 603 catches the glint at East Deerfield, Massachusetts on this day (July 30) three years ago (2013). Canon 7D image adjusted in Lightroom to reduce contrast.
Pan Am 603 catches the glint at East Deerfield, Massachusetts on this day (July 30) three years ago (2013). Canon 7D image adjusted in Lightroom to reduce contrast.

Notice that by working with low sun and cropping the sky, I’ve  made an early evening image seem almost like a night time view.

Hint: it really helps to view this post on Tracking the Light to avoid cropping and get the details.

Tracking the Light is on auto pilot while Brian is traveling.

New posts every day!

Acela Coming and Going; Alternative Views at Madison, Connecticut-June 23, 2016.

On a previous visit to Madison, Connecticut, I noted that a long lens would work well in the curve east of the Shore Line East station.

In earlier posts, I presented examples of Amtrak’s Acela against a sunset sky; and a wide-angle view of it blitzing the station. See; Acela Sunset: Miracles of Digital by working with a RAW File and Amtrak Acela at Speed; when one thousandth of a second isn’t fast enough.

The other day Pat Yough showed me some examples he made with his digital Nikon of trains glinting in the curve at Madison. Since to emulate this effort, I’d require a longer focal length lens than I have for my FujiFilm X-T1, I opted to fire up my Canon 7D with a 200mm lens, and joined Pat for another evening’s photography on the Shore Line route.

Often I find that by making repeated trips through the same territory will allow me to make the most of my photography. I can learn where the light and shadow fall, how the railroad operates, and how to work with the various elements at hand to make the most effective images. If I miss something or make a mistake on one trip; I learn from it and armed with this knowledge try again.

I made this dramatic glint photo using my Canon EOS 7D with a 200mm lens. The camera's smaller sensor size which contributes to the telescopic effect. Using 35mm film camera, this view would required a lens length of approximately 280mm.
I made this dramatic glint photo using my Canon EOS 7D with a 200mm lens. The camera’s smaller sensor size contributes to the telescopic effect. If I were using a 35mm film camera, this view would required a lens length of approximately 280mm. [Update; I’ve been given a revised figure of 320mm based upon Canon’s conversion 1.6 factor.]
A trailing view of Amtrak's Boston-bound Acela (train 2168) at the same curve in Madison, Connecticut.
A trailing view of Amtrak’s Boston-bound Acela (train 2168) at the same curve in Madison, Connecticut.

In this situation, I needed a longer lens to make the image work. However since the sun is only sets on the north side of the tracks here for a few weeks, I needed to act while the light was right.

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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).

Tracking the Light posts everyday.

 

 

Amtrak 137 Catches the Glint at West Haven.

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light is a Daily Blog discussing Railway Photography.

Another set from the old school: On January 29, 2016 at West Haven, Connecticut, I exposed a series of Fujichrome color slides of Amtrak train 137 (Boston to Washington) using my Canon EOS-3 with 40mm pancake lens.

Amtrak train number 137 on the old New Haven Railroad electrified mainline at West Haven, Connecticut.
Amtrak train number 137 on the old New Haven Railroad electrified mainline at West Haven, Connecticut.
Notice the red marker lamps at the back.
Notice the red marker lamps at the back. The trick in exposing a slide in these circumstances is to calculate exposure from the brighter areas of the sky rather than the darker areas of the ground. It is crucial to anticipate the effects of the glinting reflection, as these only last for a few moments yet are integral to the quality of the image.

I’ve found that Fujichrome works very well capturing the wide dynamic range and subtle colors of a stainless-steel train reflecting the sunset.

I scanned these slides using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 scanner. The files will be ultimately be archived in three locations on portable high-capacity external hard drives, while the slide will be stored with my other film photographs in a cool dark place.

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Classic Chrome: Amtrak train 88 catches the Glint at Green’s Farms, November 8, 2015.

I love a great sunset glint opportunity. Last autumn, I revisited this spot at Green’s Farms, Connecticut with Pat Yough and George W. Kowanski.

While I exposed a number of views digitally, for this image I used my Canon EOS 3 with 100mm lens. As the train glided toward me I exposed a sequence of color slides on Fujichrome Provia 100F.

I scanned the slides using a Epson V750 Pro flatbed scanner and adjusted the TIF files in Lightroom for final presentation here.

It is imposable to anticipate how this image will looks on your individual computer screen/device, but I can say it sure looked stunning on the big screen projected by a Leica lens!

Amtrak train 88 catches the glint at Green’s Farms at 4:15pm on November 8, 2015. Provia 100F.
Amtrak train 88 catches the glint at Green’s Farms at 4:15pm on November 8, 2015. Provia 100F.

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Charlotte, North Carolina June 1, 2014.

On June 1, 2014, Pat Yough and I traveled on the Carolinian from Charlotte to the Philadelphia area. We were returning from a successful visit to the North Carolina Transportation Museum’s Streamliners at Spencer event. The train departed Charlotte on time. I enjoyed the service, but I can’t say I endorse North Carolina’s gratuitous air-line style boarding procedures.

As I write this, I’m putting the finishing touches on a book that will feature photography from that adventure (and many others). Tomorrow I fly to Köln, Germany with some Irish friends to begin ten days exploration of the Rhein and Mosel Valleys. During that time Tracking the Light will continue to post daily, but will be on ‘auto-pilot’ for a while. Stay tuned!

Amtrak's Carolinian catches the glint of the morning sun at Charlotte, North Carolina.
Amtrak’s Carolinian catches the glint of the morning sun at Charlotte, North Carolina.

Tracking the Light posts new material routinely

DAILY POST: Quaboag River Sunset, June 1986

Conrail’s GE C30-7As catch the Glint.

Conrail at Palmer.
At 7:00 pm on June 17, 1986, I used my dad’s Rollei T to capture this image of Conrail eastward freight SEBO-B crossing the Quaboag River bridge west of Palmer, Massachusetts.

In early summer 1986, Conrail was weeks away from converting the Boston & Albany route from a traditional directional double track mainline to a single-track line under the control of CTC-style signals with cab-signal. The first section to be cut-over to the new control system was between Palmer to Springfield, Massachusetts.

Among the results of this change was the abandonment and eventual lifting of the old westward main train west of Palmer.

I was well aware of this pending change and had been documenting Conrail’s work in the area over the preceding months.

On the evening of June 17, 1986, I focused on the westward main track at the Quaboag River bridge just west of the Palmer diamond as Conrail’s eastward SEBO-B dropped down the short grade toward the Palmer yard.

While the train adds interest to the scene; my main focus was the track in the foreground that would soon be gone. I made a variety of images in this area on the weeks up to Conrail’s cut-over day.

Photographing directly into the clear summer sun produced a painterly abstraction. I’ve allowed some flare to hit the camera’s lens which obscures shadow detail and makes for a dream-like quality.

Years after I exposed this frame, I moved to California where I met photographers that had perfected this photographic technique. Interestingly, railroad photographers had been using backlighting to good advantage for a long time. In  searching through archives I’ve come across fine examples of Fred Jukes’ and Otto Perry’s works with similar backlighting effects.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

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Daily Post: Zephyr Glints on the Chicago Raceway


Amtrak’s California Zephyr on the last lap to Chicago.

Last Saturday afternoon, Chris Guss, Pat Yough and I finished up a day’s photography on the former Burlington ‘Triple Track’ around La Grange, Illinois.

We inspected Metra’s Congress Park Station, which consists of two narrow platforms along the busy mainline. Here the sun held a little longer than other places where trees were causing difficult shadows.

An outbound Metra scoot accelerates toward Congress Park, Illinois on November 9, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
An outbound Metra scoot accelerates toward Congress Park, Illinois on November 9, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Trailing view of a Metra train at Congress Park.  Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Trailing view of a Metra train at Congress Park. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

Shortly before sundown, we caught an outward Metra train. An automated voice announced that this train wouldn’t stop. After it passed, I spotted a headlight on the horizon. Mistaking this for a relatively slow moving freight, I returned to the car for a longer lens.

Pat Yough shouted to me, as the train was approaching quickly. I hastily returned to the platform, making test exposures as I ran.

The resulting photos are what our friend Tim Doherty calls ‘Hail Marys.’ I had just enough time to compose and pop off a few frames as the Zephyr blew through Congress Park.

 Amtrak Number 6, the California Zephyr approaches Congress Park, Illinois at sunset on November 9, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. 400 ISO 1/500th second at f5.6
Amtrak Number 6, the California Zephyr approaches Congress Park, Illinois at sunset on November 9, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. 400 ISO 1/500th second at f5.6. As the train got closer I adjusted my exposure (see below).
A slightly closer view. with my Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. 400 ISO 1/500th second at f9. I adjusted my exposure as the train was bearing down on me. By 'stopping down' from f5.6 to f9, I reduced the amount of light hitting the sensor. This enhances the glint effect on the side of the train and better retains detail and color in the sky, but results in a very dark locomotive front. I can work with the RAW file in Photoshop to boost shadow detail, and perhaps I'll play with this image at a later date.
A slightly closer view with my Canon EOS 7D and 200mm lens. Set at: 400 ISO 1/500th second at f9. I adjusted my exposure as the train was bearing down on me. By ‘stopping down’ from f5.6 to f9, I reduced the amount of light hitting the sensor. This enhances the glint effect on the side of the train and better retains detail and color in the sky, but results in a very dark locomotive front. I can work with the RAW file in Photoshop to boost shadow detail, and perhaps I’ll play with this image at a later date.

Amtrak Number 6, the California Zephyr approaches Congress Park, Illinois at sunset on November 9, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please spread the word and share Tracking the Light with anyone who may enjoy seeing it!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

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