Tag Archives: Great Northern

Trains Magazine Podcast: Conversations with Brian Solomon: Episode 13

Check out my most recent pod cast on the Trains Magazine Website.


Conversations with Brian Solomon, Episode 13

I chatted with Trains’ former Senior Graphic Designer Drew Halverson about train-watching and railroading. Topics include favorite paint schemes, the true meaning of the West, and what’s cool in modern railroading.

Drew and I talked about the appeal of Western skies. Back in July 1994, I exposed this Kodachrome slide of BN grain trains meeting near the summit of Marias Pass on the former Great Northern in Montana. Note my low angle which allows you to see steel wheels on steel rails that helps define the train in silhouette.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily, sometimes Twice!

Great Northern Railway 85 at Killarney.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland operated a steam charter last week using former Great Northern Railway engine  85 Merlin.

Rich afternoon sun and a colourful train made for easy photos at Killarney on 3 September 2018.

These views were among the digital photos I exposed with my FujiFilm XT1.

I was playing with scale and focus while working with the light to make the most of shadows.

Which is your favorite?

Learn more about the RPSI: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday.

Coming and Going: The Belfast-Dublin Enterprise on the old Great Northern Line near Mosney

There’s a lightly used road bridge over Irish Rail’s old Great Northern line south of the former station at Mosney that offers a clean view in both directions.

The Irish Sea is in the distance to the east.

A week ago David Hegarty and I spent a few hours here making photos of passing trains.

The Enterprise is a cross-border service connecting Belfast and Dublin. Trains are arranged in a push-pull configuration with the locomotive at the Belfast-end. Exposed at 1/1000th of a second to minimize motion blur.

Trailing view: Exposed at 1/1000th of a second to minimize motion blur.

I made these views using my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a fixed focal length 27mm pancake lens, which offers an angle of view rough equivalent to a 41mm lens on a traditional 35mm film camera. In other words it is a slightly wide-angle perspective.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Kodachrome with Montana’s Big Sky

Big Sky on the old Great Northern
Changing skies on Montana’s Marias Pass. On July 6, 1994, an eastward intermodal train approaches Grizzly on the former Great Northern mainline. I exposed this image less than a week after announcement of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe merger. Nikon F3T with f1.8 105mm lens; exposed on Kodachrome 25.

Montana Rail Link light helpers on Mullen Pass, July 9, 1994. Kodachrome 25 film exposed with a Nikon F3T with 35mm PC lens.
Montana Rail Link light helpers on the former Northern Pacific grade over Mullen Pass, west of Helena, Montana on July 9, 1994. Kodachrome 25 film exposed with a Nikon F3T with 35mm PC lens.

Look up, take in the heavens and transform a railway scene in to a cosmic image. That’s a theory anyway. During my 1994 visit to Montana, I was awed by the amazing skies for which the state is famous. Big sky and wide-open vistas can make for impressive railway images, yet getting the balance between right between atmosphere and railway is no easy chore. Here, I’m offering two of my most successful attempts. Both were exposed on Kodachrome 25 using my Nikon F3T. The peculiarities of Kodachrome’s spectral sensitivity made it a great medium for working with textural skies and dramatic lighting. Not only did Kodachrome 25 benefit from exceptional dynamic range, but also the way it translated blue light I found conducive to dramatic images featuring impressive skies.

While these slides look great when projected on a screen, and both were successfully reproduced in my 2005 book Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, I found they required a bit of adjustment using Adobe Photoshop to make them look good on the computer screen.

Different tools yield different results and I wonder how I might I use my Canon 7D or Lumix LX-3 in similar lighting situations.

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