In 1998 on a visit to the Irish Railway Record Society Dublin premises, I took a few minutes to photograph from the far end of platform five. I recall, that at the time, this area was accessible without the need to pass through the main station nor transit a ticket barrier. This was four years before construction of platforms six, seven and eight.
Working with a Nikon F3T fitted with an old non AI f2.8 135mm lens, I exposed this Fujichrome Sensia (ISO 100) colour slide of a two-piece 2600 ‘Arrow’ departing Heuston for Kildare.
The Spring evening sun was setting on the north side of the tracks and heavy particulates in the air made for a red-orange tint.
I exposed the slide for the highlights by carefully examining the overall lighting situation with my handheld Sekonic Studio Deluxe light meter and setting the camera manually. This prevented gross overexposure and loss of highlight detail, while making for a relatively dark slide.
Recently, I made a multiple pass scan using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 operated with Vue Scan software, and then imported the high resolution TIF into Lightroom to adjust shadow areas for greater visual detail.
My intent was not to negate the effect of shadows, but simply to reduce the impenetrable inky effect and allow for better separation in the darker areas.
On Tuesday, 26 February 2019, working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm Fujinon telephoto, I made these digital sunset views from the windows of the Irish Railway Record Society near Dublin’s Heuston Station.
This evening 28 February 2019 at 730pm at these same IRRS premises, I’ll be presenting my traditional slide program General Motors Diesels in North America. Visitors are welcome!
In more than 20 years of photographing Irish Rail, 23 September 2018 was the first time I’d photographed a pair of 201s together on a train.
I’d been alerted by folks on the Cork-end of the railway that this unusual move was on it way to Dublin. Although the Cork – Dublin Mark 4 with 229 and 228 arrived after sunset, myself and Jay Monaghan documented this unusual occurrence at Heuston Station.
I made photos using my FujiFilm XT1 and Lumix LX7 digital cameras.
Successfully capturing unusual or unique events are among the challenges of the railway photographer.
Yesterday was a bright sunny morning in Dublin. I coordinated my walk to SuperValu at Heuston South Quarter to neatly coincide with the passage of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner.
I timed this well and only waited a few minutes at Islandbridge Junction. Rather than my normal angle from ‘the box’, I opted for an over the wall view a little further up.
Continuing along St. John’s Road toward Dublin Heuston Station, I was surprised to hear another 071. I peered over the wall to discover that Irish Rail 073 (in heritage orange paint) had come down to shunt Belmond’s Grand Hibernian.
Dashing to SuperValu, accomplished my shopping in record time, and returned trackside to catch 073 bringing the Grand Hibernianthrough the wash, and then stopped in front of me at Islandbridge Junction. As this was happening Paul Maguire sent me text to alert me that the elusive Sperry train was on its way over to me.
Minutes later, Irish Rail 076 with Sperry came across to Platform 10 where it was scheduled to run around before heading to Bray.
I walked around to Conyngham Road to catch the Sperry train on its way into the Phoenix Park Tunnel.
Using my old battle-worn Nikon F3T (yeah, that one) fitted with a 1960s-era Nikkor f.14 50mm lens, I exposed a sequence of images in the evening light at Irish Rail’s Heuston Station in Dublin.
I was especially pleased with this view of one of Irish Rail’s Mark 4 sets beneath the train shed. Low light made for contrasty silhouette with lots of texture and exceptional dynamic range.
This was exposed on Kodak Tri-X (black & white negative film) using a fairly wide aperture.
During early October 2017, I processed the film using two-stage development, initially soaking the film in an extremely dilute mix of Kodak HC110 designed to begin development while allowing great shadow detail and greater overall tonality. For my primary development, I used Ilford ID11, diluted 1-1 with water for 8 minutes at 68 degree F. This was followed by a 30 second stop bath and two fixer baths, 1st rinse, hypo-clear batch, 2nd rinse, then 8 minutes in a weak bath of selenium toner (1 to 9 with water), 10 minute final rinse and drying.
I scanned the negatives using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner, with some very nominal final adjustment using Lightroom.
Although my digital cameras feature black & white modes, and I can easily de-saturate a digital file to make a monochrome image, I don’t feel that digital imaging would yield a completely comparable image to this one made the old fashioned way.
I’m traveling to Cork on Irish Rail’s 0830 Dublin-Heuston to Tralee scheduled train.
Tomorrow (Monday October 3, 2016.), I’ll be presenting a variation of my slide program Irish Railways Looking Back Ten Years to the Cork Branch of the Irish Railway Record Society in the Metropole Hotel in Cork City at 8pm.
Here are a few views exposed with my Lumix LX7 at Heuston Station and on the train-posted LIVE from the train thanks to Irish Rail’s WiFi.
By the way, just in case anyone is curious; Irish Rail 071 in the retro ‘super train livery’ is at the yard in Portlaoise with a spoil train.
Tracking the Light is Daily!
Tracking the light will be on ‘Autopilot’ for the next couple of days, but will continue to display new material every morning.
I saw the wonderfully textured evening sky with hints of pink and orange. But what to do with this and how to best expose for it.
Working with my Lumix LX7, I exposed for the sky, controlling exposure using the +/- dial for overall ease of operation.
My intention was to retain detail in the sky, rather than risk blowing out the highlights, and then make adjustments to lighten the shadow area in post processing to compensate for an overall dark image.
Here I’ve displayed both the uncorrected file (converted from a camera RAW to a small Jpeg necessary for internet presentation) and my manipulated image.
A minor point: I’ve not ‘fixed’ these photos. Rather I applied a known technique to hold both sky detail and shadow areas, beyond what the in-camera Jpg is capable of delivering without adjustment. From the moment I released the shutter, I planned to make these adjustments.
Here we have a variation on a theme. Previously I published photos on Tracking the Light of Dublin’s LUAS specially painted Sky tram, and on a different day a panned image of a LUAS tram crossing Kings Bridge (Sean Heuston Bridge) near Heuston Station.
The other night on my way over to the Irish Railway Record Society premises (where I’m doing a bit of research in the library), I noted the one-of-a-kind Sky painted tram working outbound.
I dug my Fujifilm X-T1 out of my back pack and made a series of panned images in ‘flutter mode’ of the tram crossing the bridge at dusk.
Often, I build on past efforts, and this a good example of putting the pieces together. Visually, of course.
There’s only a few days during the year when the setting sun pierces deep into the darkness of the train shed at Heuston Station.
On the evening of September 20th, I made this image using my Lumix LX7 of the 7pm departure to Cork.
I had my camera set using the ‘A’ aperture priority mode, which automatically selects a shutter speed based on my manual selection of an f-stop. To compensate for the extreme contrast between the darkness shed roof and bright sunlight, I used the manual exposure over-ride to stop down (underexpose). This was necessary if the in-camera meter tries balances the scene it would have led to a total loss of highlight detail.
An alternative means to select the exposure, would have been to use the camera in ‘M’ mode and manually select both shutter speed and F-stop, but in this situation that would have taken too much time.
I had only a few moments to catch the Station Inspector with his arm raised to give the train the signal to depart.
To make the most of the information captured in this instant, I worked with the RAW file to make some contrast adjustments in post-processing. Using Photoshop, I adjusted contrast locally in highlight areas, while making some over all adjustments to the scene to best portray what I’d seen with my eye.
I wanted to retain the glint effect on the underside of the shed roof while making sure the relatively small silhouette of the Station Inspector wasn’t lost in the direct glow of sunlight.
After making my adjustments I export the file as a Jpg and then scaled this for internet presentation. The camera RAW file is 12.MB, much too large for presentation here, while my scaled image is just 737KB.
Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.
A railcar sunset? No, it’s not a metaphor, it really was a railcar at that time of day.
On April 15, 2014, I was passing the Heuston shed and notice that the soft orange light of the setting sun had illuminated this cavernous space. Lucky for me, there was a train approaching platform 4. (If it had been lined to any of the other platforms this photograph wouldn’t have worked.)
Using my Lumix LX3, I made this panned view. It captures the motion while helping to visually separate the front of the train from the interior ironwork. The low light allows for a pleasing glint effect without becoming overbearing or distracting.
On March 13, 2014, I bought a day-return from Dublin Heuston to Foxford, Co. Mayo, and traveled on the 7:35 am Galway train. My train was well patronized, but I had no difficulty finding a seat.
It was foggy in Dublin. Ensconced in my seat, I observed that my train departed Heuston precisely on time and soon was rolling down-road at track speed.
My train was a four-piece Rotem-built Intercity Rail Car, of the type that is now standard for most Irish Rail Intercity services.
Except for some rough spots west of Kildare, the ride quality was comfortable and smooth.
At Portarlington, we diverged from the Dublin-Cork mainline and traveled on the single track branch toward Athlone. At Clara we crossed (met) an uproad train.
I changed trains at Athone. Here another four piece ICR was waiting to continue the journey toward Co. Mayo. At Castlerea we met the Ballina-Dublin IWT liner, a train I’ve often photographed.
Upon reaching Manulla Junction, I again changed trains, this time for the 2800-series railcar that works the Ballina Branch. Years ago this would have been a single General Motors class 141/181 Bo-Bo diesel electric with a short Craven set.
When I arrived in Foxford I was met by my friend Noel Enright. We spent the rest of daylight photographing trains and visiting friends. I’ll post those adventures soon! Stay tuned.
Sometimes Hollywood film makers have this trick where after rolling the credits they save one last scene that ties the whole picture together.
Ok, so after four tries to make a satisfactory photo of Dublin’s Heuston Station lit in the Spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve finally achieved a more acceptable result.
On the previous two evenings, I’d walked to Heuston with intent of catching the station lit in green with a hit of dusk in the sky. I’d come prepared with my tripod, and stood around in the chill of evening waiting in vain for the lights to come on.
No joy there, I’m afraid. In both instances, while I made fine images of the station in the evening light, I wasn’t rewarded with the seasonal lighting.
On Thursday March 13, 2014, I arrived at Heuston by train having traveled by train from County Mayo. My train arrived after 9:30 pm and a wafting fog had settled over the city.
On exiting the station I noticed that it was bathed in green light. Finally!
I set about making photos, although I was hampered by the lack of a tripod. To brace the camera, I used various existing structures, propping it up with coins to get the desired angle.
Having previously found that automatic settings, even when adjusted for nominal over exposure, tended to result in an unacceptably dark image, I opted to set the camera manually. I made a series of images, of which this one offered the best exposure and the greatest sharpness.
All things being equal, I’d preferred to have had the camera on a tripod and a twilight quality in the western sky, but I was happy with my Paddy’s Day Heuston.
You see, I’m not so easily satisfied. Sure after four tries at this photo you’d think I’d be happy with what I just got. However, on March 15th I returned to Heuston Station one more time. I timed my arrived to allow for a hint of dusk in the western sky. And, I brought my tripod.
Saturday evening is a better time to make photos at Heuston. There’s less highway traffic and fewer people to get in the way.
I had my spots all picked out by now. I just had to go and execute the photos with the station bathed in green light. Significantly these photos are unmodified camera Jpgs. All I’ve done is scale them for presentation. It helps to have the light just right.
Dublin is a quiet place on Christmas morning. Almost everything is shut. The roads are relatively empty. The buses aren’t running. There are scant few people on the normally busy streets. And the railways are asleep.
Irish trains don’t run Christmas Day. And Dublin’s terminals are locked up tight. It’s a strange sight to see Heuston Station by daylight with nothing moving around it. This normally busy place is unnaturally quiet.
Yet, what better time to make architectural views of the 1840s-built terminal?
There are no buses or LUAS trams to interfere with the station’s classic design. Cars are relatively few. You can stand in the middle the street to compose photos with little chance of being run over.
Heuston Station (known as King’s Bridge Station until its 1966 renaming) is a multimodal transport hub. In addition to being one of Irish Rail’s primary long distance and suburban stations, it’s also an important LUAS tram stop (one of only a few with a turn-back siding) and a terminal bus stop for 145 and 747 buses.
I made this time exposure with my Lumix LX3 on Monday morning. Since I didn’t have a tripod, I set the camera on a waist-height railing and set the self timer for 2 seconds to minimize camera shake.
I had the camera set in its ‘Vivid’ color mode which enhances the blue effect of dawn while making red lights more prominent. To calculate exposure, I used the ‘A’ aperture priority setting with a +2/3 (2/3s of a stop over exposure to add light to the scene).
This override is a means of compensating for the dark background and dark sky combined with bright highlights from electric streetlight (which have a tendency to fool the camera meter).
Every so often the sun shines in Ireland. When it does, it helps to be in position to make photographs. As it happened, on Friday September 27, 2013, Colm O’Callaghan and I were at Stacumny Bridge, near Hazelhatch in suburban Dublin.
Our aim was to photograph the down IWT (International Warehousing and Transport) liner which had an 071 class diesel leading. Stacumny Bridge is a favorite location to catch down-road trains mid-morning because of the broad open view of the tracks and favorable sun angle. I’ve post photos from this location on previous occasions.
While waiting for the liner, we got word of an up road wagon transfer. And caught that a few minutes before the liner came down. Then we heard that there was a permanent way department (PWD or ‘Per way’) ballast train coming up road as well. This was one of the elusive high output ballast trains (HOBS) I’ve mentioned in other posts.
Although an annoying small cloud softened the light at Stacumny when the HOBS roared up road. We pursued the train up to Dublin and caught it again reversing into the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station.
For the all hours scouring the countryside for photos on dull days, it’s rewarding to catch a clattering of interesting action in just over an hour on a bright day. This is down to watching the weather, combined with patience and persistence and a good bit of luck.
Tomorrow: Tracking the Light looks back 13 years at Stacumny Bridge. What a change!
Tracking the Light posts new material on a daily basis.