On Thursday 28 February 2019 at 7:30 pm, I’ll be giving my slide presentation on General Motors Diesel-Electric Locomotives in North America at the Irish Railway Record Society premises near Heuston Station in Dublin.
This venue is about a two to five minute walk from the station platforms opposite the car park.
This is a variation on the program I gave in Cork last October.
I’ll will present grand selection of REAL 35mm colour slides detailing General Motors Electro-Motive Division diesels at work and will cover numerous models on many different railroads, and feature some dramatic locomotive photography.
The other evening I made a few handheld photos of Irish Rail class 201 diesel number 217 River Fleskat Dublin’s Heuston Station.
217 was working a Mark4 set on the 2100 schedule to Cork.
There are myriad approaches to night photography. In this instance, I worked with my Lumix LX7 without a tripod.
I’m fortunate because I have an unusually steady hand. The Lumix further aids my efforts because it has image stabilization.
I set the camera to ISO 200, and working in ‘A’ (aperture priority) I manually set the lens aperture to its widest opening, which in this case is f1.8. The wider the aperture, the more light passes through the lens to reach the sensor, so having a ‘fast’ lens (one with a small maximum aperture number, such as my f1.8 lens) is a huge benefit.
This set up allowed me work with a 1/10 of second shutter speed, which is adequate speed for a static photograph.
If I had been using my FujiFilm XT1 with the kit zoom lens, my widest aperture would have been about f4.5, which is nearly two full stops slower than f1.8, which means at ISO200, I’d require about ½ second exposure to obtain a comparable result, which is too slow for a sharp handheld image in most instances.
Another way of approaching this would be raise the ISO. So with the FujiFilm set up just described, I could increase the ISO setting to 800, which would boost the effective sensitivity of the sensor by two stops (bringing me back up to 1/10thof a second using f4.5). However, this would also boost the noise level and reduce sharpness.
Back in the old days, I would have used Kodachrome, and that would have required a tripod, and probably some filters to colour-correct for the artificial light. Today, digital cameras when set to ‘auto white balance’ do an admirable job of balancing the colour for fluorescent, sodium vapor and other forms of artificial light that tend to tint an image.
Normally for night work with the Lumix, I’d dial in a 1/3 over exposure compensation (+ 1/3 on the exposure compensation dial) however in this situation the relatively bright night sky where low cloud was illuminated by lots of artificial light combined with the silver body of the locomotive and bright platform lighting, obviated the need for boosting the exposure by 1/3 of a stop.
However, I did make some very subtle changes in post processing to help visually separate the roof of the locomotive from the sky.
As the sunset on Dublin, Monday a week ago (15 October 2018), I used my FujiFilm X-T1 to expose several series of silhouettes as LUAS trams crossed the old Kingsbridge (now formally Sean Heuston Bridge) over the River Liffey.
My goal was to capture the rays of sun bursting through the windows of the tram cars.
I only had a few minutes where the sun was in the optimal position, and luckily LUAS was operating trams on short headways, so I had several opportunities.
My camera was set for ‘turbo flutter’ (continuous high or ‘ch’ on the left-hand dial) which exposes a rapid burst of images when pressing the shutter button.
By exposing for the sky and sun, I allowed the shadows to become an inky black. Using the smallest aperture (f22 on my 90mm lens) creates the sunburst effect while also allowing for better definition of the sun in the sky.
Below are two views of Irish Rail’s 071 with a ballast train at the old Guinness sidings at Dublin’s Heuston Station.
This locomotive has been popular with photographers since its repainting in the 1970s heritage livery last year.
What I’m trying to demonstrate here are the various effects of lighting and technique. One view was made on black & white film in the fading daylight of early evening. The other is a digital colour photo exposed the following morning.
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.