Just a little while ago I was passing the usual place at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin. Although mostly cloudy, I took a glimpse over the wall. A horn hooted from the Phoenix Park tunnel and an Enterprise 201 eased out onto the Liffey Bridge.
As locomotive 206 approached, running light engine toward Irish Rail’s Inchicore Works, the clouds parted and brilliant morning sun illuminated the junction.
Lumix in hand, I made these photos!
Travel Notice: Brian will be traveling over the coming days and weeks, so Tracking the Light notices and responses may become infrequent. However:
On the morning of 27 March 2017, freshly painted Irish Rail class 071 locomotive number 081 worked the down IWT liner.
I made the time to catch this from my often photographed location at Islandbridge Junction near Dublin’s Heuston Station.
Among the advantages of this spot is good morning lighting on westward trains (where most other places face difficult backlighting), ample elevation and the iconic Wellington Testimonial, which is located in the Phoenix Park on the north side of the River Liffey.
Thursday morning on my way to breakfast, I made this photo of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner (Dublin to Ballina) passing Islandbridge Junction.
I timed my visit well and so only waited a few minutes for the freight to pass.
I’ve often photographed the IWT at this location, so this was really just an exercise.
Soft morning clouds made for some pleasant lighting, but also a post-processing quandary.
My FujiFilm XT1 allows me to simultaneously expose a Camera RAW file and a camera interpreted JPG. Among the features of the Fuji cameras is the ability to select a film-like colour profile for the Jpg.
In this instance I’ve opted for the Velvia profile, which closely emulates the colour and contrast of this popular slide film.
Another colour adjustment is the white balance control. In this situation I selected ‘auto white balance’, which means the camera interprets the color temperature.
When I processed the photos, I wanted to see if I could improve upon the camera JPG by making subtle changes to the Camera RAW file (which has ten times more information imbedded in it than the Jpg, but serves in the same role as a ‘negative’ and is intended for adjustment rather than uninterpreted presentation).
Below are three images; the a JPG from the unmodified Camera RAW, Camera created JPG, and my interpretation of the Camera RAW file.
Incidentally, by using Lightroom, I can make adjustments to the RAW files without permanently changing the original data. This is very important since it would be a mistake to modify the original file. That would be like adding colour dyes or bleach to your original slide to ‘improve’ the result.
Thursday, 7 April 2016, Irish Rail’s IWT Liner was blocked at Islandbridge Junction. This gave me the opportunity to work some less common angles in addition to my common viewing point (often featured on Tracking the Light).
By holding my FujiFilm X-T1 above my head at arm’s length and tilting the camera’s live-view panel screen downward, I was able to make this view looking over the wall at the St. John’s Road roundabout in Dublin.
Why not try this more often? Simply because I’m not tall enough to see over the wall, so to make this view I’m actually using the camera to view the scene. It’s tiring work to hold a camera above your head while waiting for trains to appear.
Among the difficulties of living within sight of the railway is the chance that such proximity may breed photographic apathy and slough. One the plus side, when something rumbles by, all I have to do is look out the window!
There are several nice photo locations within a ten minute walk of Islandbridge. On the downside, over the last decade I’ve covered these nearly to the point of exhaustion. Yet, that doesn’t keep me from taking advantage of them.
Shortly before 11am on Tuesday April 29, 2014, I heard the distinct roar of an Irish Rail 071 class diesel (built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division). I glanced out the window to see a gray locomotive roll into the Phoenix Park tunnel with a wagon transfer for Dublin’s North Wall.
Ah! A grey locomotive and the elusive wagon transfer!
I made a call to alert a friend, and a short while later I got a call back to say that the wagon transfer had collected three flats and was on its way back. The locomotive was 085 which wears a variation of the gray and yellow livery introduced a year ago.
It was a rare clear sunny morning, and I was keen to make a color slide of this engine passing Islandbridge Junction. Armed with good information, I walked five minutes up the road to my often-used location and waited. Less than 15 minutes passed before 085 appeared from the tunnel with the three flats.
I exposed a few digital images with my Canon EOS 7D and 100mm lens, before executing a color slide (or two) with my EOS 3 with 40mm lens. I was home less than 30 minutes after leaving. Back to the book writing! I’m presently researching a book on North American signaling.
So far just three of Irish Rail’s 071 class are operating in the new gray livery. So catching one on the move in sunlight can be a challenge. Ballast trains operate infrequently, and standing at this spot for a month of Sunday’s might not guarantee an image such as this. It helps to live near the line.
The cars make up what Irish Rail calls a ‘High Output Ballast’ train which is known on the railway as the HOBS. Using my Canon EOS 7D, I exposed a series of photos of the train on the curve from the Phoenix Park tunnel at Islandbridge Junction.
The combination of elevation, iconic backdrop and the orientation of the tracks and curve allow for one of the best morning views in Dublin for a westward train. As the sun swings around, many more angles open up down the line.