Tag Archives: IWT Liner

Freight in the Mist; Irish Rail 082 Leads Containers in Co. Roscommon.

Brian Solomon Publishing’s Tracking the Light rail-photo blog post photos and stories daily with feeds to Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler.

Irish Rail’s old Midland Great Western line to Westport follows a rock and roll profile as it works its way across the Midlands.

This is one of Ireland’s busiest freight routes which handles both container and timber traffic.

On misty March afternoon we waited at quiet overpass at Slieve located north of the River Suck (yes, that’s its name) in rural county Roscommon railway-west of the old station at Donamon.

I’d traveled from Dublin with brothers Paul and Jay Monaghan, I navigated and helped locate this photo location.

The roar of Irish 082 could be heard for miles before it came into view leading the down IWT Liner that runs between Dublin and Ballina Co. Mayo.

I exposed this view on the south side of the line using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm prime telephoto.

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Irish Rail 071s at Islandbridge Junction—Two Photos on 14 March 2019.


A little while ago I made this pair of photos at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin.

In a repeat of a few weeks back clouds were racing across the sky making for wild changes in the quality of light from moment to moment.

First up was today’s (14 March 2019) IWT Liner from Dublin’s North Wall to Ballina, County Mayo. This had 073 in retro orange. A few minutes later, Irish Rail 080 came around with an empty LWR (Long welded rail train).

The clouds foiled my first effort. But breaks in the cloud allowed for respectable telephoto view of the LWR. On the downside, my 50mm colour slide of same won’t be as impressive as the clouds quickly dampened the light again.

Such are the challenges of photographing moving trains in Ireland.

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Irish Rail Old Cabra Road Dublin.


Here’s a few black & white views exposed last week on Kodak Tri-X of Irish Rail’s branch from Islandbridge Junction to the North Wall/Connolly.

Recently, Irish Rail has expanded service on the Grand Canal Docks—Hazel Hatch/Newbridge run and now trains run at least hourly throughout the day.

Following a Grand Canal Docks bound passenger train was the daily Up IWT Liner (Ballina to North Wall, Dublin).

Since these trains were coming out of the relatively harsh midday sun, I opted to work with black & white film, which makes the most of the contrast and allows me to control shadow and highlight detail to a greater degree than with my digital cameras, while giving the images a period look.

Irish Rail 234 with Up IWT Liner (Ballina to North Wall, Dublin) at Old Cabra Road in Dublin

To maximize tonality and detail from the negatives I employed a ‘split process’ using two developers.

First I use a very weak solution of Kodak HC110 mixed 1 to 250 to water. To intensify the detail in shadows while avoiding over processing highlight areas, I keep the developer temperature comparatively high (73F) and allow it to work to exhaustion. My second developer is Ilford ID mixed 1-1 for 6 minutes 45 seconds with one minute agitation intervals. Then stop; fix 1, fix 2, rinse for 3 minutes, hypoclear, then a series of final washes. Dry and scan.

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071 in Heritage Orange: Sun. cloud. SUN! Oh no! 4 photos.


Yesterday, 21 February 2019: A bright morning! A bright locomotive on the IWT Liner. And me at my regular place at Islandbridge Junction.

This is a lesson in getting ‘clouded’ (there are less polite ways of phrasing this.)

The liner rolled out of the Phoenix Park tunnel in bright sun. However as it a approached, a puffy white cloud intersected the sun—Twice!

Below is my sequence of photos.

In these, I’m displaying the in-camera JPGs without manipulation or adjustments (other than scaling for internet) so the effects of the cloud can be seen.

FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 90mm lens. Cloud nipped!

FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 90mm lens. Now sun at 95 percent, but not for long!

Lumix LX7 photo. Clouded!

De ja vu? Yes, this HAS happened here before.

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Two Liners; Two Locos; Two Liveries: One Day.


Yesterday, 20 February 2019, Irish Rail operated two Ballina-Dublin IWT Liners—container trains.

The first, running as K801, had the 071 class leader in the as-built heritage-livery.

I photographed this train at Memorial road in Dublin.

The second, running about two hours behind the first, had freshly painted Irish Rail 074 (in the current gray and yellow). I caught this one from above the entrance to Dublin’s Phoenix Park Tunnel off the Conyngham Road.

In both instances, I worked with my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm Fujinon telephoto lens.

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Two Trains on the Move at Islandbridge Junction!


Monday, 11 February 2019 was bright and sunny in Dublin.

Although I was only just back across the Atlantic, I made use of the morning when I’d heard that Irish Rail 073 in heritage orange paint was working the down IWT Liner (container train operated from Dublin’s North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo).

As this exited Dublin’s Phoenix Park Tunnel approaching Islandbridge Junction, an Irish Rail ICR working the Hazelhatch-Grand Canal Docks service came the other way.

I hadn’t anticipated a ‘rolling meet’, but as luck had it I got two trains for the price of one.

This sequence of photos was exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 27mm pancake lens.

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Irish Rail 233

My penultimate post for 2018 that features Ireland’s 201-class diesels focuses on locomotive number 233—second to last in the series (201-234).

In recent times this has worn the minimalist ‘raccoon’ livery, while for a number of years it wore the older Enterprise scheme.

I exposed these views of 233 in the Dublin area over the last three years.

I’ve been featuring the Irish Rail 201 diesels as part of my 20 years in Ireland photography retrospective. I started with the class leader number 201, and have progressed sequentially. Take a wild guess as to which locomotive I’ll conclude the series! (This is not a trick question. You don’t need to consult a crystal ball or take a class in advanced mathematics.).

Irish Rail 233 in Enterprise paint works the down IWT Liner (Dublin to Ballina) at Clondalkin on March 24, 2016. This was shortly before it was repainted into the ‘raccoon’ livery.

In September 2016, Irish Rail 233 works the Belmond Grand Hibernian at Islandbridge, Junction.


Old 233 seen at Dublin’s Connolly Station in September 2018. Lumix LX7 photo.

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Irish Rail 232 in 2017; A 201-Class in Fresh Paint.


As 2018 draws to a close, I still have three more Irish Class 201 diesel-electrics to feature as part of my on-going 20 year Irish Railways Retrospective!

Next up in the queue is Irish Rail 232.

In  Spring 2017, this was the latest locomotive running around in fresh paint, and I’d made a point of catching on the IWT Liner (Dublin to Ballina, Co. Mayo).

Here’s two views from March 2017.

8 March 2017, Irish Rail 232 leads the up-IWT with container pocket wagons viewed from Stacumni Bridge near Hazelhatch in suburban Dublin.
The following week I caught 232 with the down IWT Liner roaring up ‘The Gullet’ from Memorial Road in Dublin.

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Irish 082 Five Years Apart—Same Job.

Irish Rail operates International Warehousing & Transport (IWT) container liner freights five to six days per week between Dublin Port and Ballina, County Mayo.

On 3 October 2013, Colm O’Callaghan and I photographed Irish Rail 082 working the down IWT Liner at Clondalkin on the quad track section of the Dublin-Cork line. Back then the locomotive wore the now obsolete black, silver and yellow ‘freight’ livery.

Five years ago: Irish 082 on 3 October 2013 working down road at Clondalkin. Exposed using a Canon EOS-7D with 200mm lens.

On 1 October 2018, two days ago, I caught the very same locomotive working the up IWT liner at Blackhorse Avenue in Dublin. It’s now in battle ship gray paint, as are most of the 071s, except numbers 071 and 073 that are dressed in heritage paint.

Irish Rail’s up-IWT liner approached Blackhorse Avenue on 1 October 2018. Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm telephoto lens. Notice how I’ve exposed for backlighting and used the arched bridge to frame up the train, while minimizing the effects of a bright sky. Image adjusted in post processing for contrast, exposure and colour saturation.

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Irish Rail 220; Here and There, North and South, Freight and Passenger, Then and Now.

Five views of Irish Rail 220.

Of the Irish Rail class 201 diesels, number 220 is well represented in my collection! Let’s just say I had lots of photos to pick from, both on film and with digital.

Any favorites among these?

April 2000, I found Irish Rail 220 at Belfast Central. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia II using a Nikon.

In August 2005, 220 leads Mark 2 carriages toward Connolly Station as viewed from Old Cabra Road in Dublin. The shadowy cut made for a contrasty slide.

In 2014, I caught 220 working the down IWT Liner west of Kildare from the main road over pass. Exposed using my Canon EOS 7D with telephoto lens.

In 2015, I caught 220 working the up-IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport container train heading toward Dublin port) passing the station at Hazelhatch on the quad track near suburban Dublin.

It was a fine October day at Cork’s Kent Station when I exposed this view of 220 with a Mark IV set.

In each of the images, I’ve made nominal adjustment to exposure, contrast and colour balance.

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Variations on a Theme: Irish Rail 219 at the same place, again.

I’ve often heard railway photographers dismiss an opportunity with the excuse, ‘I already have that there.’

I’m guilty of this too.

However, everyday is different; locomotives and locations are only two elements that make a a successful railway action photograph.

Weather, lighting, angle to the tracks and the focal length of your lens all play important roles in the end result. Also consider the cleanliness of the locomotive and the variations in consist.

There was a period where Irish Rail 219 regularly worked the Dublin-Ballina IWT liner freights. When I’m in Dublin it is relatively easy for me to reach my standard location and catch the IWT on its down-road journey. In fact I often do this on my morning walk, or on the way to the supermarket.

5 March 2014; exposed using my now defunct Lumix LX3.

It was a few months later, in August of 2014, that I made this sunny day view using my new Lumix LX7. It helps to have a clear bright day and a clean locomotive.

I’ve moved a little bit west of my usual spot and working with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with 18-135mm zoom with an external grad filter that I was using to improve the sky detail. I’m positioned a little higher here too. Unfortunately, this angle brings in more urban clutter.

Yet, it got to the point where if I knew that 219 was working the IWT, I wouldn’t bother with another photo of it in my standard location. (And yes I have it at other places too.)

Which of the three is your favorite?

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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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Tracking the Light Special: Irish Rail 071 in Heritage Paint—Now.

At 1007 (10:07 am) this morning (8 February 2018), Irish Rail’s 071 (class leader of the popular 071 class of General Motors-built diesel locomotives) passed Islandbridge Junction with the down IWT Liner.

Exposed using my FujiFilm XT1with 90mm Fujinon lens. It’s a bit misty in Dublin. Image scaled from in-camera Jpeg without post processing contrast or exposure adjustment.

This locomotive was repainted in 2016 into the attractive 1970s-era livery.

Although, I’ve made a number of photographs of this locomotive in heritage paint before, it’s always nice to see it on the move. I’m told it had been laid up for the last few months and it’s only back on the road this week.

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Irish Rail 221 in Fresh Paint—21 September 2017

Warning Facebook viewers: Facebook crops! (Click on the post that link with Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light for the full view).

Irish Rail 201 class diesel-electric number 221 has been recently painted.

On Thursday 21 September 2017, I exposed this view of the locomotive working the down IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station, Dublin.

There was a mix of sun and clouds that produced soft dappled lighting.

Photo exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera fitted with an f2.0 90mm lens.

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Glint, Flare and Clouds; Evening in the Gullet.

I realize that today’s title might not catch everyone’s eye.

How about: ‘Clean GM Diesel on a Freight’?

Or, ‘Irish Rail at Rush Hour’ ?

‘Gullet Glint’?

Anyway, this post is about light.

I was waiting on the Up IWT liner (International Warehousing & Transport Ballina, County Mayo to Dublin Northwall container train)with recently painted Irish Rail 071 class diesel number 082.

Just ahead of this Dublin-bound freight was the Up-Galway passenger train with a common set of ICRs (InterCity Railcars).

I was photographing into the sun. My intent was to work the glint effect. (That’s when the sun reflects off the side of the train).

Usually, I find this is most effective when you shade the front element of the lens to minimize flare. Notice the two variations with the ICR.

By shading the front element I’ve prevented the rays of the sun from directly hitting the front element of my lens, thus minimizing the effects of flare.

In this view, exposed moments after the photo above, I’ve allowed the sun to hit the front element to show the effects of flare. This small adjustment can produce very different results. Often I aim to control the amount of flare; a little bit lightens shadows and adds some colour to the scene but too much can result in unpleasant and unnatural looking light streaks or light fog.

By the time the freight reached me clouds had partly shaded the sun leaving only a hint of back-lighting.

All the photos were made using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens. The camera RAW Files were all adjusted for colour balance, colour saturation and contrast using the same ratio of change. (In other words, although I’ve manipulated the final result, all the photos have received the same degree of alteration).

The clouds shaded the sun for me here.

In this image, I adjust the exposure on site to compensate for the clouds blocking the sun.

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Irish Rail Class 071 Works the IWT Liner.

Last week Irish Rail class 071 worked the IWT Liner.

Dressed in the 1970s-era heritage livery, this locomotive has been a popular topic with local photographers.

The bright orange locomotive glistens even on a dull day.

Digital photograph exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm lens.

I exposed this view on Friday (1September 2017) from Conyngham Road in Dublin (at the entrance to the Phoenix Park Tunnel) using my FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

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Irish Rail 220 with IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction on 17 August 2017.

Clear blue dome. Nice view. Short walk.

Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station in Dublin.

I exposed this photo of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner (Dublin North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo) on the morning of 17 August 2017 using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a 27mm pancake lens.

Exposed at f9 1/500th of a second at ISO 400 using a 27mm pancake lens (provides an angle of view equivalent to a 41mm lens on a full-frame 35mm film camera).

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Portrait view of Irish Rail 081 at Islandbridge Junction.

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.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Tracking the Light!

Here’s a variation on a theme: another view of Irish Rail’s IWT liner at Stacumny Bridge near Hazelhatch.

Irish Rail locomotive 088 leads the up IWT Liner at Stacumny Bridge on 13 March 2017. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Freshly Painted Irish Rail 232 catches the sunlight at Stacumny Bridge.

Sunlight? What’s that? After weeks of cold, wet, windy weather, we had a rare sunny afternoon in Ireland on Wednesday 8 March 2017.

Irish Rail class 201 number 232 was in fresh paint and working the up International Warehousing & Transport liner from Ballina to Dublin.

I traveled with Colm O’Callaghan to Stacumni Bridge near Hazelhatch on Irish Rail’s Dublin-Cork mainline. This is the section that was rebuilt with quad track a few years ago.

I made these images using my Fujifilm X-T1 with f2.0 90mm prime lens.

While waiting for the up-IWT Liner, I made this view of an Irish Rail ICR (Intercity Rail Car) heading down road from Dublin.

Irish Rail 232 is in fresh green and silver paint. Exposed digitally using FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm fixed lens.

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Irish Rail Container Pocket Wagons pass Islandbridge Junction.

So do you go out in poor light to catch something unusual? That’s your choice.

Sometimes I hold off for fine weather or good light to make images. Other times I’m faced with catching something in prevailing conditions. The railway doesn’t run for sunshine.

Once a week Irish schedules an extra IWT Liner (International Warehousing & Transport—Dublin North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo). In recent months, this has operated with the elusive container pocket wagons (CPWs). But it doesn’t necessarily run every week.

I have plenty of photos from Islandbridge Junction, and no shortage of images depicting the IWT Liner, and while I’ve photographed the CPWs over the years, last week I knew for certain (that’s railway certain, which is at best uncertain) that the CPWs were on due to pass.

So despite flat light, I made the effort.

Irish Rail 075 leads the IWT Liner at Island Bridge Junction, Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo.

Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica IIIA with 50mm Summitar. Processed with two stage developer plus selenium toner.

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Today’s International Warehousing & Transport Liner Identified on the Loco—10 October 2016.

For the last week, Irish Rail class 201 number 231 has been working the International Warehousing & Transport Liner (Dublin North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo) with IWT identification marks on the Ballina-end and the sides of the loco.

Photographically this is a boon because it positively distinguishes the IWT liner from other trains.

While last week, I’d either been busy or out of position when 231 worked the train; but this morning I made the effort to catch it from my usual location at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin.

Do I have too many photos from this spot? Undoubtedly, but it’s better to have a publishable image of a distinctive train from an identifiable location, than not to have a photo of the train at all. So, for the sake of a 5-minute walk, I’ve got the IWT Liner looking the part.

For more on IWT see: http://iwt-irl.com

iwt_liner_w_iwt_201_at-islandbridge_jct_dscf5830

Irish Rail's IWT Liner with 201-class diesel 231 decorated for IWT passes Islandbridge Junction at 9:49am on 10 October 2016.
Irish Rail’s IWT Liner with 201-class diesel 231 decorated for IWT passes Islandbridge Junction at 9:49am on 10 October 2016.

Irish Rail's IWT Liner with 201-class diesel 231 decorated for IWT passes Islandbridge Junction at 9:49am on 10 October 2016. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Irish Rail’s IWT Liner with 201-class diesel 231 decorated for IWT passes Islandbridge Junction at 9:49am on 10 October 2016. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Irish Rail IWT Liner; A lesson in RAW and JPG.

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.

This is an uninterpreted JPG made directly from the camera RAW file. (The RAW file is way too large for presentation on Tracking the Light.) I have not made any modifications to color profile, color balance, sharpness or exposure. This file is not really intended for presentation.
This is an uninterpreted JPG made directly from the camera RAW file. (The RAW file is way too large for presentation on Tracking the Light.) I have not made any modifications to color profile, color balance, sharpness or exposure. This file is not really intended for presentation.

My in-camera JPG using the FujiFilm digitally applied Velvia colour profile with 'auto white balance' setting. I made no modifications to this file, except to scale it for presentation and add my watermark on the left.
My in-camera JPG using the FujiFilm digitally applied Velvia colour profile with ‘auto white balance’ setting. I made no modifications to this file, except to scale it for presentation and add my watermark on the left.

This is my modified JPG. Starting with the Camera RAW, I imported this into Lightroom and implemented the following adjustments: I masked the sky using a digitally applied graduated filter custom adjust to increase highlight saturation, decrease highlight exposure, and make for cooler colour balance. On a global level, I made minor adjustments to contrast but lightening the shadow areas, reducing highlight exposure and altering the contrast curve. I also made select exposure adjustments to the pilot area on the locomotive. To match the Camera JPG's perceived sharpness, I applied some nominal image sharpening. (This uses edge effects to make the photo appear sharper on the computer screen.)
This is my modified JPG. Starting with the Camera RAW, I imported this into Lightroom and implemented the following adjustments: I masked the sky using a digitally applied graduated filter and custom adjusted to increase highlight saturation, decrease highlight exposure, and make for cooler colour balance. On a global level, I made minor adjustments to white balance (warmed it up) and to contrast by lightening the shadow areas, reducing highlight exposure and altering the contrast curve. I also made select exposure adjustments to the pilot area on the locomotive. To match the Camera JPG’s perceived sharpness, I applied some nominal image sharpening. (This uses edge effects to make the photo appear sharper on the computer screen.) Got all that?

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.

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Alternate Angle at Islandbridge Junction; Irish Rail’s IWT Liner.

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).

Irish Rail 219 with Dublin to Ballina IWT liner.
Irish Rail 219 with Dublin to Ballina IWT liner.

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.

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An Irish Story: Sun and Clouds, Anticipating the Up-liner and the Light.

Lately the sun has been an elusive orb in Irish skies. Too often, I awake to find a slate gray dome above me.

Good Friday (25 March 2016) was different. It was bright sunny morning.

Having the sun and making use of it are two different things.

In the early afternoon, Colm O’Callaghan, Ciarán Cooney and I waited at Lucan South, just east of the Adamstown Station on the quad-track in suburban Dublin.

Our quarry was the up-IWT Liner from Ballina, which was operating with Irish Rail 233, the last 201 class diesel in the old Enterprise-livery. We caught this engine before, but it’s unlikely to survive for long in this old paint.

While the day remained bright, puffy clouds were rapidly blowing across the sky, changing and dampening the light when they blocked the sun

Looking south at Lucan South. Puffy white clouds dot the sky. Nice to have for texture, they can make getting a clean photograph difficult when they block the sun.
Looking south at Lucan South. Puffy white clouds dot the sky. Nice to have for texture, they can make getting a clean photograph difficult when they block the sun.

An Irish Rail ICR races along on the down fast; this is a trailing view. You can see how a bit of cloud shadow darkened the mid-portion of the train.
An Irish Rail ICR races along on the down fast; this is a trailing view. You can see how a bit of cloud shadow darkened the mid-portion of the train.

Hmm, will that cloud get out of the way in time? If it doesn't who can we blame for it? I'll be naming names.
Hmm, will that cloud get out of the way in time? If it doesn’t who can we blame for it? I’ll be naming names.

Anxiously, we watched the signals, and the passing InterCity Railcars. The tapestry above was becoming a maddening mixture of fluff and blue.

The IWT Liner approaches. You can see Adamstown Station in the distance in full sun. A muddy black shadow mucks up the foreground.
The IWT Liner approaches. You can see Adamstown Station in the distance in full sun. A muddy black shadow mucks up the foreground.

Would we get the liner in full sun? After all, that’s what we were out for.

With two cameras around my neck, I was prepared for either eventuality; if it was cloudy, I work with the digital camera; but if the sun came out bright, I’d make a slide. To this aim, I’d set my Canon EOS-3 at f4.5 1/1000th of a second—my full-sun setting for Provia 100F.

It was a photo finish. As the liner approached the light changed from dark to light.

I made some telephoto views with the FujiFilm X-T1; but as the IWT liner reached us the clouds began to part and I exposed a single frame of Fujichrome with my Canon. That photo remains latent in the camera. Did I get it right? It will be some weeks before I know the answer; I wont have the film processed until May.

As the freight rolled into view the clouds receded. I made this dappled-light photograph digitally. To retain a bit of detail in the sky, I have a graduated neutral density filter in front of my lens. The winning view will be my colour slide exposed using a 40mm lens. I hope I got the exposure right.
As the freight rolled into view the clouds receded. I made this dappled-light photograph digitally. To retain a bit of detail in the sky, I have a graduated neutral density filter in front of my lens. The winning view will be my colour slide exposed using a 40mm lens. I hope I got the exposure right.

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Irish Rail: An Early March 2016 View From Stucumny Bridge in Eight Photos!

This quiet overhead crossing of the quad-track is just past the 8 ¾ milepost from Dublin’s Heuston Station.

It offers an open view of the line with a favorable angle for down (traveling away from Dublin) trains mid-morning.

Milepost 8 3/4 as measured from Heuston Station, Dublin. Here an ICR passes en route to Portlaoise. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Milepost 8 3/4 as measured from Heuston Station, Dublin. Here an ICR passes en route to Portlaoise. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

An up ICR is only minutes away from Heuston Station. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An up ICR is only minutes away from Heuston Station. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

Cross lit view of another up ICR. The wire across the line south of bridge can be problematic.
Cross lit view of another up ICR. The wire across the line south of bridge can be problematic.

Always nice to catch an old 071 working the IWT liner. Here 088 does the honors. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Always nice to catch an old 071 working the IWT liner. Here 088 does the honors. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

These days you can often IWT boxes on the liner of the same name.
These days you can often IWT boxes on the liner of the same name.

It takes a tuned interest in Irish Rail’s operations and a bit of luck. to time a visit to coincide with passage of the weekday IWT Liner (International Warehousing & Transport container train between Dublin and Ballina) and the more elusive HOBS (high output ballast system).

Getting the clouds to cooperate is trickier yet again.

Clear blue sky for the down Mark4 to Cork. But in Ireland the clouds cross the sky at an alarming rate. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Clear blue sky for the down Mark4 to Cork. But in Ireland the clouds cross the sky at an alarming rate. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

A mix of sun and cloud greeted the up HOBS. It can drive you batty. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
A mix of sun and cloud greeted the up HOBS. It can drive you batty. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

And there it goes! Soon the HOBS will be stabled in the old Guinness sidings at Heuston. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
And there it goes! Soon the HOBS will be stabled in the old Guinness sidings at Heuston. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

A couple of weeks ago Colm O’Callaghan and I spent a strategic 45 minutes at Stucumny Bridge.

Even if you fail at catching the freight on the move, there’s always a steady parade of passenger trains.

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Irish Rail’s IWT at Islandbridge Junction; Lee Graduated ND Filter Experiment.

Last Friday, 11 March 2016, I went up to my favored Irish local location; Islandbridge Junction. This is a handy place for me.

This is great place to catch a freight train exiting Dublin’s Phoenix Park Tunnel on a bright clear day, yet can be visually problematic on a dull day.

On this day, I thought it would be a good place to experiment with a Lee graduated neutral density filter as a means of controlling contrast and allowing for a more effective overall exposure.

The filter I use offers subtle 2/3s of a stop gradation. This is adjustable both up/down and rotationally left/right.

I made a few test photos with and without the filter to gauge my exposure before the IWT arrived with Irish Rail 088 in the lead.

A similar effect can be accomplished digitally, yet the digital effect doesn’t add information to the RAW file, but only makes a visual adjustment in the final image.

In other words to apply the filter digital may be viewed as a ‘correction’ rather than an in-camera technique. Yet, it is often easier to apply a filter in post-processing than in the field.

I’ve used both methods depending on the circumstance.

Below are some results.

Test photo to gauge comparative exposure. This was made without the filter. My concern is getting adequate exposure in both the sky and foreground.
Test photo to gauge comparative exposure. This was made without the filter. My concern is getting adequate exposure in both the sky and foreground.

Test exposure with the graduated filter. Here I've been able to lighten the foreground slightly while holding detail in the sky.
Test exposure with the graduated filter. Here I’ve been able to lighten the foreground slightly while holding detail in the sky.

Here's a test view using the filter. I've achieved a good overall balance. (Sorry, the filter won't make the sun come out.)
Here’s a test view using the filter. I’ve achieved a good overall balance. (Sorry, the filter won’t make the sun come out.)

Here we have the ultimate objective. To make a balance image of Irish Rail's IWT Liner. It really about making the most of a gray engine on a gray day.
Here we have the ultimate objective. To make a balance image of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner. It really about making the most of a gray engine on a gray day.

This gives a nice overall of my experiment, but in the middle of all this I got a little greedy. Using my zoom lens on the FujiFilm X-T1, I made a tight view of the IWT (with the filter).

As is often the case with last second changes, I didn’t get my exposure quite right. My feeling was that the RAW file was about 1/3 of a stop too dark.

Nice try, but my exposure was a bit dark.
Nice try, but my exposure was a bit dark.

I imported my RAW file into Lightroom and made a variety of small corrections. First I altered the level. I also lightened up the entire image slightly and warmed up the color temperature. Is this an improvement?
I imported my RAW file into Lightroom and made a variety of small corrections. First I altered the level. I also lightened up the entire image slightly and warmed up the color temperature. Is this an improvement?

As with most of my photography, I consider this a work in progress. In all likelihood, before long I’ll be back at Islandbridge Junction to further refine my experiment.

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Irish Rail by the rules at Hazelhatch, September 2015.

Sometimes I try to play by the rules.

It was rare glorious sunny day back in September 2015. Irish Rail had a full complement of trains on the move. Catching clean 071 class diesel 077 with the second IWT Liner was a bonus.

I exposed these photos along the Dublin-Cork line at Hazelhatch (about ten miles southwest of Dublin). Special thanks to John Cleary, who advised me on the day’s program, provided road-based transport and suggested some angles.

Down Irish Rail InterCity Railcar at Hazelhatch. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Down Irish Rail InterCity Railcar at Hazelhatch. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

Irish_Rail_2nd_IWT_Liner_at_footbridge_Hazelhatch_Station_close_DSCF3273

Irish_Rail_2nd_IWT_Liner_at_footbridge_Hazelhatch_Station_tight_DSCF3275

Photos by the rules:

  • Sunny day; tick!
  • Sun at least 30 degrees above the horizon and over right shoulder and positioned for evenly-lit three-quarter view; tick!
  • Rolling stock nearly free from shadows; tick!
  • Polls and wires minimized; tick!
  • View of railway wheels; tick!
  • shutter speed fast enough to stop the action; tick!
  • Trees and fences safely in the distance; tick!

Bonus qualifications: nominal elevation, clearly identifiable location and clean equipment.

Points subtracted: zoom lens used instead a prime ‘standard lens’. Digital used instead of film. Colour used instead of black & white. Evidence of people in some of the photos (minus two points, Tsk!)

Everyday Tracking the Light presents new material (qualified and otherwise).

 

Tracking the Light Extra—IWT crosses in front of my bus to the airport

Posted live from Dublin Bus. I’m on the 747 bus on the way to the airport. The Wednesday-only second IWT liner (Ballina to Dublin Port) just crossed the road. I had a perfect vantage point from my  seat on the top deck.

I using my Lumix LX7, I exposed these views.

What fantastic luck!

IWT at the North Wall waiting to cross the road. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
IWT at the North Wall waiting to cross the road. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.

View from the 747. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from the 747. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.

3:15 Pm September 30, 2015. Dublin Port.
3:15 Pm September 30, 2015. Dublin Port.

View from Dublin Bus. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from Dublin Bus. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily (but rarely from a bus)

Tracking the light EXTRA: Irish Rail 233 works IWT on evening path

Most days Irish Rail’s Dublin-Ballina IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport; see: http://iwt-irl.com) departs the North Wall in the morning, typically between 9:20 and 11 am.

Today, it was set back to an evening path, much like the traditional liners that ran nightly up until mid-2005.

An added bonus was Enterprise painted Irish Rail 201 number 233.

This was like turning the clock back ten years or more.

5:54 pm, 23 September 2015.  Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the North Wall in Dublin. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
5:54 pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the North Wall in Dublin. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

7:08pm, 23 September 2015.  Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin.
7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo

Containers into the sunset! 7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo
Containers into the sunset! 7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo

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Freshly Painted Enterprise 8208 on Irish Rail’s IWT Liner.

Prelude: on Friday, August 14, 2015, General Motors-built 201-class 8208 worked the Dublin to Ballina IWT liner. I’d photographed that move on the quad-track near Cherry Orchard.

I was interested in this recently painted locomotive, which, of-course, is styled for the Dublin-Belfast express passenger service, and not freight.

Day of action: On Saturday, I saw reports of 8208 working the up-IWT liner. This was an otherwise dull afternoon. I crossed the War Memorial Park on foot. No Vikings with their long boats today.

I found my spot, and was poised at the Con Colbert Road bridge over the three track-line in a cutting (known colloquially as ‘the Gullet’). Moments before the liner appeared, the sun briefly emerged from the clouds. Lucky me! And so this Saturday-freight eased up to the ‘Bridge of Signals’ giving me plenty of time to expose photographs.

First, I made a few strategically composed color slides with my Canon EOS 3 with 100mm lens, then exposed some digital photos with my Lumix LX7

Saturday 15 August 2015; Lumix LX7 digital photograph.
Saturday 15 August 2015; Lumix LX7 digital photograph.

Saturday 15 August 2015; Lumix LX7 digital photograph.
Saturday 15 August 2015; Lumix LX7 digital photograph.

Not bad for few minutes away from the computer on a weekend afternoon.

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Good Friday at Kildare.

It’s become a tradition to visit Kildare on Good Friday. This day has a history of seeing a good number of freights as well as passenger trains.

Kildare offers a good place to photograph freights running between Waterford and Ballina, since trains need to reverse direction here owing to the lack of a direct connection in the westward direction at Cherryville Junction.

On Good Friday, April 3, 2015, there was the added bonus of a locomotive exchange for the laden timber. Locomotive 071 (the class leader) had come down from Inchicore in Dublin and waited for the arrival of the timber from Ballina (with engine 078).

Although the weather wasn’t the best, I had ample opportunity for photographs. All of these images were exposed between 10:48 and 12:08 am using my Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

A Dublin bound ICR takes the passing loop at Kildare at 0948. A down ICR is making its station stop.
A Dublin bound ICR takes the passing loop at Kildare at 10:48 am. A down ICR is making its station stop. Engine 071 waits on the up main.

The down ICR accelerates away from Kildare.
The down ICR accelerates away from Kildare.

At 10:02 Irish Rail 075 passes with the down IWT liner (Dublin to Ballina).
At 10:57 am Irish Rail 075 passes with the down IWT liner (Dublin to Ballina).

Irish Rail 071 pulls forward to run through the crossovers at the west end of the station to allow the laden timber to pull into the station.
Irish Rail 071 pulls forward to run through the crossovers at the west end of the station to allow the laden timber to pull into the station.

The laden timber was holding west of the station waiting for the light engine to pull forward.
The laden timber was holding west of the station waiting for the light engine to pull forward.

Here the timber is pulling forward at 10:03 am. Locomotive 071 will couple on to the Waterford-end of the train.
Here the timber is pulling forward at 11:03 am. Locomotive 071 will couple on to the Waterford-end of the train.

At 10:21 the up Mark 4 from Cork approaches Kildare.
At 11:21 the up Mark 4 from Cork approaches Kildare.

At 10:29 locomotive 221 with the 10 am Dublin-Cork Mark4 passes Kildare. The laden timber holds on the up-road waiting for a path.
At 11:29 locomotive 221 with the 11 am Dublin-Cork Mark4 passes Kildare. The laden timber holds on the up-road waiting for a path.

An up-road ICR takes the loop at 10:31 am.
An up-road ICR takes the loop at 11:31 am.

Telephoto view of the same up-road ICR.
Telephoto view of the same up-road ICR.

Finally, after the passage of several more passenger trains, the laden timber departs Kildare, taking the crossover from uproad to downroad. The time was 10:58 am.
Finally, after the passage of several more passenger trains, the laden timber departs Kildare, taking the crossover from uproad to downroad. The time was 11:58 am.

Locomotive 219 leads the up IWT liner at 12:08 pm.
Locomotive 219 leads the up IWT liner at 12:08 pm.

Tomorrow: Good Friday highlight, a freshly painted locomotive in freight service at Cherryville Junction.

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Tracking the Light Extra Post: Irish Rail 071 leads Saturday’s IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction.

I exposed these photos with my Fuji X-T1 a little while ago (7 March 2015). Compare these photos made in soft afternoon sun with my image of the same freight train at the same location last Saturday (28 February 2015)

Locomotive 071 is the class leader; one of Irish Rail’s 18 General Motors-built model JT22CW dual-cab six-motor diesel-electrics.

To make the most of slight diffused afternoon light, I opted to use the camera’s ‘Velvia’ colour profile, which emulates the characteristics of Fuji’s slide film of the same name.
To make the most of slight diffused afternoon light, I opted to use the camera’s ‘Velvia’ colour profile, which emulates the characteristics of Fuji’s slide film of the same name.

The 18-135mm zoom lens on the Fuji X-T1 allows to rapidly change the its focal length.
The 18-135mm zoom lens on the Fuji X-T1 allows to rapidly change the its focal length.

Here's last week's Saturday down IWT Liner (International Warehousing & Transport container train from Dublin's North Wall to Ballina, County Mayo).
Here’s last week’s Saturday down IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport container train from Dublin’s North Wall to Ballina, County Mayo).

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SPECIAL POST: Irish Rail 206 in a New Livery; February 25, 2015.

A little while ago, I caught Irish Rail 206 wearing a fresh new dress leading the afternoon IWT Liner from the top of the Phoenix Park Tunnel in Dublin. I made these photos with my Fuji X-T1.

Irish_Rail_IWT_liner_w_loco_206_in_new_paint_DSCF0767 Irish_Rail_IWT_liner_w_loco_206_in_new_paint_MOD1_DSCF0773

I think the new photography mode is: ‘ISO 6400 and be there’. It was pretty dark. This was my first glimpse of the locomotive in this new livery. I’m sure there’ll be ample opportunity to catch it in better light, but thanks to improved technology I was able to make the most of the moment.

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Fuji X-T1 and Irish Rail’s IWT Liner.

It helps to be near the tracks. In Dublin, my oft-photographed location at Islandbridge Junction is only a five minute walk away.

It wasn’t the brightest day, last week when I made the opportunity to make a few photographs of Irish Rail’s Dublin (North Wall) to Ballina IWT Liner. This is a freight train that I’ve photographed very often owing to its operational regularity and proximity. It was the perfect subject to try out my new Fuji X-T1.

Irish Rail ICRs were plentiful. Time for a test photo. Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens at 18mm; ISO 1250 f4.9 at 1/500th of a second in 'Velvia' mode.
Irish Rail ICRs were plentiful. Time for a test photo. Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens at 18mm; ISO 1250 f4.9 at 1/500th of a second in ‘Velvia’ mode.

I wandered up to my location as Irish Rail was shuffling some 22K series ROTEM-built Intercity Railcars (ICRs). While these are a dime a dozen (or is that ten euro cents for ten?) and the light was flat, I put the camera to use. What better time to practice?

I felt that the 'Velvia' setting was too saturated for the overcast scene, so I switched to 'Provice and opened up by about a third of stop for a slightly lighter image. The IWT liner was routed through Platform 10 around the ICRs.
I felt that the ‘Velvia’ setting was too saturated for the overcast scene, so I switched to ‘Provia’ and opened up by about a third of stop for a slightly lighter image. The IWT liner was routed through Platform 10 around the ICRs.

The flexibility offered by the 18-135mm lens and other controls allowed me to quickly adjust my perspective as the IWT Liner got closer. It wasn't moving very fast.
The flexibility offered by the 18-135mm lens and other controls allowed me to quickly adjust my perspective as the IWT Liner got closer. It wasn’t moving very fast. I’ve made many photos here, but this was my first catch of a gray 071 work the IWT. If I’d been using actual Provia 100F slide film my exposure would have been about f2.8 at 1/125th. Tough lighting for midday.

The liner made its appearance and I exposed a burst of images in ‘Provia’ mode. (The Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera has traditional Fuji film profiles programmed into it.)

As luck would have it, the liner wasn’t moving very quickly and it looked as if it wouldn’t stay ahead of the 11 am passenger train to Cork, so my friend and fellow photographer Colm O’Callaghan traveled to Hazelhatch at the end of the quad-track.

We made it in enough time to watch the 11am passenger overtake the IWT Liner and made some photos of the train.

Irish Rail's IWT liner ambles toward Hazelhatch. An ICR is working uproad toward Dublin on the quad track mainline. Fuji X-T1. By using the tilting rear screen, I was able to hold the camera over my head and compose this scene in 'live view'.
Irish Rail’s IWT liner ambles toward Hazelhatch. An ICR is working uproad toward Dublin on the quad track mainline. Fuji X-T1. By using the tilting rear screen, I was able to hold the camera over my head and compose this scene in ‘live view’.

My Fuji X-T1 has a tilting rear display, a first for me. This allowed me to hold the camera high over the railing on the footbridge at Hazelhatch and frame up a series of images.

But is the image sharp? I was entirely relying on the camera's autofocus. This is a cropped view of the above image. Other than cropping/scaling it is unmodified.
But is the image sharp? I was entirely relying on the camera’s autofocus. This is a cropped view of the above image.

Here is an even tighter crop of the same file. While I exposed RAW and Jpg files simultaneously, this crop is taken from the Jpg. I'll explore the RAW files later.
Here is an even tighter crop of the same file. While I exposed RAW and Jpg files simultaneously, this crop is taken from the Jpg. I’ll explore the RAW files later.

After the train passed, I could hear the class 071 diesel-electric roaring away in ‘run-8’ (maximum throttle) for at least five minutes. I grew up to the sound of turbocharged EMD diesels, so its always a treat to hear an old 645E3 working.

When I got home, I pored over the files fresh from the X-T1. These were some of the first action shots with my new camera. Not too bad considering the dull light. More to come!

Best of the lot; using the RAW file, I lightened this image slight and made nominal localized contrast adjustments in post processing.
Best of the lot; using the RAW file, I lightened this image slightly and made nominal localized contrast adjustments in post processing.

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Special Post: More views of Irish Rail 215

Sunlight and a Clean Locomotive.

As a follow up to yesterday’s special post, I’ve included a few more photos. Since Monday, Irish Rail’s freshly painted class 201 number 215 has been working the IWT Liner between Dublin and Ballina, Country Mayo.

Wednesday's IWT Liner passes Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station, Dublin. Thin cloud diffused the sun. Lumix LX7 photo.
Wednesday’s (September 10, 2014)  IWT Liner passes Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station, Dublin. Thin cloud diffused the sun. Lumix LX7 photo.

Today's (September 11, 2014) Ballina to Dublin IWT near Clodalkin-Fonthill Station. Lumix LX7 photo.
Today’s (September 11, 2014) Ballina to Dublin IWT near Clodalkin-Fonthill Station. Lumix LX7 photo.

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