Tag Archives: #Leica

The SD50—my first glimpse

In January 1984, I’d driven my parent’s 1978 gray Ford Grenada to Palmer, Massachusetts.

A set of Conrail light engines blitzed past me, and I chased after them.

In consist was a couple of brand-new EMD SD50s and a few new GE B36-7s.

This was pretty exciting stuff! I was 17 at the time.

I chased east on Routes 20 and 67. At Kings Bridge Road east of Palmer I turned toward Conrail’s Boston & Albany line, but the Conrail engines were too close for me to get a lineside photo. So, I stopped the car in the middle of the road, raised my 1930s-era Leica IIIA and shot through the windshield of the Ford.

My camera was loaded with Kodak Tri-X— film that I later processed in Kodak Microdol-X developer.

Conrail GP40 number 3214 leads a set of eastbound light engines at Kings Bridge Road. This is near the location that later became Conrail’s CP79, about three miles east of the Palmer, Massachusetts yard. Kodak Tri-X with Leica IIIA.
I was very excited to catch a glimpse of Conrail 6703, a brand new EMD SD50!
I was very impressed by the length of the SD50s compared with Conrail’s older EMD diesels, including SD40 6268 seen trailing SD50 6718.
At the rear of the set of light engines were these three B36-7s.

Tracking the Light Looks Back 40 years!

Along the old Erie Railroad at Swain, New York.

Between 1986 and 1991, I documented vestiges of the former Erie Railroad using hundreds of rolls of Kodachrome, Ektachrome, and T-Max black & white film.

I made dozens upon dozen of trips along Conrail’s lines, seeking to make images of this fascinating railroad in its environment.

There could be long intervals between trains, and some days were more productive than others.

October 14, 1988 was memorable because it was a perfect day. I had a very early start. The autumn foliage was at its peak. It was clear from dawn to dusk. Conrail and Delaware & Hudson ran a lot of trains, and I had Kodachrome 25 in my Leica.

Among the photos I made that was this view of Conrail SD50 6774 leading OIBU west through Swain, New York at 8:07am.

I like this image because although 6774 is key to the composition, it isn’t the only subject of interest and it captures the essence of rural western New York in autumn.

Soon old 6753 will be featured on TTL. The lure of the quest is about finding treasures along the way. If I found the prize too soon there would be no joy in the path to it.

This is the raw and adjusted scan of my original Kodachrome 25 slide. Exposed at 8:07am on October 14, 1988 using a Leica M2 rangefinder with f2.0 50mm Summicron lens. My old Dodge Dart is parked behind me with the engine running. Soon, I’ll be in pursuit of this train en route to my next desination. Slide scanned with Nikon LS5000 slide scanner powered with VueScan 9.8.04 software.
This the same scan as above, but adjusted using Adobe Lightroom to improve its presentation. I’ve lightened the image, reduced contrast, warmed the color balance, lightened and warmed shadow areas, while slightly increasing overall saturation.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

AMtrak E-Units at Brookfield.

Labor Day weekend 1978: my dad brought my brother and me out to roll by Amtrak’s westward Lake Shore Limited at the route 148 overpass in Brookfield, Massachusetts.

Working with his ‘motorized’ (mechanical wind-up) Leica 3A, I made a rapid fire sequence of the train as it roared west behind E-units.

I processed the film in the kitchen sink and made a few prints, then for the next four decades the negatives rested quietly in the attic.

I used this Epson scan of one of the negatives from that day as one of the opening photos in my program titled ‘Tracking the Light’ that I presented live last night to the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts at the Pearl Street Station in Malden, Massachusetts.

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Reading Company 2102 Location Unknown

In May 1963, my father exposed this Kodachrome slide of Reading Company class T-1 4-8-4 number 2102 leading one of the railroad’s popular Iron Horse Rambles.

21 years ago, I ran this photo across two pages in my large format book Locomotive published by MBI.

Today, this image of great interest to me as part of our on-going model railroad project, which aims to recreate the spirit of the Reading Company in anthracite country.

Leica M3 with Summicron lens. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!