Tag Archives: Light and shade

CSX Emerges from the Shadows—Middlefield, Massachusetts.

On the afternoon of July 1, 2011, I heard a heavy westward freight ascending Washington Hill near the old Middlefield, Station.

It’s been a long time since there was a station here, but the site remains a dramatic place to photograph the old Boston & Albany line. I got into position for some photography. Nice afternoon sun and inky shadows; what’s the best way to work this?

Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens set to 135mm; 200 ISO, f7.1 at 1/500th of a second.
Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens set to 135mm; 200 ISO, f7.1 at 1/500th of a second. I set the exposure manually, using a meter reading off the ballast. If I’d let the camera program select the exposure, it would have likely over-exposed the front of the locomotive (in other words the front of the engine would appear too light.) The reason for this is simple; the camera meter program would have tried to balance the scene for the dark shadows. Here experience with the equipment, knowledge of the location and an appreciation for light and shade allowed for correct exposure of the scene.

To accentuate the effect of the grade, I used a telephoto perspective, while setting my focus on the front of the locomotive. I waited for the right moment when it was in full sun.

I made a sequence of images, but for me this one best captures the drama of the scene.

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Iconic San Francisco Silhouette

San Francisco cable car on Washington Street
Light and shade on Washington Street, San Francisco; a cable car begins its steep descent. Exposed with Canon EOS 3, f2.8 200mm lens on Ektachrome Elite 100 (EB3), approximate exposure f11 at 1/500 second.

On the afternoon of August 21, 2009, I worked San Francisco’s famous hills aiming to make images of Muni’s cable cars, arguably one of America’s most pictured railway operations. I set the exposure manually using the camera’s spot meter to base my judgment. I sample the sky and street and aimed for texture in the highlight areas, allowing the shadows to go dark. My choice of film was Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 (EB3) which offered an ideal color-balance for such a silhouette. San Francisco’s many above ground wires added a geometric framing to the image.