February 8, 1994, I used my Nikormat FTN with a Tokina 400mm lens mounted on a Bogen 3021 tripod to make this view on Fujichrome 100 slide film of a Boeing-Vertol Light Rail Vehicle pausing for passengers on the N-Judah line.
It was the end of the day and the colors of a sunset sky are reflected in the windshield of the LRV. For me it is the contrast and subtle hues of the evening light that make this photo stand out.
San Francisco’s Muni light rail offers endless opportunities for dramatic photos on the streets of this famous California city.
In October 1990, Boeing-Vertol light rail vehicles pass on Carl Street, just west of the Sunset Tunnel.
My intent was to show the streetcars against a backdrop of San Francisco gingerbread Victorian houses. Selecting the optimal exposure was tricky owing to the low-angle of the sun. I wanted to maintain the bright highlights without risk of under exposing the background.
Although it is tempting in these situations to expose for the highlights, in this case I didn’t want the unnatural ‘nightmare’ effect caused by surreal dark background.
Unlike today, back then I’d rely largely on my handheld Sekonic meter to gauge exposure. Although the F3T had a built in meter, I never found this to be sufficiently accurate to maintain consistent exposures with slide film.
In 1992, I was living on Haight Street in San Francisco, just a short walk from this location. One August morning, I got up early to make photos of Muni’s light rail cars exiting the Muni Metro on Duboce in the sunrise glint light.
For this image, I’ve used the trees at the left to shade the front element from direct sun to minimize flare. Although it was a clear morning, the sun was tinted by pollution that I remember as being a common effect in the Bay Area, especially in the summer.
My goal was to catch a car taking the wye from the J-Church line heading west on the N-Judah line, which was a common way for Muni to position cars in the morning. While I did make that photo, I felt this image was actually a better picture.
It shows an inbound J-Church car turning toward the subway portal with an N-Judah car outbound.
Although, I commonly used Kodachrome at the time, for this image I used Fujichrome 100 (before the introduction of Provia), which I processed myself at the photo studio where I worked in South San Francisco. Among my studio duties was running E6 transparency film. We used a roller transport machine and mixed the chemistry on site.