The other day, Mark Healy and I continued our review of Dublin’s LUAS Cross City construction.
Track laying is well advanced through the city centre, yet gaps remain. Beyond Broadstone on the old Midland Line, preparatory work is on-going, while a short section of double track in the cutting near the Cabra Road is now in place.
I made these photos using my Lumix LX7 set in ‘A’ mode, but with a + 1/3 exposure override to compensate for the white sky and keep the shadows from blocking up.
All the images presented are scaled Camera JPGs. I have not modified the files for exposure, contrast or color.
Track and platform construction continues in Dublin on Ireland’s latest rail-transit route.
When completed LUAS Cross City will extend the Green Line north through the Dublin City Centre via Parnell Square to Broadstone and beyond to a new terminus at Broombridge.
The other day Mark Healy and I made an inspection of the work in progress.
Safety fences combined with the visual chaos of this urban setting makes for challenging photography. I’m hoping to add these images to my file of now and then images once the project is completed and functional.
As part of the Easter Rising Centenary several Dublin post boxes have been temporarily painted red to mark significant locations of this historic Irish event.
Mark Healy suggested this location to me as a place to photograph one of the specially painted post boxes with the LUAS. It is located near the Royal College of Surgeons across from St. Stephens Green.
I’ve written before: always have a camera at the ready. I live by this rule.
Minutes ago (8:20 am, 7 October 2015), I was hastily making my way to the Dublin airport bus, when I spotted LUAS tram 4012 dressed in Virgin advertising making its Heuston Station stop. (Tram featured yesterday in ‘Extra: Virgin Luas . . .’).
With one hand on my suitcase, I grabbed my Lumix LX7, adjusted the exposure dial, and put myself in position on Sean Heuston Bridge to catch the tram in the window of morning sun. After exposing photos, I jumped on the 747 bus, where I am presently.
Dublin bus has free wi-fi, which facilitates extra posts such as this one.
Twice over the last 24 hours, LUAS tram 4012 has caught my attention. This wears the latest of recent advertising liveries.
The red lettering helps makes for more interesting photos, although the lighting was pretty poor. I’ve had to make a variety of contrast adjustments in LightRoom to put a bit of zest into otherwise flat street photos. Silver trams on a dull day.
My opportunities to photograph 4012 are relatively limited. Maybe the sun will shine tomorrow, but then again if doesn’t I have my ‘safety shots’.
In Dublin, LUAS Cross City works are underway. Ultimately, these new tram lines will link Red Line and Green Line routes (presently isolated from one another) and run all the way to Broombridge for an interface with Irish Rail’s line to Maynooth.
Back when the first two LUAS lines were under construction, I missed the opportunity to make lots of ‘before’ photos. I did make some, but not nearly enough.
The other morning was clear and bright, so I walked the route of the new tram line from the Midland Great Western terminus at Broadstone to O’Connell Bridge.
Excavation and track laying works are underway in several places along with detailed signs about the project. These photos probably won’t win prizes for artistic achievement, but I’m sure that they will age well, and make for excellent ‘before’ scenes in a few years time.
Yesterday afternoon some unsettled weather blew through Dublin. In the course of less than an hour the sky went from blue to cloudy with rain showers and then back to blue.
Walking along the LUAS Red Line, I spotted an iridescent glow in the sky. It didn’t last long, but I thought I’d try to work with it.
As always, I had my LX7 handy.
Trams run about every five minutes this time of day, so I made the most of my window.
To make the most of these photos I had to adjust contrast and saturation in Lightroom. I avoided the temptation to over do it. After all the rainbow should appear as I saw it. It didn’t need over-enhancement, just balance. I’ll write more about this subject later, but one of the great advancements of the digital age is the ability to control contrast in photos.
Here we have a variation on a theme. Previously I published photos on Tracking the Light of Dublin’s LUAS specially painted Sky tram, and on a different day a panned image of a LUAS tram crossing Kings Bridge (Sean Heuston Bridge) near Heuston Station.
The other night on my way over to the Irish Railway Record Society premises (where I’m doing a bit of research in the library), I noted the one-of-a-kind Sky painted tram working outbound.
I dug my Fujifilm X-T1 out of my back pack and made a series of panned images in ‘flutter mode’ of the tram crossing the bridge at dusk.
Often, I build on past efforts, and this a good example of putting the pieces together. Visually, of course.
Sunday, February 22, 2015 had been a wet windy day, but as evening approached, I saw the clouds clearing in the west. I made an opportunity to experiment with my X-T1.
The dramatic lighting effects of a winter evening in Dublin are as good a time as any to make photographs, and I’ve found that among the strengths of my new camera is working in low light.
To retain the hues of dusk, I switched the white balance setting from ‘auto’ to ‘daylight,’ while I upped the ISO dial to its higher ranges, and selected the ‘Velvia’ color profile.
My 18-135 lens is a remarkably sharp piece of glass and its built-in image stabilization allowed me to work hand-held in lighting situations that would have been all but impossible with my film cameras.
I exposed about 140 images over the course of an hour and one half. That’s equivalent to just less than 4 rolls of slide film. I admit that sounds like a lot, however when I found an interesting scene, I’d bracket my exposure, while experimenting with various metering and focusing modes while pushing the limits of image stabilization.
This was an opportunity to test the camera’s capabilities, while working in a visually familiar environment. So, I revisited streets where I’ve photographed frequently over the years.
This is a sampling of Sunday’s efforts. I exposed RAW and Jpgs of each photo; presented here are scaled versions of the Jpgs. Other than the necessary size reduction for internet presentation, I’ve not manipulated, adjusted or otherwise enhanced these photos in post-processing.
Among the features of the Fuji X-T1 is a setting to make broad panoramic images. This is done by sweeping the camera across a scene as it exposes a burst of images in rapid succession. The camera’s internal software then assembles the images as a horizontal image.
Using this feature as intended will produce a convincing panoramic photograph. However if subjects move they may appear more than once or become altered beyond recognition.
I experimented by panning a LUAS tram in panoramic mode. The result looks like the world’s longest tram.
I like catchy titles, although I’ve recognized that today you get better response by advertising content as clearly and succinctly as possible.
Allusive titles no longer grab audiences as they did in earlier times. If Joyce wrote his famed novel Ulysses today, his publishers might changed the title to A Day’s Walk Around Dublin.
Speaking of walking around Dublin. Monday February 16, 2015 was a bright sunny day—really the first properly sunny day since I arrived back. Although more writing obligations landed in my ‘in-box’ that morning, I decided to take the time for a walk up through Kilmainham to the LUAS Red Line at Suir Road.
Here the tracks climb out of the old canal-bed that extends from the old Harbour near the Guinness Brewery and cross the surviving leg of the Grand Canal on a modern bridge and then run along its south bank for a mile or so on the way towards Tallagh.
I’d been wanting to make a bright sunlit photo of the specially adorned ‘Sky’ tram that has been roaming the Red Line since before I got back. Advertising liveries rarely last more than a couple of months on the LUAS system and this was as good as an excuse as any to play with my Fuji X-T1.
I didn’t have to wait long before the tram in question came gliding along the canal
What cryptic allusion might Bloom have uttered upon seeing a Sky tram crossing the canal?
To make a dramatic glint light image, it’s important to retain highlight detail, even if this results in opaque shadows. With the Lumix, I use the ‘A’ mode (aperture priority) and then manually stop down ‘underexpose’ the image in order to keep the highlight density where I want it.
If I didn’t override the camera meter, the Lumix would attempt to balance the lighting by brightening the shadow areas and the result would cause the glinting tram to be overexposed (too bright).
Alternatively, I could set the camera manually, but I find in a rapidly changing setting of a city street, I can get a more effective exposure by letting the camera do some of the work.
Back in the old days, I’d have used Kodachrome 25 slide film, which had an excellent ability to retain highlight and shadow detail. To calculate my exposure I use my hand held light meter.
Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.
Since arriving back in Dublin, I’ve had good luck catching one of the two advertsting trams wandering the Red Line. Without much effort on my part, the ‘Join Me’ painted tram, has appeared at all the right moments, and I’d made several representative views of it—as featured in earlier Tracking the Light posts.
By contrast, I’ve found more colourful ‘HB ice cream’ tram, has been elusive and difficult to photograph. This seems to zip by whenever my back is turned, or when I’m walking with a mission in the opposite direction.
My fortunes changed on July 31, 2014, when the HB tram glided down Benburb Street and stopped in front of me for about four minutes while waiting to reach its Heuston stop (which, lucky for me, was occupied by the car in front of it).
This was just enough time to make a variety of images from different angles. Which is exactly what I’d been hoping to do, since every section of the tram is painted differently. It’s arguably the most colorful LUAS vehicle to prowl the system to date.
All these views were made with my Lumix LX7, a camera I tend to carry with me everywhere I go.
For several days in a row it was clear, warm, sunny and bright in Dublin. In summer? Who would have thought? Walking around the city center one Friday afternoon, I made a point of trying to make some more photos of the pair of advertising trams prowling the LUAS Red Line.
After following the line on foot from Heuston Station, I slipped into a trackside café on Abbey Street for a late lunch. Here I sat by the window to keep an eye on things while I ate. The first of two trams glided westward shortly after my arrival, so I exposed some interpretive photos from inside the café.
As I was paying my bill, the second one passed in the opposite direction. This was easy enough to catch on foot, because it has to stop at the traffic lights before crossing O’Connell Street. The tram was destined for ‘The Point’ in Dublin’s docklands, and I estimated it would be about 20-25 minutes before it returned on its outward (westbound) trip.
I walked further, looking for an ideal place to catch it, finally deciding on the reverse curves near Busáras (Dublin’s central bus station) that I felt would best show the tram’s colors in a distinctive location.
I arrived back in Dublin aware that LUAS had a couple of trams working the Red Line in colourful advertising liveries. As I was on the 747 bus passing the city centre from the airport, I noted one of these working its way toward the Docklands.
Although I’ve been gone a few months, my memory of LUAS timings had the wheels turning in my head as the bus wandered its circuitous path through Dublin’s inner city.
By the time the bus arrived a Heuston Station, where it terminates its airport run, I calculated that the brightly coloured Citadis couldn’t be more than a few minutes away. So, with my luggage in tow, I marched toward my preferred morning location.
Just then it came into view.
Thankfully, it made a prolonged stop at Heuston, giving me time to dig out my LX-7 from the camera bag and reset it. I’d last been making multiple exposure HDR images of real 747s at Logan!