Tag Archives: Lumix

Experimenting with A Lumix LX100.

For me the Lumix100 poses an imaging quandary.

It is an excellent tool. The camera is compact, well-built, packed with features, and has a superb lens that contributes to stunning image quality.

Fota Island, Cork.
Midleton, Co. Cork.

My difficulty with the camera is fitting it into my arsenal of imaging tools.

The LX100 lens range is lacking compared with my other cameras. It is fine for photos exposed in the ‘normal’ range. Its zoom spans the range from 24 to 75mm. In my younger days that range would have been enough to offer me virtually everything I needed for my photographic vision.

I’ve been spoiled by wider and longer lenses. These days, I want to push the range of view just a little further. I often see images that are beyond the range offered by the LX100.

That says more about the way I photograph than about the LX100.

As readers of Tracking the Light are aware, I carry a Lumix LX7 with me just about everywhere. While the LX100 is unquestionably a better camera, the LX7 suits me better for three reasons: 1) it is very compact and light weight, so fits nicely in my jacket pocket 2) it is comparatively inexpensive so when I wear it out or destroy it, I’m not out of pocket for a huge replacement sum. 3) The LX7’s zoom lens covers my vision more closely.

That said, I’m now coveting an LX100 because it is such a fantastic image making tool. Also, because its narrow zoom range limits my comfort zone, it will force me to make better photographs and consider compositions that otherwise I might not see.

But that is just speculation now. Last week, I gave back the borrowed LX100 to Denis McCabe who had lent it to me. I made about 500 photographs with the camera during the week I had it in my camera bag. As I write this Denis and his LX100 camera on are a grand adventure to the far side of the globe.

I’m still sifting through my LX100 images. There’s many more.

Carrigaloe, Cork.
Glounthaune Village, Cork.
Irish Rail Mark4 interior.

Tracking the Light Explores Photography Everyday!

Lumix LX100 Second Test

A few years back I tested a LUMIX LX100 digital camera.

I very much liked the camera, but had just invested in a FujiFilm XT1.

I’ve recommended the LX100 to several photographers.

This week, Denis McCabe, who acted on my advice purchased an LX100 and has been getting very good results with it. He has lent me his camera for further evaluation.

On Friday, 11 October 2019, I traveled by Irish Rail to Portarlington and exposed these photos as a test.

More tests and analysis to follow!

On Friday, 11 October 2019, I traveled by Irish Rail to Portarlington and exposed these photos as a test of an LX100 digital camera.

Tracking the Light aims to post Daily

Lumix LX-‘Mark3’ with Low Sun.


Back in October 2018, I reported how my old Lumix LX7 suffered a failure owning to being drowned two days in a row.

Later I reported how I resuscitated the camera by leaving it in a zip lock bag with rice for four days in an effort to dry it out.

For two months the camera struggled on.

In the mean time my old friend Ken Buck offered to sell me his rarely used LX7.

Last week I took him up on the offer, as my original LX7 had finally reached the end of its usefulness.

The other day, I put the ‘new’ Lumix LX7 to the test and made these photos of Amtrak 57, the Saturday southward Vermonter making its station stop at Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

Low sun is a key to dramatic railway photos, and shortly before the train arrived, the clouds parted.

This is now my third Lumix LX-series camera. My first was a LX3, that I used from October 2009 to April 2014; my second was the ‘Zombie Lumix’ previously described.  Long live my third Lumix!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Inky Gloom at Wilmington, Delaware.

Last night a damp inky gloom greeted us as we alighted from Amtrak’s Vermonter at the former Pennsylvania Railroad station at Wilmington, Delaware.

A SEPTA Silverliner V electric multiple unit set sat on the opposite platforms waiting to depart for Philadelphia.

I made several exposures with my Lumix LX7. Working with the RAW files in Lightroom, I maximize the amount of visual information in the photos by lightening shadows and darkening highlights while adjusting contrast and color saturation.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Railway Preservation Society Ireland—Fall Tour: Ten Lumix Views.

I described the failure of my trusty Lumix LX7 in yesterday’s post:
Final Frame? Lumix LX7 Coils Up

https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5Rm

Despite its failure on the day of the tour, I’d made good use of the camera right up to the end. This versatile picture making device had been a staple of my camera bag for more than four years.

Below are a selection of photos from Saturday 13 October 2018 of RPSI’s The Southwestern rail tour that operated from Dublin Connolly to Cork, then via Limerick, Ennis and Athenry and back to Dublin.

On these rail tours I tend to focus on the people as much as the equipment.

Blocked outside of Mallow.

Operational discussion at Mallow.

 

Kent Station, Cork.

Tracking the Light Publishes  Daily.

Final Frame? Lumix LX7 Coils Up.

That’s a phrase that means ‘failed in service’.

In recent days, my faithful Lumix LX7 that I bought in June 2014 had developed quirky, unreliable traits.

Machines, including cameras shouldn’t develop irritable personalities. It’s an indication that the machine is broken.

On Saturday, 13 October 2018 the camera exhibited symptoms of failure. The weather had been exceptionally wet for two days in a row, and dampness is bad for electronics.

I made two  images  of Irish Rail 088 running around at Kent Station, Cork using LX7. Later in the day my efforts to turn the camera on resulted in an error message in the rear display.

My penultimate LX7 photo? One of the advantages of the LX7 is its small size enabled me to slide it through fences and gates to make images such as this one. The next frame was the last before the camera ‘coiled up’. It was one of three cameras I carried on 13 October, so I was able to continue making images.

I never would have guessed that this photo of Irish Rail 088 at Cork would be the last I exposed with my Lumix LX7. I wonder if I’ll be able to revive this camera? In its more than four years of service I carried it with me everywhere and used it to make more than 79,000 shutter releases.

Stay tuned . . .

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

 

Lumix Raw-Adjusted on the Train—Changing at Portadown.

Just moments ago, I changed trains at Portadown, Northern Ireland.

I’m writing this from the NIR service from Portadown to Bangor.

I uploaded Lumix files to my MacBook, and adjusted them using Lightroom on the train. Then scaled and uploaded to WordPress via NIR’s wifi.

Or at least that’s the theory.

NIR train at Portadown. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!

 

Amtrak 157—Four Photos.

Train 157 is Amtrak’s Sunday-only Springfield, Massachusetts to Norfolk, Virginia run.

Refurbished Amfleet offer a comfortable classic ride.

Amfleet diner.

At New Haven, Amtrak 157 paused to change from a diesel to an electric locomotive. I used the opportunity to make a few photos.

The New York skyline as viewed from the Hell Gate bridge.

On my trip,I traveled only as far as New York Penn-Station and made these photos with my Lumix LX-7. Here the train is both transport and subject.

The lightweight Lumix is an ideal camera for urban imaging. Its small size, innocuous appearance and ease of use makes it a perfect travel camera.

It has an extremely sharp Leica lens, simultaneously exposes RAW and JPG file formats, offers manual aperture control among a variety of exposure adjustments.

It’s largest drawback is the lack of a long telephoto zoom.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Connecticut River Composition.

Last week I made these views of New England Central’s northward 611 freight as it crossed the Connecticut River bridge at East Northfield, Massachusetts.

The longer days feature the evening sun in a northerly position that allows for sunlight on the nose of the locomotive as it crosses the bridge.

Although I’ve often worked the south side of this span, this was the first time I’ve made successful photos of a train from the north side.

Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 and prime (not zoom) 90mm telephoto lens.

Several turbo-flutters later (about 8 digital ‘frames’ or exposures), also made with my FujiFilm X-T1 and prime (not zoom) 90mm telephoto lens. 

I was watching the light and the effect of reflections in the river as I composed my photos.

For these digital images I was working with both my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1.

Lumix LX7 photo. The locomotives are more fully on the bridge, but here I’ve lost the effect of the nose reflection in the water.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Heuston Station Pictured at Night using my Lumix.

I often walk by Heuston Station in all hours of day and night. I’ve been photographing this station for almost 20 years.

Despite this, I never let this pioneering railway terminal building escape notice. Just because something is familiar doesn’t mean I’ll ignore it.

Quite the opposite; I’m always looking for a new angle, different light, or some way of capturing this building.

This recent selection of photos was made using my Lumix LX7.

Lumix LX7 in scene mode ‘Night Mode’ allowed for this handheld early morning view with the moon.

LX7 photo.

Heuston Station with a bus.

Vertical view at dusk.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Baldwin in the Yard

On my visit to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania last month, I made this late afternoon view of a Baldwin switcher in the ‘Train Yard’ outside the museum’s ‘Rolling Stock Hall’.

Exposed using a Lumix LX7 digital camera.

For a dozen interior views exposed in the Rolling Stock Hall, take a look at this morning’s Tracking the Light post:

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania-A Dozen New photos.

Photography with an Independence Pass: A dozen new photos.

Last week, I bought my SEPTA Independence Day Pass at 1234 Market Street.

For a mere $13 this allows for unlimited travel on the SEPTA network (with a few minor restrictions). See SEPTA: www.septa.org/fares/pass/independence.html

I made good use of the pass, traveling over several heavy rail routes to make photos.

One of the greatest features of this pass is the ability to get on and off trains without concern for cost, or trying to explain to the conductor where I’m are traveling to. This allows me to change my plan on the spot if I see an interesting location.

SEPTA offers regular interval service on most of its suburban lines, with extra trains in the evening rush hour.

Lumix LX7 Photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo at Berwyn, Pa.

FujiFilm XT1 photo at Berwyn, Pa.

Lumix LX7 photo on the Main Line at Merion, PA.

Lumix LX7 photo at Glenside, PA.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo at Glenside.

Lumix LX7 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

SEPTA Silverliner IVs approach Temple. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Interior of a Bombardier coach. Lumix LX7 photo.

SEPTA Silverliner IV interior. Lumix LX7 photo.

SEPTA at 30th Street Station. Lumix LX7 photo.

These digital photos were made using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras.

 

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Nocturnal Basel Tram Pan

Using my Panasonic Lumix LX7, I exposed this pan photograph of a city tram on the streets of Basel, Switzerland in April 2017.

I’d set the camera at ISO 250, and with the ‘A’ (aperture priority) mode set the aperture to its widest opening (f1.7), which allowed for a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second.

By panning (moving) with the tram, the relatively long shutter speed places the background in a sea of blur while keeping the tram car comparatively sharp.

Basel, Switzerland has a complicated narrow gauge tram system. Lumix LX7 photograph, April 2017.

Tracking the Light posts Daily.

 

Milan Peter Witt at Dusk.

It was a drizzly dusk two weeks ago (April 2017) when I used my Lumix LX7 to expose this image of a Peter Witt streetcar in Milan, Italy.

With the Lumix set at ISO 200; my exposure was  f1.8 at ¼ (using  ‘A’ mode that allows me to select the aperture, while the camera automatically selects the shutter speed).

To steady the camera, I rested it on a railing conveniently located at the tram stop.

I’m fond of making night shots where there’s still a hint of colour in the sky.

For the next week Tracking the Light will be on Auto Pilot while Brian is traveling.

Dublin’s LUAS at Smithfield—March 2017.

Last week I used my Lumix LX7 to exposed this view of an eastbound tram on the LUAS Red Line at Smithfield.

This is an example of a low angle photograph, intended to make for a slightly more dramatic image. When I was much younger I made many photos of streetcars from this lower perspective, but not the sake of drama.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

SEPTA at Night on Girard Avenue.

The other night, I used my Lumix LX7 to expose these views of SEPTA’s route 15 trolley on Girard Avenue in Philadelphia.

Working in ‘A’ mode (which allows me to select the aperture while the camera picks the shutter speed) I dialed in a 1/3 stop over exposure to allow for a more pleasing overall exposure to compensate for the dark sky and bright highlights.

Exposed in 'A' mode which produces both an in-camera Jpeg and a RAW file. This view was adjusted in post processing from the camera RAW file.
Exposed in ‘A’ mode which produces both an in-camera Jpeg and a RAW file. This view was adjusted in post processing from the camera RAW file.

Exposed in 'A' mode which produces both an in-camera Jpeg and a RAW file. This view was adjusted in post processing from the camera RAW file.
Exposed in ‘A’ mode which produces both an in-camera Jpeg and a RAW file. This view was adjusted in post processing from the camera RAW file.

septa_rt15_pcc_market_frankford_el_p1550977

Compare this adjusted RAW file with the image below exposed using the 'hand held night' mode. (explained below).
Compare this adjusted RAW file with the image below exposed using the ‘hand held night’ mode. (explained below).

I also made a couple of exposures using the Lumix’s built in ‘hand held night’ (one of the scene mode pre-selects, available by setting the top dial to SCN , pressing the menu button and scrolling through the options).

This is a composite image made in-camera by exposing with the Lumix's 'Hand Held Night' mode.
This is a composite image made in-camera by exposing with the Lumix’s ‘Hand Held Night’ mode.

The hand-held night mode was recommended to me by Denis McCabe. This makes a blended composite image from a half-dozen or so exposures automatically exposed in a relatively rapid sequence. It’s not perfect, but allows for decent images of relatively static scenes if you hold the camera steady.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

Brian’s old Cameras.

These are some roster views of equipment I’ve used over the years.

I say ‘roster’ to clarify, that these are not ‘builders’ photos of the equipment. Like decades old General Motors diesels, my cameras are battle-worn machines that show the effects from years of hard service.

While I’ve lit these images to show detail,  I’ve not made any effort to  disguise, clean or dress up these old cameras. You see them as they are.

In my youth I made most of my photos with various Leica 3s that were the better part of fifty years old at the time.

In the 1990s, my pal TSH exclaimed sarcastically that I’d missed my calling as a Nikon endurance tester.

I’ve typically chosen to work with durable equipment that featured excellent optics and rarely worried about acquiring the latest models or gadgetry. These are tools to an end and not jewelry.

One of several Leica model 3s that I used extensively in the 1970s and 1980s. This one is fitted with a 21mm Super Angulon, the aftermarket viewfinder for same is mounted atop the camera. The camera body is nearly 80 years old. It still works, I exposed several rolls of black & white film with it in June 2016.
One of several Leica model 3s that I used extensively in the 1970s and 1980s. This one is fitted with a 21mm Super Angulon, the aftermarket viewfinder for same is mounted atop the camera. The camera body is nearly 80 years old. It still works, I exposed several rolls of black & white film with it in June 2016.

One of four Rolleiflex Model T twin-lens rangefinders that I've exposed photos with over the years. My dad's first Rollei had gray leather. I wore that camera out in the late 1980s. This is one of the replacements.
One of four Rolleiflex Model T twin-lens rangefinders that I’ve exposed photos with over the years. My dad’s first Rollei had gray leather. I wore that camera out in the late 1980s. This is one of the replacements.

Between 2001 and 2007, I exposed hundreds of rolls of film with this Contax G2 rangefinder. It's a solid and heavy little camera. It is seen here with a 45mm Zeiss lens.
Between 2001 and 2007, I exposed hundreds of rolls of film with this Contax G2 rangefinder. It’s a solid and heavy little camera; seen here with a 45mm Zeiss Planar lens.

Here's my first digital camera, a Panasonic Lumix LX3. I bought on the recommendation of Eric Rosenthal, who lent me one to test. I made my first photos with it in October 2009. After more than 65000 exposures it developed a fault and I replaced it with a Lumix LX7 (with which I made this image). Over all, I like the LX7, but I wonder if it will prove as durable as the LX3?
Here’s my first digital camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3. I bought it on the recommendation of Eric Rosenthal, who lent me one to test. I made my first photos with it in October 2009. After more than 65,000 exposures it developed a fault and I replaced it with a Lumix LX7 (with which I made this image). Over all, I like the LX7 better, but I wonder if it will prove as durable as this olds LX3?

This Canon EOS 7D has served me well since 2010. It is seen here with a prime 200mm lens. These days I only use this camera occasionally, but it still works as well as the day I bought it.
This Canon EOS 7D has served me well since 2010. It is seen here with a prime 200mm lens. These days I only use it occasionally, but it still works as well as the day I took it out of the box.

Among the cameras missing from this selection of photos are several of my work-horse machines; my dad’s original Rolleiflex, my old Leica M2 rangefinder (that my brother occasionally still uses), various Nikon model F2/F3/F3T and N90s bodies (plus lenses) that I dragged all around the world between 1990-2006, a Nikkormat FT3 (with red leather), and my Canon EOS-3s, which I continued to carry around to exposed film. Also, my two newest machines, a Lumix LX7 (that exposed these images) and a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera).

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Eight Lumix LX7 Candid views of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Dublin Rivera Excursions.

 

I like to have at least two cameras handy. This especially true when I’m in a situation where photographic opportunities are rapidly unfolding.

These days I usually have both my FujiFilm X-T1 and Lumix LX7 at the ready.

Both are very good image-making machines, yet each has its strengths.

My Lumix is great for candid views and situations where it isn’t necessary or practical to have the camera at eye level. Often I use strictly with the live-view rear screen.

Panoramic view inside one of RPSI's Cravens carriages.
Panoramic composite view inside one of RPSI’s Cravens carriages.

This is a selection of photographs of last Sunday’s (3 April 2016) Dublin Rivera steam excursions operated by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

Cravens carriage prepped and ready for passengers.
Cravens carriage prepped and ready for passengers.

The day's scheduled running times as per Irish Rail.
The day’s scheduled running times as per Irish Rail.

Footplate crew at Connolly.
Footplate crew at Connolly.

Engine 461 at Connolly Station; camera held high at arm's length to clear the heads of spectators on the platform.
Engine 461 at Connolly Station; camera held high at arm’s length to clear the heads of spectators on the platform.

View_from_train_near_Glengeary_

Guards_Van_P1420634

Connolly Station.
Connolly Station.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Connolly Station in Green Light.

Yesterday, I displayed an image of Dublin’s Heuston Station bathed in green light; today, I feature Connolly Station. These Dublin railway terminals are among the oldest big city stations in continuous use in the world.

Connolly Station features classic Italianate architecture typical of many large stations world-wide.

Exposed with a Lumix LX-7 mounted on a mini Gitzo tripod with ball head; ISO 80 f2.0 1/3.2 seconds daylight white balance.
Exposed on Talbot Street with a Lumix LX-7 mounted on a mini Gitzo tripod with ball head; ISO 80 f2.0 at 1/3.2 seconds with daylight white balance. Pity about the refuse sacks on the footpath.

Exposed with a Lumix LX-7 mounted on a mini Gitzo tripod with ball head; ISO 80 f2.0 at 1 second, daylight white balance.
Exposed with a Lumix LX-7 mounted on a mini Gitzo tripod with ball head; ISO 80 f2.0 at 1 second, daylight white balance. This was made at 7pm on March 13, 2015.

The greening of Connolly for St. Patrick’s Day is a more subtle treatment than on some of Dublin’s structures.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

An Irish Rail 29000-series DMU cross Talbot Street on the Loop Line Bridge. Lumix LX7 photo.
An Irish Rail 29000-series DMU cross Talbot Street on the Loop Line Bridge. Lumix LX7 photo. Connolly Station is directly behind me.

 

Lumix LX100 Filters.

They are easy to use. It’s like stepping back in time. Sort of.

Panasonic’s new camera comes with a fantastic lens and sensor combination, but what if clarity seems too sterile? Perhaps, you want to get the effects (and defects) characteristic of old film cameras? No problem!

The LX100 has a button on top of the camera called ‘filters,’ which alters the color, contrast, exposure and sometimes the focus of digital files to emulate a variety of effects that were once characteristic of older camera-film combinations.

The advantage of the ‘filters’ feature is that the effects are done ‘in-camera’ without the need to fiddle around with photo-shop or other post-processing software. The button opens a menu and you simply select the desired filter. This shows you the treatment on screen and in the viewfinder.

In my early days of photography, I experimented with a variety of older cameras, and sampled various film types. My skills weren’t yet developed and my results were a bit random. The LX100’s filter mode allows me to step back to those early experimental times when any photographic result seemed like success.

The best part of filters is that you can easily switch from one mode to the next and back to normal again quickly. Below are some of the filter results. I’ve given these comparative names in ‘quotes’ that I felt were more appropriate than Panasonic’s, but put the camera-filter name in [brackets] for reference. Just so you know. Ok?

Do you have any favorites?

'Cheap 400 speed print film'  [High Key].
‘Cheap 400 speed print film with drug store processing’ [High Key].
'Whoops, I sent my print film in with a slide mailer' [Cross processing]
‘Whoops, I sent my print film in with a slide mailer’ [Cross processing]
'Underexposed Ektachrome 200' [Expressive].
‘Underexposed Ektachrome 200’ [Expressive].
'Fogged color print film' [Impressive Art].
‘Fogged color print film’ [Impressive Art].
'Underexposed Kodacolor 400' [Low Key].
‘Underexposed Kodacolor 100’ [Low Key].
Black & white that I processed with exhausted fixer. [Sepia].
Black & white that I processed with exhausted fixer. [Sepia].
Black & white printed with exhausted Dektol developer. [Monochrome].
Black & white printed with exhausted Dektol developer. [Monochrome].
Overexposed, overprocessed Tri-X that I processed in the sink. [Rough Monochrome].
Overexposed, overprocessed Tri-X that I processed in the sink. [Rough Monochrome].
Instamatic attempt with color print film. [Toy Effect]
Instamatic attempt with color print film. [Toy Effect]
'Light leak.' "Oh no!  I think I opened the back of the camera". [Sunshine].
‘Light leak.’ “Oh no! I think I opened the back of the camera”. [Sunshine].
'This is my friend's cheap HO layout' (What a fool, he's tried to model Palmer!). [Miniature Effect].
‘This is my friend’s cheap HO layout’ (What a fool, he’s tried to model Palmer!). [Miniature Effect].
'Bargain film, only 6 months past the expiration date!' [Old days].
‘Bargain film, only 6 months past the expiration date!’ [Old days].
'Kodak sent me a note with my slides, it said they had a "unique laboratory occurrence" and I got a free roll of 24 exposure K64.' [Bleach Bypass].
‘Kodak sent me a note with my slides, it said they had a “unique laboratory occurrence” and a free roll of 24 exposure K64.’ [Bleach Bypass].
'Drugstore processed black & white' [Silky monochrome].
‘Drugstore processed black & white’ [Silky monochrome].
'I think there's something wrong with my light meter. This was some Ilford HP5 the I processed last week and the negatives were a bit 'thin'. [Dynamic Monochrome].
‘I think there’s something wrong with my light meter. This was some Ilford HP5 that I processed  and the negatives were a bit ‘thin’. [Dynamic Monochrome].
Funny, there didn’t seem to be a filter for ‘Kodachrome 25’.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

New England Central 3850 and Lumix LX7 Color Profiles

Palmer, October 20, 2014.

It’s been nearly 20 years since New England Central assumed operations from Central Vermont.

In that time New England Central has had three owners. Originally a RailTex property, it was owned by RailAmerica for more than a dozen years and now is a Genesee & Wyoming railroad.

Despite that, a few of its original GP38s remain painted in the blue and yellow scheme introduced when the railroad began operations in February 1995.

NECR 3850 was working job 603 in Palmer and paused for a minute on the interchange track. Although I’ve photographed this old goat dozens of times in the last two decades, I opted to make a series of images with my Lumix LX7 to demonstrate the different color profiles (color ‘styles’) built into the camera.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, one of the great compositional tools available with the Lumix LX7 (and other cameras too) is the ability to quickly change from one color profile to another (including black & white modes).

Although, it is easy enough to adjust and alter color in post processing, I find it is useful to be able to compose a scene on-site knowing how the camera will react to color and contrast.

Below are a sequence of similar images of 3850 using different built-in color profiles. I’ve adjusted the B&W ‘monochrome’ profile in-camera to better suit my personal taste.

Image 1—Lumix 'Vivid' color profile.
Image 1—Lumix ‘Vivid’ color profile.

Image 2: Lumix 'Natural' color profile.
Image 2—Lumix ‘Natural’ color profile. Please note that term ‘Natural’ is purely subjective and does not infer any unusual treatment as compared with the other profiles. In other words ‘natural’ is just a name.

Image 3—'Scenery' Lumix color profile.
Image 3—’Scenery’ Lumix color profile.

Image 4—'Monochrome' Lumix color profile.
Image 4—’Monochrome’ Lumix color profile.

Image 5 'High Dynamic Range' setting. (this blends three images exposed automatic in rapid succession).
Image 5 ‘High Dynamic Range’ setting. (this blends three images exposed automatically in rapid succession. Fine for static scenes, but not practical for moving trains).

Which of the photos do you like the best?

Of course every computer display has its own way of interpreting color and contrast. Compare these images on different screens and see how they change.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Tomorrow: a colorful GP38 in Missouri!

 

Freight Along the Rhein

Playing with Aspect Ratios.

April 9, 2010; a group of my Irish friends and I were on a week long trip to the Rhein and Mosel Valleys.

The Rhein is great place to experiment with equipment and technique. Busy double track mainlines occupy both sides of the river amid stunning scenery and historic architecture.

I was set up at the south end of the station platform at Kaub on the Right Bank. This is the busier freight line, with trains passing in fleets. Rarely ten minutes would pass without something clattering along.

My vantage point also gave me a good view of the Left Bank and the Pfalzgrafenstein—a colorful castle situated on an island in the middle of the river. Working with my Lumix LX3, I played with the camera’s aspect ratios as an exercise in composition.

A DB class 151 electric leads a southward container train at Kaub, Germany. I've used the Lumix LX3 with the 1:1 (square) aspect ratio to frame the train with the castle on the side of the hill and lighting masts on the left. April 9, 2010.
A DB class 151 electric leads a southward container train at Kaub, Germany. I’ve used the Lumix LX3 with the 1:1 (square) aspect ratio to frame the train with the castle on the side of the hill and lighting masts on the left. April 9, 2010.

I made this image of a northward car train from the same location as the above photo. By selecting the Lumix's 16:9 aspect ratio I had a panoramic frame with which to compose my photo. My intent was a juxtaposition of the castle in the river with the freight train. Would this photo work if the DB locomotive wasn't bright red?
I made this image of a northward car train from the same location as the above photo. By selecting the Lumix’s 16:9 aspect ratio I had a panoramic frame with which to compose my photo. My intent was a juxtaposition of the castle in the river with the freight train. Would this photo work if the DB locomotive wasn’t bright red? 

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Lumix Up Close—Macro Views of American classics.

Details at Spencer Shops.

One of the strengths of the Lumix LX-series is the ability to make close-up and detail photos.

The camera’s optical system allows for great depth of field, while the ability to focus manually has allowed me unusual flexibility to make detailed photographs.

While experimenting with the LX7 at the Streamliners at Spencer event held by the North Carolina Transportation Museum, I made many detailed views. This was an idea time to get close, since there was a great variety of equipment on display with great pedestrian access.

Pennsylvania Railroad E8A 5711 on display at Spencer, North Carolina in May 2014.
Pennsylvania Railroad E8A 5711 on display at Spencer, North Carolina in May 2014.

High gloss made for an opportunity to capture reflections and expose innovative compositions. LX7 photo.
High gloss made for an opportunity to capture reflections and expose innovative compositions. LX7 photo.

Union Pacific E9 949 had come a long way for the event and was looking well polished. LX7 Photo.
Union Pacific E9 949 had come a long way for the event and was looking well polished. LX7 Photo.

These days an Amtrak F40PH is a novelty. LX7 detailed view.
These days an Amtrak F40PH is a novelty. LX7 detailed view.

An old Missouri-Kansas-Texas stainless steel clad passenger car harked back to the streamlined era.  Lumix LX7 view.
An old Missouri-Kansas-Texas stainless steel clad passenger car harked back to the streamlined era. Lumix LX7 view.

The event was all about EMD locomotives, yet not everything on display was streamlined. LX7 photo.
The event was all about EMD locomotives, yet not everything on display was streamlined. LX7 photo.

North Carolina Transportation Museum has plenty of regular exhibits. I recall flying Eastern Airlines back in the day.
North Carolina Transportation Museum has plenty of regular exhibits. I recall flying Eastern Airlines back in the day.

Birth certificate for decapod.
Birth certificate for decapod.

 Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Digital Camera Comparison: LX3 versus LX7

Not a Competition.

Lumix cameras. My old LX3 is at top left. Top right and bottom are LX7s. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D.
Lumix cameras. My old LX3 is at top left. Top right and bottom are LX7s. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D.

My first digital Camera was a Panasonic LX3 that I bought in late 2009 on suggestion of my digital photography advisor, Eric Rosenthal.

At the time, I’d planned to use the camera as a light meter, to make supplemental photos, and to photograph in social situations where having an email ready photo quickly was an advantage.

In the first few months, I occasionally used this camera for railway action photos, but for the most part I continued to rely on my Canon EOS-3s for important situations.

CSX Q006 rolls south along the Hudson River at Iona Island, New York in March 2012. Lumix LX3 photo.
CSX Q006 rolls south along the Hudson River at Iona Island, New York in March 2012. Lumix LX3 photo.

Rural station at Riachos T. Novas, Portugal. Lumix LX3 photo.
Rural station at Riachos T. Novas, Portugal. Lumix LX3 photo.

Lisbon Metro. Lumix LX3 photo.
Lisbon Metro. Lumix LX3 photo.

Train interior, Porto, Portugal. Lumix LX3 photo.
Train interior, Porto, Portugal. Lumix LX3 photo.

I gradually concluded that the LX3 was a fantastic image-making tool. For the next five years I carried this camera everywhere. I exposed more than 64,000 images with it. I’d still be using it, except it broke! (Some observers suggest that I wore it out) The digital display at the back of the camera stopped functioning reliably.

My father lent me his LX7 for a few weeks, and I quickly concluded that I needed one.

Overall it is a much better camera.

On the downside, it is nominally larger.

On the plus side:

  • 1) It is easier to use.
  • 2) When set up properly there’s virtually no delay in making an image from the time the shutter is released.
  • 3) It cycles much faster.
  • 4) It has a better lens, which lets more light in and has a longer telephoto setting.
  • 5) It offers a variety of features that allow for more creative images, including: a built in neutral density filter; an automatic High Dynamic Range mode that rapid blends three images in a sophisticated manner.
  • 6) It has a traditional aperture ring.
  • 7) It has a built in level that can be displayed on the screen.
  • 8) It has the option of an external digital viewfinder.

Over coming weeks, I’ll continue to discuss the virtues (and drawbacks) of these various cameras. Incidentally, recently Panasonic announced another new camera, the LX100, which looks to be even better than the LX7.

The LX7 has excellent reaction time; I stopped the Acela Express at speed at Princeton Junction. The train was moving faster than 125mph. LX7 photo.
The LX7 has excellent reaction time; I stopped the Acela Express at speed at Princeton Junction. The train was moving faster than 125mph. LX7 photo (uncropped, unmodified—except for scaling for internet usage).

The LX7 is easy to use and well suited to making railway photos. LX7 photo.
The LX7 is easy to use and well suited to making railway photos. LX7 photo.

Irish Rail ICR's roll along a speed near Clondalkin. The camera's small size makes it easier to shoot through fences, such as those on highway bridges over the track. LX7 Photo.
Irish Rail ICR’s roll along a speed near Clondalkin. The camera’s small size makes it easier to shoot through fences, such as those on highway bridges over the track. LX7 Photo.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please spread the word and share Tracking the Light with anyone who may enjoy seeing it!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Alco Diesels at Emporium, Pennsylvania.

Experiments with a Digital Camera.

On the afternoon of February 6, 2010, Pat Yough, Chris Guss and I were photographing along the former Pennsylvania Railroad at Emporium, Pennsylvania. This route is operated by the Western New York & Pennsylvania, a short line famous for its late-era use of Alco Century diesels.

I was primarily photographing on Fujichrome using my pair of Canon EOS-3, however, I was experimenting with my relatively recently acquired Panasonic Lumix LX3.

Western New York & Pennsylvania’s westward Driftwood Turn (the ‘DFT’) was switching near a grade crossing in nice winter sun. This gave me ample opportunity to try various modes with the Lumix, so I varied the aspect ratio (the parameters of the frame) and sampled various built-in color profiles.

Lumix LX3 set at 16:9 aspect ratio with standard color profile.
Lumix LX3 set at 16:9 aspect ratio with standard color profile.

Lumix LX-3 using 16:9 aspect ratio in the vertical.
Lumix LX3 using 16:9 aspect ratio in the vertical. An annoying wire has interfered with my composition!

Here I selected the 4:3 aspect ratio which maximizes the use of the sensor. I selected the 'Natural' color profile which is slightly less saturated than 'Standard'.
Here I selected the 4:3 aspect ratio which maximizes the use of the sensor. I selected the ‘Natural’ color profile which is slightly less saturated than ‘Standard’.

I wanted to see how the digital camera would cope with extreme backlighting and flare.
I wanted to see how the digital camera would cope with extreme backlighting and flare.

I like the sunburst effect but I was disappointed by the lack of highlight detail. I found that the Lumix couldn't match the dynamic range of Fujichrome, which limits its ability to capture high contrast situations. My LX-7 has an 'HDR' feature that partially overcomes this problem, but is only useful for static situations (topic for another post).
I like the sunburst effect but I was disappointed by the lack of highlight detail. I found that the Lumix couldn’t match the dynamic range of Fujichrome, which limits its ability to capture high contrast situations. My LX-7 has an ‘HDR’ feature that partially overcomes this problem, but is only useful for static situations (topic for another post). 16:9 aspect ratio; ‘Standard’ color profile.

I was curious to see how the camera handled backlighting and flare, so I made a few cross-lit silhouettes to push the limits of exposure. These are a few of my results. The files are unaltered except for scaling for internet display. I haven’t adjusted color or exposure in post processing, nor have I cropped them.

As regular readers of Tracking the Light are aware, since that time, I’ve made great use of the LX3. I wore it out, and a few months ago I replaced it with a Panasonic Lumix LX7, which is an even better camera.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please spread the word and share Tracking the Light with anyone who may enjoy seeing it!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Tomorrow: LX3 versus LX7!

 

Old Budd Cars Don’t Rust

 Bellows Falls, Vermont.

It was the morning of August 28, 2010. My father and I had arrived at Bellows Falls, on our way to St. Albans. It was quiet and nothing was moving on any of the three freight railroads that serve the town.

East of the passenger station there were a few old Budd RDCs stored on former Rutland Railroad sidings. I took a few minutes to made some photos with my Lumix LX3. My father has some nice Kodachrome slides of Boston & Maine and New York Central cars working in the 1960s. I remember riding them out of Boston in the 1970s.

Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.
Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.

Vestiges of another era at Bellows Falls, Vermont. Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.
Vestiges of another era at Bellows Falls, Vermont. Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.

New York Central was first to install Budd Rail Diesel Cars in revenue service. They were known as 'Bee Liners.' Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.
New York Central was first to install Budd Rail Diesel Cars in revenue service. They were known as ‘Bee Liners.’ Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.

One of the benefits of Budd’s Shotwelded stainless steel construction is that the cars won’t rust. Yet, the overgrowth makes for some interesting studies in decay. The cars still reflected the light nicely.

More than 30 years earlier we’d explored these same sidings. Back then there were decayed vestiges of wooden sided boxcars around the place, and considerably few trees.

 Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

 

City of the Future: Rotterdam

August 2014.

Terminus of Rotterdam's number 7 tram near the very Dutch sounding Tulip Inn. Lumix LX7 photo
Terminus of Rotterdam‘s number 7 tram near the very Dutch sounding Tulip Inn. Lumix LX7 photo

I visited Rotterdam for an afternoon and evening. This is considered The Netherland’s architechtural capital and certainly features a wide variety of unusual modern buildings.

Rotterdam had been left in ruins after the Second World War, and over the last seven decades has been rebuilt in a style unlike any place else I’ve even seen. For me, its next closest cousin is Toyko, and that’s a bit of a stretch.

Lego-land on steroids! Lumix LX7 photo.
Lego-land on steroids!
Lumix LX7 photo.

The famed Cube House, which allows you to wander into an Escher-like setting. Lumix LX7 photo
The famed Cube House, which allows you to wander into an Escher-like setting. Lumix LX7 photo

RET train passing below the Cube House. Lumix LX7 photo
RET train passing below the Cube House. Lumix LX7 photo

A burst of sun illuminates at tram paused at a waterfront station. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
A burst of sun illuminates at tram paused at a waterfront station. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Trams with skyscrapers, Rotterdam. Lumix LX7 photo
Trams with skyscrapers, Rotterdam. Lumix LX7 photo

What better way to see a city? Rotterdams trams are clean and feature large windows. Lumix LX7 photo
What better way to see a city? Rotterdams trams are clean and feature large windows. Lumix LX7 photo

The city has an excellent modern tram system, a stunning underground metro, and world-class railway connections.

The city revolves around the port, is one of the busiest in Europe, and a central focus of much of the water-front architecture.

I found it an intriguing place to make photographs. My regret was that my visit was so short. My three cameras were kept busy through my wanderings.

Lumix LX7 photo
Lumix LX7 photo

Erasmusbrug, Rotterdam.
Erasmusbrug, Rotterdam.

Containers outbound at Erasmusbrug, Rotterdam. Lumix LX7 photo.
Containers outbound at Erasmusbrug, Rotterdam. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tram pan in central Rotterdam. Lumix LX7 photo.
Tram pan in central Rotterdam. Lumix LX7 photo.

RET number 8 tram.
RET number 8 tram.

Number 7 tram terminus.
Number 7 tram terminus.

Tomorrow! Rotterdam Centraal—one of Europe’s newest stations.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Ottignies—13 Minutes to Change Trains

Making the Most of It.

Belgium’s Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges (Belgian National Railways or SNCB) operates a top-notch passenger network with interval frequencies on most routes. This works on a hub and spoke system, where planned changes allow passengers a great variety of destinations.

New EMUs bask in the sun at Ottignies on an August 2014 evening. Lumix LX7 photo with the 'Vivid' colour profile.
New EMUs bask in the sun at Ottignies on an August 2014 evening. Lumix LX7 photo with the ‘Vivid’ colour profile.

On an August 2014 evening, I arrived at Ottignies from Charleroi on my way to La Hulpe in the Brussels suburbs. My journey itinerary gave me 13 minutes to change from one train to another.

Ottignies is an old school station with traditional platforms and canopies. While this can’t last forever, I’ll take its situation as a blessing. Refurbished stations are fine for passenger utility, but offer less in the way visual character.

Since I’d changed here previously, I had a sense for where the light would be.

That’s right! I had precisely 13-minutes to make photographs, and I was prepared to make the most of it! (And yes, I exposed some colour slides too. You know, for the record.)

My Lumix has an HDR (high dynamic range) feature that takes a rapid fire sequence of three images and blends them in camera. This increases highlight and shadow definition and produces more even contrast. The subject(s) need to be static however or the feature doesn't work so well.
My Lumix has an HDR (high dynamic range) feature that takes a rapid fire sequence of three images and blends them in camera. This increases highlight and shadow definition and produces more even contrast. The subject(s) need to be static however or the feature doesn’t work so well.

New sign with old canopies and platforms, a good compromise. An old General Motors powered diesel lurks in the yard beyond. Lumix LX7 photo.
New sign with old canopies and platforms, a good compromise. An old General Motors powered diesel lurks in the yard beyond. Lumix LX7 photo.

Well now this is a bonus. An old SNCB class 55 diesel with a Colas ballast cleaner. Lumix LX7 photo.
Well now this is a bonus. An old SNCB class 55 diesel with a Colas ballast cleaner. Lumix LX7 photo.

Colas is a company with a hand in many businesses. They run trains in the UK too.
Colas is a company with a hand in many businesses. They run trains in the UK too.

This high contrast scene made for a perfect opportunity to test the capabilities of the HDR feature. I think it did a respectable job of holding detail while balancing contrast. Lumix LX7 in HDR 'scene mode'.
This high contrast scene made for a perfect opportunity to test the capabilities of the HDR feature. I think it did a respectable job of holding detail while balancing contrast. Lumix LX7 in HDR ‘scene mode’.

Ottignies is a busy station. As I was focused on the ballast cleaning train, a southward InterCity train arrived. I made a colour slide of it as it glided to a stop then repositioned for this view with my Lumix in HDR 'scene mode'.
Ottignies is a busy station. As I was focused on the ballast cleaning train, a southward InterCity train arrived. I made a colour slide of it as it glided to a stop then repositioned for this view with my Lumix in HDR ‘scene mode’.

I reverted to the Vivid colour profile without the benefit of HDR for this low angle view of this SNCB class 18. This is a Siemens Vectron and the same basic locomotive design that Amtrak is now using on the North East Corridor. Lumix LX7 photo.
I reverted to the Vivid colour profile without the benefit of HDR for this low angle view of this SNCB class 18. This is a Siemens Vectron — the same basic locomotive design that Amtrak is now using on the North East Corridor. Lumix LX7 photo.

My train arrived and I took a seat on the upper deck. This was a contrast from the old single-level electric that I'd traveled on up from Charleroi. I was heading toward Brussels in the rush hour, so I was moving counter flow. Lumix LX7 photo at Ottignies, Belgium.
My train arrived and I took a seat on the upper deck. This was a contrast from the old single-level electric that I’d traveled on up from Charleroi. I was heading toward Brussels in the rush hour, so I was moving counter flow. Lumix LX7 photo at Ottignies, Belgium.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

 

Interurban Throwback: Charleroi —Part 2

A Tale of Two Tram Cities.

Sometimes I stumble into the past. Although I was keen to explore Charleroi by tram, I wasn’t expecting the vestige of roadside interurban operation on the long line to Anderlues.

Frequency on this line is only about every half hour, and I nearly gave up on this leg of my journey while waiting for a delayed outbound tram at the dark and dire brown-tile transfer station called Piges in western Charleroi.

Much of the route features modern construction on concrete elevated structures and subway, a creation of the Charleroi Metro. However, once beyond a turn-back station at the end of this infrastructure intensive right of way, trams operate on a vestige of the old Vicinal network (once the operator an extensive system of Belgium’s interurban tram lines).

In Anderlues, the tram uses single track gutter-side street running. All I can say, is this really cool for a modern-day operation. Lumix LX-7 photo.
In Anderlues, the tram uses single track gutter-side street running. Let me just say, is this really cool for a modern-day operation. Lumix LX-7 photo.

This includes side-of-road operation with long sections of single track, passing sidings and brick-lined streets. I was astounded. I checked my calendar, and it confirmed that it really was August 2014, not sometime in the mid-twentieth century.

However, as is too often the case, I was on short-time and only had a few hours to explore this fascinating railway.

A tram takes a corner in Anderlues. Moments later  torrential rains dampened my photography. Lumix LX7 photo.
A tram takes a corner in Anderlues. Moments later torrential rains dampened my photography. Lumix LX7 photo.

Hard rain at Anderlues.
Hard rain at Anderlues.