I exposed these views using my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit lens.
Key to my success was the high ISO setting (ISO 5000) and auto white balance setting that adjusted and balanced myriad artificial light sources.
Lacking a tripod, I positioned and steadied the camera on the half open ‘dutch door’ of private passenger car Silver Splendor as it was paused across from the Metrolink train storage sidings in Riverside, California.
My exposures were about 1/2 second at f2.8 (ISO 5000).
To make the most of the photos, I imported the camera RAW files into Lightroom and adjusted highlights and shadows to make for more pleasing final images.
On November 17, 2018, I made this view of Metrolink train 662 eastbound on the old Santa Fe at Fullerton, California.
To make the most of the palm trees that line the platforms, I cross-lit the train, exposing from the north-side of footbridge over the line.
Metrolink’s white locomotive hauling a mix of white and stainless-steel cars effectively reflect light on the shadow side of the train, which make for a more even exposure and help balance the photograph by compensating for the otherwise inky darkness of the high-sun shadows.
These views are looking west . I used a telephoto lens that compresses the row of palms.
Some seven hours after I made this image, I was back at Fullerton again. Stay tuned for my nocturnal views from the same station.
Last Friday, November 16, 2018, as the sun dropped near the horizon and a layer of cloud and haze filtered the light, I repositioned myself from San Clemente Pier, northward to the Metrolink Station at San Clemente, California.
I selected my location in order to make photos of a southward, Oceanside-bound suburban train with the sun setting over the Pacific.
Working with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a 12mm Zeiss Touit lens, I exposed several sunset silhouettes as the train arrived onto the station platform.
To make the most of the sunset lighting, I exposed manually for the sky, allowing the locomotive and cars and other terrestrial objects to appear dark.
Last summer, I spent a pleasant afternoon exploring the old Southern Pacific Coast Line between Simi Valley and Moorpark, California.
At CP Madera, I ascended this cutting and made a series of digital photographs of passing passenger trains.
These were exposed using my Fujifilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens. I calculated the light using the camera’s center weighted meter and set aperture and shutter speed settings manually. Although bright, exposures can be tricky, especially when dealing with flat white locomotives.
It was a real pleasure to make photos in the warm California sun. (As recall, while sitting in Dublin on damp evening composing ‘Auto Pilot’ posts for Tracking the Light!)
During one of my recent Metrolink blitzes, I rode from Los Angeles Union Station to Santa Ana where I changed for an Inland Empire-Orange County Line train running from Oceanside to San Bernardino.
I timed this brief visit to coincide with a flurry of Amtrak and Metrolink trains. I had just 45 minutes to make images of this classic Santa Fe station having never previously explored here.
I found Santa Ana to be an excellent mid-morning location.
The footbridge is photographer friendly and the old Santa Fe building makes for a suitably California setting. The height of the bridge allows for both distant telephoto views as well as wide-angle down-on photos.
I exposed these views digitally using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1.
Back in the day, Southern Pacific’s famed Daylight was often pictured crossing Santa Susana Pass—a scenic cleft in the rocks between Simi Valley and Chatsworth, California.
Once a remote area, this is now hemmed in by suburban development, freeways and public parks.
Riding Metrolink, I’d noted several potentially interesting locations on the west side of the pass (SP timetable west, today Union Pacific timetable north).
Reviewing Google Maps, I found that views of the line should be accessible from Corriganville Park, located a little ways to the east of Simi Valley. So one afternoon last week, David Hegarty and I made an exploration of the area.
There’s a flurry of Metrolink and Amtrak trains in the evening. We found some locations near CP Davis (location of a passing siding) with an aim to make images of BNSF GE-built AC4400CWs that have been working many Metrolink trains.
I exposed these images with my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera, but I also made a few color slides that will be processed at a later date.
Metrolink is nearly a quarter century old, having commenced operations in 1992.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed traveling and photographing the Los Angeles-area Metrolink. The comfortable coaches, variety of locomotives, and interesting route structure makes it one of the more interesting suburban railways in the United States.
In addition to lines focused on Los Angeles Union Station are several non-radial routes/services, which makes Metrolink unusual among American commuter lines.
All trains are diesel powered with double-deck cars. The newer Rotem-built cars are my favorite to travel in.
Using my Lumix LX7 (and other cameras), I’ve made dozens of images from the train, as well as interior views of the equipment, and of course views of the trains and stations.
Here’s an exposure quandary. A bright white Metrolink F59PHI in blazing California afternoon sun against a varied background of trees and mountains..
Without careful metering and a bit prior experience It would be easy enough to underexpose a photo like this one. (Producing a result that is too dark)
Why? Because the camera meter doesn’t know the locomotive is white, and if relying on many auto exposure settings, metering tends to over compensate as the white engine reached the center of the frame.
On the flipside, the row of trees at the left could fool also the meter into compensating for the relative darkness and thus producing an image that is too light overall with the front of the engine grossly over exposed.
What’s the solution?
Before the train comes into view, make a series of test meter readings while aiming a sunlit neutral portion of the scene such as the ballast. Then observe the relative difference in exposure between lighter and darker areas, make a test photo or two, and if your camera has a histogram check to ensure that the bulk of the exposure is in the center of the graph. Then set the camera manually based on this information.
In my situation, I made a slight adjustment as the locomotive came into view to compensate for the bright white nose section. This meant I needed to stop down (see the aperture to let less light in) by about 1/3 of a stop.
In both photos, other than scaling for internet presentation, I did not alter the files in regards to exposure, contrast, color or sharpness. These images represent reduced versions of the in camera JPGs (althouth I simultaneously exposed RAW files as well.)
Dublin’s LUAS (not an acronym) is the name for the city’s modern light rail system.
By contrast, the Los Angeles Union Station is now known by its initials LAUS.
Historically, it was called the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, and called LAUPT.
I featured this great terminal in my recent book: Railway Depots, Stations and Terminals, published in 2015 by Voyageur Press.
The other day I revisited the station and made my first digital photographs of the buildings and trains there. (A station is more than just a building or buildings).
Here’s an excerpt of my text:
Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (LAUPT) was completed in May 1939. It is a rare example of an Art Deco era railway station and one of the few stations that opened during the streamlined era. It’s modern interpretation of the Spanish Mission style design is largely attributed to the LA-based architectural team of John and Donald Parkinson.
Metrolink is a popular name used by modern urban passenger rail systems.
As a follow-up from yesterday’s post, I’ve included more images from my Manchester visit earlier this month (August 2014).
The present Metrolink colour scheme on the cars is a contrast from the 1990s-era trams that I experienced on my visit in 2000. Those were painted off-white with black and aqua-green stripes. While on this visit, I saw a few of the first generation trams stored at a depot, these no longer appeared to be in service. Too bad, it would be interesting to get photos of the old and new side by side.
I found Manchester Metrolink convenient to travel on and easy to photograph. Tram frequencies were very good and for the most part the trams were well patronized, but not overly crowded.
In my photography I tried to include the environment around Metrolink and not just focus on the railway. Among the more interesting places to make images was in the city centre where the trams run in the streets that were crowded with pedestrians.
Here the Lumix LX7 is an ideal tool. The camera is inconspicuous and allowed me to get some dramatic angles without difficulty. A mix of bright sun and sluicing rain made for dramatic changes in the quality of light.
In Spring 2008, I spent seven weeks in California working on my ‘Railroads of California’ book for Voyageur Press. I focused on elements of California railroading that I’d missed or had changed since I lived there in the early 1990s.
At the end of May, I took Amtrak’s Coast Starlight from Oakland to Los Angeles. Among my projects was the Los Angeles Metrolink commuter rail system.Aiding my effort, Metrolink provided several comp-tickets. On this day, my cousin Stella and I traveled over several of Metrolink routes. I was delighted by the trains, which were air-conditioned and comfortable.
I focused the evening’s efforts at Fullerton, a location that my father recommended to me. Several years earlier, he’d spent an afternoon waiting for Santa Fe 3751 (Baldwin-built 4-8-4 steam locomotive) that was working an excursion.
Fullerton is a busy place with three main tracks that host Metrolink, Amtrak, and BNSF trains. I exposed this image from the foot bridge as a Metrolink train paused for its station stop. Hazy LA-area smoggy sun makes for a nice soft light source, while backlighting offers good contrast for a high impact image.