Tag Archives: N90S

LUAS at the Red Cow April 2005

400mm View of an Alstom Citadis Tram.

LUAS tram
Dublin LUAS tram backlit near the Red Cow stop in April 2005. Exposed on Fujichrom Sensia 100 with a Nikon N90S fitted with a Tokina 400mm lens.

In April 2005, Dublin’s LUAS light rail system was still relatively new. Services on the Red Line service between Dublin Connolly Station and Tallagh had only commenced the previous September.

The Trams still had that ‘right out of the box’ quality. They were new and shiny and free from dents and day-to-day wear and tear. The yellow safety stripes were still in the future.

The Irish Railway Record Society was working on a special LUAS edition of their Journal and fellow IRRS members Stephen Hirsch, the late-Norman McAdams and myself spent a morning intensively photographing LUAS operations and its trams to help fill this publication.

The morning was bright but had a hazy diffused quality of light, typical of Irish April weather. I exposed this image with my Nikon N90S fitted with a Tokina 400mm lens.

However when I inspected the processed slide, it left me with something of quandary: While I was satisfied with the composition and the subtle backlit qualities, I’d felt that I’d misjudged the lighting and overexposed the image by about a stop. Worse, I didn’t manage to keep the camera level, so, by my normal standards of judgment, I felt the slide projected poorly.

Despite these flaws, I found the slide, scanned exceptionally well. In post processing I was easily able to correct for level, and the exposure looks fine on the computer screen without need for manipulation.

This just goes to show what doesn’t look good on film, may, in fact, produce a better than average final image in other media.

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CSX Hopper Train, Keyser, West Virginia October 18 2002

Train with fog, West Virginia.
CSX westward hopper train approaches ‘Z’ Tower in Keyser, West Virginia.

This was the icon-image used to advertise my November 2008 Silver & Steel photographic exhibition. I’d exposed it six years earlier on a three-week autumnal photographic exercise that began in Vermont, and brought me as far west as Omaha. I returned east via Cincinnati, Roanoke and Washington D.C.

The photograph was among those made on the outward leg of the trip. I’d met some friends for a few days of photography on CSX’s Mountain Subdivision, the old Baltimore & Ohio ‘West End’—the original B&O mountain crossing. On the morning of October 18th, we found this westward empty hopper train working west through the fog covered Potomac River Valley. Getting ahead of the train, we exposed a sequence of images of it near ‘Z’ Tower at the west-end of Keyser Yard. The sun had begun to burn off the fog, some of which still clung to the river valley and surrounding hills making for a cosmic setting worthy of the old B&O.

Working in silhouette can be tricky; low light and fog helps. An image like this works when the main subject is clearly defined from the background. The ditch-lights on the leading locomotive are crucial to maintaining compositional balance both identifying a focal point and indicating action; without the lights the image takes on a completely different character.

I was working with my Nikon N90s and a Nikkor f2.8 180mm lens and Fujichrome Astia 100 film. Fuji introduced Astia in 1997, and supplied it concurrently with its Provia 100. Astia offered a slightly warmer color balance, and a rich black, remaking it an ideal medium for autumnal situations. Unfortunately, Astia was replaced with Astia 100F in 2003. While nominally sharper, I never found the Astia 100F as pleasing as the original Astia. Asked about this film choice, my friend Brian Jennison, once exclaimed, ‘Its nastia with Astia!’ Indeed it is!

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