Tag Archives: #Night photos

Irish Rail 217 River Flesk—A Lesson in Night Photography.


The other evening I made a few handheld photos of Irish Rail class 201 diesel number 217 River Fleskat Dublin’s Heuston Station.

217 was working a Mark4 set on the 2100 schedule to Cork.

There are myriad approaches to night photography. In this instance, I worked with my Lumix LX7 without a tripod.

I’m fortunate because I have an unusually steady hand. The Lumix further aids my efforts because it has image stabilization.

I set the camera to ISO 200, and working in ‘A’ (aperture priority) I manually set the lens aperture to its widest opening, which in this case is f1.8. The wider the aperture, the more light passes through the lens to reach the sensor, so having a ‘fast’ lens (one with a small maximum aperture number, such as my f1.8 lens) is a huge benefit.

This set up allowed me work with a 1/10 of second shutter speed, which is adequate speed for a static photograph.

Lumix LX7 photo f1.8 at 1/10th second hand-held, ISO 200, auto white balance. JPG adjusted from a camera RAW file using Lightroom.


Lumix LX7 photo f1.8 at 1/10th second hand-held, auto white balance

If I had been using my FujiFilm XT1 with the kit zoom lens, my widest aperture would have been about f4.5, which is nearly two full stops slower than f1.8, which means at ISO200, I’d require about ½ second exposure to obtain a comparable result, which is too slow for a sharp handheld image in most instances.

Another way of approaching this would be raise the ISO. So with the FujiFilm set up just described, I could increase the ISO setting to 800, which would boost the effective sensitivity of the sensor by two stops (bringing me back up to 1/10thof a second using f4.5). However, this would also boost the noise level and reduce sharpness.

Back in the old days, I would have used Kodachrome, and that would have required a tripod, and probably some filters to colour-correct for the artificial light. Today, digital cameras when set to ‘auto white balance’ do an admirable job of balancing the colour for fluorescent, sodium vapor and other forms of artificial light that tend to tint an image.

Normally for night work with the Lumix, I’d dial in a 1/3 over exposure compensation (+ 1/3 on the exposure compensation dial) however in this situation the relatively bright night sky where low cloud was illuminated by lots of artificial light combined with the silver body of the locomotive and bright platform lighting, obviated the need for boosting the exposure by 1/3 of a stop.

However, I did make some very subtle changes in post processing to help visually separate the roof of the locomotive from the sky.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Houston Rail Freight at Night—December 18, 2018.


Low clouds, bright city lights, and lots of freight on the move; that was my brief experience touring Houston’s railroad yards on the evening of December 18, 2018.

Tom Kline gave my father and me a whirlwind tour and I made atmospheric grab shots as we drove around.

The photos here were made using high-ISO on my FujiFilm XT1. These were made ‘on the fly’, handheld from Tom’s truck without benefit of a tripod or set up time.

I was delighted with my results and I’ve promised Tom that someday I’ll return for some daylight photography.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Berlin at Night.

Last night, November 12, 2018, my father and I paid a visit to the new Berlin, Connecticut station to collect a visitor from Amtrak 412.

The train was running behind the advertised, which gave me time to make a few photos of the well-lit modern facility.

Ground level view of the new Berlin, Connecticut station. I steadied the Lumix LX7 by resting it on the curb stones.

Amtrak train 412 pauses to let off two passengers at Berlin. Wide-angle view with a Lumix LX7.

Amtrak train 412 pauses to let off two passengers at Berlin. Slightly tighter view.

Pan of the Amtrak P42 diesel working at the back of train 412.

I featured Berlin back in June at the time of the CTrail Hartford Line commuter train start up.

See: TEN photos: All-New Berlin Station—Connecticut, that is!

Also see: Berlin, Connecticut Revisited.

These photos were exposed using my resuscitated Lumix LX7. I worked in RAW and adjusted the files in post processing to optimize highlight and shadow placement, present more pleasing contrast, and improve color saturation.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!