Tag Archives: Oakland

Amtrak Pepsi Can on Kodachrome—High Resolution Scan (and how I made it).

I have thousands of properly exposed Kodachrome slides from the 1980s and 1990s. This view of Amtrak 502 was exposed at Oakland, California 16th Street Station in August 1992.

Gradually I’ve been scanning these into my archive. I’ve experimented with several different scanners and software, using various settings and techniques.

So far, I found that I get sharpest and most colorful scans by using a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 driven with VueScan 9×64 (version 9.5.91) software.

For more on VueScan see: www.hamrick.com

VueScan offers me a high degree of control, but I’ve found requires a bit of practice and experimentation to obtain the best scans.

I typically scan Kodachrome 25 slides at 4000 dpi (dots per inch) and  then output as a Tif file to obtain the greatest amount of data. For this slide I opted to make a multiple pass scan to retain a higher degree of shadow detail. (VueScan offers the multiple pass option under its ‘Input’ pull down menu).

To make the most of the scan for internet presentation, I imported the Tif file into Lightroom and lightened the shadows and balanced the highlights, before outputting as a scaled Jpg. (The original scan remains unchanged during this process).

Kodachrome slides recorded tremendous amounts of information and the original Coolscan Tif is far too large to present here.

Incidentally, a version of this photo appears on page 148 of my book Modern Diesel Power (published by Voyageur Press in 2011). The scan in the book was made by my publisher and isn’t the scan presented here.

Tracking the Light posts Daily


San Francisco Bay and Port of Oakland, August 2009


Working with Wonderful Light in an Infrastructure-Intense Environment

San Francisco Bay is famous for its beautiful light; the combination of soft sun with rolling Pacific fog and layers of pollution make for a rich textured golden glow in evening and mellow bright conditions during the height of the day.

Following my Northern California theme presented over the last few posts to Tracking the Light, I’m offering a few views of San Francisco Bay exposed in August 2009.

San Francisco Bay at sunrise.
On August 10, 2009, a loaded Pacific containership catches the glint of the morning sun as it passes San Francisco on its way to the Port of Oakland. Where historically San Francisco served as a primary port, today very little heavy shipping happens in the City itself; most port activities are focused in the East Bay around Oakland. Oakland container traffic represents an important business for both Union Pacific and BNSF. Until 1957, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (seen here in silhouette) carried Key System interurban electric trains, and originally also hosted SP’s red electrics as well.
Port of Oakland
An Amtrak Capitols train passes CP North King Street near Jack London Square in Oakland, California on August 25, 2009. The Port of Oakland makes for a fascinating industrial backdrop. Notice the approaches to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. At the time of this photo, new approaches were under construction to replace the 1930s-era steel-lattice cantilever structure.
Train with highways.
On August 24, 2009, the rarely photographed Oakland Terminal Railway navigates former electric line trackage beneath the maze of Interstate highways in Oakland.

These images were exposed on Fujichrome slide film with a Canon EOS 3 and 100-400mm lens.

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