Tag Archives: Pacific Surfliner

Sun on the old Southern Pacific Coast Line—July 28, 2016.

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.

This was not what I expected: an Amtrak 'Cabbage' (a former F40PH diesel converted as a cab-car with baggage compartment) and single-level Horizon cars with a Genesis diesel pushing at the back. A far cry from the typical Pacific Surfline consist with an F59PHI and Bilevel cars. File converted from a Camera RAW using Lightroom to adjust contrast and lighten shadow areas.
This was not what I expected: an Amtrak ‘Cabbage’ (a former F40PH diesel converted as a cab-car with baggage compartment) and single-level Horizon cars with a Genesis diesel pushing at the back. Amtrak A790 was far cry from the typical Pacific Surfliner consist that features an F59PHI and Bilevel cars. File converted from a Camera RAW using Lightroom to adjust contrast and lighten shadow areas.
Trailing view of Amtrak Pacific Surfline A790 at CP Madera, near Simi Valley, California.
Trailing view of Amtrak Pacific Surfline A790 at CP Madera, near Simi Valley, California.
I made this photo with the camera set in the 'Velvia' colour profile.
I made this photo with the camera set in the ‘Velvia’ colour profile.
A few minutes after Amtrak A790 rolled past, Metrolink 117 from Los Angeles came the other way. Here I've used a telephoto perspective to make the most of the setting.
A few minutes after Amtrak A790 rolled past, Metrolink 117 from Los Angeles came the other way. Here I’ve used a telephoto perspective to make the most of the setting.
As the train approached, I used the zoom lens, pulling back my focal length to a slight wide angle view.
As the train approached, I used the zoom lens, pulling back my focal length to a slight wide angle view.
The view looking west into the evening sun was exceptionally contrasty. So in post processing I lightened the shadows, darkened the sky and lowered the contrast in a effort to produce a more pleasing image.
The view looking west into the evening sun was exceptionally contrasty. So in post processing I lightened the shadows, darkened the sky and lowered the contrast in a effort to produce a more pleasing image. Also, on site I’d shaded the front element of my lens with my notebook. If you look carefully, you can just see the fringe of my notebook cover in the sky. I’ve left this imperfection in, rather than crop it out, so that you can get a sense for what I was doing. 

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!)

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Santa Ana, California—Ten Photos in 45 Minutes—August 2016.

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.

I arrived on Metrolink train 600 from Los Angeles Union Station. I had enough time to walk to the headend and expose this view with my Lumix LX7 before the train departed.
I arrived on Metrolink train 600 from Los Angeles Union Station. I had enough time to walk to the headend and expose this view with my Lumix LX7 before the train departed.
Metrolink 687 arrives behind a borrow BNSF AC4400CW. This framed view was exposed using my Lumix LX7.
Metrolink 687 arrives behind a borrow BNSF AC4400CW. This framed view was exposed using my Lumix LX7.
A Metrolink F59PHI works at the back of Los Angeles bound train number 687. Here my Fujinon 18-135mm lens gave me a nice view of the train and station from the footbridge.
A Metrolink F59PHI works at the back of Los Angeles bound train number 687. Here my Fujinon 18-135mm lens gave me a nice view of the train and station from the footbridge.
Metrolink 633 is among Metrolink's services that doesn't serve Los Angeles Union Station. This is a short-turn that runs from Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo to Fullerton.
Metrolink 633 is among Metrolink’s services that doesn’t serve Los Angeles Union Station. This is a short-turn that runs from Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo to Fullerton.
By using my 18-135 zoom on my Fuji XT1 I was able to exposed a series of trailing photos of Metrolink 633 as it accelerated away from Santa Ana.
By using my 18-135 zoom on my Fuji XT1 I was able to exposed a series of trailing photos of Metrolink 633 as it accelerated away from Santa Ana.
This is a telephoto view of train 633 from the same vantage point as the photo above.
This is a telephoto view of train 633 from the same vantage point as the photo above.
Metrolink's timetable shows both of its services to Santa Ana as well as Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.
Metrolink’s timetable shows both of its services to Santa Ana as well as Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner.
A detailed view of the Santa Ana station exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.
A detailed view of the Santa Ana station exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.
Amtrak 566 Pacific Surfliner slows for its station stop.
Amtrak 566 Pacific Surfliner slows for its station stop.
Metrolink 802 will take me to San Bernardino. I arrived under partly cloudy skies and departed under a California blue dome. Happy days!
Metrolink 802 will take me to San Bernardino. I arrived under partly cloudy skies and departed under a California blue dome. Happy days!

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Amtrak 768 at Fullerton—Two Perspectives.

On my theme of ‘getting the angle right’; or rather how slight adjustments in elevation can alter perspective, compare these two recent views of Amtrak 768 Pacific Surfliner at Fullerton, California.

Both were made with my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera and a telephoto zoom lens.

The top view was made from my standing height and aims to include the footbridge.

With the bottom view, I’ve taken a more extreme telephoto focal length while placed the camera very near to platform level. Composition was aided through use of the fold-out rear display. This allows me to hold the camera near to the ground while being able to look down to see the image. (A handy feature of the XT1).

The low angle telephoto is a good means for making a more dramatic view.

A photograph made from my normal standing height. Here I've aimed to include the footbridge.
A photograph made from my normal standing height. Here I’ve aimed to include the footbridge.
For this more dramatic perspective I've held the camera very close to the platform level for a sort of cat's eye view. The combination of a long telephoto lens and this abnormally low angle makes for a dramatic photo. Back in the 1990s, I made many of these views on film using my Nikon F3T by removing the prism and looking straight down into the viewfinder.
For this more dramatic perspective I’ve held the camera very close to the platform-level for a sort of cat’s eye view. The combination of a long telephoto lens and this abnormally low angle makes for a dramatic photo. Back in the 1990s, I made many of these views on film using my Nikon F3T by removing the prism and looking straight down into the viewfinder.

Tracking the Light posts Every Day!

For more about Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner see: amtrak.com/pacific-surfliner-train