The other evening, I made these panned views of a streetcar in New Orleans at night.
I set my FujiFilm XT1 at ISO 3200, the shutter speed dial to ‘A’ and the exposure compensation dial to +1/3 (to compensate for the dark sky). The camera auto-selected my shutter speed based on available light, which was about 1/12thof a second.
To keep the trolley sharp, I panned car as it passed me. I was careful to maintain my pan for the full duration of each exposure and avoid speeding up or stopping as I released the shutter.
I had the shutter release set for ‘CH’ (Continuous High) so the camera continued to expose images as I panned.
I’ve selected the most effective of my burst of images.
A Broadside Pan of Modern Locomotives with Autumn Foliage.
Early in the morning of October 22, 2013, I noticed that CSX’s Q422-22 was working the east end of Palmer yard. It was too dark to make a conventional image, and the location of the train not suited to make a night photograph, so I headed east.
CSX’s Q422 is not a train I often see. This is a carload train that runs from Selkirk Yard (near Albany) over the former Boston & Albany main line to Worcester. It is one of many symbol freights on the B&A route that tends to be nocturnal.
When I was photographing in the 1980s, Conrail operated a similar train which carried the symbol SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester). This tended to run in the mid-morning and normally followed the intermodal parade.
I made many images of the old SEPW, which back in 1984 typically operated with sets of four GE B23-7s (rated at 2,250 hp each).
Memories of those days flashed through my mind as I drove east toward daylight. I followed the line up the Quaboag River Valley, as I have many times in the past. At West Warren, there was a glow in the eastern sky, but it was still pretty dark, so after a few test shots I continued eastward.
I considered a favorite location at Brookfield, near milepost 67, but decided against it because it was too head on (stay tuned for an image at this location in an upcoming post).
I’ve found that in very low light, it helps to photograph trains off-axis to minimize the effect of locomotive headlights. When ambient light levels are low (at dawn, dusk, and very dull days) the relative brightness of headlights can result in undesirable flare which can be especially annoying with digital photography.
Recent undercutting work at East Brookfield resulted in clearing of a small hill that has made for a great broad-side photo location. This is set back from the tracks and provides good elevation. Here, I set up and waited.
Before long I could here the chug of General Electric diesels across the Brookfield flats and then my scanner chirped something to the effect of: “CSXT Q422-22, Clear Signal CP64.”
To get the effect of speed and set the locomotives off from the background foliage, I exposed this image at 1/125th of a second at f2.8, ISO 800.
As CSX’s Q422 ascended Charlton Hill on it last leg of the trip to Worcester, I headed in a north-westerly direction toward Millers Falls. I’ve learned that make the most of a New England autumn, it helps to keep moving.