My experience with the Brussels tram network spans nearly twenty years. This fascinating railway network involves a complex route structure with lots of track and several different types of trams.
Street photography has its fair share of challenges. Automobiles and pedestrians mingle with trams in ways that make it difficult to set up shots.
Further complicating matters is the sedate shades of silver and bronze now favoured by STIB (the transit operator), which I find difficult to photograph satisfactorily.
However, in addition to the regular tram livery are a large number of specially painted advertising trams and a handful of old PCCs in the earlier yellow livery, which certainly add a bit of colour to the fleet.
These photos were all exposed during one afternoon in late March 2015.
I was on the San Francisco Embarcadero in May 2008. A very thin fog was tempering the morning sun. Using my Canon EOS 3 with 24mm lens, I exposed this view of Muni PCC dressed for Kansas City Public Service working the ‘F-line.’
The similarity in the colors of the car and buildings in the background works well in the soft morning sun, while the wide angle views places the streetcar in its environment. I like the way the wires and tracks frame the car.
In the 1970s and 1980s, I spent many of my formative years in railway photography exploring greater Boston. My family lived in Newton Center from 1969 to 1973, while after that my father worked in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
I have early memories of riding Green Line PCC cars, watching Penn-Central commuter trains from Star Market (positioned over the Mass-Pike with a view of the parallel Boston & Albany line) as well as later experiences exploring Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s transit and suburban railway lines.
As my photography improved and matured and my interest in railways developed, I explored and photographed operations ever farther from those of my earliest days.
In recent years, trips to Boston have largely been focused on Logan Airport, and I’ve made only occasional photographs in the city. Most of my recent MBTA photographs have been exposed either at South Station or at the periphery of the commuter rail network.
Without exaggeration, I can say that today I’m more familiar with Dublin, London, Philadelphia Chicago and San Francisco than I am with Boston.
Thanks to Tim Doherty, on Sunday October 27, 2013, I was reacquainted with aspects of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in and around Boston, some of which I hadn’t seriously photographed in nearly 20 years. A bright day, fall foliage, and Tim’s detailed knowledge of Boston aided our marathon photographic journey. These are among my results:
More Boston photos in tomorrow’s Tracking the Light post!
Gent (sometimes spelled on maps as ‘Ghent’) is a moderately sized Belgian city with remarkable beautiful architecture. You’ve probably heard lots about nearby Brugge. I visited that city in 1999. Last week, on recommendation of friends, I traveled to Gent, which I found vastly more interesting and photogenic.
Gent’s narrow gauge tram system navigates the some of the most unusual trackage I’ve ever seen, while the city’s buildings and canals make for stunning settings for which to make photographs.
The question may be asked: does the city provide a backdrop for trams, or rather, do the trams augment photos of the city?
In 2005, SEPTA re-introduced regular streetcar service to its number 15 route along Philadelphia’s Girard Avenue using historic President Conference Committee (PCC) trolley cars. These are painted in the old Philadelphia Transportation Company’s livery, which ads class to the service.
My brother Sean lives just a few blocks from Girard Avenue, and on the afternoon of July 3, 2013, we made a project of photographing the cars in service. While on previous trips we’ve gone for a spin, this time we drove, allowing me to make the maximum number of photos in just a limited time. We’ll take another spin on another day soon!
While SEPTA’s Route 15 seems to run on 10-15 minute intervals, not every service has a PCC. At least one of the runs was provided by a bus. I made an image of this as well because I’ve learned from my study of railways, that it is best to photograph everything and sort out the wheat from the chaff at a later date. (In other words don’t judge your subject).
This trip, I made digital images with my Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS 7D. On previous trips I’ve photographed the Route 15 in black & white using a Leica M4, and made color slides using my Nikons and Canon EOS 3.
San Francisco Muni’s F-Line route operates with a variety of vintage streetcars, including streamlined PCC cars painted in various historic liveries to represent systems that originally operated these cars.
Popular with tourists and residents alike, the vintage cars are fun to ride and photograph. Unlike most modern transit, the F-Line offers continual variety, with different cars operating from day to day.
In May 2008, I made this photograph of PCC 1061 dressed for Pacific Electric in front of the restored Ferry Building on San Francisco’s Embarcedero. Originally built for Philadelphia, this was among the cars acquired for operation in San Francisco in the early 1990s. Some restoration work for out-of-service heritage cars has been done by the Market Street Railway (volunteer support group for Muni’s historic rail lines ); these are turned over to Muni when restoration nears the point where cars are ready for revenue service.