In the 1990s, I often worked with a Nikkor 35mm PC (perspective control) wide angle lens.
This allowed for a degree of correction using a shifting front element to minimize the effects of convergence of vertical lines on the film plane.
In this November 1992 view of Washington Union Station, I made good use of perspective control to keep front of the building from the appearance of falling away from the viewer. (A common complaint with wide angle architectural views).
While a very useful tool, I eventually sold the lens because I felt that it wasn’t sufficiently sharp in the corners, also it was comparatively slow (just f3.5 at its widest aperture.).
I spent a lot of time exploring Southern Pacific’s Donner Pass in 1990. Among my favorite locations was ‘Old Gorge’, sometimes referred to as ‘American,’ where SP’s line rides briefly on an open shelf some 2,000 feet above the American River.
This offers a stunning view of the American River Canyon, but can be a pretty challenging place to effectively portray a train on film.
On this day in July 1990, I’d been following a westward SP freight downgrade, and driven as close to my location as was practical, and then walked to this ledge overlooking the line.
The classic whine of dynamic brakes preceded the train by several minutes. I made several exposures as the train came into view.
In this situation, I used the camera and lens handheld, and made a slight adjustment to the shifting element front element. Instead of aiming the camera down toward the front of the locomotive, as I would with a conventional 35mm lens, I aimed toward to the far rim of the canyon, while lowering the front element downward to take in the tracks.
As the train passed, I panned the nose of the leading SD45, exposing this frame when it was roughly parallel with the film plane.
Since I didn’t have the camera completely level there is still a bit of line convergence, yet the overall view helps put the magnitude of the canyon in perspective with the train without the locomotive appearing too small or seriously distorted.