Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Amtrak—30thStreet Station Philadelphia: Seven Lumix Views.

I had almost an hour at 30thStreet Station, Philadelphia while waiting for Amtrak 94 from Washington.

This magnificent former Pennsylvania Railroad Station offers a mix of classical and modern railroading.

Wandering with my ‘new’ Lumix LX7, I made this selection of hand-held digital photographs.

Of special interest was the old Solari board used to display arrival and departure information. This was under repair/adjustment. I’ve heard that it may be soon retired.

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Philadelphia on Film


New Years Day I exposed two rolls of Ilford HP5 (400 ISO) using a Nikon F3 with f1.8 105mm lens.

In my wanders in Philadelphia to capture the festive splendor of the annual Mummers parade, I also made images of the city’s architecture and neighborhoods.

Philadelphia is a city of contrasts, and my aim was to produce stark and revealing photographs. Urban textures are enhanced by the silvery selenium enhanced highlight, inky black shadows.

By intent there’s a foreboding darkness to these images.

Granularity and shallow depth of field are characteristics my choice of lens and film and make for distinctive photos. These are distinctly different than digital images I made during the same outing.

My chemical process is non-standard: in addition to split processing the film (using two stage development), I selenium-toned my finished negatives to alter contrast.

I scanned the negatives using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner, then made very slight adjustments in post processing.

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SEPTA Sampler—January 2, 2019.


On Wednesday January 2, 2019, my brother and I made an adventure of exploring the SEPTA system.

We bought Independence Passes, which offer essentially unlimited travel on the SEPTA transportation system for a day, and we sampled a variety of modes and lines.

We began at Parkside Avenue by boarding the number 40 bus (GASP!), then to the Market-Frankford rapid transit. At Jefferson Station/Market East we picked up a heavy rail train to Norristown where we transferred to the  old Philadelphia & Western high-speed line to 69thStreet.

From there the Media trolley to its namesake (yes, there’s a town called Media, Pennsylvania, and it’s one of the last with a single track trolley right up the main street.) Reaching the end of the trolley line at Orange Street, we walked to the old PRR station, and boarded a train that ran through to West Trenton, New Jersey, although we alighted at Woodbourne, PA to meet our friend Pat Yough, who took us by road to a nearby pub.

Our return trip retraced our steps to Philadelphia’s suburban station, where after some trials and missteps, eventually found the appropriate bus (GASP!) and this brought us back to where we began.

The light was dreary, but I made photos anyway using with both my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm digital cameras.

Market-Frankford Line at 40th_Street. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Market-Frankford Line at 40th_Street. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Norristown. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Norristown. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Norristown High-Speed Line car interior. Lumix LX7 photo.
69th Street, Upper Darby. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Media, Pennsylvania. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Media, Pennsylvania. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Media, Pennsylvania. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

SEPTA Silverliner V at Woodbourne, PA. FujiFilm XT1.

The Vault brew pub in Yardley, Pennsylvania. FujiFilm XT1 photo.


Our return train on the old Reading Company at Yardley. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Philadelphia City Hall. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

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Philadelphia—A Dozen Lumix Views from January 1, 2019.

In our wanders around Philadelphia on New Year’s Day, I made dozens of digital image with my new Lumix LX7.

For these photos I was using the external viewfinder, an attachment that connects via the top of camera hot shoe. This makes it easier to compose in bright daylight.

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Photographing SEPTA’s Rarest Electric at Jefferson Station, Philadelphia

SEPTA has a small fleet of electric locomotives; seven are AEM-7s (kin to Amtrak’s now retired fleet), one is a similar model ALP44 built by ABB Traction in 1996.

This one SEPTA ALP44 carries the road number 2308. It is among the regional rail operator’s most elusive locomotives. NJ Transit also operated ALP44s, but these have been out of service for a number of years.

Last week (November 2017) I was in the right place at the right time and caught 2308 arriving at Temple University (station) with a train destined for Thorndale. I boarded and traveled to Jefferson Station (formerly called Market East), where I made these images using my Lumix LX7.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Soon SEPTA will be receiving a fleet of new Siemens-built electrics, so I would assume that old 2308 is on borrowed time.

Recognizing rare equipment is part of making interesting railway images.

Is SEPTA’s 2308 the modern-day equivalent of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s DD2 electric (a rarely photographed, one-of-a-kind machine that looked similar to PRR’s common GG1)?

 

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Photography with an Independence Pass: A dozen new photos.

Last week, I bought my SEPTA Independence Day Pass at 1234 Market Street.

For a mere $13 this allows for unlimited travel on the SEPTA network (with a few minor restrictions). See SEPTA: www.septa.org/fares/pass/independence.html

I made good use of the pass, traveling over several heavy rail routes to make photos.

One of the greatest features of this pass is the ability to get on and off trains without concern for cost, or trying to explain to the conductor where I’m are traveling to. This allows me to change my plan on the spot if I see an interesting location.

SEPTA offers regular interval service on most of its suburban lines, with extra trains in the evening rush hour.

Lumix LX7 Photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo at Berwyn, Pa.

FujiFilm XT1 photo at Berwyn, Pa.

Lumix LX7 photo on the Main Line at Merion, PA.

Lumix LX7 photo at Glenside, PA.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo at Glenside.

Lumix LX7 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

SEPTA Silverliner IVs approach Temple. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Interior of a Bombardier coach. Lumix LX7 photo.

SEPTA Silverliner IV interior. Lumix LX7 photo.

SEPTA at 30th Street Station. Lumix LX7 photo.

These digital photos were made using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras.

 

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Dusk at Cynwyd; SEPTA’s most obscure branch?

Dusk is a mystical time to photograph; highlights are subdued, shadows are deep, while the prevailing light is soft and cool. Window light is equivalent to the outdoors, and railroad signal light seems more intense.

The short SEPTA line to Cynwyd in the northwestern Philadelphia suburbs is a vestige of Pennsylvania Railroad’s Schuylkill Valley line that once reached northward into anthracite country.

Today Cynwyd is the end of the line.

Until last week, it was one of the last segments of SEPTA’s Regional Rail network left for me to travel.

I arrived at dusk, and in that ‘blue hour’ and I made these photographs using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras.

All things being equal I would have used a tripod, but I didn’t have one so with the XT1, I boosted the ISO to unusually high levels to compensate for the dim conditions.

FujiFilm XT1 with Zeiss 12mm lens. ISO 1600.

FujiFilm XT1 with Zeiss 12mm lens. ISO 1600.

Lumix LX7 ISO 200.

FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm Fujinon lens. ISO 1600.

FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm Fujinon lens. ISO 3200.

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CSX Freight Rolls on the Reading; Two cameras, Four photos.

I made these views of a CSX freight operating on the former Reading Company in Philadelphia. My vantage point was from the sidewalk on the road bridge near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge over the Schuylkill.

The day was bright, but partially overcast, which benefitted my photography since bright sun would have resulted in a difficult and unflattering high-contrast situation.

This northward freight was moving slowly, allowing me to work with two digital cameras and expose a series of images as it went by.

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.

A wider view from the same vantage point exposed with my Lumix LX7.

The lighting post provides a hint as to the location ‘City of Phila.’ Lumix LX7 photo.

Trailing telephoto view with the FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom. This offers some interesting roof detail of the General Electric diesels hauling the train.

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Seeking Streetcars on a Rainy November Night; 10 New Photos.

To the uninitiated a cold windy rainy night might not seem like a good time to make urban photographs.

In my eye this is a fantastic opportunity to make unconventional images.

My brother and I planned to ride SEPTA’s No. 15 streetcar along Girard Avenue to have burgers and beer at Johnny Brenda’s located on Girard near the crossing of the Market-Frankford rapid transit line.

I worked with my Lumix LX7 hand-held to expose this selection of images.

Some of the street views were exposed using the Lumix’s ‘night mode’ that exposes a burst of images in rapid succession and combines them in-camera as a composite.

As you can see it was really lashing down and the most difficult part of this exercise was keeping the lens dry.

A Lumix LX7 night-mode image composite exposed at Girard and 41st Street.

A Lumix LX7 night-mode image composite exposed at Girard and 41st Street.

On a route 15 PCC car.

The back of the PCC car near the end of the run.

PCC’s pass on Girard near the Market-Frankford line elevated. Exposed handheld in ‘A’ mode.

A Lumix LX7 night-mode image composite exposed at Girard Avenue and Frankford Street.

A PCC takes the corner from Girard onto Frankford.

This was made with a relatively long exposure for a handheld photo.

Johnny Brenda’s bar was a welcome refuge from the rain.

Beneath the old elevated railway crossing  Girard. Sorry no PCC’s, I wasn’t in the mood to get any more wet that necessary to get home!

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SEPTA in the Subway; a brief tutorial on underground photography.

I made these views of SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Subway in Philadelphia using my Lumix LX7.

The ISO was set to 200; white balance to ‘Auto’, I adjusted the exposure using the aperture priority (‘A’ setting) and selected F stop manually.

I’ve included screen shots with detailed exposure/camera information.


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Amtrak Crosses the Schuylkill River—November 2017.

 

 

On a warm Saturday afternoon I exposed a series of photos of Amtrak’s bridge over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia using my Lumix LX7.

To boost contrast and color saturation, I imported the Lumix RAW files into Lightroom and made adjustments manually.

In 1914, the Pennsylvania Railroad built this massive arch over the Schuylkill River to replace it original 1867 double-track bridge constructed of stone arches and a metal truss span.

Although the bridge resembles the stone arches it replaced, this isn’t actually a stone arch bridge, but rather reinforced concrete arches faced with sandstone.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

 

SEPTA local crosses the Schuylkill. Lumix LX7 photo.

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SEPTA Trolleys on 38th Street—Acting on Opportunity.

Two weeks ago on my visit to Philadelphia, I was on my way to the University of Pennsylvania for a brief tour before heading to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station to board the Vermonter for Connecticut, on the way there in an ‘Uber’ (taxi) I notice the trolleys on the street.

Apparently SEPTA had its Center City trolley subway closed (for maintenance?) and so the trolleys that normally went below ground were working rarely utilized street trackage on 38th street instead.

How long this diversion as to be employed was beyond my knowledge at the time, but since I knew that I won’t be back in Philadelphia for many months, I only had this brief window to photograph this unusual operation.

I had just a few minutes to make images as I need to accomplish my tour and reach the station in little over an hour.

View from an Uber on 38th Street Philadelphia.

Leaning out of the window of the Uber taxi, I made this improvised view on 38th street.

A SEPTA trolley pauses at a traffic light waiting to turn on to 38th street. I manually adjusted the Lumix to compensate for the white trolley to avoid overexposure.

View from the Locust bridge over 38th Street that connects portions of the University of Pennsylvania campus.

Light and shadow on 38th Street.

On my walk over to 30th Street, I followed 38th Street to make some views from the sidewalk.

These photos were exposed using my Lumix LX7 digital camera.

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Take A Ride on SEPTA—July 2017.

This is my variation of the old ‘Take a Ride on the Reading’, since SEPTA is part Reading. (That’s the old Reading Company.)

SEPTA’s also part Pennsy—the late great Pennsylvania Railroad.

Buy Independence Pass on the train, and ride transit all day to your heart’s content.

Most of these photos (but not all, see captions) were made using my Lumix LX-7 compact digital camera over the course of a few days wandering around Philadelphia last week.

I’ve found that this low-key image-making device is great for urban environments. It’s small & light, easy to use, flexible & versatile, features a very sharp Leica lens, makes a nice RAW file and a color profiled JPG at the same time, and, best of all: it’s reasonably inconspicuous and non-threatening.

Lumix LX7 photo at SEPTA’s Philadelphia Airport station. The train goes directly to the terminals, no mussing about with people movers or bus connections. Hooray for SEPTA!

Exposed at West Trenton with my Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Suburban Station Center City Philadelphia. Lumix LX7 photo

Lumix LX7 photo

Lumix LX7 photo

Lumix LX7 photo

Chestnut Hill West, Lumix LX7 photo

Lumix LX7 photo

Lumix LX7 photo at Chestnut Hill East.

Buses work the 23 route, which at one time was America’s longest City Street Car line.

Lumix LX7 photo

Market-Frankford Subway. Lumix LX7 photo

Broad Street Subway at City Hall. Lumix LX7 photo

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Rare Bird on SEPTA—University City.

It was a rainy Tuesday last week when I made these photos near University City in Philadelphia.

Regional passenger operator SEPTA has two unusual road-switchers (nos. 60 and 61), model RL-1, built by Republic Locomotive.

As locomotives go, these are real rare-birds. Although I’ve seen these from the window of the train, I’d never before caught one on the line.

On this day, I saw engine 60 working SEPTA’s wire train.

I made several photos using my Lumix LX7, plus a film photo exposed on Foma Retropan 320 using a Nikon F3 with 50mm lens.

SEPTA 60 with a wire train.

Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Here’s a similar view exposed on Foma Retropan 320 black & white film.

This Lumix LX7 view shows a Silverliner bound for Philadelphia 30th Street Station.

Needless to say it wasn’t a very bright day. But it always pays to capture unusual equipment regardless of atmospheric conditions.

 

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Retro Pan—Viola Street, Philadelphia.

My brother Sean is restoring a Victorian row house on Viola Street in Philadelphia.

It is only a few blocks from SEPTA’s route 15 Streetcar on Girard Avenue, and within ear shot of old Reading Company and Pennsylvania Railroad routes.

I’ve been documenting his house for more than 15 years. Last week I exposed these views of Foma Retropan 320 in his kitchen using a Nikon F3 with f1.4 50mm lens.

This soft emulsion with its broad tonality works well with the subject matter.

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SEPTA No.10 Trolley Emerges from the Subway.

Working with my Panasonic Lumix LX-7, the other night I made these handheld views of SEPTA’s number 10 Trolley at the subway entrance off 36th Street in West Philadelphia.

To keep the trolley sharp, I panned the final image is this sequence. Thus, I moved the camera to keep pace with the streetcar.

Exposed with the Lumix LX7 in ‘A’ mode; f1.9 at 1/13th of a second. ISO 200.

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Retropan on the Rails; Experiments with My second Roll of Foma’s 320 ISO Black & White film.

This is a follow up to my Tracking the Light post of January 11, 2017, which displayed the results of my first roll of Foma Retropan.

For my second roll, I focused on a variety of railway subjects, aiming to see how this film would perform. This one was exposed using a Nikon F3 with various Nikkor lenses, exposure calculated manually with the aid of a handheld light meter.

I made these images in parallel with digital images exposed with my other cameras.

As with the first roll, I exposed the Retropan at ISO 320 and processed it more or less as recommended by Foma.

A view of Girard and Broad in Philadelphia, exposed using a Nikon F3 with 24mm f2.8 wide-angle lens.

A retro streetcar as seen exposed on Retropan 320. Philadelphia’s Route 15 PCC glides along Girard Avenue. Exposed using a Nikon F3 with 24mm f2.8 wide-angle lens. 1/60th of a second.

Another view of a SEPTA PCC car on Girard Avenue, Philadelphia. Exposed using a Nikon F3 with 24mm f2.8 wide-angle lens.

A pan with Retropan!

A SEPTA Silverliner IV approaches Cornwells Heights, Pennsylvania on the former Pennsylvania Railroad. Exposed using a Nikon F3 with 24mm f2.8 wide-angle lens.

Hard glint at New Brunswick, New Jersey. A Washington DC-bound Acela train zips along at speed. Notice how the film reacts to the tremendous contrast between highlights and shadows. Exposed using a Nikon F3 with 135mm f2.8 telephoto lens.

Exposed using a Nikon F3 with 135mm f2.8 telephoto lens.

Again, for this roll I used the Retro Special Developer with shortened the processing time (I opted for 3 minutes 30 seconds plus a pre-soaked in a water bath with a drop of HC110.

Overall, I was pleased with the tonality and tight grain structure. The film has a softer look than other fast black & white films, such as Ilford’s HP5, and a broad tonal range that holds highlight and shadow detail very well.

I scanned the negatives with an Epson V750 Pro flatbed scanner. These images are essentially unmodified scans, except for necessary scale reduction for internet presentation plus addition of my watermark. I did not alter contrast, exposure, tonality, or perform sharpening.

This test went so well, for my next experiment, I decided to significantly alter my processing of the film. Stay tuned for my bold experiment with Retropan Roll 3! (Sometimes changes produce unexpected consequences).

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Retropan 320—My First Experiment.

Czech film manufacturer Foma introduced a new black & white film in 2015 called Retropan Soft (ISO 320).

This is advertised as a panchromatic, special negative film with ‘fine grain, good resolution and contour sharpness’. Among its features are a ‘wide range of half tones and a wide exposure latitude.

I tried my first roll in early December 2016. I have to admit that I was curious, but skeptical. Could this new b&w film change the way I approach film photography? Might it offer something decidedly different than Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5?

Working with an old Nikon F3 and 50mm lens  I wandered around Philadelphia with my brother and exposed a variety of gritty urban images that I thought might benefit from the look advertised by ‘Retropan’.

Foma recommended using their specially formulated Retro Special Developer, so I ordered some from Freestyle Photographic Supplies .

I exposed my film at ISO 320, and processed it more or less as recommended using Retro Special Developer, with two small changes:

I shortened the processing time (as I generally find that manufacturer recommended times are too long and lead to excessively dense negatives); plus I pre-soaked the film in a water bath with a drop of HC110 (as described in previous posts).

The negatives scanned  well, and I was impressed with the tonality of the photographs. I’ve included a selection below.

Please note, that although I scaled the files and inserted a watermark, I have not cropped them or manipulated contrast, exposure or sharpness. These photos are essentially un-interpreted.

Philadelphia exposed on Foma Retropan Soft and processed in Foma Retro Special Developer.

Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia.

42nd Street, Philadelphia.

Philadelphia City Hall. Philadelphia exposed on Foma Retropan Soft and processed in Foma Retro Special Developer.

Evening view from the same street corner as the daylight photo.

Low angle view of an alley.

Buying SEPTA transit tokens.

Stay tuned for my next Retropan test!

Brian Solomon presents something new on Tracking the Light every day.

 

 

Philadelphia’s 2017 Mummers Parade.

On January 1, 2017, I exposed these photos along Philadelphia’s Broad Street of the annual Mummers parade.

Using my LX7, I set the camera in ‘A’-mode (aperture priority), which allows me to set the aperture while the camera adjusts the shutter speed.

I’ve found that to capture the spirit of a parade, using a slow shutter speed and panning puts the players in motion.

Panning also sets off the parade participants from the urban background and helps reduce the visual complexity of the environment to make for more dramatic images.

Below are a selection taken from some 500 digital images exposed on New Years Day.

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Lumix Sunset; SEPTA on Girard Avenue—December 28, 2016.

The other day my brother and I drove along Philadelphia’s Girard Avenue on the way back from an errand.

This gave me the opportunity to make a few photographs along the way.

I had two cameras to play with. A Nikon F3 with 24mm lens loaded with Fomapan 100 Classic, and my Lumix LX7.

Inspired by my monochrome successes earlier this month, photographer Mike Gardner had encouraged me to make more Philly streetcar photos using black & white film, and so that’s what I did.

But, as you read this the images on film are still latent. As I worked the F3, I also popped off a few digital photos with the LX7. While anticipating the black & white, we can enjoy the digital images.

Not only does the LX7 produce instant results, but it’s a flexible tool with a very sharp lens.

Digital RAW file adjusted using Lightroom to improve exposure, contrast and color.

Digital RAW file adjusted using Lightroom to improve exposure, contrast and color.

Digital RAW file adjusted using Lightroom to improve exposure, contrast and color.

Digital RAW file adjusted using Lightroom to improve exposure, contrast and color.

Film versus digital? How about having your cake and eating it too?

 

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PCC’s on Girard; Czech it out, American Follow Up on Fomapan.

Back in October, I made photos of Tatra’s PCC-derived trams in the Czech Republic using Czech made Fomapan 100 Classic black & white film.

I was pleased with my results, so, I bought more of this film from B&H photo (saves me a trip to Prague). Earlier this month, while wandering in Philadelphia with my brother Sean, I exposed a few photographs of SEPTA PCC’s working the route 15 Trolley line on Girard Avenue in Philadelphia.

Exposed with a Leica 3A fitted with a Nikkor f3.5 35mm screw-mount lens.

Exposed on Fomaran Classic (ISO 100) using a Leica 3A fitted with a Nikkor f3.5 35mm screw-mount lens.

Where trams in Prague run on very tight intervals, often following one another through the city streets, making for a unceasing parade of vehicles to photograph, SEPTA’s Route 15 requires more patience.

I processed the film using the traditional tank method. For this batch, I used Kodak D76 developer 1:1 (with water) for 5 minutes 15 seconds at 69F, preceded by a water-bath presoak with a drop of HC110. After processing I scanned the negatives with a Epson V750 Pro and made minor adjustments to files using Lightroom.

Exposed using a Leica 3A fitted with a Nikkor f3.5 35mm screw-mount lens.

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SEPTA at Night on Girard Avenue.

The other night, I used my Lumix LX7 to expose these views of SEPTA’s route 15 trolley on Girard Avenue in Philadelphia.

Working in ‘A’ mode (which allows me to select the aperture while the camera picks the shutter speed) I dialed in a 1/3 stop over exposure to allow for a more pleasing overall exposure to compensate for the dark sky and bright highlights.

Exposed in 'A' mode which produces both an in-camera Jpeg and a RAW file. This view was adjusted in post processing from the camera RAW file.
Exposed in ‘A’ mode which produces both an in-camera Jpeg and a RAW file. This view was adjusted in post processing from the camera RAW file.

Exposed in 'A' mode which produces both an in-camera Jpeg and a RAW file. This view was adjusted in post processing from the camera RAW file.
Exposed in ‘A’ mode which produces both an in-camera Jpeg and a RAW file. This view was adjusted in post processing from the camera RAW file.

septa_rt15_pcc_market_frankford_el_p1550977

Compare this adjusted RAW file with the image below exposed using the 'hand held night' mode. (explained below).
Compare this adjusted RAW file with the image below exposed using the ‘hand held night’ mode. (explained below).

I also made a couple of exposures using the Lumix’s built in ‘hand held night’ (one of the scene mode pre-selects, available by setting the top dial to SCN , pressing the menu button and scrolling through the options).

This is a composite image made in-camera by exposing with the Lumix's 'Hand Held Night' mode.
This is a composite image made in-camera by exposing with the Lumix’s ‘Hand Held Night’ mode.

The hand-held night mode was recommended to me by Denis McCabe. This makes a blended composite image from a half-dozen or so exposures automatically exposed in a relatively rapid sequence. It’s not perfect, but allows for decent images of relatively static scenes if you hold the camera steady.

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Amtrak Solari Board at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia.

These old electromechanical  arrival/departures boards have become scarce.

I exposed these photos at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station in early December 2016.

My train had arrived a few minutes late. Ironically, it was shown as ‘departed’ although it was still on the platform at the time I made these exposures.

Exposed using a Lumix LX7.
Exposed using a Lumix LX7.

philadelphia-30th_st_p1550809 philadelphia-30th_st_p1550808

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SEPTA Chrome Glint—Sunset in Philadelphia.

Staying with the theme of low-sun glint and color slide film. The other day I scanned this photo I exposed back in October 2006.

My brother Sean and I had been exploring SEPTA’s Route 15. At the end of the day (literally) I made this view looking west on Girard of an eastbound PCC.

SEPTA PCC on the Route 15 line, exposed on Fujichrome Velvia 100 using a Canon EOS-3 with 200mm lens.
SEPTA PCC on the Route 15 line, exposed on Fujichrome Velvia 100 using a Canon EOS-3 with 200mm lens.

Tracking the Light works with Film and Digital, and Color and Black & White. 

First Railway Photo(s) for 2016; SEPTA PCC on Parkside Avenue.

Philadelphia Fortuity:

Before January 2, 2016, I’d never seen a SEPTA PCC making the loop from 40th onto Parkside Avenue, then on to the normal number 15 route along Girard Avenue.

My motto is always have a camera at the ready. So while waiting at the traffic light, I made these views with my Panasonic Lumix LX7.

SEPTA_PCC_Parkside_and_Girard_P1370148

SEPTA_PCC_Parkside_and_Girard_P1370147

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Amtrak’s Philadelphia 30th Street Station: decorated for the Holiday Season.

In the hustle to get to where you going, don’t forget to take in the finer points of traveling.

The week around Christmas is one of the busy travel seasons for Amtrak and can be an interesting time to make photographs.

Amtrak’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Station at 30th Street in Philadelphia is one of the nicest large terminals in North America.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

Amtrak_30th_St_Station_Philadelphia_Solari_Board_P1360288

Amtrak_30th_St_Station_Philadelphia_Christmas_Tree_P1360290

 

Amtrak_30th_St_Station_Philadelphia_Angel_P1360291I made these photos at 30th St. the other day with my Lumix LX7 while waiting for Amtrak train 148, which connects Washington D.C. with Springfield, Massachusetts. (This is a direct train, and one of the few that still changes from electric to diesel at New Haven.)

ACS-64 number 649 leads train 148 on track 4 at 30th Street Station. I boarded the Quiet Car.
ACS-64 number 649 leads train 148 on track 4 at 30th Street Station. I boarded the Quiet Car.

After exposure I made nominal adjustments to the RAW files using Lightroom. To clean up the images and make them more pleasing to the eye I adjusted contrast and color saturation.

Slight adjustments can make a photo ‘snap’ which gives that extra something special that helps grab your attention. Extreme adjustments can alter the image and produce far-fetched fantasy images. (Which at Christmas in Philadelphia could be a good thing, right?)

Seasons Greetings from Tracking the Light!

 

Interested in Railway Stations?

Check out my new book Railway Depots, Stations and Terminals published by Voyageur Press and available via Amazon and other distributors.

SEPTA’s Number 15 Trolley—October 2015.

SEPTA’s number 15 trolley is among the subjects I regularly revisit on Tracking the Light. My brother lives just a few blocks from the line, which runs along Girard Avenue in Philadelphia.

Like Dublin’s LUAS tram routes, SEPTA’s 15 is a railway line that I’ve routinely used to get around, and that makes it an ideal subject to photograph. The historic PCC cars are an added bonus.

I exposed these views with my Lumix LX7 last Friday evening to and from my way to Johnny Brenda’s Tavern for dinner.

October sun on Girard Avenue. I used Lightroom to adjust the contrast of this image in post processing.
October sun on Girard Avenue. I used Lightroom to adjust the contrast of this image in post processing.

Looking east on Girard. Trolley service is about every 10 minutes, although cars tend to arrive in clusters.
Looking east on Girard. Trolley service is about every 10 minutes, although cars tend to arrive in clusters.

 

A relatively recent addition to the 15 route is the extension to a casino.
A relatively recent addition to the 15 route is the extension to a casino, seen here passing Widley Street.

The eastern section of the 15 trackage is presently being renovated, so all cars take the turn to and from the new extension. This car is making the turn onto Girard in the westward direction.
The eastern section of the 15 trackage is presently being renovated, so all cars take the turn to and from the new extension. This car is making the turn onto Girard in the westward direction.

SEPTA's number 15 trolley as seen on Girard Avenue from the Market-Frankfort El stop. Time exposure make with a Lumix LX7.
SEPTA’s number 15 trolley as seen on Girard Avenue from the Market-Frankfort El stop. Time exposure made with a Lumix LX7.

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SEPTA Update: Route 15 Trolley Service to be Bustituted!

Twelve New Color Photos!

On Wednesday June 10, 2015, my brother Sean and I took a spin on SEPTA’s PCCs that work Route 15 along Girard Avenue in Philadelphia.

SEPTA PCC passes the Philadelphia Zoo. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
SEPTA PCC passes the Philadelphia Zoo. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Amtrak ACS-64 619 rolls across Girard Avenue on its way toward Philadelphia 30th Street Station. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
Amtrak ACS-64 619 rolls across Girard Avenue on its way toward Philadelphia 30th Street Station. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

SEPTA 15 Trolley near the Philadelphia Zoo. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
SEPTA 15 Trolley near the Philadelphia Zoo. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Service notice on-board a SEPTA PCC. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
Service notice on-board a SEPTA PCC. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

The cars and stops featured service-notices advising passenger of a scheduled bus replacement due to begin on Sunday June 14 to September 5th.

The reason for this service alteration is necessary track work on approximately two miles of line.

While the cars were running, we made a variety of photographs.

PCC from the PCC. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
PCC from the PCC. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Looking west on Girard Avenue in the smoky afternoon light. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
Looking west on Girard Avenue in the smoky afternoon light. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Photo of an eastbound 15 Trolley exposed with Sean's  Canon SX120.
Photo of an eastbound 15 Trolley exposed with Sean’s Canon SX120.

I noticed a gauzy rosy quality to the afternoon light, which I assumed was typical urban pollution. As it turns out there were wildfires burning in Canada and the smoke had spread across the eastern United States. This was especially noticeably in the late afternoon.

View of a PCC from the standee window on a eastbound car.  Lumix LX7 Photo.
View of a PCC from the standee window on a eastbound car. Lumix LX7 Photo.

Sean watching the trolleys as we take a corner. Lumix LX7 Photo.
Sean watching the trolleys as we take a corner. Lumix LX7 Photo.

Lumix LX7 Photo.
Lumix LX7 Photo.

At the turning loop near the casino. Lumix LX7 Photo.
At the turning loop near the casino. Lumix LX7 Photo.

An outbound PCC catches the smoke-tinted glint. Lumix LX7 Photo.
An outbound PCC catches the smoke-tinted glint. Lumix LX7 Photo.

SEPTA’s Token.

In Philadelphia you can still buy tokens for a reduced fare on public transport. The regular cash fare is $2.25, but tokens are just $1.80 each, or five for nine dollars.

SEPTA token exposed with a Lumix LX7 on June 11, 2015.
SEPTA token exposed with a Lumix LX7 on June 11, 2015.

It’s best though, if you don’t lose the tokens before traveling.

How many other American cities still use this quaint system of fare collection?

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Presently, (8:52 am on June 3, 2015) I’m at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia waiting for Amtrak’s Keystone to Harrisburg.

Below are a few photos exposed within the last hour with my Lumix LX7.

Parkside Avenue Philadelphia near the site of the fame Centennial Exposition in 1876.
Parkside Avenue Philadelphia near the site of the fame Centennial Exposition in 1876.

SEPTA Silverliner V Philadelphia on June 3, 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
SEPTA Silverliner V Philadelphia on June 3, 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.

SEPTA AEM7 2303 with push-pull set in Philadelphia on June 3, 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.
SEPTA AEM7 2303 with push-pull set in Philadelphia on June 3, 2015. Lumix LX7 photo.

SEPTA's 38 bus, which is how I reached Center City, Philadelphia today. Lumix LX photo.
SEPTA’s 38 bus, which is how I reached Center City, Philadelphia today. Lumix LX photo.

CSX intermodal train glides along the Schuylkill River on the old Baltimore & Ohio. No Royal Blue today. Lumix LX7 photo.
CSX intermodal train glides along the Schuylkill River on the old Baltimore & Ohio. No Royal Blue today. Lumix LX7 photo.

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