Tag Archives: photo technique

East Deerfield October Sunrise—Ilford Pan F.

The other morning at Pan Am’s East Deerfield yard I met up with Tim, a fellow photographer.

He asked, ‘Are you going to take that?’—meaning the sunrise over the yard.

‘Yeah, since we’re here. Why not?’

I’ve only made countless photos of this yard in the morning, but that’s never stopped me before.

For this image, I exposed Ilford Pan F black & white film (ISO 50) using a Leica IIIA with Nikkor f3.5 35mm lens. With handheld meter to gauge the lighting, I exposed this frame at f3.5 1/60th of a second.

My aim was to capture detail in the sky and allow the tracks and yard to appear as a silhouette.

East Deerfield Yard looking east at sunrise. October 2017.

I processed my film as follows: Kodak D76 mixed 1 to 1 for 6 min 30 seconds at 68F, followed by stop bath, 1st fix, 2nd fix, 1st rinse, Permawash, 2nd rinse, then 9 min selenium toner mixed 1 to 9 (one part toner to nine parts water), 3rd rinse, permawash, 4th rinse.

After scanning the negative with an Epson V750 Pro flatbed scanner, I made a few nominal adjustments to contrast using Lightroom, while removing unwanted dust-specs.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Glint, Flare and Clouds; Evening in the Gullet.

I realize that today’s title might not catch everyone’s eye.

How about: ‘Clean GM Diesel on a Freight’?

Or, ‘Irish Rail at Rush Hour’ ?

‘Gullet Glint’?

Anyway, this post is about light.

I was waiting on the Up IWT liner (International Warehousing & Transport Ballina, County Mayo to Dublin Northwall container train)with recently painted Irish Rail 071 class diesel number 082.

Just ahead of this Dublin-bound freight was the Up-Galway passenger train with a common set of ICRs (InterCity Railcars).

I was photographing into the sun. My intent was to work the glint effect. (That’s when the sun reflects off the side of the train).

Usually, I find this is most effective when you shade the front element of the lens to minimize flare. Notice the two variations with the ICR.

By shading the front element I’ve prevented the rays of the sun from directly hitting the front element of my lens, thus minimizing the effects of flare.
In this view, exposed moments after the photo above, I’ve allowed the sun to hit the front element to show the effects of flare. This small adjustment can produce very different results. Often I aim to control the amount of flare; a little bit lightens shadows and adds some colour to the scene but too much can result in unpleasant and unnatural looking light streaks or light fog.

By the time the freight reached me clouds had partly shaded the sun leaving only a hint of back-lighting.

All the photos were made using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens. The camera RAW Files were all adjusted for colour balance, colour saturation and contrast using the same ratio of change. (In other words, although I’ve manipulated the final result, all the photos have received the same degree of alteration).

The clouds shaded the sun for me here.
In this image, I adjust the exposure on site to compensate for the clouds blocking the sun.

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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.

Tracking the Light is Daily.

Battenkill Railroad RS-3; Winter Sky and a Bold Technique.

In yesterday’s post (Unexpected Surprise: Stumbling on to one of the Rarest Railway Operations) I wrote of how we found the Battenkill local freight at Eaglebridge, New York.

It was sunny at Eaglebridge, but ominous clouds were rolling in from the west.

On one level the clouds benefitted our photography, since we’d be fighting the sun on a northward chase.

I opted for something different. The sky was a textured tapestry of clouds and light. The technique I’m about to describe isn’t really bold, nature and architectural photographers use it all the time.

I fitted my FujiFilm X-T1 with a Zeiss 12mm Touit (previously described) and a moveable Lee graduated neutral density filter (with a 2/3s of a stop range).

This arrangement allows me to better balance the exposure differential between the bright sky at the top of the frame and the inky dark shadows toward the bottom of the image. The Lee system allows me to rotate the filter and adjust it up and down.

You can make similar adjustments in post processing using a digital applied graduated filter, however by using the filter on-camera I’m allowing the camera sensor to capture greater amounts of data, thus expanding the dynamic range of the image.

Specifically, I can adjust the filter to expose for the sky to the point where highlight and shadow detail are adequately captured which allows me to lighten the shadow areas at the bottom of the photo.

In some situations, the image will not require any post processing. However I found it was still necessary to make some post processing adjustments to make the image appear better to the eye. I fine-tuned my exposure and contrast using Lightroom.

All four images in the sequence below were made using my FujiFilm X-T1 with a Zeiss 12mm Touit Lens. (However, the introduction photo at the top of the post was made with a 18-135 lens, unfiltered.)

Here's my scene unfiltered. I'm at a grade crossing south of Cambridge, New York. The clatter of Battenkill's RS-3 with 244 diesel can be heard in the distance. I've exposed for the foreground, which has the undesirable effect of losing most of the texture in the sky.
Here’s my scene unfiltered. I’m at a grade crossing south of Cambridge, New York. The clatter of Battenkill’s RS-3 with 244 diesel can be heard in the distance. I’ve exposed for the foreground, which has the undesirable effect of losing most of the texture in the sky.
With this image, I've attached the Lee graduated neutral density filter. This darkens the sky and features a tapered graduation which should appear virtually seamless. The result is that I can better hold detail in the sky and in the foreground.
With this image, I’ve attached the Lee graduated neutral density filter. This darkens the sky and features a tapered graduation which should appear virtually seamless. The result is that I can better hold detail in the sky and in the foreground.
Now the Battenkill has arrived. I've intentionally made my exposure a bit on the darkside, knowing I can locally lighten shadow areas in post processing. Again, by using the filter, I've been able to allow the sensor to capture a greater dynamic range. (a larger span of dark to light).
Now the Battenkill has arrived. This is the un-modified RAW file (except for scaling necessary for internet presentation).  I’ve intentionally made my exposure a bit on the darkside, knowing I can locally lighten shadow areas in post processing. Again, by using the filter, I’ve been able to allow the sensor to capture a greater dynamic range. (a larger span of dark to light). When I exposed this image I gauged exposure using the in-camera histogram to maximize the amount of data captured by the sensor and to minimize loss of detail in shadows and highlights.
Using Lightroom, I made some nominal post-processing adjustments to contrast and exposure, specifically focusing on the shadows and midtown areas of the locomotive. My intent was to better balance the image as it appears to the eye.
Using Lightroom, I made some nominal post-processing adjustments to contrast and exposure, specifically focusing on the shadows and midtone areas of the locomotive. My intent was to better balance the image as it appears to the eye. Obviously, depending on personal taste, it is possible to make a variety of adjustments to the final image. Here I tried to faithfully recreate a dramatic scene. Personally, the wavy rows of harvested corn make for some of the most interesting texture. Yet the primary subject remains the Alco RS-3 diesel.

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