What better place to work with black & white film than on the locomotive footplate?
Last week, I made these steam portraits and views of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s engine 85 at work using my battle worn Nikon N90S with f2.0 35mm lens loaded with Kodak Tri-X.
Processing the film was the tricky part. I did this by hand the old fashioned way.
To make the most of highlight and shadow detail, I used multiple-stage split-development, followed by selenium toning to give highlights the silvery edge.
After processing, I scanned the negatives using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner.
So in the end presentation my silver photos are digital after all.
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A locomotive is hardly an ideal portrait studio.
Or is it?
Shafts of filtered light and a dark background make for a fascinating setting, while the opportunity to make silhouettes against the daylight provide a contrast.
The men of the footplate proudly wear the coal dust, cinders and ash that identify them.
I made these portraits of the crew on board Great Northern Railway of Ireland 85 on its excursions last week.
Special thanks to everyone at the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) and at Irish Rail for making my locomotive journeys possible.
For details about the RPSI and scheduled steam and diesel trips see:
Check out: Room with a View: The Challenges on Photographing from/on a Steam Locomotive Footplate—12 Photos.
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