Tag Archives: RailTex

New England Central 3850 and Lumix LX7 Color Profiles

Palmer, October 20, 2014.

It’s been nearly 20 years since New England Central assumed operations from Central Vermont.

In that time New England Central has had three owners. Originally a RailTex property, it was owned by RailAmerica for more than a dozen years and now is a Genesee & Wyoming railroad.

Despite that, a few of its original GP38s remain painted in the blue and yellow scheme introduced when the railroad began operations in February 1995.

NECR 3850 was working job 603 in Palmer and paused for a minute on the interchange track. Although I’ve photographed this old goat dozens of times in the last two decades, I opted to make a series of images with my Lumix LX7 to demonstrate the different color profiles (color ‘styles’) built into the camera.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, one of the great compositional tools available with the Lumix LX7 (and other cameras too) is the ability to quickly change from one color profile to another (including black & white modes).

Although, it is easy enough to adjust and alter color in post processing, I find it is useful to be able to compose a scene on-site knowing how the camera will react to color and contrast.

Below are a sequence of similar images of 3850 using different built-in color profiles. I’ve adjusted the B&W ‘monochrome’ profile in-camera to better suit my personal taste.

Image 1—Lumix 'Vivid' color profile.
Image 1—Lumix ‘Vivid’ color profile.
Image 2: Lumix 'Natural' color profile.
Image 2—Lumix ‘Natural’ color profile. Please note that term ‘Natural’ is purely subjective and does not infer any unusual treatment as compared with the other profiles. In other words ‘natural’ is just a name.
Image 3—'Scenery' Lumix color profile.
Image 3—’Scenery’ Lumix color profile.
Image 4—'Monochrome' Lumix color profile.
Image 4—’Monochrome’ Lumix color profile.
Image 5 'High Dynamic Range' setting. (this blends three images exposed automatic in rapid succession).
Image 5 ‘High Dynamic Range’ setting. (this blends three images exposed automatically in rapid succession. Fine for static scenes, but not practical for moving trains).

Which of the photos do you like the best?

Of course every computer display has its own way of interpreting color and contrast. Compare these images on different screens and see how they change.

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Tomorrow: a colorful GP38 in Missouri!


Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia, Cape Jack, July 24, 1997


A Fleeting Glimpse of a Maritime Alco Diesel Oasis.

Railway train with water
On July 24, 1997, a Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia freight rolls west at Cape Jack along the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.

I featured this image of westward Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia (say it five times fast) freight in my big book Locomotive, published by MBI in 2001. The concept of the book was very large photo reproduction of classic locomotives. There were three sections; steam, diesel and electric.

In July 1997, I made this image on trip with George Pitarys and Bill Linley. George and I had flown to Halifax from Boston. We spent three glorious days photographing in Nova Scotia and did exceptionally well with the CB&CNS. At the time the railroad ran its eastward road freight in the morning and westward train in the afternoon, which favored sun angles most of the day. George and Bill’s expert knowledge of the line allowed us to make the most of every train.

I was especially fascinated by the opportunity to photograph locomotives against the seemingly endless blue waterscape. This elevated location at Cape Jack overlooking the Gulf of St Lawrence was one of the best places to make watery vistas. I exposed this on Fujichrome Provia 100F using my Nikon N90s and Nikon f2.8 80-200mm zoom lens. Exposure was calculated using a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell and the camera’s internal matrix meter setting.

Here’s an excerpt from my text published in Locomotive:

The CB&CNS was created as the result of CN’s desire to spin-off lightly used feeder lines. Initially the CB&CNS was part of the RailTex family of short lines and acquired by Rail America in 1999. CB&CNS operated from Truro (in western Nova Scotia) to Sydney plus a few short branches. Until 1998, this railroad was one the final strongholds for big MLW-built Alco locomotives. These were regularly assigned to daily through freights. Most were painted in CB&CNS’s attractive black & yellow paint scheme with a large red lion to reflect the region’s Scottish heritage. 


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New England Central at Stafford Springs, Connecticut on May 21, 2013.


Brian’s Milk Run.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 was a clear bright morning. I heard New England Central’s 608 climbing State Line Hill through Monson. I dithered briefly about heading out to photograph it. I’ve only photographed New England Central’s trains about a thousand times (metaphorically).

When I went to make myself a cup of tea I discovered to my horror that there wasn’t any milk! Poor show. So, I made the most of both problems. I drove to Stafford Springs, where I waited all of five minutes to score a few nice bright shots of a pair of New England Central GP38s. (I made a couple of slides too—just for ‘the record). Then stopped in at the shop in Stafford Hollow for milk before heading home again.

New England Central GP38s
New England Central freight 608 crawls through Stafford Springs, Connecticut on May 21, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens; exposed at f8 1/500 ISO 200.

What I find interesting is that, 16 years ago I made similar images of the same GP38s in the same location! A lot has changed in that time. Back then New England Central was part of RailTex. Now, after a dozen years as a RailAmerica road, it’s a Genesee & Wyoming property.

Somehow, I doubt that in another 16 years I’ll still be able to make images just like these. But you never know. It’s nice having an interesting railway nearby.

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