In May 1992, I was on my way back to San Francisco from a visit to Southern Pacific’s Siskiyou Line. I stopped at SP’s Redding Station and made this afternoon image of a locomotive reflecting in the window.
Someday, someone might want to know what the Pacific Bell shelter was for, and wonder about the curious device positioned within!
Notice that I carefully included the station name in the view.
I exposed this on Kodachrome 25, which was a good film for daylight scenes but tended to do a poor job of rendering shadows. Yet, because the shadow areas under the station canopy are a bit dark this effect helps emphasize daylight on the locomotive reflected in the glass.
How would I make this photo digitally? First of all, I’d preset the white balance to ‘daylight’ rather than use the automatic setting. This would give the shadow areas a slight bluish tint, while maintaining more natural colors in the reflection.
Secondly, I’d set the exposure manually, and pay careful attention to the density of window reflection, while allowing the rest of the scene to go a bit dark (about ½ half stop).
August 31, 1991. I’ll put this in the ‘forgotten images’ category! I remember the trip, I remember the day, but until I scanned it, I’d completely forgotten that I’d made this photo on black & white film.
As I’ve describe in my previous post, Daylight Beauty at Hooker Creek. Southern Pacific had organized the streamlined engine to make a public appearances in the Sacramento River Canyon as a goodwill gesture following a serious derailment at the Cantara Loop (which spilled toxins into the river above Dunsmuir), and the railroad had hired me for two days to make photographs of the PR event. Brian Jennison provided transport, and the two of us spent a long weekend making numerous images of SP 4449 with Daylight train.
I exposed this image on the first day of excursions using my Leica M2 with 50mm lens. I’ve published many of the color slides I exposed from the same trip, including views I made on Kodachrome with my Nikon F3T at this bridge.
Some can be found in my book The American Steam Locomotive published by MBI in 1998, Steam Power published by Voyageur Press in 2009. Also, Audio Visual Designs used my photo of SP 4449 at Redding on a picture postcard back in the 1990s.
Finding this picture was a pleasant surprise. Compared with earlier years, I have relatively few black & white images from the 1990s in California, although I went through a phase where I’d use the Leica loaded B&W during the ‘high light’ when Kodachrome yielded substandard results.
In this case, I made the most of the situation by using two cameras and different types of film, I obtained a variety of photos from location. Also, the locomotive repeated the exercise the following day. By then, I’d re-loaded the Leica with Kodachrome 25.