Tag Archives: Romania

Tracking the Light’s Daily Post: A Transylvanian Oil Train

Predeal, Romania July 11, 2007.


I had visions of wolves howling in distant ravines, silhouettes of bats flitting through the air against a luminescent full moon, and an aged caped gentleman speaking in a thickly accented voice. . .

Then I arrived in Romania by train from Budapest and reality interrupted my fantastic imaginations!

Turns out that Predeal, at the summit of the Transylvania Alps, is a great place to photograph trains. No bats, no moon, no wolves; not that I saw anyway.

Predeal, Romania, exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikon F3 with f2.8 180mm lens.
Predeal, Romania, exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikon F3 with f2.8 180mm lens.

The weedgrown right-of-way is deceptive. The mainline is electrified and heavily traveled.

On the afternoon of July 11, 2007, I exposed this image south of the summit a Predeal of a Compania Naţională de Căi Ferate (Romania National Railways) electric leading an oil train.

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Budapest Keleti Station, August 2007

Budpest Keleti
A MAV InterCity Train basks under sodium and mercury vapor light at Budapest Keleti Station; exposed with a Nikon F3T and f.1.8 105mm lens on Fujichrome.

Following the Ghost of the old Hapsburg Empire

I selected this image of Budapest Keleti Station as part of a exhibition of more than twenty of my photographs titled Silver & Steel that made its debut in November 2008 at the GONe Studio. I exposed it at the beginning of an Eastern European rail adventure that ultimately brought me across Hungary, through Romania to Vlad Tepe’s birthplace, over the Carpathians and then into eastern Ukraine. Keleti or ‘Eastern’ Station is a principle Hungarian terminus for international rail travel; it’s a classic railway temple featuring a magnificent train shed that faces the city through an enormous fan-shaped window.

The trick to getting this dramatic angle was working my old Nikon F3T with its detachable prism. I focused manually, then removed the prism, and laid the camera on the platform, fine-tuning composition looking down on the mirror image while using a combination of Euro coins to prop up the lens. During exposure, I used my notebook to shade the front element from flare. To minimize vibration, I set the self-timer and stood back. My faithful Minolta IV light meter was key to calculating base exposure, but I then added a full stop to compensate for the cavernous quality of the train shed and the film’s reciprocity failure (owing to long exposure time). I made several exposures, most of which came out blurred because of nominal camera vibration. Ultimately, I locked up the F3T’s mirror for this final image.

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