It was 30 years ago today, on May 23, 1985, that I exposed this photograph of a Norfolk Southern freight at Atlanta, Georgia. Although the NS merger had occurred a few years earlier, the old Southern image still prevailed.
I was impressed by the hi-hood GP50s, such as those pictured running long-hood forward. In my book, Southern’s SD45s were even more impressive. The locomotives were clean, sharp looking and well maintained. By contrast, the Seaboard System with its collection of inherited locomotives seemed like a poor sister in tattered clothing.
Morning Views, May 28, 2014—North Carolina Transportation Museum.
With more than two dozen classic locomotives to photograph, and lots of other relics of interest, I exposed more than 300 image with the Lumix LX-7 in just three hours. In addition, I was also working with my Canons, one for film, one for pixels.
Here are just some of detailed views I exposed with the Lumix. These are macro images, as opposed to wide shots that take in the whole scene. (And, yes, I made plenty of those too.)
The light was mixed. Nice soft early sun soon gave way to a hazy flat bright light. I’m glad I brought my old Minolta IV light meter, this proved very useful.
The ease of use of the Lumix LX-7 made it an especially valuable too. Today I was working with the electronic view finder, instead of the rear screen display. I wonder if this altered my compositions?
I was very impressed by the paint on the Lackawanna F3’s, even if they were built for the Bangor & Aroostook, What are your favorite locomotives on display at Spencer?
More Spencer Streamliner photos to come over the next few days!
Tracking the Light posts new material every day, with special ‘Extra’ posts on the Streamliners at Spencer event this week!
At the end of July, my friends and I made a pilgrimage to the Bluebell Railway, traveling by Southern Railway electric muliple unit from London to East Grinstead and transferring to the Bluebell’s steam train there.
This was my second trip over the Bluebell this year. While not the best day for photography, owing to a humid hazy morning with flat dull light and rain showers in the afternoon, I managed to make a variety of images of this classic British preserved railway. Regardless of the weather, Bluebell offers a pleasant trip to an earlier era.
In the last dozen years, I’ve made about a half dozen Bluebell visits that have allowed me to better appreciate the line and more fully experience it. It is one of just several dozen top notch preserved railways in Britain.
See my earlier posts on the Bluebell for more details and photos of the line:
One of the great features of Britain’s preserved Bluebell Railway is its exceptional attention to detail. Everywhere you look there is something to make the past, alive. Old advertisements, piles of luggage, semaphore signals, cast iron warning signs, and buckets of coal.
You hear the clunk of a rod moving a signal blade from red to green, followed by the shrill guard’s whistle and the slam of a wooden door. Then a mild hiss as the automatic brake is released and the sharper hiss from the locomotive as it eases off the platform. Yet, the Bluebell experience isn’t all about its locomotive, or its trains. The Bluebell is a railway experience.
The time warp ends when you arrive back at East Grinsted, where you insert your ticket with its magnetic stripe into automatic barriers, then board a modern electric multiple unit with sealed windows, plastic décor and space-age loos that look like they belong on the set of Star Trek.
The Bluebell Railway is Britain’s first standard gauge preserved steam railway. It dates from the early 1960s, and for more than 50 years has offered excursions over a scenic portion of former Southern Railway, ex London, Brighton & South Coast Railway. Today the railway runs from East Grinsted to Sheffield Park (south-southwest of London), and includes a relatively long tunnel.
Bluebell, like many of Britian’s steam railways, is a fully functioning preserved line, complete with stations, signal boxes (towers), authentic period signal hardware (including semaphores), engine sheds and lots of staff (presumably mostly volunteers), all of which contributes to the appearance of an historic British railway. In other words, it’s like a time machine!
On Saturday April 20, 2013 David Hegarty and I traveled from London by train via East Croydon to East Grinsted. It was a beautiful clear bright day. Bluebell had just recently reopened its line for connections to British rail network at East Grinsted.
While not especially photogenic, I found the new East Grinsted transfer a big improvement for reaching the Bluebell. On previous visits, I’d hired a car and drove directly to Horsted Keynes—a mid-point station on the Bluebell. All things being equal, its nice to arrive by rail.
It was interesting to travel behind steam (British Railways 2-10-0 class 9F) over newly laid track. We spent a full day wandering up and down the line by train. At one point we went for a long hike following signposted footpaths to a known good spot (what friends like to call a KGS). I’d found the spot, north of Horstead Keynes, about 10 years ago.
Biggest challenge to making photos on the Bluebell is their operating practice of locomotives facing north, which can present some difficult lighting angles considering most of the line is on a north-south alignment.