Tag Archives: streetcars

Seeking Streetcars on a Rainy November Night; 10 New Photos.

To the uninitiated a cold windy rainy night might not seem like a good time to make urban photographs.

In my eye this is a fantastic opportunity to make unconventional images.

My brother and I planned to ride SEPTA’s No. 15 streetcar along Girard Avenue to have burgers and beer at Johnny Brenda’s located on Girard near the crossing of the Market-Frankford rapid transit line.

I worked with my Lumix LX7 hand-held to expose this selection of images.

Some of the street views were exposed using the Lumix’s ‘night mode’ that exposes a burst of images in rapid succession and combines them in-camera as a composite.

As you can see it was really lashing down and the most difficult part of this exercise was keeping the lens dry.

A Lumix LX7 night-mode image composite exposed at Girard and 41st Street.
A Lumix LX7 night-mode image composite exposed at Girard and 41st Street.
On a route 15 PCC car.
The back of the PCC car near the end of the run.
PCC’s pass on Girard near the Market-Frankford line elevated. Exposed handheld in ‘A’ mode.
A Lumix LX7 night-mode image composite exposed at Girard Avenue and Frankford Street.
A PCC takes the corner from Girard onto Frankford.
This was made with a relatively long exposure for a handheld photo.
Johnny Brenda’s bar was a welcome refuge from the rain.
Beneath the old elevated railway crossing  Girard. Sorry no PCC’s, I wasn’t in the mood to get any more wet that necessary to get home!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Sunrise Glint; Trams in Rome.

On April 6, 2017, I was up early to make photos of streetcars plying Rome’s streets.

Here, I’ve taken position where streetcars nip beneath the throat to Rome’s main passenger terminal. My goal was to work with the rosy rising sun to make some glint photos using my Lumix LX7.

These photos are all from the camera produced Jpg files. A little work in Lightroom might make for improved presentation, but that’s a topic for another day.

Any favorites?

I’m looking toward the rising sun working with glint, flare and silhouette—great elements to play with in the composing of interesting and potentially dramatic photographs.

By standing in the shadow of the railway overpass, I’ve blocked the sun from hitting the front element of the camera lens, thus eliminating the effects of flare, while retaining the glint on the side of the street car. I made several variations of this type of image, by playing with the light.

These narrow gauge cars work the vestige of an old interurban line.
Narrow gauge cars paused at a signal.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Cleveland Circle-A Moment in Time.

In March 1982, I exposed these photographs of MBTA Green Line PCCs taking the corner at Boston’s Cleveland Circle.

The relative proximity of three Green Line trolley routes at Cleveland Circle made this an ideal place to photograph streetcars since there was lots of trackage and variety of action.

The streetcars pictured had just finished their run and were turning into the storage/staging area at the end of Green Line’s ‘C’ route.

By this time MBTA’s old PCC cars were nearing the end of their regular service on Green Line routes, which made them an added attraction for me. The cars were tired and battered from decades of hard service yet soldiered on.

A tired old Presidents’ Conference Committee car has just finished its outbound run.
Check out the ad at the back of the trolley.

Today, it’s the period signs that make the photos interesting. Look at the ad for ‘Peoples Express’ on the back of one of the streetcars. Also, the cinema is advertising ‘Chariots of Fire’ among other films from 35 years ago.

Here’s an enlargement of the above photo that better shows the cinema sign.

I exposed these images on Ilford HP5 using my Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar. Unfortunately, I processed the film in Kodak Microdol-X. This developer offered very fine grain, but at the expense of tonality. It was tricky to get the timing right, and in this case I left the film in the developer too long. The result is that negatives display excessive contrast and blocked up highlights.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

PCC’s on Girard; Czech it out, American Follow Up on Fomapan.

Back in October, I made photos of Tatra’s PCC-derived trams in the Czech Republic using Czech made Fomapan 100 Classic black & white film.

I was pleased with my results, so, I bought more of this film from B&H photo (saves me a trip to Prague). Earlier this month, while wandering in Philadelphia with my brother Sean, I exposed a few photographs of SEPTA PCC’s working the route 15 Trolley line on Girard Avenue in Philadelphia.

Exposed with a Leica 3A fitted with a Nikkor f3.5 35mm screw-mount lens.
Exposed on Fomaran Classic (ISO 100) using a Leica 3A fitted with a Nikkor f3.5 35mm screw-mount lens.

Where trams in Prague run on very tight intervals, often following one another through the city streets, making for a unceasing parade of vehicles to photograph, SEPTA’s Route 15 requires more patience.

I processed the film using the traditional tank method. For this batch, I used Kodak D76 developer 1:1 (with water) for 5 minutes 15 seconds at 69F, preceded by a water-bath presoak with a drop of HC110. After processing I scanned the negatives with a Epson V750 Pro and made minor adjustments to files using Lightroom.

Exposed using a Leica 3A fitted with a Nikkor f3.5 35mm screw-mount lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Tram Noir—Olomouc, October 2016.

 

A brisk autumnal wind blew through cobblestone streets in Olomouc, Czech Republic.

I wandered with camera in hand, making images of trams grinding along in the dark of night.

These images were exposed on Fuji Neopan 400 using a Canon EOS-3.

I processed the film using Kodak HC-110 diluted 1-64 with water, with an extended pre-soak featuring an extremely dilute developer to help process shadow areas.

By design, my results are grainy and heavily textured to accentuate the effect of harsh lighting on the cobblestones and ancient buildings of the old Moravian capital.

olomouc_trams_15-oct_2016_bw-at_night_brian_solomon_331631

brian_solomon_331647

brian_solomon_331712

olomouc_trams_15-oct_2016_bw-at_night_brian_solomon_331633

olomouc_trams_15-oct_2016_bw-at_night_brian_solomon_331635olomouc_trams_15-oct_2016_bw-at_night_-brian_solomon_331650Tracking the Light posts daily.

MBTA’s Mattapan-Ashmont PCCs in the Digital Era.

 

As a follow-up to Wednesday’s Tracking the Light post featuring vintage Ektachrome slides of Boston’s MBTA Mattapan-Ashmont PCCs from the late 1970s, I thought I’d present some of the images of this classic transit operation that I’ve made in the digital era.

I’ve featured this colorful trolley line about a once a year in Tracking the Light, but since the topic is timely as operation of the historic cars now appears to be under threat, I thought a Mattapan-Ashmont PCC review might be of interest.

Looking toward Ashmont from Cedar Grove. The Mattapab-Ashmont trolley line serves as an extension of MBTA's Red Line. Exposed with a Canon EOS7D with 200mm lens.
Looking toward Ashmont from Cedar Grove. The Mattapab-Ashmont trolley line serves as an extension of MBTA’s Red Line. Exposed with a Canon EOS7D with 200mm lens.
A classically painted PCC approaches Cedar Grove. Lumix LX3 photo, contrast adjusted in post processing.
A classically painted PCC approaches Cedar Grove. Lumix LX3 photo, contrast adjusted in post processing.
Milton was the station I featured in Wednesday's post showing the old trackage arrangement. This showed some PFE refrigerator cars delivered by Conrail on freight trackage that is now just a memory. Canon EOS7D with 40mm Pancake lens.
Milton was the station I featured in Wednesday’s post showing the old trackage arrangement. The 1979 view showed some PFE refrigerator cars delivered by Conrail on freight trackage that is now just a memory. Canon EOS7D with 40mm Pancake lens.
A Mattapan bound car approaches Central Avenue. Exposed with a Canon EOS7D with 200mm lens.
A Mattapan bound car approaches Central Avenue. Exposed with a Canon EOS7D with 200mm lens.
On an overcast May day, an MBTA PCC crosses Central Avenue. I like the contrast between the six decades old streetcar with modern automobiles. How much longer will scenes like this be possible on MBTA? Lumix LX7 photo.
On an overcast May day, an MBTA PCC crosses Central Avenue. I like the contrast between the six decades old streetcar with modern automobiles. How much longer will scenes like this be possible on MBTA? Lumix LX7 photo.
Careful inspection will reveal vestiges of the old New Haven Railroad freight trackage that ran parallel to the trolley line. Lumix LX7 photo.
Careful inspection will reveal vestiges of the old New Haven Railroad freight trackage that ran parallel to the trolley line. Lumix LX7 photo.
Mattapan is on the Red Line, served via vintage PCCs—at least for now.
Mattapan is on the Red Line, served via vintage PCCs—at least for now. Lumix LX7 photo.
It's an era steeped in history, so it will be shame to see the old cars go. This is Boston's equivalent of San Francisco's Cable Cars—antique streetcars maintained for a modern application. LX7 photo.
It’s an era steeped in history, so it will be shame to see the old cars go. This is Boston’s equivalent of San Francisco’s Cable Cars—antique streetcars maintained for a modern application. LX7 photo.

Also see:

Boston’s Time Machine. Step back 30, 40, 50 years!

MBTA-Boston: Traction Orange PCCs.

Tracking the Light Posts EVERY DAY!

 

SEPTA’s Philadelphia Streetcars in Eight Photos.

Historically, Philadelphia had one of the most extensive urban streetcar networks in the United States.

My recent book Streetcars of America co-authored with John Gruber and published by Shire, features a selection of historic images of Philadelphia’s cars.

My father began photographing in Philadelphia in the mid-1950s, and my family has kept up the tradition.

A SEPTA Kowasaki car works Lancaster Avenue with the Philadelphia Center City skyline in the distance. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
A SEPTA Kowasaki car works Lancaster Avenue with the Philadelphia Center City skyline in the distance. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An historic PCC in route 15 service turns the corner from 63rd Street to Girard Avenue. Canon EOS 7D.
An historic PCC in route 15 service turns the corner from 63rd Street to Girard Avenue. Canon EOS 7D.
SEPTA's number 15 on Girard Avenue.
SEPTA’s number 15 on Girard Avenue.
A few minutes later this training car came grinding along.
A few minutes later this training car came grinding along.
A view looking east on Girard Avenue. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
A view looking east on Girard Avenue. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

On January 16, 2015 I re-explored several Philadelphia streetcar routes to make photographs. I was surprise to see one of the 1980s-era Kawaski cars working as a ‘Training Car’ on Girard Avenue—normally the domain of restored PCCs for the number 15 cross-town line.

Later my brother Sean and I went over to Media to catch the route 101 car. The Media line is one of the vestiges of the old Philadelphia Suburban Lines.

Media, Pennsylvania is proud of its streetcar!
Media, Pennsylvania is proud of its streetcar!
SEPTA's Route 101 Trolley en route to 69th Street.
SEPTA’s Route 101 Trolley en route from 69th Street.
SEPTA 101 on the streets of Media, PA. Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens.
SEPTA 101 on the streets of Media, PA. Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Streetcars of America by Brian Solomon and John Gruber

A New Book

Streetcar book cover©Brian Solomon 899170
Cover photo by Richard J. Solomon. Exposed on Kodachrome film.

Beginning in the mid-1950s my father, along with many of his friends, made a project to document streetcars on film. Since then he has traveled to many cities in the United States and Canada (as well as overseas) and exposed thousands of color slides.

I began traveling with him as soon as I could stand, and some of my earliest recollections involve trips on streetcars and subway trains.

My latest book Streetcars of America, co-authored with John Gruber, is now available through Amazon and other retailers. John and I wrote this compact 64-page soft-cover volume in 2013. It is priced at under $10

This is a Shire Publications production and features a concise look at streetcars in North America. It reproduces a variety of vintage and contemporary images, including many historic views made by Richard J. Solomon on Kodachrome film. Readers will find that John and I have covered a lot of territory in just a few pages.

Although I didn’t select the cover image, I feel it’s fitting since it features a Boston PCC car.  As a child, I lived in Newton Centre, just a few blocks from MBTA’s Riverside Line and here I often watched, traveled on, and photographed Boston PCCs with my father.

This is one of many photos by Richard J. Solomon in my new book, co-authored with John Gruber.
This is one of many photos by Richard J. Solomon in my new book, co-authored with John Gruber.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

DAILY POST: Exploring SEPTA

January 2014 Philadelphia Photo Exercise

SEPTA_Map_IMG_3911

For me, SEPTA is one of the most photogenic American big city transit systems. Sure, other cities have their charms, but Philadelphia has a lot going for it; variety, accessibility, interval services on most routes, real time displays at stations, visual cues to its heritage, interesting and varied equipment and etc.

On January 16, 2014, my brother Sean and I, spent an afternoon and evening wandering on SEPTA’s rail systems making photographs. I had a minor agenda to ride a few pieces of the network I’d not yet traveled on.

I worked with two cameras; Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS 7D, but traveled relatively light (no film body or big telephotos)

Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA has a App that shows schedules, train times & etc. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA has a App that shows schedules, train times & etc. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA Airport station
Philadelphia is one of the few North American cities with direct heavy rail airport connections. Trains run every half hour with stations at each terminal. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA.
Afternoon sun catches an outbound Silverliner V at University City. A CSX freight rolls overhead on the Highline. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

All of the lines we traveled were well patronized (some at standing room only) and yet everything seem to run to time. SEPTA’s staff were friendly and helpful. (Especially when we were running for trains).

SEPTA
SEPTA SIlverliner V interior. Built by ROTEM. Lumix LX3 photo.
End of the line at Elwyn.
End of the line at Elwyn.
Silverliner V at Elwyn. The line used to continue to West Chester.
Silverliner V at Elwyn. The line used to continue to West Chester. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA railroad station
Old Pennsylvania Railroad station at Clifton-Aldan.
End of the Sharon Hill trolley line. Lumix LX3 photo.
End of the Sharon Hill trolley line. Lumix LX3 photo.
69th Street terminal at Upper Darby. Outbound trolleys for Media and Sharon Hill. Lumix LX3 photo.
69th Street terminal at Upper Darby. Outbound Kawasaki trolleys for Media and Sharon Hill. Lumix LX3 photo.
Norristown High Speed Line at 69th Street. Lumix LX3 photo.
Norristown High Speed Line at 69th Street. Lumix LX3 photo. Contrast adjusted in post processing to improve the overall appearance of the image.
Norristown transportation center. The old Reading Company on the lower level. A Norfolk Southern freight rolled through as we boarded the train for Center City. Lumix LX3 photo.
Norristown transportation center. The old Reading Company on the lower level. A Norfolk Southern freight rolled through as we boarded the train for Center City. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA Daypass; a bargain that cost just $12. We got good value with ours. SEPTA's conductor sold us the passes on the train. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA Daypass; a bargain that cost just $12. We got good value with ours. SEPTA’s conductor sold us the passes on the train. Lumix LX3 photo.
Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.
SEPTA
Market East. Lumix LX3 photo.
Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Overbrook station on the Main Line. Canon EOS 7D photo, with 40mm pancake lens.
Overbrook station on the Main Line. Canon EOS 7D photo, with 40mm pancake lens.

 

Click to see related posts: SEPTA Silverliners at Market EastSEPTA’s Number 15 StreetcarSEPTA Wanderings in Early January 2013; and SEPTA One Year Ago: June 29, 2012

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please spread the word and share Tracking the Light with anyone who may enjoy seeing it!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Enhanced by Zemanta

DAILY POST: MBTA Boston October 27, 2013—Part 2


Sunday Afternoon and Evening.

MBTA
At Tower 1, MBTA 1123 shoves toward Boston‘s North Station. MBTA diesel fleet will soon be transformed by 40 new locomotives built by MPI using General Electric components. As is often the case with fleet upgrading, older locomotives may be withdrawn as newer ones come on line. Lumix LX3 photo modified in post processing to improve contrast and color balance.

Boston gets some great light and evening can be one of the best times to make photographs.

Sunday October 27th was clear in the morning, but clouded up a bit during midday. Towards evening the clouds melted away and a rich golden light prevailed.

MBTA
MBTA 1034 crosses the drawbridges near North Station as it shoves its train toward the terminal station. Lumix LX3 photo.
MBTA
MBTA F40PH 1025 departs Boston’s North Station on Sunday afternoon. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Boston
Boston Duck Boat. Lumix LX3 photo.
MBTA Orange Line.
Orange Line rapid transit cars in the early evening light. Canon EOS 7D.
Boston skyline. Lumix LX3 photo.
Boston skyline. Lumix LX3 photo.
MBTA
Orange Line trains meet north of Boston on October 27, 2013. Little remains of the old Orange Line elevated route that I remember from my earliest days. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Tim Doherty and I photographed operations out of North Station as well as the north end of the Orange Line rapid transit, then went toward Boston College, where the Commonwealth Avenue branch of the Green Line crosses over the former Boston & Albany mainline.

The fading light of evening made for a dramatic skyline. I didn’t have my tripod with me, so instead racked up the ISO on my digital cameras. With my 7D I can work with a 4000 ISO rating and still get some very presentable images.

My memories of the Commonwealth Avenue line extend back more than 40 years, and my photography of the line nearly that long.

In the late-1970s, I made a point of exposed Kodachrome slides of the PCC’s that were then waning on that route. I never could have guessed than in 2013 some PCC’s would survive in daily service on the Mattapan-Ashmont line.

See yesterday’s post for more Boston images: MBTA Sunday October 27, 2013—Part 1

MBTA
An inbound Commonwealth Avenue line streetcar makes for a modern silhouette. Lumix LX3 photo.
MBTA Boston.
Green Line streetcars meet on the Commonwealth Avenue Line. Boston’s iconic Prudential building looms large above the city. Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. Exposed at f2.8 1/125th of a second at ISO 3200, photo file adjusted in post processing to improve contrast and color balance.
MBTA
Commonwealth Avenue at sunset.Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. Exposed at f2.8 1/60th of a second at ISO 4000-hand held.

See my new book North American Railroad Family Trees for discussion of the evolution MBTA and other commuter rail networks.

Tracking the Light posts new material daily.

Please spread the word and share Tracking the Light with anyone who may enjoy seeing it!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Trams of Gent Part 2

One Europe’s Best Settings For Tram Photos.

 

Gent, Belgium.
De Lijn is Gent’s tram operator. Here a 1970s vintage PCC hums along with a church towering above it. Lumix LX3 photo.

It just seemed there was a photo opportunity everywhere I turned.In addition to these digital photos, I exposed a fair few color slides as well.

What’s that? Yes, film. But those images will remain latent (unprocessed) for some time yet.

Gent, Belgium.
A modern tram makes for a contrast with the medieval castle in the distance. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Gent, Belgium.
Gent’s trams roll through the city center every few minutes on regular intervals. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Gent, Belgium.
How many cities feature trams grinding along in front of ancient castles? Anyone? Canon EOS 7D photo.
Gent, Belgium.
Here I experimented with a low angle using my Lumix LX3. Same castle.
Gent, Belgium.
And for a more traditional view, albeit with a wide angle. Another Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Gent, Belgium.
Once out of the old city center, Gent’s trams pass through more recently developed areas of the city. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Trams of Gent—Part 1

 

Narrow Gauge Railway Among Stunning Architecture.

Gent (sometimes spelled on maps as ‘Ghent’) is a moderately sized Belgian city with remarkable beautiful architecture. You’ve probably heard lots about nearby Brugge. I visited that city in 1999. Last week, on recommendation of friends, I traveled to Gent, which I found vastly more interesting and photogenic.

Gent’s narrow gauge tram system navigates the some of the most unusual trackage I’ve ever seen, while the city’s buildings and canals make for stunning settings for which to make photographs.

Tram, Gent
Modern tram glides along the streets of Gent, Belgium. Canon EOS 7D photo.
PCC cars in Gent.
Gent’s older trams are 1970s era PCC (Presidents Conference Committee) cars based on American designs. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Gent, Belgium.
Curiously sinuous trackage makes for some interesting images. Canon EOS 7D photo.
A maze of tracks makes for curious operations.
A maze of tracks makes for curious operations.
Gent, Belgium.
A De Lijn tram crosses a canal in historic Gent. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

 

The question may be asked: does the city provide a backdrop for trams, or rather, do the trams augment photos of the city?

The best to come . . .

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

SEPTA’s Number 15 Streetcar

 

PCC’s on Girard Avenue, July 3, 2013.

In 2005, SEPTA re-introduced regular streetcar service to its number 15 route along Philadelphia’s Girard Avenue using historic President Conference Committee (PCC) trolley cars. These are painted in the old Philadelphia Transportation Company’s livery, which ads class to the service.

SEPTA 15 streetcar.
SEPTA’s number 15 Streetcar makes the corner at 26th and Poplar Streets in Philadelphia. Lumix LX3 photo.

My brother Sean lives just a few blocks from Girard Avenue, and on the afternoon of July 3, 2013, we made a project of photographing the cars in service. While on previous trips we’ve gone for a spin, this time we drove, allowing me to make the maximum number of photos in just a limited time. We’ll take another spin on another day soon!

While SEPTA’s Route 15 seems to run on 10-15 minute intervals, not every service has a PCC. At least one of the runs was provided by a bus. I made an image of this as well because I’ve learned from my study of railways, that it is best to photograph everything and sort out the wheat from the chaff at a later date. (In other words don’t judge your subject).

SEPTA Bus on 15 Route.
While anticipating a PCC I was surprise to see that SEPTA was providing some the 15 services with buses. Yet, this is part of the story, so I made an image of the bus too. A streetcar was not far behind. Lumix LX3 photo.
PCC car in Philadelphia.
This is the PCC that followed the bus. Patience paid off. Lumix LX3 photo.
PCC cars in Philadelphia.
SEPTA PCC cars on Girard Avenue cross Broad Street on July 3, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

This trip, I made digital images with my Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS 7D. On previous trips I’ve photographed the Route 15 in black & white using a Leica M4, and made color slides using my Nikons and Canon EOS 3.

PCC car in Philadelphia.
Instead of the destination, this PCC promotes the Philadelphia Phillies. Lumix LX3 photo.
Enhanced by Zemanta