Last Friday, November 16, 2018, as the sun dropped near the horizon and a layer of cloud and haze filtered the light, I repositioned myself from San Clemente Pier, northward to the Metrolink Station at San Clemente, California.
I selected my location in order to make photos of a southward, Oceanside-bound suburban train with the sun setting over the Pacific.
Working with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a 12mm Zeiss Touit lens, I exposed several sunset silhouettes as the train arrived onto the station platform.
To make the most of the sunset lighting, I exposed manually for the sky, allowing the locomotive and cars and other terrestrial objects to appear dark.
As the sunset on Dublin, Monday a week ago (15 October 2018), I used my FujiFilm X-T1 to expose several series of silhouettes as LUAS trams crossed the old Kingsbridge (now formally Sean Heuston Bridge) over the River Liffey.
My goal was to capture the rays of sun bursting through the windows of the tram cars.
I only had a few minutes where the sun was in the optimal position, and luckily LUAS was operating trams on short headways, so I had several opportunities.
My camera was set for ‘turbo flutter’ (continuous high or ‘ch’ on the left-hand dial) which exposes a rapid burst of images when pressing the shutter button.
By exposing for the sky and sun, I allowed the shadows to become an inky black. Using the smallest aperture (f22 on my 90mm lens) creates the sunburst effect while also allowing for better definition of the sun in the sky.
A few weeks ago I posted a shadow silhouette made from the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise crossing the old Great Northern Railway (of Ireland) Craigmore Viaduct.
Last week I had the opportunity to make a photo of the same bridge from the ground, thus making use of the shadow from a completely different angle.
Exposure was the tricky part, since the sun was low on the horizon, but partially blocked by the passing train. I made these photos with my Lumix LX7 without use of filters or post-processing adjustment.
Thanks to Honer Travers and William Malone with whom I was traveling.
Here are colour and black & white views at NI Railway’s Lisburn station exposed at sunset in late January 2018. Both original images were exposed within a few moments of each other.
The colour photo was exposed in RAW format using my Lumix LX7 digital camera, while the black & white image was made on Kodak Tri-X exposed using a Nikon F3 with 24mm Nikkor lens. (Film processed in ID11 1-1 for 8 minutes at 20C (68 F).
I imported the files into Lightroom and made a series of contrast adjustments to better balance the sky with the train, station and platforms.
I made my changes to compensate for limitations of the recording media while aiming for greater dynamic presentation.
Below are both the unaltered files, Lightroom work windows, and my penultimate variations, which are aimed to demonstrate the changes, the means of alteration, and my results.
The combination of snow on the ground, very cold temperatures, and low light make for excellent photographic conditions, if you can bear to be outside.
I exposed this view of New England Central 3476 shortly after sunset in Palmer, Massachusetts.
The snow reflects light from below, thus providing greater illumination of shadow areas that under ordinary conditions would be underexposed at this time of day.
Cold temperatures and clear overhead conditions result in a inversion effect, which traps particulates and other airborne impurities that acts as a light filter resulting in a scene with more red and magenta spectrum than normal.
This effect is intensified at sunset because the sunlight has to pass through much greater amounts of polluted atmosphere because of its relative angle to the ground.
To make the most of these lighting conditions, it helps to set the camera white balance to ‘daylight’, since ‘auto white balance’ while tend to cancel out the effect of the rosy lighting conditions.
It’s that time of year when the setting sun aligns with CSX’s old Boston & Albany at Palmer, Massachusetts.
I made these views using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
The camera’s color profile was set to ‘Velvia’ mode. White balance at ‘A’ (automatic). While I exposed both a Camera RAW and Jpg simultaneously, these views are strictly camera-produced Jpg files scaled for internet presentation.
Gauging my exposure with the in-camera matrix meter, I set the aperture and shutter speed manually leaning toward ‘under exposure’ to ensure good highlight detail.
The other day my brother and I drove along Philadelphia’s Girard Avenue on the way back from an errand.
This gave me the opportunity to make a few photographs along the way.
I had two cameras to play with. A Nikon F3 with 24mm lens loaded with Fomapan 100 Classic, and my Lumix LX7.
Inspired by my monochrome successes earlier this month, photographer Mike Gardner had encouraged me to make more Philly streetcar photos using black & white film, and so that’s what I did.
But, as you read this the images on film are still latent. As I worked the F3, I also popped off a few digital photos with the LX7. While anticipating the black & white, we can enjoy the digital images.
Not only does the LX7 produce instant results, but it’s a flexible tool with a very sharp lens.
Film versus digital? How about having your cake and eating it too?