Tag Archives: Switzerland

Swiss Outtakes Part 3; Rhätische Bahn on a dull day

I’m still editing photos for my European Railway Journeys book.

There were more tough choices and this one had to go!

This photo has drama but the light is flat.

Flat light and dead snow just don’t make the cut.

This photo was exposed the narrow gauge Swiss Rhätische Bahn at Küblis .

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

In the Rain at the Famous Biaschina Loops—Swiss Outtakes Part 2

Here’s another view that won’t appear in my book on European Railway travel. (Are you missing the mist? Facebook viewers will need to click on the post to get the whole picture).

I’m just days away from submitting my final chapters.

Believe it or not, I substituted a film photo from this same location for consideration in the book instead of this digital photo.

Why?

I felt the film image captured the scene more effectively.

This is a digital photo at the three-level Biaschina Loops; for the book I went with a film photo of an SBB Re4-4 at the same spot.

I like the way the mist and rain add depth to this famous location at the Biaschina Loops on the south slope of Switzerland’s Gottard Pass.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Wassen Curves on a Dull Day— Swiss Outtakes Part 1

An outtake (spelled with two ‘t’s) is a portion of a work removed during editing.

I’m in the final lap of assembling a book on European Railway travel.

Among my ‘outtakes’ from the section on Switzerland is this digital image that I made last year at the famous Wassen curves on the Gotthard Route.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.

I was traveling with my friends Gerry Conmy, Denis McCabe and Stephen Hirsch.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

Geneva Tram in Traffic.

A Geneva tram near Cornavin Station. FujiFilm X-T1 Photo.

I made this view in Geneva, Switzerland in April 2017. A tram waits in morning traffic. By using a telephoto perspective, I’ve compressed the scene and exaggerated the effect of the traffic jam.

Tracking the Light is on AutoPilot while Brian is traveling.

Oh no! NOT these again.

Pure evil so far as I’m concerned.

And more and more common in Europe.

I’m told its the law.

What are these you ask?

Sound barriers.

New sound barriers along SBB’s mainline over the Gotthard Pass at Fluellen, Switzerland. These barriers don’t add anything  positive to the scene: they block the view of the train, and they make for a renegade’s canvas. Photographed in April 2017.

A poor trade off in my opinion; instead of a bit of occasional noise you face an ugly wall. And it won’t get any prettier when the vandals show up can in hand.

They are photographer’s nightmare.

What to do?

Tracking the Light Posts Daily

Zentralbahn at Lake Brienz, Switzerland.

SBB’s narrow gauge Zentralbahn connects Interlaken and Lucerne, and runs for miles along the shores of Lake Brienz.

I made this view on my wanders in Switzerland two months ago.

Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm zoom lens at ISO 200, f7.1 at 1/500th of a second.

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light is a Daily blog detailing railway photography.

 

Catching Rail Freight on the Way to the Airport.

Opportunity is the operative.

At the end of April, Denis McCabe and I were on our way to the Basel Airport on the airport bus (image omitted). On the way, we spotted an over bridge on the double-track line that connects Basel with France.

Arriving at the airport, we concluded that we were too early to check in for our flight, so rather than waste time milling around the airport, we doubled back to the bridge, a mere 10 minutes away.

Among the photos I made in the interval at the bridge was this trailing view of an SNCF freight heading to France from Switzerland.

Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

 

Tracking the Light Post something new EVERY day!

(It’s more or less true).

Bright Morning in Zürich!

It was a clear blue dome and working with my Lumix LX7, I made these photos of trams working the streets of Zürich, Switzerland.

Zürich continues to paint its trams in its classic sky-blue and creamy white livery. This photographs well when the sun is out, but can be challenging on dull days.

The Lumix LX7 when used with the add-on external viewfinder is an excellent tool for urban street photography. I like the LX7 because it allows me to make both Jpg and RAW digital files simultaneously. The RAWs were especially useful here as I could more easily adjust contrast in post processing.

Lumix LX7 photo. RAW file adjusted to improve contrast and shadow detail, then scaled as a Jpg in Lightroom for internet presentation.
Camera Jpg scaled for internet.

Tracking the Light posts every day!

 

Striving for Tonality.

Last month I made this photo of a tram near its terminus in Basel, Switzerland.

To achieve deeper tones, I’ve adjusted my photographic process, shortening the development time, then boosting highlights by toning the negatives after development.

Working with my Nikon N90S with f2.0 35mm lens, I exposed a roll of Ilford HP5, rating it at 320 ISO. I processed the film in Agfa (formula) Rodinal Special (mixed 1-30 with water) for 3 minutes 25 seconds at 68 degrees F.

By design, this resulted in acceptable negatives, slightly on thin (light) side. Then, after fixing (two stage) and a thorough 10 minute rinse, I toned the negatives in selenium (using a 1-9 mix) for nine minutes with regular agitation.

Selenium toner is poisonous, so I wear latex gloves and perform the toning outside to avoid breathing the fumes, and pre-rinse the film prior to bringing it back inside.

Toning the negatives in this way boosts the highlights, giving the images a slightly silvery glow, while improving archival stability.

For this photo, I made some additional changes in post processing.

After scanning, I imported the file to Lightroom, and digitally lowered the contrast and highlight density of the sky-area in the top 1/3 of the frame.

My intent was to produce an image with a darker moody tonality and glistening highlights. I wonder if this will translate to the internet well?

 

Agfa Rodinal Special and selenium toners can be purchased from Freestyle in California, (see: http://www.freestylephoto.biz).

 

Tracking the Light posts daily.

Unexpected Extras at Grindlewald-Grund.

Extra trains are always a bonus; but an unexpected extra using antique equipment is a real treat!

Three weeks ago on our exploration of Swiss railways, Denis McCabe and I were photographing the steeply graded rack railway on the Wengernalbahn near Grindlewald-Grund where the scheduled passenger trains operate on half hour intervals.

In between the regular scheduled trains, we caught a wire train-extra and this passenger extra with heritage equipment.

All in the metaphoric shadow of the Eiger and the Jungfrau, two of the most famous Swiss mountain in the Swiss Bernese Alps.

When two trains really are better than one: A wire train ascends toward Kleine Scheidegg from Grindelwald-Grund, while in the distance a passenger train climbs in the opposite direction toward Grindelwald.
Special bonus, a Wengernalbahn heritage train works the rack on its way up the mountain. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

Tracking the Light posts every day.

 

Faces of the BLS at Spiez, Switzerland.

Swiss railways tend to be known by three letter abbreviations of their names.

The initials ‘BLS’ represent the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon Bahn, a standard-gauge mainline trunk-line with several branches in central western Switzerland.

It was a pleasant evening three weeks ago, when Denis McCabe and I photographed a procession of BLS freight and passenger trains at Spiez. What I found remarkable was the great variety of equipment operated by this colourful Swiss line.

I exposed these photos over the course of an hour using my FujiFilm X-T1.

Nocturnal Basel Tram Pan

Using my Panasonic Lumix LX7, I exposed this pan photograph of a city tram on the streets of Basel, Switzerland in April 2017.

I’d set the camera at ISO 250, and with the ‘A’ (aperture priority) mode set the aperture to its widest opening (f1.7), which allowed for a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second.

By panning (moving) with the tram, the relatively long shutter speed places the background in a sea of blur while keeping the tram car comparatively sharp.

Basel, Switzerland has a complicated narrow gauge tram system. Lumix LX7 photograph, April 2017.

Tracking the Light posts Daily.

 

Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel.

I was standing on the shore of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva near the historic Chillon Castle on an afternoon in late April 2017. Above me a clear blue dome provided wonderful polarized light, while SBB sent along a steady parade of scheduled trains, with something passing by every five to ten minutes.

Working with my FujiFilm X-T1, I’d expose a burst of images whenever a train reached near the optimum gap in the foliage, then pick out the best of the lot later.

It really was like, ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ to quote a cliché.

Working with my FujiFilm X-T1 with a 18-135mm lens, I made this view of an SBB locomotive hauled passenger train gliding along the shore of Lake Geneva.
This view was made with a my 12mm Zeiss Tuoit that provide a wide-angle view that encompassed more scenery.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

Montreux-Oberland-Bernois Railway near Gruben, Switzerland.

Sinuous single track winding through lush Alpine meadows with snow capped peaks in the distance under a blazing blue sky.

Hard to go wrong here photographically. Pity about the choice of visually challenging of colors on the trains, but nothing is ever completely perfect, is it?

Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.

Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 using the external adjustable rear display panel to compose the image while holding the camera close to the ground.

MOB station at Gruben.

This is but a small sample of the digital photos on a visit to Switzerland with Denis McCabe two weeks ago.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Photographing the MOB—Part 1.

I’m not talking about surreptitiously documenting nefarious underworld dealings of Sicilian criminals, but rather the trains and operations of Switzerland’s Montreux-Oberland-Bernois railway line.

This narrow gauge line famously operates via the Golden Pass route offering hourly long distance trains as well as local services to communities along its lines.

In April, it was among the routes that Denis McCabe and I explored.

We were fortunate to have clear blue skies, which when combined with stunning Alpine scenery makes for great photographic possibilities.

I’d researched a variety of potential locations, and opted to photograph around Gstaad and Gruben, where open Alpine meadows, tall bridges, and distant mountain peaks made for great settings.

Traveling to Gstaad, we hoped off a train that had 14-minute pause in its schedule, and on the recommendation of photographer Barry Carse, immediately set out to find the high viaduct beyond the station.

We found it easily enough, and went charging up a steep slope to position ourselves above the bridge, only to find there was a well-established trail already there! This made getting back to the station much easier.

Here’s a small sample of my digital efforts at Gstaad. My primary focus was exposing color slide film with my Nikon; and those images are en route to the lab now.

MOB’s Belle Époque eases across the multiple span bridge near Gstaad. (Ye Auld Tyme painted carriages at the back).
Working toward Gstaad and Montreux is MOB’s Golden Pass Panoramic. Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
MOB’s Golden Pass Panoramic carries glass lined observation cars to allow passengers better views of the Alps.
MOB’s Gstaad station offers only a prosaic view compared with those from the Alpine meadows a five minute walk away.

Tracking the Light aims to publishing new material each and every day.

Inside and Out: Photographing a Nice New Little Train.

Among the most attractive modern trains I experienced traveling in Switzerland at the end of April were Transports Publics du Chablais’s (TPC) modern narrow gauge trains on its AOMC route that connects Aigle and Champéry.

TPC’s new Stadler railcars were clean, comfortable and nicely styled. These compact articulated narrow gauge vehicles are designed to work both adhesion and rack sections of TPC’s line.

Inside they are spacious, bright, and offer magnificent views of the Alpine scenery through large windows.

The ability for passengers to look out forward and trailing windows is an excellent feature.

I especially liked the styling treatment, which embraces TPC’s bright green livery and works with the curves of Stadler’s standardized modern railcar pattern. This is a pleasant contrast to many modern Swiss trains that wear dull, garish, or otherwise visually challenged liveries.

A TPC new Stadler railcar pauses between runs at Champéry, Switzerland. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Tuoit.

Denis McCabe and I traveled the length of TPC’s AOMC route. The most impressive section is the climb from Monthey to Champéry, where long sections of the line climb sharply into the mountains.

I exposed these photos of TPC’s new trains using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Between Aigle and Monthey TPC’s AOMC route has an interurban railway quality with some roadside running. This view was made near Monthey at the junction with the line to Champéry.
A train from Aigle in the afternoon.
Detailed view exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Tuoit lens.
Detailed view exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Tuoit lens.
Interior view exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Tuoit lens.
Interior view exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Tuoit lens.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

Into the Sun at Lake Geneva—a nuts and bolts photographic exercise.

Here’s one solution to a difficult lighting problem: A few days ago when I was photographing along the shore of Lake Geneve at St. Saphorin, Switzerland I had a nice clean over-the-shoulder sun lit view for eastward trains, but was looking directly into the blazing morning sun for westward trains.

The scenery was too good to let the photographic opportunity pass.

So what did I do? I changed lenses. Specifically, I opted to use my Zeiss 12mm Touit on FujiFilm X-T1, and then stop all the way down.

What do I mean by ‘stop down’? This is a traditional photographic term that means to close the aperture by a full-stop increment. Say from f4 to f5.6. (Each one-stop change doubles or halves the amount of light reaching the film/sensor. Opening up a stop doubles the light, closing down halves it.) To ‘stop all the way down’ is to close the lens to its smallest aperture. In the case of my Zeiss lens, this is f22.

With the 12mm Tuoit, at f22 the tiny hole with the very wide-angle focal length combine to allow for a sun-burst effect. To take advantage of this sun-effect with a moving train, I had to increase the ISO to 1250, (because f22 lets in much less light to the sensor than I normally would during daylight.)

The secondary difficulty with this image is the narrow exposure latitude of the digital media. By exposing for the sun, I’ve had to seriously underexpose for the front of the locomotive.

This is the unaltered camera-produced JPG, which doesn’t make full advantage of the information captured in the RAW file. Under normal lighting conditions the camera JPG is usual adequate for presentation, but in this circumstance it results in a loss of detail in the shadow areas, specifically at the front of the locomotive.

To compensate for this, I manipulated the RAW camera file in post-processing (after exposure) using Lightroom, which allowed me to brighten the shadow areas and control the highlights.

Unaltered camera-RAW file except for scaling.
Here’s my interpretation of the RAW file, which has been scaled for internet. I’ve lightened shadow areas, removed a few spots caused by shadows of dirt on the front element, and controlled highlights. The flare is an effect of pointing directly at the sun. While the extreme wide-angle  using a flat-field lens design  results in some linear distortion at the edges, most noticeable on the locomotive.

I’ve included a screenshot of the Lightroom work panel that reveals how I’ve adjusted the slider controls on this specific file.

Lightroom work panel showing the positions of slider controls.

Significantly, Lightroom makes a working overlay file and DOES NOT alter the original RAW image. Working on the RAW directly would damage the original file. I advise against working directly with the original. Always make a copy.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Bright Green Narrow Gauge Trains of the Alps

Among the railways I photographed in Switzerland last month were the Transports Publics du Chablais narrow gauge lines radiating from Aigle.

These colourful lines twist their way high into the mountains which offer countless scenic backdrops.

Denis McCabe and I arrived at Les Planches by TPC train and scoped several promising photo angles.

This view shows a train from Le Sépey crossing the Les Planches bridge that is shared with the local road.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.

Tracking the Light posts everyday!

 

 

Interlude at the SBB Station in Lausanne.

The trains arrive and depart in waves.

Despite an aggressive schedule of passenger trains, SBB still has capacity to roll freights through.

I made these photos digitally using my FujiFilm X-T1.

The station consists of a classic stone faced building, arched through shed over the platforms, and all the expected amenities.

Look at this impressive list of departures! Not bad for 45 minutes. More trains than many American cities get all week.
SBB Stadler railcars are common on many local trains.
Under the train shed at Lausanne. RAW file adjusted for contrast and exposure.
Freights are largely electrically hauled.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

Rails along the Water—St. Saphorin, Switzerland.

There’s something inherently attractive about a railway along water, be it a river, pond, lake or the sea.

SBB’s line along Lake Geneva is a fine example of waterside running. Not only does the lake exhibit wonderful aqua hues, but is surrounded by vineyards, snow capped Alpine peaks and other beautiful scenery.

The trick is finding locations where you can place a train with the water in a pleasing composition.

Easier said than done.

I’d found this location at St. Saphorin by searching the internet and studying Google maps. Last week, Denis McCabe and I arrived by train and made the short walk from St. Saphorin station to a foot bridge designed to grant access to the lakefront for bathers.

Not only did SBB provide transport, but fielded a nice variety of trains. About every five to ten minutes something came rolling along. Below is a sample.

This view is from the road side. I’ve opted to cross-light the train in order to better feature Lake Geneva. If you look carefully, You’ll see the foot bridge in the distance that was the vantage of the other images in this sequence.
Looking east toward St. Saphorin Station, I made this view of an SBB tilting train coming from Milan via Brig.
Just because the water is there, doesn’t mean it has to appear in the all the photos. I like this trailing view of an SBB locomotive hauled passenger train. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
The classic view; an SBB freight rolls east along the lake. I’m looking toward the station at Rivaz, Switzerland.
For the passage of a local train, I opted for this wide-angle water-level view.
A westward freight made for some hard lighting, but the scenery compensates for the dark front on the locomotive.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Colour in the Streets; Geneva’s Trams.

Geneva, Switzerland has a remarkable tram network that has melded traditional routes with modern construction.

I made this selection of photographs on my recent visit using both my FujiFilm X-T1 and Panasonic Lumix LX-7 digital cameras.

When making tram photographs I often aim to place the cars in their urban environment.

Geneva’s trams feature a variety of special liveries making for a colourful fleet.

Telephoto view using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Blue and white is the standard livery on Geneva’s tram and bus fleet.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An odd colour for tram; hot pink. Works for Easter I suppose.  FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Tram, bus and trolley bus; FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Lumix LX-7 photo of tram taking a turning loop.
My Lumix LX7 is a great tool for photographing urban night scenes.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Geneva Station—one week ago.

Last week I visited Geneva, Switzerland where I made these photographs.

For the station building, I worked with my Lumix LX7. While the SNCF train was photographed using my FujiFilm X-T1.

Geneva, April 2017. Exposed on a cold morning using a Lumix LX7. Here I’ve tired to integrate the station with the street environment around it. Compare this view with the one below that focuses more on the building.
The great length of Geneva’s station makes it difficult to capture in one image. In this view I’ve cropped much of the building and my use of a wide angle lens has led to some dramatic distortion.
Here I’ve oriented my Lumix vertically to capture the interior of the concourse and ticket area. My purchase of Swiss passes at the offices at the right cost me more than my Lumix did three years ago. Yet the passes were well worth the cost, as the Swiss railway network is one of the finest in the world.
The tracks at Geneva are elevated. This platform view of an SNCF train was made using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. Although the locomotive is back lit, its silver and lavender paint photographed well.

Tracking the Light posts Daily.

 

 

Trams in Basel, Switzerland; 21 April 2016.

On the morning of 21 April 2016, I had a few minutes to make photos of Basel’s trams using my Lumix LX7.

Low clear morning sun helped make my brief efforts a photographic success.

Perhaps on future visit, it would be nice to re-explore the Basel network to a greater extent.

This side-lit view favors the tram's modern profile.
This side-lit view favors the tram’s modern profile.
Sun and shadows in Basel on 21 April 21, 2016.
Sun and shadows in Basel on 21 April 21, 2016.
A modern tram waits for passengers at Basel's SBB Bahnhof.
A modern tram waits for passengers at Basel’s SBB Bahnhof.
Basel_tram_P1440819
Here I was aiming to feature the Swiss flag.

Basel_tram_w_Bahnhof_P1440827

Shadowed view offers different contrast.
This shadowed view offers different contrast than images in direct sun.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Charter Section Glacier Express

The boards at Andermatt indicated that an unscheduled train was due to arrive.

Our curiosity was piqued.

This turned out to be a charter using a Glacier Express train set.

I’ve augmented the views of the train descending to Andermatt with a few images of another Glacier Express set parked in Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn’s sidings at Andermatt.

In mid-April, my friends and I visited Andermatt and were fortunate to catch this charter of Glacier Express equipment descending the rack railway grade toward Andermatt.
In mid-April, my friends and I visited Andermatt and were fortunate to catch this charter of Glacier Express equipment descending the rack railway grade toward Andermatt.
Express is a relative term. The train isn't very fast; but the views  available from its windows are stunning.
Express is a relative term. The train isn’t very fast; but the views available from its windows are stunning.
Looking toward Andermatt, Switzerland in April 2016.
Looking toward Andermatt, Switzerland in April 2016.
I made this view of Glacier Express equipment resting static on sidings in Andermatt. Can equipment stored out of service be called a 'train?'
I made this view of Glacier Express equipment resting static on sidings in Andermatt. Can equipment stored out of service be called a ‘train?’

Tracking the Light is Daily.

Narrow Gauge Rack; Contrast in the Alps.

 

Below are two versions of an image I made of a Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn narrow-gauge train engaging the Abt rack system on its steep ascent from Göschenen to Andermatt.

These were made with my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera on my visit to the Alps with Stephen Hirsch, Gerry Conmy and Denis McCabe in mid April 2016.

The first is the unadjusted (except for scaling) Jpg produced in camera. Notice that the sky is washed out and lacking in detail.

Camera produced Jpg exposed at Göschenen, Switzerland where the MGB meets the standard gauge line over the Gotthard Pass.
Camera produced Jpg exposed at Göschenen, Switzerland where the MGB meets the standard gauge line over the Gotthard Pass.

The second image is a Jpg that I produced from the camera RAW file by making nominal contrast and saturation adjustments in Lightroom.

Improved image; this was made from the RAW file by adjusting contrast and saturation .
Improved image; this was made from the RAW file by adjusting contrast and saturation .

The aim of the second image was to hold the sky and highlight detail that was lost by the camera Jpg. This demonstrates the ability of the RAW file to retain greater detail than the Jpg.

 

Instead of using an external graduated neutral density filter, as I had with some previous images displayed on Tracking the Light, I used the equivalent graduated neutral density filter in the Lightroom program.

 

Why not use the external filter in this situation? Two reasons:

  • The external filter is cumbersome and takes time to set up.
  • I wanted to improve the appearance of the sky without darkening the mountains. Using the electronic filter gives me the ability to selectively control highlights and shadows in the graduated area selected by the filter, while the external graduated filter would have covered the top of the image and darkened the mountains as well as the sky.

Both are valuable tools for improving a photograph.

Tracking the Light Posts everyday.

 

Car Train in the Alps; A flash from the past.

I remember seeing open auto racks on American railroads. One of my few pre-Conrail images is of a former Pennsylvania Railroad tri-level.

Open car trains are still common in Europe. I made this view last week of a train load of new cars climbing southward on the Gotthard route heading for Italy.

Its nice to see the cars out in the open instead of sequestered inside full-enclosed multi-levels.

Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. Notice the effect of backlighting which adds depth to the image and detail in the grass.
Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. Notice the effect of backlighting which adds depth to the image and detail in the grass.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

Springtime in Switzerland! SBB and Dandelions.

Using my FujiFilm X-T1, I exposed this image last week looking across a field of dandelions near Erstfeld, Switzerland.

By using the tilting live-view display screen, I was able to hold the camera very low to the ground which allows for this exaggerated perspective of the foreground greenery and flowers.

Compare this photo to the conceptually similar view of the Italian tilting train I posted a few days ago. See: Italian Tilting Train at Gurtnellen—15 April 2016

The technique for both photos  is essentially the same, however with the photo below of the Swiss ICN passenger train  I used a slight telephoto and opted to crop the sky, rather than use a graduated neutral density filter to balance the contrast/retain detail.

ICN_with_dandilions_near_Erstfeld_DSCF4585
An SBB ICN train glides along near Erstfeld in April 2016.

Below is another view from the same location near Erstfeld. Same camera, same lens, but I’ve set the zoom to a wide-angle view and I’m not as low to the ground.

The result is that the flowers remain in relative focus to the train and distant scenery. (Also I’m using the graduated neutral density filter to retain highlight detail at the top of the image).

A northward SBB freight approaches Erstfeld on the Gotthard route.
A northward SBB freight approaches Erstfeld on the Gotthard route.

The train is a bit small, but this photograph is more about the whole scene rather than being focused on the train.

Tracking the Light is Daily.

The Magnificent Double Helix at Biaschina, Switzerland; 16 April 2016

Does the mist and rain add a sense of mystique to one of the great railway wonders of the world?

At Biaschina, SBB’s route on the south slope of the Gottard Pass navigates a complete double spiral (or double helix).

The line passes through several tunnels and appears the viewer on three distinct levels, each hundreds of feet above each other.

I made these images from the Ticino riverbed using my Lumix LX7 on Saturday 16 April 2016.

Denis McCabe, Gerry Conmy, Stephen Hirsch and I were visiting the line to make photographs before the new base tunnel diverts traffic at the end of the year.

A southward passenger train on the top level of Biaschina loops.
A southward passenger train on the top level of Biaschina loops.
P1440473
A few minutes later the same train appears on the middle level. Lumix LX7 photo.
Finally, with little warning, the train emerges from the tunnel on the lowest level of the Double Helix. Lumix LX7 photo.
Finally, with little warning, the train emerges from the tunnel on the lowest level of the Double Helix. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Gotthard Pass; Snapshot at Wassen: 14 April 2016

In the last three days, I’ve exposed more than 1000 digital images of the railway over Switzerland’s Gotthard Pass.

Although, I haven’t had time to thoroughly examine all my files, this image struck me as capturing the sprit of Swiss mainline mountain railroading in Spring.

Iridescent green grass  and distant snow crested peaks, with modern electric locomotives humming upgrade with an intermodal train.

Railpool electrics lead an intermodal train upgrade at the middle-level of the Wassen Loops. In a few months time most freight will be diverted from the traditional Gotthard route to a new long tunnel beneath the Alps.
Railpool electrics lead an intermodal train upgrade at the middle-level of the Wassen Loops. In a few months time most freight will be diverted from the traditional Gotthard route to a new long tunnel beneath the Alps.

If you haven’t visited the Gotthard Pass, here’s my advice to you: don’t wait.

At the end of this year the Gotthard base tunnel opens and most of the traffic will be diverted away from this classic Alpine crossing.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

 

Negative and Positive; the Black & White Experience.

For many years, a crucial part of my photographic process was quite literally the chemical processing of my black & white negatives.

Having loaded film onto reels in darkness, and spent 25 minutes to an hour pouring fluids into and out of tanks, there would be a moment of truth . . .

Often the film will have held latent image from expeditions far and wide. Here were moments captured on silver halide, but until this second never before seen.

As I opened the tanks, I’d be wondering, ‘What was on the film?’

Did I capture what I was hoping too? Were my exposures correct?

I peel off the film from the reels dripping wet and hold them to the light.

The negatives would tell me in an instant what I wanted to know.

The image that I'd see dripping from wash water was something like this. Did I have it? Was this worth printing? Maybe . . .
The image that I’d see dripping from wash water was something like this. Did I have it? Was this worth printing? Maybe . . .

Then came the arduous, but necessary steps of drying, sleeving, and then, if I got to it, printing the negatives.

Sun streams through the clouds as an eastward SBB train glides through the station at Visp, Switzerland in June 2001. Exposed on 120 size black & white film using a Rolleiflex Model T.
Sun streams through the clouds as an eastward SBB train glides through the station at Visp, Switzerland in June 2001. Exposed on 120 size black & white film using a Rolleiflex Model T.

Learn more about how I processed film: Black & White revisited; Old Tech for a New Era part 2—Secrets Revealed! 

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Swiss Expresses at Gottmadingen.

May 14, 2011—on this day Three Years Ago.

SBB express trains to and from Basel approach the station in Gottmadingen, Germany (west of Singen) near the Swiss frontier.

Later in the day, I visited the Zeppelin museum at Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance.

Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 200mm lens. I’ve included a bit of out of focus foliage at the right to add visual balance with the front of the locomotive and depth to the image.
Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 200mm lens. I’ve included a bit of out of focus foliage at the right to add visual balance with the front of the locomotive and depth to the image.
 Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 200mm lens. Telephoto compression visually simplifies the scene while emphasizing the soft morning light on the front of the electric.

Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 200mm lens. Telephoto compression visually simplifies the scene while emphasizing the soft morning light on the front of the electric.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light with everyone who may enjoy it!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Enhanced by Zemanta