Irish Rail moves zinc ore from Tara Mines in Navan to the port of Dublin on weekdays. The trains are short and relatively heavy. Owing to restrictions on trackage serving the mine Irish Rail always assigns the General Motors 071 diesels to this run.
Last week, 27 March 2019, Jay Monaghan and I met on the station platforms at Clontarf Road on Dublin’s north side specifically to catch the laden Tara mines passing in the gloom.
A thick wintery fog made for a dose of extra gloom just for good meaure.
I made a variety of test exposures of passing DART trains (Dublin Area Rapid Transit electric suburban service) and got into position for the Main Event.
The drumming of an EMD 12-645 diesel announced the arrival of the evening’s freight.
I made a series of photos Working with my Lumix LX7 digital camera (with ISO racked up to 800), and a Nikon F3 fitted with f1.8 105mm lens and Ilford HP5 film.
In that photo the train is relatively small in a big scene.
Three days later, David Hegarty and I were again out along the old Great Northern line, this time at Drogheda, to photograph the Tara Mines on the move.
In contrast to the distant view in the earlier posting, the photographs displayed here focus tightly on the locomotive and train using more classic three-quarter angle.
In the top photograph, I used my FujiFilm XT1 with a 90mm fixed telephoto for a tight compressed view (what some photographers might term a ‘telewedgie’).
While in bottom photograph I used my Lumix LX7 with zoom lens set with a wide-angle perspective that approximates the angle of view offered by a 35mm focal length lens on a traditional 35mm film camera.
I prefer the telephoto view for overall appeal; this handles the soft lighting conditions more satisfactorily, focuses more closely on the locomotive and train, minimizes bland elements of the scene such as the ballast and white sky, and offers a high impact image of the train in motion. Also it helps emphasize the trackage arrangement with crossovers between the up and down lines.
Tracking the Light Discusses Railway Photography Daily.
On the morning of 25 August 2017, David Hegarty and I were in position at Malahide looking toward the old Great Northern Railway causeway to photograph a laden Tara Mines Zinc Ore Train led by Irish Rail class 071 locomotive number 077.
I liked this location because it allowed me to picture the whole train in a scenic setting. As you can see the Tara Mines train is very short as demonstrated in this broad-side view (if you are viewing on FB you may need to click on Tracking the Light for the full photo).
To make this work I used a medium telephoto and then in post processing cropped the extraneous portions of the sky and water at top and bottom of the image.
I also altered contrast, colour balance and colour saturation.
I’m not fully satisfied though, because the dark locomotive and dull wagons with relatively flat lighting tend to get lost in the overall scene.
Tracking the Light Explores Photographic Technique Daily.
A rare sunny day in Dublin. So much for ‘April Showers’ and whatnot.
The telegraph comes to life: ‘The LWR appears ready to depart North Wall.’ Tea cup abandoned mid brew. A sprint to the usual spot.
Finally Irish Rail 072 appears with the empty long welded rail train and is blocked at Islandbridge Junction.
Photos made, and I march down to Heuston Station, board a LUAS tram for Spencer Dock, and walk toward the road bridge at the North Wall. A 201 sounds its horn. I pick up my pace and arrive in time to catch Irish 218 pulling forward with the day’s IWT Liner (for Ballina).
In the interval, the telegraph relays to me that the freshly painted Irish Rail 087 is reported on the Tara Mines-Dublin zinc train. On the previous day, the Tara Mines arrived at the North Wall at 11:40 am.
I keep a sharp eye on the old Great Northern line in the distance. A procession of passenger trains roll up and down the line. Finally, the glimmer of a gray 071. It’s the Tara Mines.
All photos exposed with a Fuji Film X-T1 digital camera and scaled for internet presentation.
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