Tag Archives: Trolley

Night Photos of a New Orleans Trolley Car—Wide and panned.


The other evening, I made these panned views of a streetcar in New Orleans at night.

I set my FujiFilm XT1 at ISO 3200, the shutter speed dial to ‘A’ and the exposure compensation dial to +1/3 (to compensate for the dark sky). The camera auto-selected my shutter speed based on available light, which was about 1/12thof a second.

To keep the trolley sharp, I panned car as it passed me. I was careful to maintain my pan for the full duration of each exposure and avoid speeding up or stopping as I released the shutter.

I had the shutter release set for ‘CH’ (Continuous High) so the camera continued to expose images as I panned.

I’ve selected the most effective of my burst of images.

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Connecticut Trolley Museum at Warehouse Point.

For more than forty years my family has been visiting the Connecticut Trolley Museum at Warehouse Point in East Windsor.

I made these views last weekend.

I’ve always enjoyed the nostalgia of the trolleys and the leisurely ride through the forest. What’s interesting is that the trolleys I knew as a kid are largely inside and pending restoration, while today’s operable cars were largely out of service when I was younger.

These views were exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1.

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Connecticut Trolley Museum Winterfest—2017.

Snow, crisp cold air, and lots of decorative holiday lights: that’s the attraction of Connecticut Trolley Museum’s Winterfest.

Here’s a tip (two really): When making photos in this environment it helps to have a good solid tripod. And, if you going to bring a tripod that uses a clip-on system to attach the camera to the tripod head, IT REALLY HELPS to make sure you have your clip!

Last night, I exposed these photos using my FujiFilm X-T1 firmly mounted on a Gitzo Trip. I planned my visit to the Connecticut Trolley Museum to coincide with sunset, so that I could make use of the last of daylight before the inky black of night set in.

Connecticut Company car 1326 in the Tunnel of Lights. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Connecticut Company car 1326 in the Tunnel of Lights. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Connecticut Company car 1326 in the Tunnel of Lights. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Boston Elevated Railway car. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens. RAW File with Tungsten light balance, shadows boosted in post processing.

Boston Elevated Railway car. FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Boston Elevated Railway car. FujiFilm X-T1 with 27mm pancake lens.

Boston Elevated Railway car. FujiFilm X-T1 with 27mm pancake lens.

Connecticut Company 1326 with FujiFilm X-T1 and 27mm pancake lens.

I experimented with my camera’s pre-programmed color temperature settings while also trying various Fuji film color profiles. With one or two images, I adjusted the RAW files to make the most of the scene.

By the time I was done with my first round of photography my fingers were pretty numb.

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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!

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Another SEPTA PCC Pan.

It’s dusk and too dark for a conventional photograph without boosting the ISO to high levels.

So, I opt for a panned image, where I use a comparatively slow shutter speed and move the camera to follow the motion of the subject.

I’ve found that it helps to pick a point on the vehicle and stay with it.

It also helps to begin panning well before the shutter is released and continue to pan without changing your overall motion after the picture has been made.

This last part is crucial. Many pans are ruined when the photographer stops panning (or slows) at the very moment the shutter is released, which unfortunately can be a natural inclination that must be overcome with practice.

I exposed this pan-image of a SEPTA Route 15 PCC car on Girard Avenue on November 5, 2017.

Screen shot showing Lumix LX7 EXIF data including shutter speed, ISO and f-stop.

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SEPTA No.10 Trolley Emerges from the Subway.

Working with my Panasonic Lumix LX-7, the other night I made these handheld views of SEPTA’s number 10 Trolley at the subway entrance off 36th Street in West Philadelphia.

To keep the trolley sharp, I panned the final image is this sequence. Thus, I moved the camera to keep pace with the streetcar.

Exposed with the Lumix LX7 in ‘A’ mode; f1.9 at 1/13th of a second. ISO 200.

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Lumix Sunset; SEPTA on Girard Avenue—December 28, 2016.

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.

Digital RAW file adjusted using Lightroom to improve exposure, contrast and color.

Digital RAW file adjusted using Lightroom to improve exposure, contrast and color.

Digital RAW file adjusted using Lightroom to improve exposure, contrast and color.

Digital RAW file adjusted using Lightroom to improve exposure, contrast and color.

Film versus digital? How about having your cake and eating it too?

 

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SEPTA Update: Route 15 Trolley Service to be Bustituted!

Twelve New Color Photos!

On Wednesday June 10, 2015, my brother Sean and I took a spin on SEPTA’s PCCs that work Route 15 along Girard Avenue in Philadelphia.

SEPTA PCC passes the Philadelphia Zoo. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
SEPTA PCC passes the Philadelphia Zoo. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Amtrak ACS-64 619 rolls across Girard Avenue on its way toward Philadelphia 30th Street Station. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
Amtrak ACS-64 619 rolls across Girard Avenue on its way toward Philadelphia 30th Street Station. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

SEPTA 15 Trolley near the Philadelphia Zoo. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
SEPTA 15 Trolley near the Philadelphia Zoo. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Service notice on-board a SEPTA PCC. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
Service notice on-board a SEPTA PCC. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

The cars and stops featured service-notices advising passenger of a scheduled bus replacement due to begin on Sunday June 14 to September 5th.

The reason for this service alteration is necessary track work on approximately two miles of line.

While the cars were running, we made a variety of photographs.

PCC from the PCC. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
PCC from the PCC. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Looking west on Girard Avenue in the smoky afternoon light. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
Looking west on Girard Avenue in the smoky afternoon light. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Photo of an eastbound 15 Trolley exposed with Sean's  Canon SX120.
Photo of an eastbound 15 Trolley exposed with Sean’s Canon SX120.

I noticed a gauzy rosy quality to the afternoon light, which I assumed was typical urban pollution. As it turns out there were wildfires burning in Canada and the smoke had spread across the eastern United States. This was especially noticeably in the late afternoon.

View of a PCC from the standee window on a eastbound car.  Lumix LX7 Photo.
View of a PCC from the standee window on a eastbound car. Lumix LX7 Photo.

Sean watching the trolleys as we take a corner. Lumix LX7 Photo.
Sean watching the trolleys as we take a corner. Lumix LX7 Photo.

Lumix LX7 Photo.
Lumix LX7 Photo.

At the turning loop near the casino. Lumix LX7 Photo.
At the turning loop near the casino. Lumix LX7 Photo.

An outbound PCC catches the smoke-tinted glint. Lumix LX7 Photo.
An outbound PCC catches the smoke-tinted glint. Lumix LX7 Photo.

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

In recent years I’ve been making annual visits to MBTA’s Mattapan-Ashmont Red Line extension. This quaint relic of urban transit is a throw-back to another time.

Thanks to the wisdom and historically minded MBTA, this continues to host restored PCC cars wearing classic period paint. (today, we might call it ‘heritage paint’ but I don’t know that I approve of that term).

Back in June 1978, I visited this line with my father and exposed my first roll of Kodachrome 25 (prior to that I usually used K64 or Ektachrome).

Twenty years earlier, my father had made his first visit to the line. The cars then were double-end former Dallas PCCs, but painted nearly the same as those featured here.

Capen Street in May 2015. Streetcars like this one have been prowling Boston's streets for more than 70 years. Lumix LX7 photo.
Capen Street in May 2015. Streetcars like this one have been prowling Boston’s streets for more than 70 years. Lumix LX7 photo.

Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.
Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

The other day, Pat Yough and I spent an overcast afternoon photographing the antique PCCs. These are great vehicles to travel in and make for intriguing subjects. For me it brought back memories of living near MBTA’s Riverside Line in the early 1970s when PCCs were still the rule on that route.

PCC seen from a PCC. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with Carl Zeiss f1.8 32mm lens.
PCC seen from a PCC. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with Carl Zeiss f1.8 32mm lens.

If you haven’t seen it, John Gruber and I authored a compact book titled Streetcars of America published by Shire that features on the cover a freshly painted former Dallas PCC near Cleveland Circle.

This is also available through Amazon.

Lumix LX7 Photo of MBTA map.
Lumix LX7 Photo of MBTA map.

Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens at Capen Street near Mattapan.
Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens at Capen Street near Mattapan.

PCCs pass at Central Avenue, Milton. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.
PCCs pass at Central Avenue, Milton. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Cedar Grove. Lumix LX7 photo.
Cedar Grove. Lumix LX7 photo.

Mattapan loop. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.
Mattapan loop. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-135mm lens.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

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MBTA-Boston: Traction Orange PCCs.

Mattapan-Ashmont Line, October 25, 2014.

It was a clear bright morning and Tim Doherty and I made our annual visit to the Mattapan-Ashmont Red Line extension to photograph the PCC cars. See: MBTA Sunday October 27, 2013—Part 1.

A vintage Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority PCC crosses Central Avenue on October 25, 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
A vintage Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority PCC crosses Central Avenue on October 25, 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Some of my earliest photographic efforts focused on MBTA PCCs, albeit on the Riverside Line.

These photographs were exposed digitally. Tim was working with film using a Pentax 6×7 120 roll film camera.

Approaching Cedar Grove inbound. I tried this angle last year but I wasn't 100 percent satisfied with my result, so I tried it again. Exposed using a Canon 7D with 100mm lens.
Approaching Cedar Grove inbound. I tried this angle last year but I wasn’t 100 percent satisfied with my result, so I tried it again. Exposed using a Canon 7D with 100mm lens. I shaded the front lens element using my note book to minimize flare.

Near Cedar Grove, the first stop from the Ashmont terminal. Canon 7D with 200mm lens.
Near Cedar Grove, the first stop from the Ashmont terminal. A Red Line rapid transit car can be seen in the distance. Canon 7D with 200mm lens.

Pausing for a station stop at Cedar Grove. Lumix LX7 photo.
Pausing for a station stop at Cedar Grove. Lumix LX7 photo.

PCC cars benefit from rapid acceleration.
PCC cars benefit from rapid acceleration.

MBTA displays its heritage at Cedar Grove. October 25, 2014. Lumix LX7 photo.
MBTA displays its heritage at Cedar Grove. October 25, 2014. Lumix LX7 photo.

The Matapan-Ashmont line was one of the earliest examples of a heavy rail to trolley conversion. This had been a New Haven Railroad line and for several years heavy rail freight service lines ran parallel to the trolley line. Today the railroad right of way is a rail trail. The trolley line fly-over crosses the old railroad in the distance. Exposed from the platforms at Butler.
The Matapan-Ashmont line was one of the earliest examples of a heavy rail to trolley conversion. This had been a New Haven Railroad line and for several years heavy rail freight service lines ran parallel to the trolley line. Today the railroad right of way is a rail trail. The trolley line fly-over crosses the old railroad in the distance. Exposed from the platforms at Butler.

Trolley_Map_P1090909

 

Clear blue skies south of Boston. Lumix LX7 photo.
Clear blue skies south of Boston. Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo. Contrast adjusted in post processing.
Lumix LX7 photo. Contrast adjusted in post processing.

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