Tag Archives: Westport

Brian’s Limited Edition Prints, Signed & Numbered.

Just three prints remain for sale! Order one today!

I’ve made five traditional 11×14 black & white prints of my recent photograph of the former New Haven Railroad electrification and drawbridge at Westport, Connecticut.

This represents the first time I’ve printed one of my ‘stand processed’ black & white negatives. The prints are signed in pencil and numbered 1/5 to 5/5.

I’m selling the remaining three prints for $100 each plus shipping.  First come first serve. If you are interested please contact me via email at: briansolomon.author@gmail.com

I exposed the photograph using a vintage Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss 75mm lens on 120 black & white film. I processed using the ‘stand processing’ technique to obtain maximum tonal range with deep shadows and delicate highlights.

I made these silver prints in the traditional way on Ilford double weight 11×14 photographic paper, fixed and washed to archival standards. These have been pressed and are suitable for matting and framing.

I chose the Westport drawbridge because it is graphically engaging and historically significant. This bridge and electrification are examples of early 20thcentury infrastructure in daily use on one of America’s busiest passenger lines.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

 

 

Brian’s Limited Edition Prints For Sale, Signed & Numbered.

 

I’ve hand printed  five 11×14 black & white  prints. If you wish to buy one contact me via email: briansolomon.author@gmail.com

I’ve made five traditional 11×14 black & white prints of my recent photograph of the former New Haven Railroad electrification and drawbridge at Westport, Connecticut.

This represents the first time I’ve printed one of my ‘stand processed’ black & white negatives. The prints are signed in pencil and numbered 1/5 to 5/5. One print has already been sold.

I’m selling the remaining four prints for $100 each plus shipping.  First come first serve. If you are interested contact please me via email at: briansolomon.author@gmail.com

I exposed the photograph using a vintage Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss 75mm lens on 120 black & white film. I processed using the ‘stand processing’ technique to obtain maximum tonal range with deep shadows and delicate highlights.

I made these silver prints in the traditional way on Ilford double weight 11×14 photographic paper, fixed and washed to archival standards. These have been pressed and are suitable for matting and framing.

See my post called: Stand Process for more detail on how I processed the negatives.

I chose the Westport drawbridge because it is graphically engaging and historically significant. This bridge and electrification are examples of early 20thcentury infrastructure in daily use on one of America’s busiest passenger lines.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

 

 

Acela Express Cross-Lit on the Draw.

Yes, I’m trying to pick a title that will get you to read this post.

I could call it ‘Fast Train on the Bridge’ or ‘Amtrak on the New Haven’, or ‘What? NO! Not Westport, Again!’ Or perhaps the accurate, if opaque, ‘Trailing View over the Saugatuck.’

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens. To make this photo work, I had to carefully mind the shadows from catenary poles so they didn’t appear to intersect the sloping face of the Acela Express train set.

In late April, I made this trailing view of a Boston-bound Acela Expresstilting train crossing the former New Haven Railroad draw bridge at Westport, Connecticut.

By working from the outbound Metro-North platform in the evening, I cross lit the train for dramatic effect and to better show the infrastructure.

Cross-lighting, is when the main light source (the sun in this case) primarily illuminates only the facing surface of the subject, while the  surfaces are bathed in shadow. This presents a more dramatic contrast than three-quarter lighting, which offered relative even illumination across the subject.

Cross-lighting is often most effective for railroad photography when the sun is relatively low in the sky. In this instance the compression effect that results from the long telephoto lens works well with the cross lit train.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens. To make this photo work, I had to carefully mind the shadows from catenary polls so they didn’t appear to interect the sloping face of the Acela Expresstrain set.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

 

Black & White, Stand Development.

Years ago, when I was a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I recall whispers of a non-conventional approach to processing black & white film.

Key to conventional black & white processing is regular agitation of the tank. This keeps the developer from stagnating, minimizes streaking and mottling of the image area, while greatly speeding the development of the film.

Until recently, I’ve always agitated my film, but made a point to minimize this activity, since excessive agitation results in a host of other defects and undesirable characteristics.

Stand processing, as it’s now known, was what I heard in whispers during college.

Basically, you mix a very weak developer solution (approximately one third the concentration of ‘normal’ developer), agitate for about 15 seconds when introducing the solution to the tanks, then leave it to stand for about an hour with NO AGITATION. Then agitate briefly before draining the tanks and continuing process as normal: stop, fix, rinse, etc.

Kodak 120 Tri-X with Stand Processing in a mix of HC110 1 to 100 with water.
Kodak Tri-X stand processed in HC110.

By doing this, you use the developer to exhaustion, which is more economical and yields a different result than by working with short times and more concentrated solutions.

This doesn’t work well with 35mm film because bromide salt deposits tend to cluster around the sprockets resulting in streaking.

I made a series of tests using 120-size film, which has no sprockets.

An advantage of stand processing is a very different tonal curve that features extremely rich blacks with great detail in shadows, and broad tonality in the mid-tones. When the mix is just right, the highlight regions should reach an optimal density that allows for excellent detail without loss of data.

Holga 400 120-size film exposed with a Rollei model T. Stand processed.
Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Holga 400 120-size film exposed with a Rollei model T. Stand processed.
Metro-North. Holga 400 120-size film exposed with a Rollei model T. Stand processed.
Westport, Connecticut. Holga 400 120-size film exposed with a Rollei model T. Stand processed.
Westport, Connecticut. Holga 400 120-size film exposed with a Rollei model T. Stand processed.

Key to making the stand process work is controlling chemical fog. Without controlling chemical fog, the shadow areas will gain too much density and there will be an undesirable loss of image data leading to a poor quality negative.

There are other elements of the process that aid in making for more effective negatives, and like any black & white process, these require trial and error refinement to yield the best results.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

 

 

 

Westport Sunset.

Five images of Metro-North on January 10, 2015.

Long ago I noticed that the curve of the line and angle of the winter setting sun at Westport, Connecticut can make for some nice glint light.

It helps to have a very cold day with a clear sky above. New York City produces ample pollution to give the evening light a rosy tint.

Although I’ve found that glint photos tend to look more effective on slide film, I made these digitally. I also exposed a few slides, but we’ll need to wait to see the results.

Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 200, f4.5 at 1/640th of a second. White balance set at daylight.
Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 200, f4.5 at 1/640th of a second. White balance set at daylight. This front lit exposure made for my gauging point for the back lit ‘glint’ photo of the train departing the station. (Below).
Here I need to stop down about a full stop from the head on view. The metallic sides of the Metro-North multiple unit reflected more light than initially anticipated and I needed to compensate on the spot by using my in camera meter to gauge the lighting. The trick is not to over do it. If I stopped down too much, I'll lose shadow detail and the image will appear too dark. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 200, f5.6 at 1//1000th of a second. White balance set at daylight.
Here I need to stop down about a full stop from the head on view (above). The metallic sides of the Metro-North multiple unit reflected more light than I initially anticipated and I needed to compensate on the spot by using my in camera meter to gauge the lighting. The trick is not to over do it. If I stopped down too much, I’ll lose shadow detail and the image will appear too dark. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 200, f5.6 at 1//1000th of a second. White balance set at daylight.
The front lit sign at Westport made for a good place to make a test exposure. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 200, f4.0 at 1/640th of a second. White balance set at daylight.
The front lit sign at Westport made for a good place to make a test exposure. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 200, f4.0 at 1/640th of a second. White balance set at daylight.
Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 200, f3.5 at 1/640th of a second. White balance set at daylight.
Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 200, f3.5 at 1/640th of a second. White balance set at daylight. Here I’ve opened up about a third of a stop compared with the original test photo (Westport sign). I changed the aperture setting manually from f4.0 to f3.5 let more light reach the sensor; I was using the camera in ‘M’ mode, which allowed me to set both aperture and shutter speed manually, without the camera making any adjustments. This is important for getting well exposed glint photos.
The glinting sides of the old grime coated multiple unit are slightly less reflective than the newer cleaner train. Also the angle of the sun is lower. By fixing the white balance at the daylight setting, I can retain the rosy sunset coloration. If I'd used the auto setting, this would have canceled some of the effect of sunset, and I don't really want to do that.
The glinting sides of the old grime coated multiple unit are slightly less reflective than the newer cleaner train. Also the angle of the sun is lower. By fixing the white balance at the daylight setting, I can retain the rosy sunset coloration. If I’d used the auto setting, this would have canceled some of the effect of sunset, and I don’t really want to do that. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 200, f4.0 at 1/640th of a second. White balance set at daylight.

Exposing for glint takes a bit of practice. My general rule of thumb is that the exposure for a front lit photo is approximately the same as glint at the same location. However, if a a reflective surface kicks back the sun, it will be necessary to stop down a little (probably a half to a full stop).

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DAILY POST: Timber and General Motors, June 10, 2006

Westport, County Mayo, Ireland.

This pair of images will never be repeated. Here we have Irish Rail’s afternoon passenger to Dublin consisting of  Mark 3 set led class 201 number 222 (known colloquially as the ‘Bishop Tutu’).  That same afternoon, at about 3:40pm an empty timber with a mixed pair of 121/141s arrived from Waterford.

Irish Rail at Westport

The afternoon Westport-Dublin passenger is ready to depart Westport on June 10, 2006. Nikon F3 with Nikkor f2.8 24mm lens.
Irish Rail empty timber train.
Irish Rail 146 and 134 arrive at Westport with an Empty Timber from Waterford on June 10, 2006. Nikon F3 with Nikkor f2.8 24mm lens.

What was unusual that day was an electrical power cut had required the use of portable generators at the station, making for an unusual discordant cacophony at the normally peaceful location.

Despite the racket, I went about making photographs. Here, I carefully composed both views from the footbridge by the signal cabin using the same angle to show the contrasting trains in the classic scene. It was the end of an era. Soon all would change.

Since that time, Irish Rail has retired the small General Motors diesels. The 121s made their final runs in 2008, the 141s finished a couple of years later. The Mark III passenger carriages were withdrawn from traffic; today passenger trains to Westport run with Irish Rail’s Rotem-built 22000-series railcars.

I exposed both photos on Fujichrome with my Nikon F3 fitted with a 1960s vintage Nikkor f2.8 24mm lens.

I returned to Dublin on the evening passenger train, also with Mark 3s and a 201 class General Motors diesel.

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Metro-North’s Westport Connecticut Drawbridge, November 2002.

 

 

Metro-North Bridge 44.32.

Officially this known as Metro-North Bridge 44.32, this spans Saugatuck River an includes consists of a pair of parallel Scherzer rolling bascule lifts that date to about 1904–1905. I featured this bridge with a photo by Patrick Yough in my 2007 book Railroad Bridges published by Voyageur Press.
Officially known as Metro-North Bridge 44.32, this spans Saugatuck River and includes a pair of parallel Scherzer rolling bascule lifts built circa 1904–1905. I featured this bridge with a photo by Patrick Yough in my 2007 book Railroad Bridges published by Voyageur Press.

I made this unusual view of Metro-North’s former New Haven Railroad Westport Drawbridge using my Contax G2 rangefinder with a 16mm Hologon lens. When kept perfectly level this lens allows for non-converging perspective of vertical lines, however off-level it produces extreme vertical convergence.

The antique electrification on this movable span was an ideal subject to explore this lens’s peculiar perspective. My vantage point was from a public walkway easily accessed from the westbound platform MN’s Westport Station. I’d first photographed this drawbridge in November 1985 using my dad’s old Rollei Model T with black & white film. Bright sunlight and low fair-weather clouds add depth and contrast.

Working with Westinghouse, New Haven Railroad had pioneered high-voltage alternating current overhead electrification for mainline use in the early years of the 20th century.

 

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