Images & Observations

Railroad

2:42 P.M. At Claremont Station

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 29mm ISO 200 1/160 f/13 Lr4, TpzSim; PsCS6

Eastbound  Metrolink train 859 rolls up to the platform.

To view in high resolution or to purchase prints please click here: http://goo.gl/yN321 .


2:40 P.M. At Claremont Station

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 32mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/13 Lr4,HEP1,TpzSim; PsCS6

All is quiet at the station on a spring afternoon until…

To view in high resolution or to purchase prints please click here: http://goo.gl/yN321 .


2:38 P.M. At Claremont Station

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 18mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/14 Lr4, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS6

Originally constructed in 1927 by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in the Mission Colonial/Spanish Colonial Revival style, Claremont Station is now a embarcation point for the Metrolink San Bernardino commuter rail line.  The station, on First Street at the base of Harvard Avenue in Claremont Village is staffed by Foothill Transit (the local public transportation compan) and serves as a transfer point for bus riders.

To view in high resolution or to purchase prints please click here: http://goo.gl/yN321 .


Palms Depot

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 11mm ISO 400 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, ASSnapArt3; PsCS5

The Palms Depot was built in 1887 when it overlooked a grid of new streets in the subdivision of Palms, which was the only urbanized area between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica.  A few years later the Palms Depot became a part of the Southern Pacific Railroad, it was electrified in 1908 and served passenger and freight traffic until 1933 when the railroad transferred its functions to Culver Junction.  The Palms Depot continued to serve the Pacific Electric Railway’s trolly service for 20 more years, until terminated in 1953.  The architectural style of the Palms Depot is Eastlake, and it served as a motion picture backdrop for Laurel & Hardy and Little Rascal films.  The depot was moved to Heritage Square, Los Angeles in 1975, where it was restored and is used as the Visitor Center.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.  Click here to view the depot “back in the day”.


Proud But Forlorn

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Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 26mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/11 Lr3, HEP!, TpzSim; PsCS5

The Amtrak station in Pomona, California, quietly standing as a monument to the heyday of long transcontinental rail travel.   This station services the Sunset Limited (running between Los Angeles and New Orleans) which passes through three times a week in each direction.  This was the most under utilized station in the Amtrak system in 2010, with an average of 4 passengers leaving or arriving per day.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


No Fear

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 44mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/18 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

The view towards the west from the Metrolink commuter rail platform at the downtown, Pomona, California station at 3:33:44 P.M., December 6, 2011, as reconstructed in my mind.  As I think about man’s capacity to achieve great and significant works through his intellect and industry, and  his capacity to still manage to reek destruction upon himself and the Earth.  And as I think about the fearlessness of the ignorant and innocent.

Please click on the image to view in full resolution.


Afternoon Freight #109

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 44mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/18 Lr3, HEP1, ASSA3; PsCS5

A late afternoon freight train passing through Pomona, California, rendered as an oil painting.  This is actually the tail-end of the train, these locomotives are pushing, assisting the  front-end locomotives which are pulling the train.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


Transit Walkway

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 32mm ISOm200 3-bkts f/11 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

The structure is the pedestrian over crossing at the downtown Pomona, California rail station.  The two towers, in adaddition to serving as structural supports for the bridge also house elevators; the two structures jutting out from the towers are stair wells.  The dark objects discernable passing below the bridge on the tracks are black tank cars which made up a large part of a freight consist passing through.

In addition to my usual work with Lightroom, HDR Efex Pro and Topaz Simpify stylizing this image, I also used Photoshop to remove an automobile that was in the left foreground.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


The Departure

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 1/800 f/22 +2EV -2EV Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5 (background image)

A tableau that might have been real in the last century, or alive just in  my mind.    This is a composite of three images; the Buick is pink and white in real life.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


Roaring 20’s Excursion

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 3-bkts f/8 Lr3; HEP1

A typical baggage cart loaded with hand luggage and mail bags is on display at the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum.  The era represented could be the Roaring 20’s, the advertising card is for a rail excursion in 1923 from Venice, California to the 13th National Orange show in San Bernardino.  The excursion was operated by the Pacific Electric Railway Company, which during its heyday had electric trolleys, popularly termed “red cars” criss crossing the greater Los Angeles area.  The excursion from the beach at Venice inland to San Bernardino would have been roughly 100 miles if travelling by automobile, Pacific Electric offered a special excursion fare on Washington’s Birthday, February 18, 1928 for $3.25, round trip, via their electric trolleys

Pacific Electric’s operations began declining after the second world war, and most of the rail lines were eliminated throughout the 1950’s.  The scandale that arose in the 1960’s was that it was widely thought that oil company and automotive manufacturing interests were responsible for the decision to replace the interurban rail transit system with freeways, cars and buses.

Ironically, local government and transportation authorities began championing interurban rail transit again in the 1980’s and the first Metro Blue Line rail transit (subway) line began operations in 1990 and later the Red, Green and Gold Lines were added, as was the Metrolink heavy rail system linking more distant exurbs.  All of this work completed or still under construction in 2012, at considerable more cost to the taxpayers and environmental impact than would have accrued if the Pacific Electric Railway would never have been abandoned.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


Telegrapher’s Perch

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 1/10 f/8 =2EV -2EV Lr3, HEP1

This is a period reproduction of a railroad station from 1910 in the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum.  In so far as it being a historically accurate representation the museum might want to consider re-designating it as a railroad station circa 1920, as the rotary telephone was not invented until 1919.  I do appreciate some of the details, such as the spittoon, the telegraph key (visible in a high resolution view) to the left of the typewriter, and the telegraph receiver above and to the left of the telegraph key.

Please click on the image to view it in high resolution.


Ready To Peal Again

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 3-bkts f/8 Lr3, HEP1; PsCS5

Among the artifacts on display at the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum is this old locomotive bell.  A nice jog of the memory of times past actually lived (by some of us) or as reproduced on the motion picture or television screen.  I can hear that distinct sound of a locomotive bell  pealing as it is rocked back and forth on its cradle in my mind.


Ultra Economy Class

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 18mm ISO 1600 1/15 -2EV +2EV f/13 Lr3, HEP1, CEP3; PsCS5

While those One Percenter’s are getting their shoes shined on the tarmac in front of their private jet they never forget the rest of us, and kindly arrange for alternative transportation for the wage earners.

This is a Hudson Bay Railroad hand car on display at the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum.


Monument To A Bygone Era

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 4-sets/3-bkts f/22 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

The first Santa Fe depot in San Bernardino was a wood structure, built in 1886.  A fire leveled the depot on the night of November 1, 1916.  The depot was rebuilt of wood and masonry in the Mission Revival style and opened on July 15, 1918.  The heyday of the depot was from the 1920’s to the 1950’s; a Santa Fe timetable published in June of 1938 listed 13 eastbound and 13 westbound passenger trains departing from the terminal every day.  In 1972 Santa Fe’s passenger service was turned over to Amtrak, and in 1992 the Santa Fe Railroad moved almost their entire freight operations to Barstow, California and Topeka, Kansas.

In 1992 the San Bernardino Association of Governments acquired title to the depot and began a restoration.  That same year Metrolink commuter rail operations began arriving and departing from the tracks adjacent to the depot.  Today Metrolink continues to operate at the depot and one Amtrak train departs eastbound and one Amtrak train departs westbound per day, this is the Southwest Chief that operates between Chicago and Los Angeles.

The San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum occupies most of the center section in the image above on the first floor.  There is no rolling stock in the museum’s collection except for some small maintenance apparatus, but there are quite a few railroad artifacts on display, and some early fire apparatus.


Ready To Roll

Interpretive Digital Imaging

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 13mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

A final image from the Riverside, California Metrolink station, trackside looking north at two EMD F59PHI engines and the pedestrian bridge linking the west and east platforms.  (There are actually three platforms at this station, the west in the left foreground, the middle, between the two trains, and the east, which is behind the train on the right.  Passengers cross from the west to the middle platform at ground level, the crossing is in the right foreground of this image, and at the time the image was captured the ground level crossing was “roped” closed.)

This is my favorite image from the series this week


Running Gear

Interpretive Digital Imaging

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, CEP3, TpzSim; PsCS5

This is the forward truck assembly on one of Metrolink’s EMD F59PH locomotives.  There is a wheel here and what I believe is brake equipment.  I really enjoy capturing images of mechanical devices, I believe they are great examples of sculptural art.  As with the other images I am sharing this week I practiced rendering the final image in a painterly style.  I played with overall contrast, adjusted highlights and shadows, modified color tones and reduced details.

I’d appreciate feedback from viewers of these images, what do you think of the painterly effects I am using, and would you like to see more images of mechanical or industrial equipment handled this way.


Sleeping Trains

Interpretive Digital Imaging

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

Sunday evening at the Riverside, California Metrolink Station and the trains “sleep” until the commuting week begins Monday morning.  The engine facing the camera in the middle ground is an Electro Motive Diesel (EMD) F59PH.  Metrolink has 23 of these engines in their fleet, each one weighs 260,000 pounds and they are each capable of generating 3,000 horsepower and a top speed of about 63 miles per hour.  The other engines seen here are EMD ‘s F59PHI which weighs 268,000 pounds generates 3,200 horse power and reaches a top speed of 110 miles per hour; Metrolink has 14 of these engines in service.  (Source on engine specifications Wikipedia.)

As part of my Interpretive Digital Imaging exploration I used Topaz Simplify to reduce details and give all the prominent features a more soft, paint like appearance, with a little tweaking of the strength of edges.  I then masked in a second layer from the unsimplified image to gain back some detail in the engine in the middle ground and all of the lights.


Signal Tower & Bridge Superstructure

Interpretive Digital Imaging

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 1600 1/640 f/13 Lr3, ASSA3; PsCS5

This is the signal tower and west end of the pedestrian bridge at the Riverside, California Metrolink Station.  In addition to the stairways, patrons are served by an elevator in the west brick tower and one in the east brick tower, which was the only way I was able to get up on the bridge for yesterday’s image of the freight passing through.

This image is another example of my practicing simplifying images from the initial photo realism in order to convey more of a general feeling of the subjects (instead of a literal representation) so that the viewers’ minds can fill in any details they may imagine.  There is just the hint of the train in the background of this image, but I believe it is enough to enable the viewer to understand there was a train there.

There was much more detail of individual bricks in the elevator tower in my original capture and I purposely softened the detail and over saturated the coloring of the bricks.  I also liked the two converging lines from the crosswalk and upped the saturation and brightness of those as they converged on the tower and bridge.  And of course the processes I applied, including the introduction of a canvas texture resulted in a very painterly rendering.  (This and all of my images are in my gallery and the tools in the gallery will allow you to see the images in full size or near full size, then the texture will become quite apparent.)


Sunday Freight

Interpretive Digital Imaging

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO1600 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

My photography has been evolving during the past year and I have been experimenting more and more with tools at my disposal to create unique or more painterly like renditions of my images.  (Please see my recent automotive images, in which I modify the context that the main subjects, the cars, are displayed in.)  The exercises that I am engaging in are leading me to seeing my subjects expressed with less documentary objectivity but  instead, expressed with more of my own sensual, and emotional narrative line of thought.   I find myself morphing the images I capture away from photo realism, eliminating or un-focussing details that do not seem necessary to tell the story, or which might distract the viewer, reducing the images to just the essential shapes, colors, lines and tones that expresses what I see but which also might enable another viewer to interpret the scene in a way that completes a story, or creates a feeling in his or her own mind.

This week’s images are another step along the path of painterly renditions for me and I was thinking “what can I classify these images as?”  What genre or style are my images  becoming.  For lack of a better categorization I am going to use the term Interpretive Digital Imaging for the time being.  And I will see where this will go.

It is late Sunday afternoon and while the commuter trains remain idle a BNSF freight train makes its way past the Riverside, California Metrolink commuter rail station.  This image was captured about 30 minutes after the last Metrolink train arrived with Sunday beach goers returning home.  The camera viewpoint is from the top of the pedestrian bridge stairs which lead to the east platform, in the far distance are the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains to the north, poking above the haze and smog layer that extends east from Los Angeles County.


UP 6051

Another Time

Nikon D7000 28-300mm @ 38mm ISO 640 3-bkts f/9.0 Lr3, HEP1, PsC5; ASSA3

Today’s image was captured  at the intersection of Fairmount Boulevard and Locust Street, at one of the entrances to Fairmount Park, in Riverside, California.  UP 6051 was manufactured by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, in Pennsylvania in 1907.  Locomotive 6051 has a Whyte designation of 2-10-0, thus it has two wheels on the leading axel, ten wheels on the five drive axels and no trailing axel.  The engine weighs 220,500 pounds and was oil fueled.  The locomotive was built for the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad as number 642.  It was renumber 6051 in 1921 and in 1936 it was leased to the Union Pacific Railroad.  6051 was donated to the city of Riverside in 1943.  It appears that sometime after retirement someone made off with 6051’s bell which would have been mounted on the U-shaped bracket topside.

While Monday’s image of the street tree had characteristics of an impasto painting style, for today’s image I used a colored chalk filter from the Alien Skin Snap Art 3 palette.  I believe this rendition works well displaying the details of the locomotive and also imparting a sense of time past.


Heritage Boxcar

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 15mm ISO 400 3-bkts f/22 Lr3, HEP1, CEP3; PsCS5

This old boxcar is resting on the western edge of Heritage Square, hard by the Pasadena Freeway (the nation’s first freeway) in Los Angeles.  As an example of great minds thinking alike I captured this image at about the same time that Van Sutherland captured a similar image, two time zones away.  Van titled his image “Character” and you will find it on his blog Exile Imaging.  Van’s version is more realistic than my interpretation, my excuse is that he had a better weathered subject than I did, covered with some great peeling paint, so I had to rely more upon slight of hand to make my surfaces more interesting.


Steel Rails

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 50mm ISO 200 3-bkts f5.6 Lr3, HEP1; CEP3

Strong and enduring, picture a freight train comprised of steel and other materials and weighing anywhere from 5,000,000 pounds to 40,000,000 pounds traveling on these rails at 80 miles per hour.  Judy and I were on the concrete platform somewhere between 48 and 72 inches from the rails as a fast freight train came up on us much quicker than we anticipated .  The sound was deafening, and we were being whipped by winds caused by the steel behemoth crashing through the air next to us; the vibrations coming up to my butt in the wheel chair.  It was a long train, it seemed like a frightening eternity as that train barreled past us.  We will be giving trains and tracks a wide berth in the future.

After initial raw processing and HDR conversion with Lightroom and HDR Efex Pro I used both Color Efex Pro and Lightroom to adjust color and contrast and selectively lighten and darken various areas of the image.  Final sharpening, noise reduction and vignetting in Lightroom.


Midnight Run

Nikon D80 19-24mm @ 24mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/11 Lr3, HDR Efex Pro, Viveza, Color Efex Pro, Ps5

This is part of the rolling stock of the Fillmore & Western Railway, alongside the Fillmore Depot, ready to roll on another short excursion.  A special hat tip goes out to Dave Wilson for his tip on reducing halos that result in the skies of HDR images.  I had come across the same tip in a tutorial I was viewing recently, and after Dave reminded me of it, I tried it out, on this past Monday’s image and this one.  Thank you Dave, for coaching me forward one more step in the development of my HDR skills.


Ghost Caboose; Layer Masking Exercise

Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/22 Lr3 HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro; PS5

The old Santa Fe caboose sits on a siding adjacent to City Hall and Central Park in Fillmore, California.  It might be a part of rolling stock of the nearby Fillmore & Western Railroad, although since the windows are boarded up, it may just be a stationary artifact today.

I worked this image over quite  a few times before I was finally satisfied.  I captured the brackets late in the afternoon when the light was warming up; I emphasized the orange tones of the caboose and went for a grunge look for the texture when working with HDR Efex Pro.  I was not happy with the background elements, the caboose seemed to get lost in front of them so I went the de-saturation route on almost everything except the caboose.  Still not happy (the dark black tones were too overpowering to me), I used the Lightroom Virtual Copy command and then processed the copy with Color Efex Pro and used the Fog filter to give the entire image a diffuse, foggy look.

Then I tried my hand at layer masking in Photo Shop for the first time.  From Bridge I opened the two versions of the image as a single layered image in Photo Shop, then in Photo Shop I masked out the caboose on the Fog filter layer so that its full color saturation would display through the Fog mask.  I recently acquired a Wacom Bamboo tablet and stylus, so alternated using the stylus and tablet, or my finger and the touch pad on the Macbook Pro for executing my brush strokes.  As long as you take your time, and magnify the image on your monitor and set your brush size appropriately, brushing in the masking “pigments”  (black and white) is easy and accurate.  I have not decided if I prefer using my finger and touch pad, or the stylus yet, but the stylus does feel “natural” to me, in the sense that I am using a painting/drawing tool.  Once I had the overall image where I wanted it, I saved it as a .PSD file, and then extracted my .JPG’s from it.  Good thing I saved as .PSD, because I had to go back more than once to fix flaws in my masking.

I like the final “ethereal” image, the caboose like an orange toned ghost materializing out of the fog of the ether.