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Bill Adams | profile | all galleries >> Trains, Buses and Trolleys tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Trains, Buses and Trolleys

The San Francisco Bay Area's transit history is being restored at the Western Railway Museum in Rio Vista, California. This is a great destination for families with children. A few other RR destinations are pictured also.
This marvelous old wooden street car, built in 1911, spent its career plying the streets of Oakland, California.  Still wearing the tan and teal color motif that was used until 1936, it is being restored at the Western Railway Museum.  Hop on to be whisked back in time to old Oakland Oaks ball park in Emeryville (with some peanuts and Crackerjack).  All Aboard!  Play Ball!
Arlington Street Car Baseball Today.jpg

This marvelous old wooden street car, built in 1911, spent its career plying the streets of Oakland, California. Still wearing the tan and teal color motif that was used until 1936, it is being restored at the Western Railway Museum. Hop on to be whisked back in time to old Oakland Oaks ball park in Emeryville (with some peanuts and Crackerjack). All Aboard! Play Ball!

This old wooden caboose was built in 1899, the height of glory of the Great Northern Railway Company.  That Minnesota land grant railroad started in 1857.  It flourished under empire builder and first company president James J. Hill, and disappeared into history when it became part of the newly formed Burlington Northern in 1970.  This caboose eventually found its way to a railway museum, where it patiently awaits restoration.
Great Northern Ry.jpg

This old wooden caboose was built in 1899, the height of glory of the Great Northern Railway Company. That Minnesota land grant railroad started in 1857. It flourished under empire builder and first company president James J. Hill, and disappeared into history when it became part of the newly formed Burlington Northern in 1970. This caboose eventually found its way to a railway museum, where it patiently awaits restoration.

This truck is typical of the design of passenger car trucks in early 20th Century.  Built prior to the invention of the sealed roller bearing, this car's bearings needed to be oiled frequently.  Those bearings could be accessed by lifting the door near the center of the picture.  Brakemen of the era constantly monitored these bearings because no one wanted their trip ruined by a hot box caused by a frozen bearing.
Antique Railroad Passenger Car Truck .jpg

This truck is typical of the design of passenger car trucks in early 20th Century. Built prior to the invention of the sealed roller bearing, this car's bearings needed to be "oiled" frequently. Those bearings could be accessed by lifting the door near the center of the picture. Brakemen of the era constantly monitored these bearings because no one wanted their trip ruined by a "hot box" caused by a "frozen" bearing.

Built in 1903, this wooden interurban car was part of the Peninsular Railway, traversing the South Bay from Saratoga to San Jose, California.  When Southern Pacific closed the money-losing line in 1934 this car was retired.  Now refurbished, Car No. 52 does not just languish in the Western Railway Museum.  Instead, it has carried passengers back in time to the pre-World War II era that few now remember, gliding through the farmlands of Rio Vista, California.
Peninsular Railway Car 52.jpg

Built in 1903, this wooden interurban car was part of the Peninsular Railway, traversing the South Bay from Saratoga to San Jose, California. When Southern Pacific closed the money-losing line in 1934 this car was retired. Now refurbished, Car No. 52 does not just languish in the Western Railway Museum. Instead, it has carried passengers back in time to the pre-World War II era that few now remember, gliding through the farmlands of Rio Vista, California.

This was an electric street car on the Petaluma and Santa Rosa RR, an interurban passenger railway in the Sonoma County area of Northern California, north of San Francisco.
P&rSR RR Electric Trolley.jpg

This was an electric street car on the Petaluma and Santa Rosa RR, an interurban passenger railway in the Sonoma County area of Northern California, north of San Francisco.

Still under repair, this old time electric trolley bus ran on one of San Francisco's most famous transit corridors, the N Judah line.  San Francisco's Municipal Railway has in the past few years begun refurbishing electric cars from out of its own storage yards and from those of other cities, and these ancient cars race up and down Market Street.
N Judah Trolley.jpg

Still under repair, this old time electric trolley bus ran on one of San Francisco's most famous transit corridors, the N Judah line. San Francisco's Municipal Railway has in the past few years begun refurbishing electric cars from out of its own storage yards and from those of other cities, and these ancient cars race up and down Market Street.

This great old parlor car is redolent of the luxury and romance of the rails in the heyday of passenger travel.  A 4 1/2 second time exposure captured this car while still under repair in the car barn.
The Comet.jpg

This great old parlor car is redolent of the luxury and romance of the rails in the heyday of passenger travel. A 4 1/2 second time exposure captured this car while still under repair in the car barn.

Looking down San Francisco's Market Street.  The historic Southern Pacific (SP) Railroad building (erected 1916) is in the upper left corner of the frame.  Right in front is the San Francisco Federal Reserve building (circa 1980).  San Francisco's Cable Cars meet Market Street near the SP Building, and again at Powell Street.

The big blurred streaks were generated by a big municipal bus during the 3 second exposure.
Post 20th Century San Francisco.jpg

Looking down San Francisco's Market Street. The historic Southern Pacific (SP) Railroad building (erected 1916) is in the upper left corner of the frame. Right in front is the San Francisco Federal Reserve building (circa 1980). San Francisco's Cable Cars meet Market Street near the SP Building, and again at Powell Street.

The big blurred streaks were generated by a big municipal bus during the 3 second exposure.

This is a three-second time exposure looking West on San Francisco's Market Street, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the City.  With BART trains running in a deep tunnel below, Municipal Railway's transit train tunnel one layer above BART, and S.F. Muni Municipal buses and street cars running on the surface, Market Street is one very busy transit corridor.
Market Street2.jpg

This is a three-second time exposure looking West on San Francisco's Market Street, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the City. With BART trains running in a deep tunnel below, Municipal Railway's transit train tunnel one layer above BART, and S.F. "Muni" Municipal buses and street cars running on the surface, Market Street is one very busy transit corridor.

This steam train travels among the palm trees, sugar cane fields and volcanic cliffs of the Island of Maui, Hawaii.  This image was taken from more than 80 feet above the ground.
Kaanapali- Lahaina Pacific Railroad copy.jpg

This steam train travels among the palm trees, sugar cane fields and volcanic cliffs of the Island of Maui, Hawaii. This image was taken from more than 80 feet above the ground.

This old tank car has gone as far as it can go.  The tracks below are ripped up, and the rear truck has been yanked loose.
DSC_3294 End of the Line.jpg

This old tank car has gone as far as it can go. The tracks below are ripped up, and the rear truck has been yanked loose.

This 1922 Baldwin steam locomotive needs a few small repairs to go back in service after decades in mothballs. Now, where does this cowcatcher go?

This steam locomotive repair shop was as dark as a tomb.  Some light came through the window behind our tour guide, causing some burned out highlights.  So when post processing began the image was dark everywhere except where the highlights were blown.  Not to worry.  ACR 4.5 fixed the highlights more or less (nothing's perfect) by converting the RAW image at about two stops below the actual exposure.  Then using Curves, I pulled the dark shadows up to reveal the venerable locomotive and its still unattached cowcatcher.  

Next time I will expose more carefully to avoid blowing important highlights, and not worry about the ensuing shadows.  Experts on the D3 tell me that for high contrast scenes they usually set the matrix exposure to -0.3 or -0.7 to eliminate blown highlights.  Both cameras are tuned for aggressive autoexposures and employ high contrast tone curves to improve the out of camera image.  But shooting NEFs avoids these problems as long as the exposure is cut a bit for high contrast scenes.

Even at ISO 3200 there was enough headroom above the noise to raise the gamma on all those shadow areas until all was visible.

Note also that this was taken with a DX lens at the full 12.1 MP resolution.  Let it be said that from around 17mm to 24mm the 12-24mm f4 DX zoom is still great on a full frame camera, as long as you stay above 16mm to avoid vignetting.
20080802_Jamestown 1897 Steam Train_2226 Roundhouse Repairs.jpg

This 1922 Baldwin steam locomotive needs a few small repairs to go back in service after decades in mothballs. Now, where does this cowcatcher go?

This steam locomotive repair shop was as dark as a tomb. Some light came through the window behind our tour guide, causing some burned out highlights. So when post processing began the image was dark everywhere except where the highlights were blown. Not to worry. ACR 4.5 fixed the highlights more or less (nothing's perfect) by converting the RAW image at about two stops below the actual exposure. Then using Curves, I pulled the dark shadows up to reveal the venerable locomotive and its still unattached cowcatcher.

Next time I will expose more carefully to avoid blowing important highlights, and not worry about the ensuing shadows. Experts on the D3 tell me that for high contrast scenes they usually set the matrix exposure to -0.3 or -0.7 to eliminate blown highlights. Both cameras are tuned for aggressive autoexposures and employ high contrast tone curves to improve the out of camera image. But shooting NEFs avoids these problems as long as the exposure is cut a bit for high contrast scenes.

Even at ISO 3200 there was enough headroom above the noise to raise the gamma on all those shadow areas until all was visible.

Note also that this was taken with a DX lens at the full 12.1 MP resolution. Let it be said that from around 17mm to 24mm the 12-24mm f4 DX zoom is still great on a full frame camera, as long as you stay above 16mm to avoid vignetting.

Hollywood productions filmed in Jamestown over the years have contributed signs from the towns in their scripts, and those signs have been collected on this wall.  Not shown is the famous sign from Petticoat Junction, the TV show featuring Edgar Buchanan and his three beautiful daughters . . . and the Jamestown train.

I traded a fairly high ISO (International Standards Organization speed rating) for a really large DOF (depth of field).  The result is a clean image with no sign of noise, and the signs are legible from near to far despite the oblique photo angle.  With my D2x, noise could become visible at any point beyond 400 ISO, with 800 ISO being the practical limit for decent images without major noise reduction.  Now, the sky is the limit for the D700 and ISO.
20080802_Jamestown 1897 Steam Train_2242 Everytown U.S.A.jpg

Hollywood productions filmed in Jamestown over the years have contributed signs from the towns in their scripts, and those signs have been collected on this wall. Not shown is the famous sign from Petticoat Junction, the TV show featuring Edgar Buchanan and his three beautiful daughters . . . and the Jamestown train.

I traded a fairly high ISO (International Standards Organization speed rating) for a really large DOF (depth of field). The result is a clean image with no sign of noise, and the signs are legible from near to far despite the oblique photo angle. With my D2x, noise could become visible at any point beyond 400 ISO, with 800 ISO being the practical limit for decent images without major noise reduction. Now, the sky is the limit for the D700 and ISO.