Posts Tagged ‘black and white photography’

Railroading as it Once Was: Black & White Image for a Black & White Railroad

February 15, 2017


Penn Central locomotives were not known for their flashy livery. They had a minimalist black and white appearance with the PC herald affixed to the nose and the flanks.

Yet many photographers would love to be able to go back in time to see Penn Central again, if for one day.

We can’t do that, but we do have multiple images from the Penn Central era to remind us of another time.

PC F7A No. 1865 leads a train through Akron over tracks that have received minimal maintenance in recent years. The unit was built in October 1952 for the New York Central.

Photograph by Roger Durfee


Bob Cranks up His Wayback Machine Again

January 10, 2017
Erie Lackawanna 2512, a GE U25B

Erie Lackawanna 2512, a GE U25B

Akron Railroad Club member Bob Farkas has invited us over to his house for a party to celebrate the new year and to remember an old year.

After some socializing and snacks, he’s brought out his Wayback Machine and taken us back on the Erie Lackawanna on a winter day in Kent in the 1960s for a “from the same roll of film” show.

He said the images are from the same afternoon and are not in any particular order. Pass the popcorn and enjoy the show.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Louisiana & Northwestern 6036 boxcar

Louisiana & North-West 6036 boxcar

Erie R28 being used as a rider car

Erie R28 being used as a rider car


EL 3613, 3609, both EMD SD45s

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie 24260 and Milwaukee Road boxcars.

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie 24260 and Milwaukee Road boxcars.


EL 2452, an Alco C425; 2553, an EMD GP 35; and 6321, an EMD F7A

EL 2452, an Alco C425; 2553, an EMD GP 35; and 6321, an EMD F7A

CB&Q 28402 boxcar

CB&Q 28402 boxcar

EL 6321, an EMD F7A

EL 6321, an EMD F7A

This is my favorite image from the afternoon. EL 1051 and its train head west through the east end of the yard.

This is my favorite image from the afternoon. EL 1051 and its train head west through the east end of the yard.


More EL Memories From Kent

November 10, 2016



Here are two more black and white photographs from Kent. As far as I can tell, these were taken in the winter of 1967-1968.

In the top image,  I thought Erie Lackawanna No. 816 was on the westbound Lake Cities but was told this could be a mail train. Either way there are 14 visible head-end cars.

In the bottom image EL 3620 and 3619 lead an eastbound through Kent. As for the composition of the image, I wasn’t worried about that. I was just glad to get the shot.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Reminder of What is in Store for Us: Winter

November 7, 2016


Some meteorologists are calling this year’s winter one that we’ll remember. Here is a preview of what might happen.

This Baltimore & Ohio freight is heading east beyond the B&O passenger station where I am standing and approaching downtown Kent in the late 1960s. That is the Erie Lackawanna passenger station on the hill above. Now, do you remember winter?

Photograph by Robert Farkas

When N&W Still Had an AC&Y Look

November 2, 2016



Here is another glimpse of the past in black and white as captured by Akron Railroad Club member Robert Farkas.

In the top image, even though the Akron, Canton & Youngstown was taken over by the Norfolk & Western i 1964, AC&Y diesels were still in service.

It is 1967 or 1968 and AC&Y 506 and 500 could still be found at the Akron engine facility. Both are rare FM H20-44 models with AC&Y 506 in blue and AC&Y 500 in yellow and black.

In the bottom image, Bob is standing on the bridge over Penn Central’s Collingwood Yard in Cleveland, which could provide a great view of the shops and yard.

PC 1788 in fresh paint and New York Central 1840 are at the head of a westbound train in this 1968 or 1969 view. Stored next to the shops are three lines of Alcos and EMD units.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Oh, How Dark Room Work is Easier Now

August 22, 2016


When I was young, I had access to my Dad’s darkroom, so I began railfanning using black and white film.

For me it was dangerous. Film developing and printing consisted of dangerous chemicals, a sealed room in which I’d breathe their vapors, and the foolishness of youth in not wearing gloves but dipping my hands in the chemicals.

It also was time consuming and hard to get a really good image.

Today, with Lightroom and Photoshop, this is done digitally with much better control over each step.

First the image is scanned into the computer. With the scanner maker’s provided software there are many controls over the outcome simply by using the software for general corrections.

Then comes Lightroom where the image is digitally manipulated with far greater precision than could be done in a darkroom in a similar amount of time.

Not only are there exposure and contrast, there are sliders for highlights, shadows, saturation, cutting down on grain using noise reduction, etc., along with being able to remove chromatic aberration, clone out scratches, etc.

Next comes Photoshop for the finishing tweaks, including cloning out those hard to remove tiny defects and sizing the image for use on different sites.

Here is Canadian Pacific 4074 sitting in the CP roundhouse in Toronto in June 1972. The detail, contrast, exposure were all changed or improved along with other tweaks.

Could I do this in a darkroom? Perhaps, if I had many hours.

Thankfully, I live in 2016. While the late 1960s was a wonderful time to railfan, I’d hate to be limited to only that period’s technology.

After all, only a few could see a railfan’s work this way instead of putting the images on sites like this blog where many can share and enjoy various railfans’ work.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas