The Beauty

For me, the rare glimpses of light within these tunnels reflect the circumstances of their inhabitants, small glimmers of hope surrounded by heavy, impregnable darkness. Finding the light is the escape from darkness.

The History

Railway transit has driven East Coast transportation for decades. Back when steam powered trains relied on coal for power, the hub for all rail lines in Philadelphia was Reading terminal. Nowadays, Reading terminal is a glorious market filled with restaurants, bakeries, flowers shops, and produce stands; however, traces of its past are there if you know where to look.

Many of the original rail lines were repurposed for the modern subway system. Others were abandoned and slowly forgotten. These tunnels, now littered with trash, graffiti, and the makeshift shanty dwellings of the homeless, provide a range of inspiration for photographers.

Finding the Light – Images

Since photography is all about finding the light and capturing it, on the digital sensor or on the film. You need a tripod to capture these glimmers of light; however, with a little bit of patience your camera and eyes will adjust.

The top image was captured with the Sony A7R II using a 24-240mm lens processed in Lightroom for color adjustments and then finished in Photoshop to correct the aspect ratio with a better crop.

The bottom is an HDR image captured with the same camera and lens, using -2, 0, +2 processed in Aurora and finished in Lightroom.

Into the dark
The trains once ran under the city bringing coal through this tunnel. As years have gone by, coal is no longer required and this subway tunnel has long been forgotten by the masses. Aside from the graffiti and the light at the end of the tunnel is the only hope left.
Glimmer of light
Finding the light in the dark, sometimes the light from above provides your only hope. In this abandoned subway tunnel, the light comes from the street above, with no way to reach it.


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