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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Caught on Camera: Sun Glare

Sun glare is traditionally the enemy of color light signaling.  For years it has been the go to excuse for stop signal violations and one of the driving forces behind cab signaling (right up there with fog).  However catastrophic sun glare is good for bringing out the true colors of color light signals because it happens to illuminate the colored glass filters that gives each old school incandescent bulb its charm.

B&O CPLs are really the best when it comes to front-lighting.  Not only are their colorful, but their large lens diameter really gives one that Christmas Tree effect.  This photo was taken at NA tower, north of Cincinnati.  The sun glare is so bad that even the Darth Vader mast in the back is getting into the action.   Interestingly enough you can still tell what aspects are being displayed, even if you have to work at it. 

Now I like this Seaboard System shot because you have almost exactly one of every color, Green, Yellow, Lunar White and Red.  Most notable are the filter colors for green and lunar white.  Both clearly have a blue bias to them so that the warm white incandescent bulb light will show properly.  It's the difference between additive color and subtractive color. The glare also lets us tell, at a glance, that trains exit the siding at Restricted speed.  Something that will likely be remedied after the impending re-signaling.

The B&O CPLs and US&S N series are some of the best for sun glare shots because the shades are so small.   Both searchlights and PRR PL's lack a glare responce because of elaborate lensing systems.  To prevent even worse instances of phantom aspects, color lights have no internal reflection, however both PRR PLs and searchlights do, to increase the range of their low power bulbs.  That in turn requires anti-glare countermeasures that reduces the photographic effect.

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