The first bonafide snowstorm of the season arrived around midnight last night. To me, trains look their best at night in snow, preferably falling as well. It's the secret ingredient that makes night photos of trains in winter so appealling to me. So when I discovered a snow storm arriving from the Great Lakes late last night, I scrambled out into the car and headed for Westport. Guaranteed to be "a mess" with temps in the low thirties, wet snow would act like rain on the locomotives, bringing out the deep colors! My concern was first, would I see a train, and second keeping the flash units dry enough once set-up. Driving into Port Henry, I most fortunately overheard dispatcher Kelly Knight telling 415 at Whitehall of a 253 coming towards them! Whoa! 251 & 253 have been powered by SD 40-2's on occassion lately, and running time up to Westport would be around two hrs. I figured. Should I wait to hear from 252 or set up for 253 and hope.....for an SD 40-2 leading? Pulling into the lot here at Westport around 01:30 brought my answer. WOW! At worst, I thought, this would be good shooting practice for the Holiday Train I planned to encounter on Wed. An hour and a half later the flash units are in position, protected from the wet snow by zip lock freezer bags, I get everything powered up and take a few test shots. The approach signal for "Howards" just out of sight down into the curve here, lights up green over yellow, indicating to me, and the approaching 252, of a meet with 253. By now the weather is a mess with the temps. on the edge of freezing, sleet starting to replace the snow, BUT the surroundings look gorgeous! "They might", I'm thinking to myself. They might run an SD 40-2 tonight! After 252 sweeps past with an uncharacteristicly short train, I contribute a "light show" for the early risers in the neighborhood when one of the flash units gives in to the sleet and starts firing continuously, causing the Pocket Wizard remote attached to it to send out "fire" signals in turn to the rest of the system, which obediently follows suit! Jeesome Crow! So I change out that flash with the only unit not used, still dry, do a quick check around and don't see anyone at their window, don't hear anyone cussin' and happily walk back to the stepladder and the black umbrella propped against it, protecting the camera and lens. The sound came after 04:30, the familiar sound of SD 40-2's pulling upgrade into "Howards" from the lakefront trackage north of Port Henry. We're in business! Up on the stepladder, you hear the small tree branches snapping nearby under the wet snow as you see 253's headlights at the horizon while they pass the talking detector just north of "Howards", and within a minute or so, CP 5671 comes out from behind the station here into a sea of white under a black sky completing a Christmas Card scene. Three hours and a half after arriving, success! Shot with the 5D and Zeiss ZF 28/2 (Nikon) set at f2, on Nov. 25, 2008 at 04:56. Flash units on the platform and the walkway up back were erased in photoshop as were Gary's footprints. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone,