Down the tangent track comes the Holiday Train, then..........9624 clears the marsh, and the perfect reflection pops out! Holy Cow! Elwyn and I watch, transfixed at the sight as the lit up train consist continues to be revealed while 9624 progresses toward me. Only now do I get behind the camera, find my mark, and watch 9624 in............the flashes, on full power, silently fire, the resulting light on the scene reflects back, enabling the image to be captured! Wow! This image gives you the viewer a good feel for what it is like following along in the car with the Holiday Train as it cruises along Lake Champlain. Shot on November 26, 2011 at 02:10 with the 5D and Zeiss 35/2 lens set at f2.
We visit Port Henry, NY tonight on Canadian Pacifics Canadian Main Line, originally the Delaware and Hudson. This pair of night photos depicts the scene six years apart as the Holiday Train makes its annual visit. In the earlier photo from 2005 TWO decorated trains are featured! The RS-18 (ex-CP 1801) was donated by CP for the display train commemorating home town iron ore railroad Lake Champlain & Moria, which interchanged here with the D&H. Judge Brian Venne, who painted and decorated the locomotiveand train w/christmas lights, told me of the time he was directly involved with CP in obtaining a donated engine for the display train: they had talked with the proper people and in time word came back that their request had been approved! Brians group was asked by CP what engine did they have in mind, in so many words. They asked for (as most of us would have.....) the...........8921! In a few days the request came back...........approved! The 8921, for out of towners, was Canada’s only MLW RSD-17 model, and very popular with railroaders and fans! The 8921 made it as far as Rouses Point, NY before someone at CP noticed the 8921 had disappeared. This is how it came to be when the 8921 spent the day in Rouses Point of all places! Brian tells me the historic engine was quickly retrieved back across the border and CP inquired if there might be another locomotive the group would like! LOL! The night photo from 2005 shows a big turnout, probably eight hundred people or more. You can see my spot I would shoot from six years later in front of the engineers window of the RS-18. Switching to last nights view from 2011, what a change!Proving that “owls” come out during the day, in a rare daytime move for me, I drove over here, appearing at 4 pm for the 5:30 Holiday Train! After unloading the lights from the Civic parked beside the display train, Judge Venne, who did’nt recognize me, pointed at me and said........”You.......the cars gotta go!” I complied, keeping a straight face, then asked for permission to shoot from the RS-18 of Judge Venne, he then recognized me and gave me the okay. With the lights set up and tested, I watched as the scene was nearly empty of people at 4:45, then hundreds walked in! Wow! What a scene was before me! A steady stream of parents brought their little kids over to climb up on “the engine” as I looked on, trying to appear unconcerned. What can go wrong!? The organizers of this event provide a couple campfires each year to help people keep warm, that is the smoke seen wafting above the crowd. It is usually a fine idea, but this year it is 54 degrees at train time! Unheard of for late November. You can see the people are dressed lightly in the 2011 scene versus the 2005 scene. Suddenly I noticed lots of cars stopped up on the road beyond the station to the right, in a couple minutes an air horn is heard as the 9824 whistles for the crossing just to the south, and the Holiday Train comes creeping up around the curve past adoring onlookers at the station. For my part, I was singing to myself “Row,row,row your boat. Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily. Life, is but, a dream!” Ha,ha,ha! There’s little kids at my feet, kids behind me on the long hood! LOL! I was concentrating on the 9824 as it neared my spot, not noticing the young couple walking into the bottom center of the 28mm view with their kids. Just before the 9824 reaches my spot, the little boy waves! You could’nt make this up! For my part, I never noticed the kid waving until I was back at the computer inside the compound! LOL! The Holiday Train had captured my admiration. What an improvement over the six years in the decorations! This years train just glows! Also, ALL the lights are still working this far north, unlike years past! The lights that appear to be off in the photo are really blinking. You can spot the engineer inside the cab looking straight ahead, responding to placement commands from (hopefully only one) person to spot the “stage car” before the crowd. With the train stopped, a rock group performed christmas songs for the crowd, CP personnel appeared with a check from the area for the Holiday Train, more christmas songs as Santa himself joined the festivities on stage, Mrs. Claus rode the deadhead move south but we did’nt see her tonight, then the band said goodbye with the drummer up front singing Silent Night solo. All the while I was shooting with a 35mm from this spot. What a superb scene as Port Henry station hosts the town and the Holiday Train! Yes indeed, capturing this scene was worth getting up on three hours sleep, (of course...........I was out late shooting last night on the NECR......) skipping breakfast, but making two thermoses of dark tea, and driving with the many VIPs out on the highway. LOL! Shot in Port Henry, NY on December 2, 2005 at 6:57 pm(9714) and November 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm (9824) both with the 5D, the 9824 photo was taken with the Zeiss ZF 28/2 lens set at f2. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2011;Gary Knapp