Tonight's night photo is set in Milton, Vermont on the north end of the NECR with its subject being GP-38-2 2048, the newest addition to the fleet, having returned from the G&W shops after being rebuilt (and repainted!) from NECR blue & yellow painted GP-38 3848. A welcome addition during the rebuilding to the locomotive and its looks are dynamic brake grids. After arriving back on the NECR 2048s assignment has been running paired with a second four axle engine between Swanton and Burlington powering the Wood Chip Train during the day and the wayfreight between St. Albans Italy Yard and Burlingtons VRS Yard during nighttime hours. I waited patiently for 2048 to be turned to face north for a night photo as it was always south facing limiting locations to shoot it within and I learned earlier tonight..............it had happened! Tonight was the night! 2048 had indeed been turned to face north. HOORAY!
Mother Nature cooperated with excellent conditions, all things considered for this winter, with temps in the mid-teens compared to recent overnight temps in the minus mid-teens with a wind, and of course the still welcomed snow flying! lol! The “fun factor” goes down a bit at night when handling the aluminum light stands setting up in below zero temps, afterwards of course, the “fun factor” returns with the image captured! So there I was, its 3 a.m., I’m parked with eight or nine flash units blinking away on their light stands set up around the open trunk of the Civic, and a car pulls up across the street. I glance over and see a newspaper wrapped in plastic go into a mailbox. Then the driver, a middle aged woman opens the driver side door and steps out to look across at me and ask..............”Is this a party?” I explained what I was up to and she replied surprised...........”here?” I pointed confidently to the nearby main line, she glances at the track and says “Why trains?” And I go on to explain how much better they look at night with the flash lighting, pointing to the gathering in back of the Civic and she seems to lose interest, maybe it was the papers still to be delivered, and she says “Have fun!” before disappearing back into the car to drive off. One of the attractions this location provides to me is the outside frame wooden Central Vermont boxcar parked under the elevator, seen in front of the 2048s pilot in the photo.
Perhaps one and a half hours after the woman delivering the paper departs, the snow has picked up in intensity, (I’m delighted!) the turn to Burlington is toning in the dispatcher for permission on the main line south of me at Essex Jct., coming off the branch to Burlington, and the town of Miltons snow plow driver has arrived at the town garage, a snowballs throw away from me down the street. Congratulating myself for getting into position for a night photo in heavy snowfall, I’m thinking.........this shows promise! The town plows headlights shining out from the open garage door illuminate the falling snow “and” several light stands across the street. Smiling I imagine the driver wondering............what the heck are those things? lol! To the plow mans credit he pulls the plow out of the garage, backs his pickup in the vacated stall and drives off without a word of conversation or acknowledgement as I stand watching outside the Civic. Then I realize the light stands the plows headlights lit up are placed in the turn around for the plow across from the town garage! No worries! With the 2048 coming onto the main line at Essex Jct. they will be by me long before the plowman is done plowing the towns streets!
The snow is coming down heavy now, its light powder snow, and with no wind it accumulates on the equipment, especially the flash unit heads, further diffusing the light from them. Not to worry though, the snow will NOT be melting for several weeks yet, it can just be blown off the equipment afterwards tonight. The camera and lens being the exception of course. I give the crew ten minutes to pull off the branch and get underway then go over to the stepladder, take the camera out of the bag and get all set under the brightly colored umbrella standing on the second step from the top. Maybe ten minutes later I hear the welcome sound of an air horn blowing for a crossing. The umbrella is carefully collapsed and put away. This is the best! In a snowstorm, at night, GP 38-2s heading towards me and the temps are in the mid-teens above zero! A few minutes later 2048 rounds the curve below me and comes into sight, drifting up the tangent track into position. The flash units light up the scene in the blink of an eye as the GP 38-2s roll past me braking prior to doing their work here at the feed mill. I climb down off the stepladder and kneeling in the snow inspect the image..............Success! Shot in Milton, Vermont on Feb. 19, 2015 at 05:55. Special thanks to Ed Ferguson. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2015;