7/11/2015

Op Session at RPI

 A few photos from the operating session at RPI's NEB&W back in April.






video
 
 

D&H at Fort Edward

As I was collecting the lighting at the rear of the Civic prior to loading it into the trunk after capturing the pair of ex-UP SD9043MACs from Rogers Island, I overheard the D&H North End dispatcher telling the VRS crew up in Whitehall Yard ...........”They should be up there at 03:30” and I concluded she (Maureen) was referring to local D47 which operates out of Whitehall Yard and runs to and from Saratoga Yard. Frequently the VRS night job from Rutland waits for D47 to deliver cars, and apparently this was one of those nights. And...........D47 operates with a pair of CP GP 38-2’s! I remembered how Greg Klingler had dragged me over to the station in town to check for possible angles after a night photo we combined on in the past there on Rogers Island, and I thought...........why not? This is about as spontaneous as I get at night! Lol!
 
A few minutes later I was walking around the east side of the Fort Edward station, liking what I found! The only wrench in the works was a speed limit sign and post I had to compose around. After I repositioned the car on this side of the tracks, I quickly got to work setting up lighting, imagining how nice a pair of bright red CP GP 38-2’s would look against the refurbished station. Two different police vehicles came past several times as I was going back and forth from the Civic with lighting and one rolled down his window to ask....................”Are you surveying”? I bet the two officers has guessed on what I was up to! This officer lost, as I told him I was setting up to take a night photo of a train. Officer Bill Gatewood, down in Ashland, Virginia would have won the bet as he knew what I was up to when we crossed paths years ago! lol! The officer tonight asked when the train was due, mentioned how they come thru all night long here, and then we parted ways wishing each other a safe night.
 
I’m just finishing the lighting when things start falling apart! I can hear D47 coming down Gansevort Hill below me, the grade ends at the bridge which crosses a portion of the Hudson River onto Rogers Island..........the stepladder and camera are still in the Civic. Not good! I get to the car and stuff the tiny GR and Pocket Wizard into each back pocket then make a racket dragging the stepladder out of the back with light stands and clothes falling onto the ground after coming along with it. As I position the stepladder D47 is blowing for the bridge, not much time to waste! I mount the Pocket Wizard onto the GR hotshoe turn everything on and climb up atop the stepladder as D47 rumbles over the bridge perhaps half a mile away. I fire off a test shot and it looks way too bright! Something is not right as I had set the flash output to expose the scene much darker!  I examine the exposure settings and try to increase f-stop from f2.8 but the GR for some reason does not respond! I’m not using the correct dial?
 
The crossing gates are activating next to the station! Unable to adjust the f-stop, I increase the shutter speed to 1/1000th of a sec. from 1/640th and the test shot looks better as D47 is blowing for the crossing. I’m thinking this is wild! How can it expose like this at 1/1000th? I had manually preset the focus so as D47 comes into sight I frame up the view and watch as the leader comes out of the dark, over the crossing and past my mark at around forty mph. A silent press of the shutter results in the lighting reflecting back.......................Champlain Blue, Yellow and Silver, as D&H 7304 flies past me! What a nice surprise! And the shot looks excellent! How can this be I wonder standing atop the stepladder as D47’s short train is gone into the night. Then........... I notice what’s goin’ on.
 
In my hasty handling of the GR I cleverly (somehow) managed to move/nudge the protected MODE DIAL which I normally set on manual everything. I had moved the dial to “shutter/aperture mode”! In this mode the camera adjusts the ISO setting for the selected aperture/shutter speed. SO I’m checking the settings on the rear screen of the GR, 1/1000th.......f2.8........ISO 12,800! Oh no! I instantly conclude I have a grainy/noisy shot here at such a high iso setting, as I was using iso 1600! But...........zooming in it does not look bad on the GR’s rear screen! I can’t believe it! Back home in post-processing the image is CLEAN! I’m impressed. This is quite a performance/save from a $560 camera/lens combo! Plus, it’s a shot of D&H 7304, one of two remaining locomotives on the CP roster to wear a variation of the D&H Lightning Stripe scheme! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed. SHot on June 12, 2015 at 02:55 in Fort Edward, NY. Special thanks to Greg Klingler, you were right Greg!
 
All The Best In 2015;
Gary Knapp

Laser Cut Bridge

A really nice laser cut bridge from Monroe Models will hide the hole in the backdrop looking towards Newport....
 Wayne sent a photo along from his layout...

The prototype idea...LV - CNJ Blackman St. Bridge.

Full Moon

Last night turned out to be an unusual, early night by my standards. Wierd things are known to occur on full moon nights such as last night was. I took my night photo by a little after ten p.m.! It all was made possible by photographer Shaun McGinnis down in Bellows Falls, VT. As I was going through my routine of beginning my night I turned on the cell phone and found a text waiting for me from Shaun. It seemed that the Pan Am Heritage GP-9s that were seen in Bellows Falls the night before had stayed over rather than making the usual southbound run back to East Deerfield Yard! We agreed they should be returning south tonight and I thought of the stone arch bridge in Bernardston, MA. they would be  going across. It had been three months since I last had a chance to shoot either of the colorful pair working on the Conn. River Line. I was on the road by 7 pm when I pulled over to read another text from Shaun stating that EDBF, the job the Heritage units would return south on was arriving in Bellows Falls! And I had a two hr. drive ahead of me just to get down to the falls, never mind the stone arch bridge further south! I continued onto the interstate thinking it was worth the chance of catching the pair to risk driving two hrs. for nothing. It turned out to be a good decision!
 
Maybe one hour later I pulled over again to read another update from Shaun, surprisingly, the two GP-9s were heading out of town NORTHBOUND with a boxcar and a couple tanks! They would be working local BF-1 again tonight rather than returning south! A most fortunate development for both Shaun and myself as normally EDBF and BF-1 exchange power on a nightly basis. Little more than one hour later I was crossing the Connecticut River into New Hampshire, with my new destination, the station at Charlestown a couple miles away. I can hear BF-1 a few miles to the north running around their train prior to performing switching duties at a propane distributor. On the outskirts of Charlestown I spot southbound NECR local 601 powered by GP 40 437 switching out what looks like salt carrying covered hoppers. Apprehensively I arrive at the station, figuring if it looks too run down I will opt for the stone arch bridge in Bellows Falls. I jump out of the Civic and do a couple walks around the building and like it! Owned by what looks to be a building supplier, I have seen the station looking much worse in the past! I adore very tall stepladders but...........not here, stacked on display leaning on the front of the station!
 
I just get the lighting out of the car and crossing signals activate! Thankfully it is a false alarm as the NECR local comes by behind the 437. I get out the stepladder and spot it to check out a favorite view, inside between the track and station, an angle made possible by the lighting at night. The locomotives jump out at you more from this angle it seems to me. Once I have the lighting set up, test shots reveal a blown out white overhang so I adjust for that, then it just becomes a matter of waiting. A couple and their two kids, perhaps attracted by the flashes of light, come walking down the street off to the right and sit inside a gazebo nearby to watch. Knowing BF-1 was on their way back, I walk to the nearby Civic several feet away for a cup of tea, with the thought of perhaps asking the couple if they would like to be in the photo. This move away from the stepladder of course brings BF-1! I no more finish pouring the tea when crossing bells start ringing above me! I return to the stepladder as BF-1 finishes blowing for the crossing, ST 77s headlights brightening up the track behind the station. The Ricoh GR is ready to go though, as is the lighting, and I concentrate on leveling the small camera as ST 77 comes out from behind the station, drifting along at maybe twenty mph, hits my mark and in a spash of color the lighting reflects back the classic Boston & Maine maroon and gold paint scheme!
 
And yes, the station really is painted that color! And yes, I was REALLY glad I decided to continue the drive down here even when it looked like the Heritage engines might leave before I arrived. This trackage, part of the Conn. River Line, is now owned by New England Central and was used by CV and B&M prior to NECR ownership.  Pan Am trains utilize trackage rights to operate here these nights. Shot on June 3, 2015 at 22:02. Please enjoy! comments are welcomed. Special thanks to Shaun McGinnis for his help!
 
All The best In 2015;
Gary Knapp

Sharks!

 Picked up a pair of the InterMountain Sharks.  They run and sound real good.
 
In the attached picture you see Hostler Al Fish about to climb aboard.  He had just conned a local rail buff out of $5 to take the Sharks out of the shop and position them for photos.  He made a killing doing that!

Jim Layfatte