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

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