|Sunrise photo, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, 2014/5/31|
I've captured pretty much every elevator in easy driving distance of Winnipeg. The bulk of the remaining 100 or so are either in the southwestern part of Manitoba or in the north. Late last month, I decided to do a little road trip to capture eight elevators in one long morning. After the go-ahead from my loving wife ("Do I have to come? Knock yourself out") meticulous planning (thank you, Google Maps and Excel), and a good weather forecast, I set the alarm for "stupid early" on May 30th and went to bed.
"Stupid early" was 03:30 on May 31. Keep in mind this was the end of May so sunrise was pretty early. I was out of the house and on the road before 4 and even then there was a bit of light in the sky. I drove up from south Winnipeg to the Trans-Canada Highway and headed west. My target area was north of the TCH in the triangle between Portage la Prairie, Carberry and Gladstone.
As I passed Elie, I decided to photograph the elevator there against the lightening sky.
|Elie grain elevator|
|Tucker grain elevator|
|CP Station in Portage la Prairie|
When I finished photographing the station, I noticed a headlight off to the west. It turned out to be a CN eastbound and I had to try to photograph it passing the station. At 5:15 AM you have to be creative. I set the shutter speed to 1/20s, locked onto the station and waited for the train to come into the frame.
|CN 8003 in Portage la Prairie|
|CN 8003 Pan|
That was fun, but I had elevators to photograph! I headed out of town but very shortly I saw a train rolling east against the rising sun, which had finally ascended above the horizon. I pulled over to the side of the highway and took a little silhouette photo - the lead photo of this post. Techniques for taking sunrise/sunset photos is probably the subject for another post. You can't just point your camera at the sun and shoot, because the sun will be over-exposed and just be a big white hole in the photo. The essential thing is to crank the exposure compensation way down to ensure the sun isn't blown out.
At MacGregor, I turned north on "highway" 650 and headed toward the Katrime grain elevator. It's a dirt road but it was in pretty good condition. Shortly before Katrime, I crossed the CN Gladstone subdivision at mile 21.98.
The town of Katrime is a pretty small community, basically just a few houses and a grain elevator. The elevator is a former Manitoba Pool elevator. It looks like it may be in private use but it has no rail access, as the siding was removed some time ago and it doesn't show up on CN timetables any more.
I have posts for each of the elevators up on the manitobagrainelevators.ca site, but here's a photo for Katrime.
|Katrime grain elevator|
Once on the Yellowhead (highway 16), it was clear sailing toward Gladstone. I spotted an unknown-to-me elevator at a farm (the Steele Bridge Farm elevator) and photographed it, then carried on toward Gladstone.
Very soon after that, I spotted a headlight in the distance. Could it be... a train? Very soon it became obvious that it was indeed a Canadian Pacific train on the CP Minnedosa subdivision - my first. I picked a spot and pulled over to wait for it to come to me.
|CP 9752 near Gladstone|
I went into Gladstone to photograph the elevator there. CN and CP parallel each other here, much like Portage la Prairie, except of course both the CN Gladstone and CP Minnedosa subdivisions are fairly low traffic lines. There's even a diamond in town, just like Portage.
Anyway, I wasn't there for railfanning, so I shot the elevator and got out of Happy Rock.
|Shark's Teeth - buy this print|
|Come Into the Light - buy this print|
I really enjoyed this elevator. It's beautiful and the light was just great. The only problem were the many, many black flies. Guess who forgot their bug spray? I was wearing a hoodie in the selfie below for the flies, not the temperature!
|Helston Grain Elevator Selfie|
|Arden grain elevator|
On to part 2!