Tuesday, December 06, 2016

2016's CP Holiday Train

2015's Holiday Train
I wanted to shoot the CP Holiday Train this year, as I did in 2011 and 2014 and 2015. However, I didn't want to shoot it at the same ol' location, so I elected to get it a little east of Winnipeg as it approached our fair city.

After a bit of Google Maps scouting, I decided on the Deacon Road crossing just east of the Winnipeg Floodway. This crossing has two roads paralleling the tracks right next to it, providing a handy place to park off the road, and wide open spaces to see the train.

I wasn't the only one with that idea, as there were already a few cars parked nearby. Fortunately a large field of view was available and I took it. I set my tripod up and took a few test shots.

If you've ever tried night photography, the hardest part is getting the focus right. Fortunately there were some signals next to the road crossing that could be used for reference.

Once I was happy with the focus, I played around a bit with shutter speeds and aperture. I had the camera in full manual - exposure, shutter speed, ISO and focus - and settled on a 30 second shutter speed at f/7.1 and ISO 200.

After that, all I had to do was wait. And wait. The train was late!

Fortunately I was able to sit in my warm car and listen to podcasts. I left the camera outside on the tripod, chillin' in the -7 C temperature. I was a bit concerned about the battery but I figured I could swap it out for my spare if it started to blink.

Eventually a glow was visible on the horizon... it was train time! I fired up the camera and the battery light was blinking, so I opened the passenger door and fetched the camera bag to get the spare battery. Spare.. spare.. where is that spare battery?!

No spare battery.

Train approaching.

What to do?

I popped the camera off the tripod, took the battery out, palmed it and shoved my hand in my pants pocket to warm it up. I was careful not to jostle the lens and change the focus or zoom.

I watched nervously as the train came closer.. closer.. then popped the battery back in, slammed the camera back onto the tripod and powered it up. It would have to do!

iPhone out in my left hand, I waited for the right moment. As the train split the signals, I hit the shutter button and the "record" on my iPhone and watched the train roll on by.

This was the result.

Holiday Train Streak
It was a bit more exposed than I would have liked. If I could go back I would try 15 seconds instead, but I still like it.

An hour of waiting for 30 seconds of train... sounds about right!

Oh, here's the video I took:

See the Train

The train is all about raising money, food and awareness for local food banks and food shelves. Bring a non-perishable item along and enjoy the show!

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Jenn said...

Nice! It was too darn cold in Alberta for me to go see the Holiday Train this year. Enjoyed your photos of it.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, Jenn! Some years are better than others. We were fortunate to have nice weather for the beginning of December.