Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Four Days in April, Part 3

Prairie sunset
In a span of about a week in April, I made a point of getting out and photographing trains. I ended up shooting trains on April 14, 16, 17, 18 and 19, and I am going to share each outing in a separate post.

Tuesday, April 17th

On Tuesday evening, after washing the dishes and other post-supper activities, I decided to try some sunset rail photography. I headed out to a familiar location, CN Diamond just west of Winnipeg. Here the two-track CN Rivers subdivision provides plenty of rail action.

First up was an eastbound train, led by CN 2167, 2629 and 5413. It's a little harder to photograph eastbound trains at sunset because you're shooting into the sun. I positioned myself on the north side of the track to capture the "glint" / side light on the train.

Let's try black and white
"Glint" shots lend themselves well to black and white photography, because they tend to lose a lot of colour compared to a photo with the sun behind the photographer. I wish I hadn't shot at that particular moment with the shrub obscuring the pilot on the locomotive, but it'll have to do.

I took video of that train.

After that train passed, I decided to head west along the tracks to see if another train was following this one. Sure enough, there was CN 8019 dragging a long string of containers behind it.
CN 8019 under that big prairie sky
I processed this one pretty heavily to bring out the sky and foreground. Is anyone interested in seeing my editing process? Leave a comment!

I had stopped by a pile of old ties to incorporate them into the photo. I thought they might add some interest... I'm not sure if it was really successful. I did a little pan as the locomotive went by, then hit the road to get the train again.
8 blank 19
As I chased them toward Diamond, I saw the headlights of a westbound freight coming on the south track. There was no way I was going to catch the meet of the head end locomotives, but I decided to catch as much as I could. I set up my video camera and started recording the eastbound intermodal train, and waited for the westbound to arrive.

As the westbound came up to me, things happened very fast.

First, CN 2272 and its reflection.
CN 2272 on the move
Next, the tail end of the intermodal train, CN 8010, was coming up. I looked at the two trains and did a little sprint to get in position to catch both locomotives, side by side.

I hoped for the best, and fired off a 5 shot burst.

Number 4 was the winner.
Side by side
I'm quite happy with that shot!

If you're interested, here are the 5 photos of the burst in a row. Click on the image to embiggen it.
5 shot burst
I spun to the left to capture the 3 locomotives of CN 2272 West.
CN 4797 and friends
It was interesting to see a Geep on a mainline train. I guess it was being transferred to a yard somewhere to the west.

Here's the video I took.

Once the two trains were gone, I decided to head home. I drove along Wilkes Avenue and found myself overtaking CN 8019 East... again! I decided to grab it one more time.
Silhouette of CN 8019

It was starting to get dark... but as CN 8019 passed, I noticed a green signal at Carman Junction facing east.

You always have time for one more train!

I decided to wait at Carman Junction aka Fairmont Road.

I changed my camera settings to ISO 800, f/2.8 and 1/400s shutter speed. I had to push the ISO a bit, and close up the aperture, to compensate for the low light and still have a decent shutter speed.

After less than 10 minutes, CN 3047 West came rolling along with an oil train behind it... and an interesting second unit!
CN 3047 West
I panned to capture the second unit, CREX 1510, as they passed by me.
CREX 1510 passing Carman Junction
A fine looking unit!

I hopped back in my car and headed west toward the Perimeter. I thought I might catch them from the side of the road before I got on the Perimeter Highway and headed home. I did catch up to them but the shots weren't remarkable, although I did like this photo of the tail end buffer car (Wisconsin Central 84934) against the sunset sky.

Oil train buffer car
Soon I will write a blog post about those buffer cars...

So that was it for my April 17 railfanning. We still have April 18 and 19 to go!


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