Lightning, the CP and a blast furnace in the rain


My final outing on my New Jersey business trip (part onepart two) brought me once again into the Keystone State.  But this time things didn’t go as smoothly, train wise.  But overall, I think it worked out rather well, despite not catching a single train moving in my 3 or so hours in the field.

Despite the forecast of showers and thunderstorms, I figured another ride over to Macungie was in order.  I wanted to further refine the shot I did in my last visit there with the flowers in the frame.  So I grabbed a quick bite to eat, and headed west on I-78 again.

90 minutes or so later I arrived in the parking lot at the Macungie pavilion.  And there I sat, listening to the only thing on the scanner – the Allentown yard operations.  Everything on the road was silent.

As the night wore on, the skies grew darker – not just from the setting sun, but from thunderstorms that were rolling in.  A check of the radar on my phone showed a rather vigorous line of storms approaching from the west, but that the bulk of them would pass to the south of Macungie.  Still there were a few good sized cells on a path for my location.  And the lightning was getting brighter in the skies.

As the storms approached, I got a pretty stupid idea – head west to Alburtis and try to photograph the lightning over the cornfields along the Reading Line.  What the hell, the storms were still a little ways off, so I figured it was worth a shot.

I got to the crossing in Alburtis, and broke out the camera and tripod.  I was greeted by a light show to the west, and managed to get a few decent shots (not great) of the approaching storms.

Lightning strikes in the distance, with the NS Reading Line in the foreground
Lightning strikes in the distance, with the NS Reading Line in the foreground
REF#:02-20110914-420204365-_MG_3107.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:14 21:01:57
Aperturef/6.3
Exposure Time57.000 s (57/1)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Lightning strikes in the distance, with the NS Reading Line in the foreground

 
A lightning bolt in the distance, as viewed from Alburtis, PA
A lightning bolt in the distance, as viewed from Alburtis, PA
REF#:03-20110914-420204365-_MG_3109.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:14 21:05:07
Aperturef/6.3
Exposure Time51.000 s (51/1)
Focal Length (mm)26.00 (26/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
A lightning bolt in the distance, as viewed from Alburtis, PA

 
Lightning streaks over a signal bungalow on the NS Reading Line in Alburtis, PA
Lightning streaks over a signal bungalow on the NS Reading Line in Alburtis, PA
REF#:06-20110914-420204365-_MG_3119.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:14 21:17:00
Aperturef/6.3
Exposure Time82.000 s (82/1)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Lightning streaks over a signal bungalow on the NS Reading Line in Alburtis, PA

Then the lightning was getting a bit too close.  So instead of trying to become a human lightning rod, I packed up and headed back east.

Just after I got in the car, the skies opened up into a downpour.  I stopped in Macungie again, and heard a 68Q (westbound empty ethanol) approaching, but skipped it due to the hazardous weather.  And beacause of that weather, I decided to get back on I-78 and continue back to the hotel for the evening.

But as I was travelling down the highway, the rain let up as I approached Bethlehem, and I remembered a post on one of the Yahoo groups about some power laying over in the yard there due to an earlier derailment.  Hmmm, maybe a stop would be in order, especially since the rain was letting up.

I made my way down to the yard along the Lehigh River and found a pair of locomotives – most notably a Canadian Pacific SD-40-2.  But one little kink in the works – just as I got there, the skies opened up!

Not one to be discouraged by a little rain (and lightning), I broke out the wide angle and tripod and got this shot

CP train 257s power sits quietly in the pouring rain of Bethlehem, PA
CP train 257s power sits quietly in the pouring rain of Bethlehem, PA
REF#:07-20110914-420204365-_MG_3128.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:14 22:11:31
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time12.000 s (12/1)
Focal Length (mm)33.00 (33/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery
CP train 257s power sits quietly in the pouring rain of Bethlehem, PA

OK, not too bad, but I looked and the former Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces were lit up nicely in the pouring rain.  So I went back to the car, swapped the wide angle for the telephoto, and got a shot of the pair of EMDs as the furnaces glowed in the background

CP train 257s power sits quietly in the pouring rain of Bethlehem, PA
CP train 257s power sits quietly in the pouring rain of Bethlehem, PA
REF#:08-20110914-420204365-_MG_3131.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:14 22:14:42
Aperturef/7.1
Exposure Time 7.000 s (7/1)
Focal Length (mm)77.00 (77/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery
CP train 257s power sits quietly in the pouring rain of Bethlehem, PA

Then the lights in the adjacent parking lot went dark, giving things a little different mood.  So I got a shot of that

CP train 257s power sits quietly in the pouring rain of Bethlehem, PA, this time with no overhead lighting from the nearby parking lot
CP train 257s power sits quietly in the pouring rain of Bethlehem, PA, this time with no overhead lighting from the nearby parking lot
REF#:09-20110914-420204365-_MG_3134.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:14 22:16:52
Aperturef/10.0
Exposure Time41.000 s (41/1)
Focal Length (mm)70.00 (70/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery
CP train 257s power sits quietly in the pouring rain of Bethlehem, PA, this time with no overhead lighting from the nearby parking lot

The one thing I don’t like about that one is the waving weed in the foreground…should have chopped that one down…  Oh, well.

By that time both the camera and I were soaked, so I retreated back to the car to dry off.  Of course the camera got the dry towel first – I’ll react much better to the water than electronics will.  With the gear, and me, dry, it was back on to the interstate, and off to the hotel for the night.  Not a bad way to wrap up my visit to the area.

Thanks for looking!
Tom

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