Happy New Year everyone! To kick off 2013 I’m posting the final installment of my 2012 Photo Recap. This edition solely contains my night work on the Valley Railroad as they were running their hugely popular North Pole Express trains in the months of November and December. And to celebrate the new year, I’ve selected 13 photos from the various runs to feature in my final recap post.
2012 marked my third year shooting the Valley Railroad at night with synchronized flashes, in addition to some ambient light shots, so I’ve already shot the usual spots along the line a number of times. Folks who are familiar with the line are aware that the number of viable shots is quite limited, and shooting at night with flashes makes some of those difficult at best. With the rails running along bodies of water, finding a spot to place a flash is sometimes problematic. This year I mixed things up by trying out some new ideas along the line – both in the location and lighting departments.
For the lighting, I tried to use more selective lighting, and in one instance completely back-lighting the train, instead of the usual “light up the entire scene evenly” method. And in the locations department I added Pratt Cove in Deep River, as well as the entrance to Essex Station, with No 97 in the frame. The Pratt Cove one, however, is my all-time favorite photo – and one of the more difficult ones to execute. Not from a lighting standpoint, but rather from an equipment limitation view. The remote triggers I use have an effective range of about 400 feet according to the manual – the closest light on the Pratt Cove shot was about 500 feet away, and the most distant closer to 600 feet, and behind the train. And this was one of the locations where placing flashes was problematic because the water is at the edge of the track. But it all worked out – and I learned a couple more things that I’ll be taking advantage of next year. And finally, one photo in particular – Number 12 in the bunch – I had been trying to get for a couple years now. It’s my take on one of Richard Steinheimer’s photos – one he did in the desert of an oncoming train where the headlight and rails traced out a Christmas Tree in the dark. It’s not quite the same, but I’d like to think it pays homage to one of the greats in railroad photography.
Enough with the words – check out the photos below. Let me know what you think of my picks, and like the other editions, prints and merchandise are available – just click the gallery name above the photos to head to the store.
Thanks for looking!
- Behind the Lines A completely backlit Valley Railroad North Pole Express in Chester, CTNow arriving at Santa's Vilage The Valley Railroad's highly popular North Pole Express trains have begun. Here's one on 11/30/2012 pulling into Deep River, CT - otherwise known as the North Pole - to pick up Santa and his elves for the trip. Three flashes iluminate the scene.North Pole Express #2 The Valley Railroad's North Pole Express runs in two sections each night. Here train #2, with Valley veteran No 40 in charge, arrives in Deep River to pick up Santa and his elves for the train ride. Three flashes light up the scene.No 40 at the North Pole Valley Railroad No 40 brings a North Pole Express into the "North Pole" to pick up Santa and his elvesPratt Cove Reflection A Valley Railroad North Pole Express passes by a very calm Pratt Cove in Deep River, CTNow Arriving at the North Pole Santa and Mrs. Claus greet the families as they arrive at the North Pole on the Valley RailroadThe Jolly Old Elf Santa Claus greeting the arriving families at the "North Pole" station in Deep River, CT.Now Arriving at the North Pole Santa and Mrs. Claus greet the families as they arrive at the North Pole on the Valley RailroadPreparing for the Runaround Valley Railroad Mikado No 3025 disconnects from their train as a part of their runaround move for the trip back south to EssexLeaving Essex A Valley Railroad North Pole Express departs Essex station on their way to the North PoleShadows at Chester A Valley Railroad North Pole Express, with Mikado No 3025 in charge, passes milepost 9 in Chester, CTMerry Christmas 2012 My slant on Richard Steinheimer's iconic Christmas Tree photograph. I did mine on the Valley Railroad in Chester, CT as one of the railroad's highly successful North Pole Express trains shoves back to Deep River Landing - otherwise known as the North Pole. I went with a longer exposure to bring out some of the smoke/steam plume in the lights as the train passed by a marina in Chester, also highlighting the branches in the trees. Plus, I stopped down on the lens giving me the starburst on the headlight.Coworkers Veteran Valley Railroad locomotive No 97 sits on the display track in Essex, CT as fellow Valley Veteran No 40 pulls a train of families out of Essex on the North Pole Express.