Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure: Starring Union Pacific, CITX, with special guest Miller Park

Posted by D-Halv
on Monday, July 11, 2011

July 8

Union Pacific No. 7261

Union Pacific No. 7261 leads Weston coal loads through Merton, Wis. Canon EOS 30D, 7/8/2011, 1/1000 sec, f/8, ISO 250, 161mm. Drew Halverson photos

I'm soaking wet right now, after this month's first big storm. And I fell climbing the stairs at work this morning (just thought I add that for a laugh)! Still, the weather this past weekend was really nice, even though, as far as the trains go, it was just "one of those weekends." The lack of timely rail traffic made it extremely challenging to photograph the action, despite the beautiful weather. A lot of $3.94-per-gallon gas was spent with not much payoff in terms of photographs, although Friday proved to be the best day in terms of results.

After leaving work there were a few options on the table, and I eventually opted for Union Pacific's Adams line, which paid off nicely. Saturday and Sunday I concentrated my efforts on Canadian Pacific operations in and around Milwaukee. I will say, though, I am getting to the point where it is becoming difficult to find new perspectives, especially around the city. I know they're there, and I will keep looking. That's what this is all about, after all. Now, let's get to the photos shall we...

What I like:

The grassy hillside visually rolling toward the train and framing the shot along with the sky, along with the symmetry of the coal train. Of course the golden light is to die for!

What I don't like:

Not much. I even like the grass just reaching above the rail. What do you all think?

What I learned:

Hike in and find elevation. This is a location I've shot before, especially with a telephoto lens. So I wanted to see what I could pull off by hiking a hundred yards into the grass and shooting from the hillside. I definitely like the result.


July 9

Union Pacific SD90MACs

At the day's last light, two Union Pacific SD90MACs run elephant-style out of Butler Yard and over Silver Spring Drive. Canon EOS 30D, 7/8/2011, 1/1250 sec, f/10, ISO 250, 114mm.

What I like:

The profiles of these locomotives against the late summer light and the way the streetlight poles direct my eye straight to the lead unit on the bridge.

What I don't like:

All the wires and poles, specifically the middle streetlight that is touching the cab roof of the trailing locomotive. Getting a bit lower for this shot might have prevented that and kept the locomotive under the streetlight.

What I learned:

Always have your camera ready. I had just filled up my gas tank at this location when I heard the distant rumble of MACs. A simple grab and go left me with a shot that at least inspired me to try it again. 


July 10

CITX No. 3081 and sister No. 3055

CITX No. 3081 and sister No. 3055 run past Miller Park in downtown Milwaukee on a sunny Sunday morning. Canon EOS 30D, 7/9/2011, 1/640 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250, 55mm.

What I like:

The first hints of morning sunlight on the nose of the lead SD40-2 and Miller Park rising above in the background. This is new angle for me that just says "Milwaukee."

What I don't like:

The shadows from the 35th Street viaduct  (directly above) stretching onto the side of the locomotive consist.

What I learned:

Know your roads. It seems obvious, but when you're chasing trains you need to know the quickest, safest way to get from point A to point B. I've been driving around Milwaukee for many years but with recent construction and being in search of new locations, every ounce of my "map knowledge" came into play when getting to this location on time. Also of note, this shot was taken on Canadian Pacific property with permission. 


Flickr: "Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure, 2011"
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