Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure: Catching up!

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July 22

Union Pacific distributed power unitA Union Pacific distributed power unit pushes the rear of a westbound coal train on the Adams line in Merton, Wis. Canon EOS 30D, 7/8/2011, 1/1250 sec, f/8, ISO 250, 141mm. Drew Halverson photo

What I like:

The black-and-white treatment. This motif isolates the gleaming rails, the locomotive's silhouette, and its exhaust.

What I don't like: 

Those "lovely" high tension wires adjacent to the Adams line for miles.

What I learned: 

When the train rolls past, photograph the DPUs, as they're an important part of modern-day railroading.

July 23

Canadian Pacific No. 9671 in MilwaukeeSpewing smoke as it crosses Pittsburgh Street in downtown Milwaukee, Canadian Pacific No. 9671 moves south toward Chicago. Canon EOS 30D, 7/23/2011, f/7.1, ISO 160, 124mm. Drew Halverson photo

What I like: 

This photo is my favorite from the weekend. This location is ideal to photograph with relatively little street traffic, yet it provides a great cityscape.

What I don't like: 

At first, I wasn't happy with the cars at the intersection, but now they've grown on me. They help bring the scene together I think.

What I learned: 

Downtown Milwaukee has a lot to offer photographers. Be adventuresome and try new locations.

July 24

Amtrak Empire Builder in MilwaukeeAmtrak Empire Builder leaves Milwaukee and heads west with train No. 7. Canon EOS 30D, 7/23/2011, 1/1250 sec, f/7.1, ISO 125, 161mm. Drew Halverson photo

What I like: 

Another new perspective. Believe me, I'm finding it difficult to find new locations, but this one has potential.

What I don't like: 

Inadequate lighting. However, I'll come back another time.

What I learned: 

This view is from the top of a dirt pile near Canal Street, just outside of Falk. This prime spot would offer nice side lighting in late winter.

July 25

Canadian National SD40sTwo zebra-striped, wide-nosed Canadian National SD40s roll north at Sussex, Wis. Canon EOS 30D, 7/24/11, 1/640 sec/ f/7.1, ISO 200, 18mm. Drew Halverson photo

What I like: 

The rare lashup. Getting two of these classic pieces of power on a road freight these days is hard to come by. I owe my buddy Kenny O. for the heads up!

What I don't like: 

My vantage point and lens choice. I should have used my telephoto lens and zoomed in on the spot where the sun crosses the tracks (two cars back from locomotives). Then, I would've had the two "zebras" lit up nicely, as apposed to being buried in shadow.

What I learned: 

Sometimes I make mistakes. Next time, I'll be better prepared and ready for anything. Overall, this photo is still a cool catch.

Galleries: 

Flickr: "Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure, 2011"
Facebook: Trains Magazine Facebook Page

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  • To use your label, Drew, "CP in the City" is the strongest photo of the bunch. And, again, what you indicated that you don't like about this photo is exactly what I do like. Freight trains running through cities never cease to reel me in, and the fact that it's on a bridge is even better. The photo is well composed, and the colors are vibrant. One criticism: I would have preferred a little less foreground and a tad more sky. So, dude, were you standing in the middle of the street? I so would have honked my horn and yelled, "Another railfan makin' me late for work!" LOL :o)

  • If I remember this part of the South Side correctly, there's not much traffic on Pittsburgh west of Second.

  • Drew, four great shots each with a separate composition and style.

     First shot - I love the black and white coloring, I love the symmetry of the photo.  The crossing rails perpendicular to the rest of the scene are a nice touch.  Yes the high voltage lines do disrupt the symmetry of the photo but they also give this an additiional "oomph" of power and might and industrial strength.  The wiring stands out but does not disrupt the shot.  

     Second shot - The perpendicularity of the CP power is wonderful.  The red of the locomotive contrasts nicely with the rest of the scene enhancing the "intrusion" of the locomotive on the scene.  I especially like the red contrasting with the two greens of the traffic signals!  The locomotive and bridge seem to be floating in defiance of gravity .. a really nice contrasting and almost fantasy like placement of the locomotive in the street scene.

     Third shot - Lovely combination of one of my recurring favorite themes, straights and curves.  The scene seems to flow through the shot as if the train is in motion in a still photograph.  The Amtrak blue blends nicely with the sky and the Amtrak grey even more nicely blends with the bridge girders and railings and the foreground clay roadway.  A very smooth and soothing photograph.

     Fourth shot - What grabs me here is the the trackage and train almost seem to be an intrusion on the otherwise green scene.  This is one train photo where believe it or not, to this railfan at least, the railroad does not enhance the countryside.  Perhaps it is the angle or the shadows but instead of blending with the scenery the railway seems to be a big gash across the coutryside.  The background clouds, the grimy engines, and the retreating sunlight of the day all gang up to give this a "gritty" texture.  Still - it is what it is!

     You're doing a great job and I am having a lot of fun following your adventure.  You're in the home stretch now and the finish line is in sight!

  • Thanks for the comments everyone and thank you for following along. This "CP in the City" shot is one of my favorites from the whole month, due to many of the great points made above!

    And true SHK, this west side of 2nd St. is pretty low key in terms of traffic.

  • Drew,

    I too used to hate trying to get around power lines, but just like the DPU being part of railroading, so are multiple uses for the ROWs that trains utilize. Capturing that is not all bad. Just be glad the underground stuff doesn't show up in photos!!!

  • I was going to suggest going to the south side and shooting fron First street, perhaps just south of National, where the tracks curve to the west from the Wash; however, I see that you have already explored that area.

    Another one to try is from the road that passes under 794 just south of Summerfest grounds, along the water inlet. Looking back towards AB, there is a brief opening in the clutter to catch the trains as the pass thru. If you check my Flickr page, you will see a poor atempt.

Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure: Catching up!