Being from the Mid-Atlantic states, being able to capture a whole train in one image was something that just didn’t happen. At least with normal sized trains.
One of the things I enjoy about the BNSF ex- Santa Fe Transcon Line in northern Arizona is the ability to catch a whole train in a shot.
Milepost 302 on the BNSF Seligman Subdivision is one of my favorite places to do this. The lighting is perfect for about the last 30 minutes of daylight when the sun is just above the horizon.
You can see a westbound crest the hill just west of the Highway 99 Exit to Leupp (don’t ask me how to pronounce that properly) and photograph it over the course of a couple of miles. The train drops down a slight grade, enters a curve to the left, disappears from sight, and then pops up as it continues to climb towards you. As it nears you, it enters a right-hand curve and if you catch it just right – you’ve got sunlight that’s hitting the train almost perpendicular. This is what is known as “golden light” or “sweet light”.
This is one of the first shots of the series described above. I chose this picture, as it shows just how “big” northern Arizona is. The engines are over four miles away from me. The train itself is over a mile long (don’t ask just how long – I lost my note). The smoke in the distance is from a power plant nearly 40 miles east in St. Joseph City. It’s big country… It’s a long train!
The light couldn’t have been much better, as the sun dropped below the horizon four minutes after the last shot.
While I wish I could have been at this location about 20 years ago when the trains were headed by Santa Fe’s Superfleet power in the classic red and silver “Warbonnet” paint scheme or the blue and yellow “Bluebonnet” scheme, I’ll take it.
Image details: tripod, ISO 800, 1/640 second, 500mm.
There’s much more to add to the BNSF ex-Santa Fe Lines Gallery as slides get scanned and scans and images are processed.
Thanks for visiting. Be sure to check out Laughing Frog Images for help on covering up that blank space on your wall.