This past Sunday, I was shooting in this train yard on US-23 - and WOW, it was frigid. I had on my Burton AK first layer pieces, a t-shirt, jeans, a super-warm fleece, and a pretty heavy down jacket, a scarf, a beanie, and gloves, and I was still freezing - especially after a couple hours out in it. I looked like the Michelin Man, but the wind was biting, and each gust felt like a knife slicing across the little bit of my skin that was exposed. After being out for so long, my winter gear was losing some of its effectiveness; I mean, I wasn’t going to freeze to death, but the cold had sort of seeped through all the seams and settled into my stomach. Overall, I was getting pretty discouraged - the sky was slate gray (which always bums me out), and the landscape was all brown and white. That’s it. No other colors to speak of in my world that day, except for the paint and the rust on the trains.
I had been walking up the tracks, meandering toward an old beam bridge that’s still in use by the railroad, and I was thinking about how I was going to frame it. The bridge had caught my eye months before, and I had been drawn to it since then, so I was planning on making that the last shot of the day. (I was hoping, I suppose, that I’d get at least one good shot out of the whole ordeal.)
I heard a train whistle behind me when I still had about 200 yards of gravel, beams, and track between me and the spot I was planning to shoot from. After a moment’s hesitation (in which I considered my freezing joints, the bulkiness of my full winter battle regalia, the ankle-breaking potential of the gravel in front of me, and the pain that gasping ultra-cold air was definitely going to cause me), I sprinted the whole 200 yards to the bridge. (There is no way it didn’t look totally hilarious - there’s the Michelin Man factor to consider, and the pace of my “full sprint” in all those layers probably ended up closer to something like a brisk jog.)
I did make it to the trestle before the train did, and even got set up before the train arrived, but I flubbed the shot I really wanted (the engine going through the entrance to the bridge). I was shooting on aperture-priority mode, and had the aperture set pretty wide, so the shutter speed was too fast to capture any sense of motion - the shot I did get of the engine made it appear stationary. But once I got all that figured out and corrected, I did get a few shots of the remainder of the train - and happily, got a couple that I thought were worth keeping.
This was my favorite photo from the shots I did get, and was definitely my favorite shot of the day.