Posts Tagged ‘Late day light photographs’

Light Power Move in Greenwich

March 28, 2021

There is something about late day or early morning light. It’s warm and if you can find a train during the golden hour chances are you’ll have yourself a good if not great photograph.

I don’t know that I’d describe this as a great photo but I do like the late day winter light.

This was our last catch on a day spent chasing CSX trains on the New Castle and Willard Terminal subdivisions.

It’s a light power move headed westward in Greenwich, perhaps back to Willard Yard.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Still Standing

January 15, 2021

Over the years I photographed CSX trains passing beneath this signal bridge at the far west end of the yard in Ashtabula.

But with the conversion to positive train control, CSX like many Class 1 railroads, decided to replace many older signals on busy main lines with newer signals.

In some instances, the new signals were in a different location than the signals they replaced.

Such was the case in Ashtabula. As you can see, the new signals are closer to the yard itself.

This image was made near sunset on a very cold January day in 2018. I was hoping to get a westbound coming into that late day light but had no such luck.

But it made for a nice image anyway. I haven’t been back to this location since making this image so I don’t know if this old signal bridge that dates to the New York Central years is still standing or has been removed.

Light, Shadows and Fall Foliage in Ravenna

July 9, 2020

I ran across this slide as part of my search for the past campaign yesterday. It was a hot and humid day so I had an incentive to stay inside in the air conditioned comfort to look at old slides.

The date of this image is Oct. 28, 2005. The Akron Railroad Club met that night and it would be the penultimate meeting we had at the carriage house of the Perkins Mansion of the Summit County Historical Society.

Ed Ribinskas probably was with me when I made this image. It was late in the day and the light was warm as it typically is in late October.

Shown is a westbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight rounding the curve in Ravenna on the Cleveland Line.

The fall foliage is past its peak but there is still plenty of color left in those trees to make for a pleasing image.

Although I had forgotten about this particular photograph, I had not forgotten about this outing because of a dramatic image I made on the CSX New Castle Subdivision in Ravenna after I got this photo on NS.

As the sunlight was about to drop out of sight, a westbound train showed up at just the right moment.

Using a Baltimore & Ohio color position light signal and a block limit sign as props, I made what I still consider one of my best late day light photographs.

No wonder that I had forgotten about getting anything on NS.

It would turn out that that 2005 outing in Ravenna would be one of the few times I would photograph there before an ARRC meeting.

We explored other locations and finally settled on watching trains most of the time before ARRC meetings in Bedford.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Day

December 26, 2017

A westbound NS coal train passes the former New York Central passenger station in Olmsted Falls in early evening last August.

Nothing is finer in Olmsted Falls than to be there in early evening on a summer evening. The golden hour light makes everything seem to be a little brighter.

Summer is not the only season during which you can find warm light bathing westbound trains in the Falls.

Some of the images in this gallery were made in autumn and one was made in winter.

Late day light comes earlier in October. Shown is NS train 287.

It was really late when this auto rack train showed up.

A westbound coke train. That is Marty Surdyk waiting for the train at the crossing in his Jeep.

Autumn late day light illuminates the westbound 17N.

Traces of what turned out to be the last significant snow fall of the winter of 2016-2017 still hangs on in shady areas.


Where Was a Westbound When I Needed it?

November 29, 2017

Photographers crave late day light. It casts a golden glow and hence the hour before sunset is often called the golden hour.

Although the golden hour can be found all year around, we are now in a time when there is also a low sun angle as we move toward the December solstice, which this year will occur on Dec. 21.

On a recent walk on the Portage Hike and Bike trail I took my camera in the hopes that CSX would send a train my way when I reached the portion of the trail that runs alongside the CSX New Castle Subdivision just north of Kent.

The light was, indeed, very sweet, and it favored a westbound.

I sat on a bench and waited. It took awhile before I heard what sounded like a CSX locomotive horn. Alas, the sound was coming from town, which suggested an eastbound.

I got into position and sure enough the sound of the locomotives of an approaching train confirmed that I was about to get an eastbound, which turned out to be the Q016.

That is a stack train that runs from Chicago to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and usually passes through Northeast Ohio in daylight hours.

On this particular day, though, it had more bare tables than containers.

I made an image of the last bare table going away and was pleased, overall, with the results.

It was nearly 4 p.m. and I knew that only about an hour of daylight was left and even less time for that light to illuminate a westbound.

I found an open location that was high above the tracks and waited.

I didn’t have my scanner with me so I would have to hope to hear an approaching train in time to be ready to photograph it.

That would be a challenge because across the tracks a worker was doing some work at the Standing Rock Cemetery that involved the use of a loud power tool.

As luck would have it, the worker quit for the day just after 4.

I was hoping to get the Q015, the westbound counterpart to the Q016. I’ve seen it in late afternoon passing through Kent.

The minutes continued to tick by and the sun continued to move. I noticed that it was slowly edging out onto the tracks.

Even if I got a westbound there would be little, if any, light on the side of the train. It would be all nose light.

I was fine with that because that can create an interesting effect of light and shadows.

It was getting to be 4:30 and the temperature was becoming noticeably colder. The wind had an increasing bite to it.

As my “drop dead” time approached, I decided to admit defeat and begin the mile-long walk back to my car.

The trail veers away from the CSX tracks and into a grove of trees. Then the former Erie Railroad mainline comes back alongside the trail to the right.

If a CSX train were to pass I’d be able to hear it but not see it. Yet all I heard was the wind.

I paused on the bridge that carries the trail over the double-track CSX New Castle Sub.

The intermediate signals that the crews refer to as “Davey Tree” were dark. They are approach lighted so nothing was imminent.

I didn’t go home empty handed. I had the going away image of the Q016 and I had the top image of the tracks and my long shadow to remind me that some days all you get is air over the rails.

The Last Train of the Day

October 15, 2016




One in a periodic series of images I made last summer.

Any all-day summer railfan outing ultimately gets down to the last train of the day. If you’ve spent all day trackside you are working toward the golden light hour when a westbound will be running  into that low-angle warm light that photographers crave.

It may be that the most interesting train  you saw all day came through around noon under high sun conditions with its corresponding harsh light. That might have been the train with the double Norfolk Southern heritage unit duo or a rare foreign unit, say a Kansas City Southern Belle or a Ferromex unit on the lead.

Maybe that last train of the day had yet another ho hum dash 9 wide cab of which  you’ve already seen a dozen today. But no matter what its consist might be that last train of the day has the best light.

You are looking at a three-shot sequence of a westbound Norfolk Southern intermodal train at Olmsted Falls that I made last July.

The sequence took advantage of the three general ways that you can capture something with a general purpose walking around zoom lens with a rated focal length range of 18 to 135 millimeters.

The opening shot was made with the zoom all the way out. The image features a quality that of late I’ve come to appreciate in photography, the interplay of shadows and light.

Contrast creates tension and thus interest in a photograph and that is the case here with part of the locomotive in shadow and part of it in sweet light.

The middle image is the obligatory “get the train by the depot shot.” It’s a medium shot at 47 mm.

In this case, though, the station is uniformly lighted. There is still a touch of light and shadows on the train to provide some some contrast.

The wide angle bottom image of the set provides visual evidence that I had not been paying attention to my camera settings. Look at the number board of NS C44-9W No. 9681 and you’ll notice that it is soft.

That’s because I had my camera in aperture priority mode rather than shooting at a high shutter speed, which is my standard procedure when photographing moving trains on a mainline. For the record the aperture setting is f8. You know, “f8 and be there.” Well, there I was.

This image was made at 1/200th of a second, which wasn’t enough to freeze an intermodal train with a clear straight track ahead of it.

But sometimes a little blur doesn’t matter that much. That is my shadow on the right covering the Berea siding while the shadow on the left belongs to Marty Surdyk. I could not make this image the way I wanted to make it without getting our shadows.

This image was made at 8:08 p.m. It was time to head home and for some dinner and to celebrate the good fortune of getting a westbound during the time of day when I really wanted one.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Golden Glow Envelops Downtown Cleveland

November 10, 2014



Although last Friday was a day of solid overcast along with being cold and blustery, the sun made a brief appearance just before it set.

The low light cast a golden glow on downtown Cleveland. Now all I needed was a train.

A westbound empty tanker was passing over Bridge 1 and the question was would it make it up the hill before the sun disappeared.

It did, and its standard cab EMD was reflecting the nearly horizontal sun. too. The clouds behind the city took on an ominous look, a taste of the winter skies we will soon be seeing along the shores of Lake Erie.

In the second photo the train is just banking onto the new shoofly track around the West 73rd Street bridge construction. Note the “old” main stubs in the foreground.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

My Last Train at Joliet Union Station

October 5, 2014

Metra Rock Island District train passes the tower as it pulls into Joliet station. That signal will be replaced.

Metra Rock Island District train passes the tower as it pulls into Joliet station. That signal will be replaced.

At the tail end of a week out west I stopped in Joliet, Ill., for the last light of the day on a Sunday evening.

The new station cutover was imminent, so I stopped for one last Rock Island Line Metra train before heading on east for the night.

Some Internet reports had stated that this particular day was to be the last for the original Joliet station, but construction delays postponed it another week.

Regardless, it would be my last opportunity to photograph a Metra train on the ex-Rock Island tracks at the old station.

Those passenger trains will no longer cross the diamonds and stop at the old station. The new station was constructed so the Metra trains would stop short of the diamonds with the busy freight railroads.

Amtrak will also vacate Joliet Union Station and do its station work on the ball field side of the tracks. The old station will not be torn down, but its days as a passenger station are over.

Even though it had been overcast most of the afternoon, the sun made a late day appearance for my “last train.”

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

Pulling up to do its passenger work.

Pulling up to do its passenger work.

Another platform view.

Another platform view.

View of the station platform area.

View of the station platform area.

Stainless steel and station lights.

Stainless steel and station lights.

CVSR trains are not the only ones that cater to bikers.

Real life on the left, modern art reflections on the right. CVSR trains are not the only ones that cater to bikers.

Joliet station canopy reflected in the windows of a Metra coach.

Joliet station canopy reflected in the windows of a Metra coach.

These stairs no longer lead "to trains."

These stairs no longer lead “to trains.”

The conductor observes his train as departure time draws near.

The conductor observes his train as departure time draws near.