|NYS&W; Susquehanna, Penn.; August 30, 2012|
Since I was heading up to the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in Old Forge, N.Y., for an event, I decided to do some night photography on the way, pausing at Susquehanna and also along the former Delaware & Hudson at Harpursville, N.Y., on the night of August 30, 2012. It had been a few years since I had been to Susquehanna, but I found the dirt road back to the coaling tower in the last light of the day, and by 8:00 I was set up waiting for the train.
At this point I only knew the departure time for the train -- 7:30 from Binghamton -- and since I wasn't that far out of Bingo I was ready for the train to get to me almost anytime after 8:00. But 8:00 came and went, then 8:30, then 9:00. I broke out my iPhone and started looking through old messages on the NYS&W Yahoo! group to try to see if there was any info on when the freight ran. Past messages said the train went through Callicoon, a bit farther to the east, usually around 10:15, but at 10:00 I was getting antsy. Maybe the train wasn't running tonight...
I composed a message to post to the group to see if anyone had any info on the train's departure, but just as I was ready to hit "send" I heard horns at 10:35. I got the strobes ready and lined up the shot. The train's lights came out from under the coaling tower, temporarily disorienting me (I lost the right edge of my frame) so I pushed the trigger. Poof! Everything lit up for one 400th of a second and it was done.
This shot has a few problems. First, the focus is soft. That needs to be corrected. Second, this is a cropped version of the photo -- I pushed the trigger too early when I panicked. Next time I'm going to put the camera on a tripod and watch the train directly (not through the viewfinder). Also, this was the first time I was using my new/used Nikon D7000, and this kind of shot is not the time to be experimenting with unfamiliar equipment.
A photographer friend, Pete Lerro, has given me hints for better night focusing, and I'm eager to get back and try these shots again. All it takes is giving up some sleep.