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Art Deco steam engine in action
Posted By: Ian Tokeo, 10-20-2009, 09:28 AM

I took this photo of Southern Pacific No. 4449 yesterday as it passed through my town in Montana. The train is maintained by a volunteer group of railroad enthusiasts in Portland, Ore., and went to Michigan this summer for a train festival. It was making its way back to Portland when I shot this.

I knew the train was coming and had time to plan on where I was going to set up to shoot. I waited about 90 minutes in the cold morning fog for the train to show up. It must have been running behind schedule because it didn't slow down much, if at all, as it went through town. I'd guess it was going 50mph or so as it passed me. I knew I only had the opportunity for one good shot (and several bad ones), and I'm happy with what I got. I managed to frame it just about like I had hoped. The photo here is the full frame out of the camera.

Shot with K20d @ ISO 800, Sigma 24-60mm @ 24mm, f/8, 1/250.

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10-20-2009, 09:43 AM   #2
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Now that is one sweet lookin' piece of railroad history... The shot is perfect! Well done.

10-20-2009, 09:51 AM   #3
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Very impressive shot - really sharp, detailed and great color.
10-20-2009, 10:23 AM   #4
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Fantastic shot! I would shop that around the stock photo sites.......

10-20-2009, 10:29 AM   #5
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Very well shot, and the mist/steam makes for fantastic atmosphere. Did you pan a bit?
10-20-2009, 10:30 AM   #6
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That is very nice... great image!
10-20-2009, 11:22 AM   #7
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Thanks for the kind words. I was happy that I got pretty much the effect I was looking for, and that the composition was about what I had planned, considering the speed that the train was moving. I was standing on an embankment at the base of an old bridge (now closed to vehicular traffic but open to pedestrians) across the river and shot the train just before it went under the bridge. I shot a few pictures as the train was approaching, more or less straight-on down the tracks - nothing special, but that wasn't the shot I was looking for - and then concentrated on getting the timing right for the shot I had in mind, knowing I really only had one chance. To answer Nesster's question, there was some panning involved, but the angles were complicated, and it happened pretty fast. Below is one of the shots taken as the train was approaching (it's crossing a little bridge over a creek that flows into the river) and the very next exposure taken after the keeper shot above. I was definitely panning fast on this one. The sign (I can't quite make out what it says ... ) is on one of the bridge supports.
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10-20-2009, 11:39 AM   #8
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You really nailed it, great shot. The fog and steam make it look like it appeared out of nowhere. Beautiful colors on the locomotive.

10-20-2009, 11:56 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ari Quote
Fantastic shot! I would shop that around the stock photo sites.......
Here's the Wiki on the Locomotive SP 4449. Built in 1941 and retired in 1957, it is really quite young as steam locmotives go. It was restored in 1974 in preparation for the 1976 Bicentennial Clebration.

Do you have contacts at Trains Magazine and Railfan and Railroad? Those would be the logical places to start. I understand they still are VERY pciky about EVERY pixel in an image, as if they were loupeing a negative.

Buy a Trains magazine or go to the website of Kalmbach Publishing Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Hobby, craft, leisure time magazines, books, events, shows to research

Buy a Trains magazine or go to the website of Carstens Publcations Carstens Publications, Inc. - Publishers of Railfan, Railroad Model and Flying Models to research

Also consider your local newpaper / Monthly Magazine
10-20-2009, 01:44 PM   #10
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Great shot, good planning, all around just stellar.

10-20-2009, 03:37 PM   #11
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Awesome capture, that first one.
Love the detail and colours.
Even if it's the only one that you could get - it's worth it.
A real winner!
10-20-2009, 03:50 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Also consider your local newpaper / Monthly Magazine
Thanks for the leads on the train magazines. As far as the local newspaper, that part was easy, since I'm the editor. I was feeling a lot of pressure to get this shot, as I was within an hour of my "line in the sand" deadline, beyond which the paper might get bumped from the press. I'd saved a spot at the top of the front page, and had a story already in place, with anecdotes from a local man who remembered riding behind this locomotive a couple of times when he was a kid in California, back in the 1940s. Here's this week's front page so you can see the layout. (By the way, the shot of the pileated woodpecker at the bottom of the page is mine too.)
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10-20-2009, 06:40 PM   #13
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