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Departing On Track One

Posted by
Stephen Phillips (San Francisco, United States) on 14 March 2011 in Transportation and Portfolio.

The 6:19 PM Capitol Corridors Train departing Martinez right on time - bound for the State Capitol in Sacramento.

This was quite a show insofar as a photographer watching this from her car would have had a good laugh. I loved the set-up along Track One. I had positioned the tripod perfectly to catch the old and unused passenger station, the crossroad, the blossoms in the trees, and the overhead rail signals. The problem was that the train was signaling that it was rolling out and I had just discovered that there were raindrops all over the lens filter glass. A test image revealed blurs and lots of droplet stars across the whole image. Yikes.

So here I stand pulling lens tissues and cloth out of my pockets, madly wiping the glass as the rain increases and the train starts to move. I am stuffing the wipes in my pockets while I recheck the focus and framing and calculate the precise moment to start the exposure - click.

The train reaches my position and still isn't going very fast - perhaps 10 miles-per-hour - but I am close enough to the track that the wind-wall knocks my hat off . It blows up into the rainy darkness and I find myself leaning forward and catching it (!) while still keeping my left hand up to the eye-piece to keep the bright lights out of the finder. I must have been a picture myself.

It was worth every wet moment.

Canon 5D mark II w/Canon16-35mm f/2.8 'L' series lens: ISO 50 - at 21mm - f/14 - 30.0 seconds

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© copyright 2018 by Stephen Phillips Photography / Oakland, California /
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Kenny from Eastsound, United States

Sounds like quite an adventure but well worth the effort. The reflection is remarkable.

14 Mar 2011 6:02am

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

I like he story behind this beautiful photo, really funny! Fantastic, Stephen!

14 Mar 2011 7:01am

JPS from Le Havre, France

All aboard !!!

14 Mar 2011 9:45am

Marie LC from Entre montagnes et Bretagne, France

Je suis vraiment fan de cette série !

14 Mar 2011 10:41am

Evelyne Dubos from Le Mans, France

Like the ghost effect on the train... :-)
Like the yesterday one a lot also, colors & reflections of light on the wet ground are very attractive.

14 Mar 2011 11:15am

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

Sounds like you had HUGE fun, great result to, an absolute WOW to be exact!

14 Mar 2011 1:05pm

Jason Politte from Conway, AR, United States

Funny story - nice shot!

14 Mar 2011 1:12pm

BBM from Sussex, United Kingdom

Lovely capture of the train and composition !!

14 Mar 2011 2:06pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

This is something that would happen to me, Stephen! I can certainly relate to your tribulations! As it turns out, this is a fantastic image! Congratulations and VERY well done, sir....despite all the issues ;-)

14 Mar 2011 2:55pm

@Denny Jump Photo: I can tell you are a kindred spirit in these matters. All of these panic-induced last-second calculations and acrobatics just add to the spice of doing what we do.

Stephen from Canberra, Australia

Fantastic and unreal! The wet platform gives a great result here.

14 Mar 2011 3:38pm

Olivier from Manage, Belgium

EXCELLENT slow capture..

14 Mar 2011 7:09pm

Franz from Baden, Austria

indeed it was - worth every moment and all the trials and tribulations! what an excellent and utterly appealing image this is! the light management is wonderful, the reflections on the wet ground are superb, and the idea of motion conveyed by the train is magnificent! very well done indeed!

14 Mar 2011 7:31pm

Stefan from Thiersee, Austria


14 Mar 2011 8:25pm

Tinx from Kuressaare, Estonia

Good story and great shot!

14 Mar 2011 8:55pm

¨‘°ºO Dutçh Oº°‘¨ from Neverwhere, United States

This is fantastic! The movement is just perfect making the left side like a wall of reflective glass!

14 Mar 2011 10:13pm

Anthony Morgan Lambert from Bielefeld(old West Wales boy), Germany

I bet the wind was whipping around your ears as this train flew by.great pov and a super shot all round.

15 Mar 2011 12:04pm

Ann Baldwin from Vallejo, United States

Hilarious account of your process - never read anything like that in one of those 'how-to' magazines. But look at the end-product - superb!

15 Mar 2011 3:48pm