Two In Two Days

Tuesday Dec 7th and Wednesday December 8th we had two business car trains in north Texas, one from the BNSF and one from Union Pacific. In yesterday’s blog post I showcased the southbound run of the BNSF train.

Wednesday afternoon a UP special came south down the ex-Katy/MP Fort Worth Sub and I caught it in Haltom City just south of the I820 bridges. The train was on its way to Houston for a “Toys for Tots” event and was led by UP’s Veteran’s unit #1943. Once again the skies were overcast until the last few seconds before the train passed at 4:59 pm just before sunset.

Since this was a deadhead move to Houston there were no observers in the Fox River and the protective shutter was down. After catching the UP special, I drove south to Cleburne with the intention of taking a night photograph of the BNSF business car train which was now returning to Topeka also as a deadhead move. I stopped by the Cleburne Police Department to check in and let them know what I would be doing down by the passenger station.

Needless to say there would be no lucky sun for this shot, so I had to provide my own in the form of six strategically placed radio-controlled flash units. Set up and a few test shots took around 30 minutes.

At 9:21 pm a southbound intermodal train bound for the KCS connection at Robstown rolled by and I used it for a live test subject.

I had a little bit of glare from the scotchlite strips on the locomotives, so I readjusted the angles and positioning of the flashes in hope of eliminating these reflections. While I was so engaged, the southbound intermodal went into the siding at Rio Vista a few miles south to meet a northbound merchandise train and the deadheading business train. The northbound merchandise train passed me at around 9:50 pm and I let it go as I was still making adjustments to my flash units. At 10:01 pm everything came together for this photo that meets all my expectations for the time and effort involved setting up these types of photos.

I had first wanted to include the station building to the left in the photo, but in reality there were too many trees blocking the way so I centered on the space between the end of the fence and the Cleburne Amtrak sign. The train was moving at track speed, so after pressing the shutter and seeing the flashes go off I held my breath as I brought the resulting photo up on the camera’s viewing screen. Completely satisfied with the no-glare results I packed up and drove home satisfied with my work over the past two days.

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