Photographing CP Rail’s Holiday Train

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

John Enman says he prefers shooting just at sundown when there is still a cool

This past week I viewed a photograph that was not much more than a dark, featureless, long block with a string of brightly colored electric lights on its surface. The person that made that photograph commented that she was disappointed with what she called her night photography challenge.

I suppose the photographer didn’t know there wasn’t much that could be done with a subject that has no light on it. She might have thought a high ISO would work, and like many others new to the medium of photography, didn’t understand that surfaces that don’t generate light, must have light reflecting off the surface it if we are to see or photograph it.

I thought about that frustrated photographer as I set up my tripod alongside my wife, Linda, and our friend, Nancy.

We were preparing to photograph the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train that would be rolling along the railroad tracks that followed the wide South Thompson River a short distance from our home in Pritchard, B.C.

We had read on the Internet about the train traveling through Chase and Kamloops on Dec. 16 and had estimated the time it would come through Pritchard, which is located between the two locations.

We positioned ourselves on the beach on the other side of the river so we could photograph the train passing on the opposite side and we could have a wide shot of the engine and all the brightly lit, Christmas box cars.

We arrived an hour in advance while there was still plenty of light and made test shots of a passing freight train. The schedule put the train in our location just at sunset and we would have plenty of light to define the train from its surroundings even with the declining light.

We set our cameras at ISO3200. That allowed my wife to set her camera at 1/250th second with her f4 lens, and with my f2.8 lens I could use1/400th second.  Even at that we were both under exposing our images, however, in my experience, a stop or two under exposure when making exposures in the last light of the day usually works pretty well.

I prefer shooting just at sundown when there is still that cool, blue light illuminating the sky. It is easy to select out and brighten up the subject without affecting other elements in the landscape, whether making the final image in a traditional film darkroom, or using a program like PhotoShop.

I wrote that we were using tripods. Tripods are the best way to keep one’s camera still, but with our tests on the freight train that we photographed in advance of the Holiday Train we found that quickly releasing the camera from the tripod, hand holding and panning worked best.

I prefer to preplan so we had gone down to the river a week early and selected our observation site.  In addition, on the day of the train we arrived an hour early, and that gave us time to test, to move about and experiment with our location a bit, so that when the train rolled by we were ready.

There was a strong, cold wind blowing down river directly at us. But we parked our car at the edge of the riverbank just above us with a good view to see the approaching train.

After we had set up our tripods and camera, we sat in the car bundled up in blankets and drinking hot chocolate until the moment arrived.

Suddenly exclaiming, “There it is!” we ran laughing and excited down the riverbank for three exciting, adrenaline filled minutes of photography.

My favorite times for scenics, and for the Holiday Train that was my center of interest for this scenic, is the hour just after sunrise and the hour just before sunset. I am sure one can find great light any time of the day and night, but these two hours are the most predictable when it comes to workable light.

These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net. Stop by Enman’s Camera at 423 Tranquille Road in Kamloops.

I sell an interesting selection of used photographic equipment. And if you want an experienced photographer please call me at 250-371-3069.

 

 

Just Posted

Victim of serious telephone fraud contacts police in Clearwater

Clearwater RCMP responded to 38 calls for service over this past week

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Two young B.C. cowboys win big at Canadian Finals in Red Deer, Alberta

Kash Sigouin of Barriere, and Carson Payton from Monte Creek have had… Continue reading

Little Fort Pickleball Clinic – a smashing success

On Saturday, Oct. 27, a Pickleball Clinic was held at the Little… Continue reading

MP McLeod demands government protect Canadians’ privacy

Kamloops Thompson-Cariboo MP says she was shocked to learn that Statistics Canada is asking banks across the country for financial transaction data and personal information on 500,000 Canadians without their knowledge

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Yellowhead 4-H members attended Catch The Clover

On Nov. 3, a few of the families in the Yellowhead 4-H… Continue reading

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

‘Targeted incident’ leads to death of Quesnel man

One man died of life-threatening injuries on Nov. 8

Most Read