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Bad Light, Awesome Sound

April 23, 2010

Over the years I’ve taken more “bad” shots than I care to think about. Poor composition, not in focus, over/under exposed – you name it, I’ve done it.

But the number one thing that messed up a shot was poor lighting, either back-lit or high sun. I  just didn’t know any better.

A lot of photographers toss their bad shots immediately.  I could never do that. The way I saw it,  I had paid for the slides – why throw them away?

The passage of time has made me glad that I saved all of my bad shots. Yes, some of them are horrific, and you’ll never see them. :=)  But there are others slides that may have some issues, but the subject matter makes me glad that I kept the shot vs. tossing it.

A westbound SP manifest traverses the curves at Lizard, NM on June 26, 1985

The sun is too high, putting the trucks of the motive power in deep shadows. But the shot documents the sound perfectly. Note how hard the GP9 in the consist is working.

The engineer has the throttle wide open to keep his train moving up the grade and through the curves at Lizard, NM yet the train was making no more than 10 mph as it passed me. The absence of exhaust smoke from some of the units make me suspect that some of the units had died.

Lizard is the first siding west of El Paso.  Look closely just to the left of the mountain in the background. You’ll see the smokestack from the ASARCO smelter on the west side of El Paso.  Lizard is about 5 miles west of Anapra, which I mentioned in a previous post.

This area is pretty much off-limits now due to its proximity to the border with Mexico.  Between the Border Patrol, UP police, drug smugglers, railcar vandals / thieves, snakes, scorpions, etc. ,  you probably won’t have a good time out here…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2010 11:40 am

    Good to see you posting some SP from New Mexico. I lived out there for awhile and most of my shots are from SP’s Gadsden Purchase line. 🙂 I do have some shots from around this location too.

  2. June 7, 2018 5:44 pm

    To repurpose a skit song from the old Hee Haw TV show, “If it weren’t for bad shots, I’d have no shots at all!” With no mentor to point out what should have been obvious but wasn’t to a slow learner like me, I like to have NEVER figured out that unless you were shooting almost straight down from some highly elevated vantage point, taking photos between about 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (daylight time) during May-August was a total waste of time, energy, and money.
    And I’m convinced that Murphy wrote a special law for us railfans that says we’ll encounter our rarest and most desirable train scenes DURING THE HOURS AND MONTHS I JUST SPECIFIED!

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