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I Feel The Need For Speed – ISO, That Is

August 8, 2011

Last November 20th, I had occasion to do a photo shoot at a clients home in the Sugar Land area. We wrapped it up a little after 10:00 PM.

My route home took me across the UP Glidden sub mainline at CP SA025, the east switch of Sugar Land. As I crossed the track, I saw that a westbound was lined up.

Typically there’s not a lot you can do photographically with a speeding train after 10 PM, particularly without a tripod. But I happened to have my Canon 5D  Mark II with me, which produces nice files up to 5600 ISO. It’s worth a try…

I found a spot near the signal hoping to capitalize on some light spilling over from the adjacent Nalco Chemical Plant. Within two minutes, the westbound showed up. Here goes nothing…

Union Pacific westbound hotshot passing the east switch at Sugar Land on Nov. 20, 2010

As luck would have it, the train was the ZATLC-the hottest westbound on the Glidden sub. And it was moving!

With the ISO set at 5600 with my 28-70 2.8 lens wide open, the best shutter speed I could get was 1/80th second, nowhere near fast enough to freeze the motion of the train. But it worked out nicely because the slow shutter speed nicely shows the motion of the train. The only thing I didn’t like was the color cast of the sodium arc lights on the lead engine, but I fixed that by converting the image to B&W, except the signals.

Nothing like some improvised late-night photography!

 

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