Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nevada Northern Railway Winter Steam Shoot--Friday

 I had the opportunity to attend the Nevada Northern Railway's Winter Steam Photo Shoot Spectacular, a 2.5 day event held twice each February. I was at the second weekend, with about 30 other photographers, ready to take jawbreaking photographs of trains. I have to admit, I like trains, but I'm not a train fanatic. And I do love photography, but I had a feeling I was going to be with a bunch of semi-pro and pro photographers. So I was definitely going to be out of my comfort zone. But that's okay, that's how we grow, so I decided to just go for it and enjoy the weekend. My husband and in-laws were on kid duty, I had a room reserved at a hotel in Ely, and I had packed lots of warm clothes (it is Ely, Nevada, after all, a place not really known for being warm).

We started out with a safety briefing from Mark Bassett, the director of NNRY. Then we headed out into the yard for some photo opportunities. It was a grey and rainy afternoon, so I was glad there were some bright colors out there.

We started with a freight train with two diesel engines, #5 and #105 (I think--this is where my lack of train knowledge trips me up!)

We bundled up and went out into the yard. These train photographers had come from all over, including Chicago, Connecticut, Washington state, several from California, Utah, and more.

The freight train made some passes.

I tried to find a way to get something a little different. It was my first time photographing with so many others, and I was introduced to the concept of a photo line, a line you stay behind so you don't get in anyone else's photo. The photo line changes as everyone gets that shot and then it's time to move on to the next one.

I really enjoyed the artistic challenge of trying to get a unique shot. I was also content to get some standard compositions, as I don't have many train photos. (I do now!)

The line of school buses across the street caught my eye, a splash of color on an otherwise dreary day.

One of the cool things about the NNRY is that when it closed down, they basically shut the doors on an intact operation. So all the parts are there, being restored over time. These buildings in the background are iconic to the railway.

Then it was time to head down the tracks. The lines and symmetry made me swoon--well, almost! I was pretty excited, I have to admit.

We were allowed to go into the caboose and watch the freight train. It was a little rainy at this point.

A few of the photographers getting ready.

Then they did a demo with the crane train, lifting an ore cart off the tracks and setting it back down. It was very cool.
 By then I was very cool--I mean cold, so I checked into the hotel and warmed up a bit.

 Then at 5 pm I went back for the much touted night shoot with professional studio lighting. It felt like a bit of a jostling match to get a spot in the lineup of tripods!

The studio lighting was really nice (ignore the green flare, I just saw it and realized I still need to fix that!). Engine 40 was our main subject.

I also had fun trying some of my night sky techniques between the flashes so I could get some special effects, like the light beaming out in front.

After a few shots of the engine and people trying various angles, the models came in. These are NRRY employees who did a good job of looking the part.

I really liked the steamy effect.

And then there were more photos...

It was a fun evening of trying out various camera settings and angles. The crowd was thinning out when I left about 7:30 pm and downloaded photos and charged batteries to get ready for the next day.

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