Last night (December 15, 2012) I made this atmospheric image of Valley Railroad 3025 at Essex, Connecticut before it departed with one of the railroad’s popular North Pole Express excursions. I felt that evening twilight and the crescent moon added a timeless quality to the scene. The locomotive is a 1989-product of China’s Tangshan Locomotive Works and was cosmetically modified to resemble a New Haven Railroad J-1 class Mikado. I worked with my Canon 7D fitted with a 28-135mm lens ( at 38mm) on a Gitzo tripod; camera set at ISO 200 with an exposure of 0.8 seconds at f5.6. To enhance the hue of the sky and balance the headlight, I set the camera’s white balance to tungsten (indicated by a light bulb in the WB menu). I chose the exposure manually and deliberately silhouetted the locomotive boiler while retaining subtle detail in the moon and number board. This image is present full frame, although it might be later tidied up with some selective cropping—photographer’s prerogative.
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