Wisconsin Central Limited, Byron, Wisconsin.

Sunset, June 2004.

Canadian National had acquired WCL a few years earlier, and while many through freights were operating with CN locomotives a few trains out of Fond du Lac were still assigned WCL SD45s.

I’d made a project out of recording the sounds of these 20 cylinder dinosaurs, while using choice moments to make photos.

This freight had struggled up from Valley siding, where its lead unit had warranted attention from the mechanical department before ascending the five-mile grade to Byron.

The freight was paused short of the grade crossing at Byron, and I exposed this view in the last throes of daylight using my Nikon F3 with Fujichrome slide film mounted on a Bogen tripod.

 I’ve exposed this view as a silhouette. Using my Minolta Mark IV handheld light meter in reflective mode, I sampled the mid section of the sky to calculate my camera settings then made a bracket of several exposures. While its easier to gauge exposure with a digital camera because you can see a result on-site, many digital cameras are limited when capturing a high contrast scene such as this one without making multiple exposures.

I’ve exposed this view as a silhouette. Using my Minolta Mark IV handheld light meter in reflective mode, I sampled the mid section of the sky to calculate my camera settings then made a bracket of several exposures. While it’s easier to gauge exposure with a digital camera because you can see a result on-site, many digital cameras are limited when capturing a high contrast scene such as this one without making multiple exposures.

As regular viewers of Tracking the Light might recognize, I’ve made a variety of photos at Byron, Wisconsin over the years. Key to this composition is my positioning of the codeline, which conveniently switches from one side of the tracks to the other just shy of the grade crossing.

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