State Line Tunnel by the Light of the Moon.

It was an even zero degrees Fahrenheit (that’s about -18 Celsius) when I arrived at the top of State Line Tunnel. A heavy blanket of snow covered the ground and I could hear a heavy CSX eastward train climbing.

The twin-bore State Line Tunnel is the only true tunnel on the old Boston & Albany. The older of the two bores was abandoned in late 1988 when Conrail single-tracked the line.

Driving east on the New York State Thruway, I’d noted the eastward freight crossing ‘Bottleneck Bridge’ east of the interchange with Taconic State Parkway. I knew then, that if I didn’t dally, I could get to the top of State Line in time to roll the train by.

I recalled a chase many years ago with Bob Buck in the twilight hour. When we arrived at this favorite location, I insisted on making black & white photos with my old Leica and ignored Bob’s advice to, ‘Save your film for a sunny day.’

Back to the present. Despite the cold, I set up my Bogen tripod and attached my Lumix LX7. The train whistled for the grade crossing west of the tunnel. Not much time. I made a test shot at 8 seconds. Too dark. Switching to manual mode, I set the camera for 20 seconds. I made an exposure just as the headlights were illuminating the curve.

Lumix LX7 test photo; exposed at f2.2 for 8 seconds. This was too dark for my liking, so I tripled the amount of time the shutter was open.
Lumix LX7 test photo; exposed at f2.2 for 8 seconds. This was too dark for my liking, so I increased the amount of time the shutter was open to 20 seconds.
The lights of the eastward freight have begun to illuminate the curve. Lumix LX7 at f2.2 for 20 seconds.
The lights of the eastward freight have begun to illuminate the curve. Lumix LX7 at f2.2 for 20 seconds.

The view of the train in the photo with the Lumix was blasted by the headlights and isn’t very effective.

However, I had my brand new Fuji X-T1, but I hadn’t the time to figure out how to set it for long time exposures, I did make a few hand-held views at ISO 1250.

My first railway photos with my new Fuji X-T1 mirror-less camera were made of the approaching train at State Line Tunnel. I exposed for the snow and made the photos hand held.
My first railway photos with my new Fuji X-T1 mirror-less camera were made of the approaching train at State Line Tunnel. I exposed for the snow and made the photos hand held. Too dark for my liking, but it catches the drama of the moment.

Then I exposed a view with the Lumix of the freight cars rolling below me.

CSX's east ward freight passes below me. The quality of light offered by the full moon mimics the characteristics of sunlight, albeit at a substantially lower luminosity.
CSX’s east ward freight passes below me. The quality of light offered by the full moon mimics the characteristics of sunlight, albeit at a substantially lower luminosity.

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