Searchlight Sunset—Chana, Illinois.

It was the evening of June 15, 2004, and I was out along the old Burlington C&I line at Chana, west of Rochelle, Illinois. The sunset was this amazing tapestry of color, like a Turner oil painting. I had a few minutes to make the most it.

I had several Nikons loaded with different types of Fujichrome and my old Rolleiflex. I made this view with a Nikon F3 and my Nikkor 180mm telephoto.
I had several Nikons loaded with different types of Fujichrome and my old Rolleiflex. I made this view with a Nikon F3 and my Nikkor 180mm telephoto.

The old General Railway Signal searchlight signal with its classic finial and the code lines beyond made for good silhouette subjects. I blasted through about a half a roll of film before the color faded. I’ve found you have to make the most of these cosmic moments when they happen.

Often there’ll be a great sunset, but I won’t be in a position to use the light for anything constructive, and so I’ll just have to gaze at it with regrets. Seeing a missed opportunity in a sunset; that’s one of the downsides of being a photographer.

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