CSX Emerges from the Shadows—Middlefield, Massachusetts.

On the afternoon of July 1, 2011, I heard a heavy westward freight ascending Washington Hill near the old Middlefield, Station.

It’s been a long time since there was a station here, but the site remains a dramatic place to photograph the old Boston & Albany line. I got into position for some photography. Nice afternoon sun and inky shadows; what’s the best way to work this?

Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens set to 135mm; 200 ISO, f7.1 at 1/500th of a second.
Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens set to 135mm; 200 ISO, f7.1 at 1/500th of a second. I set the exposure manually, using a meter reading off the ballast. If I’d let the camera program select the exposure, it would have likely over-exposed the front of the locomotive (in other words the front of the engine would appear too light.) The reason for this is simple; the camera meter program would have tried to balance the scene for the dark shadows. Here experience with the equipment, knowledge of the location and an appreciation for light and shade allowed for correct exposure of the scene.

To accentuate the effect of the grade, I used a telephoto perspective, while setting my focus on the front of the locomotive. I waited for the right moment when it was in full sun.

I made a sequence of images, but for me this one best captures the drama of the scene.

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