Last summer, I spent a pleasant afternoon exploring the old Southern Pacific Coast Line between Simi Valley and Moorpark, California.
At CP Madera, I ascended this cutting and made a series of digital photographs of passing passenger trains.
These were exposed using my Fujifilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens. I calculated the light using the camera’s center weighted meter and set aperture and shutter speed settings manually. Although bright, exposures can be tricky, especially when dealing with flat white locomotives.
It was a real pleasure to make photos in the warm California sun. (As recall, while sitting in Dublin on damp evening composing ‘Auto Pilot’ posts for Tracking the Light!)
Back in 1994, I’d made a project of Southern Pacific’s famous Coast Line focusing on the line between Watsonville Junction and Santa Barbara, California.
Traffic was sparse compared with other SP mainlines. Yet there were 2-3 through freights in each direction daily, plus Amtrak numbers 11 and 14—the Coast Starlight.
Last week, I decided to revisit Gaviota, California to make photos of the Coast Starlight. I often require images of this popular train as illustrations in books and magazines, and my 1994 Kodachrome slides are now a bit dated.
However sparse through freight was on the Coast in 1994, it was busier then than now. I neither saw nor heard of any Union Pacific trains on the move during my exploration, and the only active UP presence I noted was that of a passing HyRail truck and a track gang.
Amtrak 14 was on time and the pleasant mix of sun and coastal mist made for a nicely lit scene that captures the spirit of this supremely scenic run.