The tide was in. The sun was low and rich. The train was on time. I was poised at the popular overlook at Pinole, California. Dozens of scheduled Amtrak trains pass this point everyday, so on one level this was akin to ‘shooting fish in a barrel.’
Yet, the ease of photography here, facilitated by great weather, open varied scenery, and frequent operations, makes for a perfect opportunity to experiment and exposed different angles.
In this case, I’ve opted to make a clean, yet dramatic vertical image. Notice how I’ve left ample room on top for a magazine title, and space all around for cover blurbs (left or right) and the requisite bar code (typically located at lower right).
When I was working at Pentrex Publishing in the 1990s, we’d often reject potential dramatic photos as not suitable because there wasn’t room for the cover blurbs. But an absolute killer (that is, no chance for cover placement) was in situations where the bar code would fall on the front of a locomotive. Bar code placement was non-negotiable.
Would this make a good cover photo? I can’t say, but I was looking to fit the format when I exposed this slide in 2008.
On the morning of August 12, 2009, I used my Canon EOS 3 with a 100-400 mm Canon image stabilization lens to expose this image of an Amtrak California Capitols train crossing the former Southern Pacific Carquinez Straits Bridge at Martinez, California. (Amtrak’s Capitol Corridorderives its name from California’s old and new capital cities, San Jose and Sacramento)
When this bridge was completed in 1930, it was the largest double track railway bridge west of the Mississippi. Today it carries Amtrak and Union Pacific trains.
Coastal fog softened the morning sun making for a cosmic effect. Making photographs of the bridge is complicated by the enormous Interstate 680 bridges that flank it on both sides. I’ve found that a broadside silhouette is the most effective way of capturing the scale of the bridges.