Tag Archives: #Union Pacific

Union Pacific SD70ACe—Colfax, California

Fifteen years ago today—May 20, 2008, I made this telephoto view of a Union Pacific SD70ACe leading an eastward freight at Colfax, Calif., on the ascent of Donner Pass.

I was working on my book ‘Railroads of California’ and looking to update my coverage of the Donner Pass crossing.

The photo was exposed on Fujichrome using a Canon EOS-3 with 100-400mm Canon zoom lens. Telephoto compression accentuated th effects of the gradient at Colfax.

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Union Pacific Book!

I thought May 10th would be the perfect day to announce the publication of my new book titled Union Pacific and Its Predecessors.

This covers more than 150 years of Union Pacific history and includes the modern day railroad and most of its primary components (among the them Chicago & North Western, Missouri Pacific, Southern Pacific and Western Pacific)

If you ask, ‘Why May 10th?’ then you will need to read the book! (See chapter 1, pages 16 & 17).

My old pal TSH (and Tracking the Light reader) made the cover photo of UP freights at Norden, on Donner Pass.

The book is available from Kalmbach Media at: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01319

One of many interior photos show the Union Pacific in action. I made the original image on FujiChrome with a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens.

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Telewedge at Council Bluffs

It was a heavy hazy day at Council Bluffs in August 1998, when I made a few photos of Union Pacific E9 949.

Working with a Nikon N90s fitted with a Nikkor f2.8 80-200mm lens, I first made a ‘telewedge’—a cute name for a three-quarter ‘wedgie’ style roster shot that was exposed with a telephoto lens.

Then I made a few close ups from essentially the same vantage point, but using a even longer telephoto setting.

I scanned these Provia 100 RDP II slides using a Nikon LS-5000 slide scanner powered by VueScan 9.7.96 software using the ‘fine’ mode and 4,000 dpi, and ‘autolevels’ color balance. Although scaled for internet presentation, I made no adjustments to color balance, color temperature, contrast, exposure or sharpness.

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Union Pacific at Pacific, Missouri on Missouri Pacific.

That is correct despite the appearance of redundancy.

What if I caught a UP 4-6-2 here?

I’m in the final lap of my Union Pacific book.

I’d write more but I’m nearly UP’d out.

A UP distributed power unit (radio controlled remote) works at the back of a unit coal train passing the historic town of Pacific, Missouri in August 2011. Canon 7D digital image processed in Adobe Lightroom.

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Union Pacific Station-Caliente, Nevada.

I made this photo of the old Union Pacific station at Caliente, Nevada in March 1997. Photographer Mel Patrick and I had been following the Los Angeles & Salt Lake route west from Utah.

Not far from Caliente we’d discovered one of the tires had developed a serious defect. It wasn’t flat, but it was about to be!

We arrived in town too late to visit the local mechanic, so stayed overnight across from the station. Before sunrise, I went over to the railroad and exposed a series of Fujichrome slides of the UP station using my Nikon F3T that I’d fitted with Mel’s 16mm full-frame fisheye.

This unusual lens lent itself to photos like this one.

I’ve only visited Caliente once in my life.

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Looking West at Sunset

I’m in the final phases of my book Union Pacific and its Predecessors.

Among the photos I’ve been sifting through are images I exposed on film between 1990 and 2016.

I made this Fujichrome slide looking west along Union Pacific’s Chicago & North Western east-west mainline west of of Ashton, Illinois on the evening of November 10, 2008.

I was traveling with fellow photographer Marshall Beecher and we caught this Union Pacific train in the final glow of daylight.

At the time I was working with a pair of Canon EOS-3 film cameras.

This morning I scanned the slide using a Nikon LS-5000 digital scanner powered by VueScan software and imported the TIF file into Adobe Lightroom for scaling and color adjustment to be presented here.

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Union Pacific SD70ACe-the Dark Side.

Over the last few days I’ve been reviewing thousands of my photos of Union Pacific trains for consideration in a book that I’m completing on the railroad. Consider the photo below:

Six years ago, I was poised at Woodford, California along the former Southern Pacific in the Tehachapis to photograph an ascending Union Pacific freight heading toward Tehachapi Summit.

Leading was a clean SD70ACe with UP’s bold wings painted on the front.

I made a sequence of images as the train passed. This one caught my eye because it really shows the sharp angles of this powerful diesel-electric at work.

The contrast between the sunlit locomotive nose and the inky shadows along the side the locomotive combined with a little telephoto compression helped make for a more dramatic image.

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with a Fujinon X-series 18-135mm lens.

Would an evenly lit photo have the same effect?

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DPU at Tunnel 2-August 6, 2016

Hot dry California sun on the afternoon of August 6, 2016.

We were in that Mecca of train watching places: California’s Tehachapi Pass.

A Union Pacific freight with Tier4 GE’s was working its way timetable east, ascending through Tunnel 2 near Bealville.

At the back of the train was this nearly new unit working as a radio controlled distributed power unit.

JPG exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.

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Union Pacific on the Oregon Trunk

Yesterday, I received back our Nikon Super Cool Scan 5000 slide scanner from CTS Services which had performed necessary servicing.

Among the first slides I scanned after taking the scanner out of the box was this June 30, 1994 view of Union Pacific’s Bend Turn on the Oregon Trunk near Gateway, Oregon.

I’d been following the freight on its northward run and this slide was among the final images of made of the train that day, exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film using my Nikon F3T with 35mm PC (perspective control) lens.

I’ve been scouring my Union Pacific photos for consideration as illustrations for a book that I’m writing on Union Pacific and its Predecessors (CNW, DRGW, MP, SP, WP etc) for Kalmbach.

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Union Pacific at 3rd Street in West Oakland, California.

Here’s a gem from my black & white archive.

Working with my Leica M2 with 50mm Summicron lens, I exposed this image on 35mm Kodak Tri-X black & white film. I processed this in Edwall FG7, which allowed for richer tonality than D76 (my more typical developer of the time).

In April 1991, this was a common scene in West Oakland, California, before Union Pacific bought Southern Pacific, the railroad accessed the region via the former Western Pacific. WP route reached the Oakland yards via street trackage on 3rd Street (which ran parallel to SP’s street trackage on Embarcedero via Jack London Square, two blocks to the south).

It was the era before ditch lights were common equipment on UP locomotives. This freight is westbound.

When I revisited Oakland in 2008, I found little trace of the 3rd street trackage, with all moves now concentrated on the former SP line through Jack London Sq.

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Bealville Grade Crossing at Sunset—August 6, 2016.

We were visiting the California Tehachapis four years ago. After more than two decades absence, it was my second trip there in as many weeks.

At sunset, I positioned myself at the famous Bealville grade crossing, where I photographed a passing Union Pacific intermodal train (historically on Southern Pacific this would have been an eastward train, but my notes from the day indicate that it was a ‘southbound’.)

Working with my FujiFilm XT1, I made a series of photos. Two variations of one of the head on views are presented here. One is the in-camera Jpg, the other is an adjusted image the I made in Lightroom from the Fuji RAW file.

In camera JPG, scaled for internet presentation.
Adjusted RAW file; contrast and color balance was altered to improve the appearance of the image.

The last image is a trailing view showing the signal and grade crossing gates.

My monthly column in September 2020 Trains Magazine features a photo that I made near this same crossing.

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Botched 1996 Olympic Pan

On September 10, 1996, I was driving east from Denver to Council Bluffs. Near Kearney, Nebraska, I was following the Union Pacific main line on a secondary road, where I made this panned photo of a westward UP freight train led by SD40-2 1996 specially painted for the 1996 Olympic games.

Working with my Nikon F2 fitted with a 200mm lens and loaded with Kodachrome 200, I panned the unusually painted locomotive to capture the sense of motion.

I’ve always found this photograph unfortunate because: 1) the doors were open on the side of the engine thus spoiling my view of the special paint livery. 2) the distant hill makes for a visually disruptive intersection near the front of the engine just over the top of the short hood.

In retrospect, I’m happy to have the photo, I just wish my execution had been better.

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