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Edition #17, November 1, 2005
Photographer: Bob Ciminel
Photo © 2005 by Bob Ciminel
My wife and I were driving back to Atlanta from Georgetown, SC, and stopped for lunch at the local Subway restaurant on the corner of Church Road and State Highway S-8-27 in St. Stephens, South Carolina. We were directly across the road from the CSX double-tracked main line to Charleston, SC.
I had a freshly made Italian BMT in my hand as we pulled out on to State Highway 45 and started across the tracks. My wife looked to her right and said, “Bob, there’s a train coming.” Sure enough, the crossing lights began flashing and the gates started coming down as we pulled through the crossing. I made a quick right turn and whipped into T. Myers Drive, which paralleled the tracks.
I slammed on the brakes, shoved my sandwich at my wife; threw the transmission into Park, and flung open the driver’s door. My camera was lying on the floor in the backseat, and time was running short. I flung open the back door; grabbed the camera; unzipped the case, popped off the lens cap, and raced around the back of the car as the train came barreling down on me. There was a tree in the way and he was going too fast for me to take a shot from beneath the branches! If I waited until he cleared the low-hanging branch, he’d be too close. How do I get the shot? Quick! The damn thing is almost on top of me!
I dropped down on my right knee; stuck the viewfinder to my eye and prayed autofocus would do the rest. I tried to frame the shot as best I could; depressed the shutter release; heard that artificial “Click!” and hoped for the best.
I had one chance to take one shot. It turned out better than I expected, but it’s a good thing the locomotive had two number boards. When I got back into the car, my wife just shook her head and said, “Foamer!”
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