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Edition #89, November 1, 2008

Lighting up the Night

Photographer: Shawn Levy

                                                                            Photo by Shawn Levy

Lighting up the Night

For the past few years, I've worked as volunteer on the Kansas City Southernís Holiday Express. It's an opportunity to support a charitable cause and have fun at the same time. Another benefit is it allows you to get some very unique photo opportunities.

The photographers on the train hoped we'd get to cross Rich Mountain, the highest point on the KCS during the daytime, but it wasn't to be. Not to be out done, we decided to set up tripods in the dome car MONTERREY to see what we could come up with.

It was "uber-dark" in the dome, meaning apertures and ISOs were wide open. Add to that vibrations from a moving passenger train, a good idea but not very workable. One guy had an image-stabilized video camera and was coming up with much of nothing. We were all determined to keep trying. We had two meets with freight trains, but due to the expertise of the KCS they were both perfect rolling ones.

In the end, out of several dozen shots I managed two usable ones, one of which is shown here. While not exactly the results I had envisioned, I'm happy with it. On the KCS somewhere between Wicks and Vandervoort, Arkansas, KCS 1-North lights up the night as the Holiday Express speeds to its next stop. 

This year, we hope to try again and maybe have better results. If the Holiday Express will be stopping near you, it's definitely worth the trip to come out and see it.

Shawn Levy

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