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Western Railroad Discussion > A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner


Date: 09/30/23 23:41
A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: broken_link

I was sitting watching the rain change off and on to snow near Donner Summit this morning while I dug up some shots that I took last April. I had taken them while I was up for the weekend of 4/21-4/23 to get in my last skiing and snowboarding for the '22-'23 winter season.

The snow was manky around UP's Roseville Sub, so I was less interested in shooting the railroad. I almost always have my camera with me, however, and I took the opportunity to grab a couple of shots under the winter skies when I crossed the tracks at Soda Springs on the way back from Sugar Bowl. No fluffy powder was dusting the scene, there was just sludgy spring snow panked up around the right of way. (Pank is a Yooper / Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan term relating to the packing of snow with a shovel. The shovels in this case were PistenBullies and flangers, which had gotten to manage some extra snow sprinkled in by the rotaries.)

Photos 1 & 2: On April 23, 2023, UP 8412 was leading a somewhat unusual (for Donner) consist east that consisted of two UP units up front plus a BNSF unit bracketed by two CP locomotives, and a CP locomotive as the sole DPU. I think Steve Sloan shared a shot of this train on TO last spring, as I ran into him there.
Photo 3: Shortly after the eastbound cleared a set of light power was beginning the long descent of the grade.

Cheers,
Sean

 








Date: 09/30/23 23:56
Re: A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: phthithu

Great shots. I don't know why--this happens with a few shots here and there--but your second shot is Photobob-ish. I'm not sure why I think that but there it is. It's a compliment!



Date: 10/01/23 00:28
Re: A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: Evan_Werkema

phthithu Wrote:

> I don't know why--this happens with a few shots here and there--but your second shot is Photobob-ish. I'm not sure why I think that but there it is.

Not saying it's as simple as this, but the second photo above was taken from well below normal eye level, which is also a common perspective for many of photobob's shots. 



Date: 10/01/23 08:22
Re: A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: BoostedFridge

Great shots! The soft reflected light really goes nicely with the colour of the locomotives.

I'm up on Donner for the first time this weekend, and am still trying to figure out locations. Are both of these angles taken right from the crossing in Soda Springs?

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Date: 10/01/23 08:27
Re: A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: broken_link

Thanks...I'll take "photobob-ish" as a complement! Robert is definitely an influence of mine, and I think Evan hit on the reason this shot might have evoked that. I'll often take shots while kneeling or sitting down, getting low and close to the roadbed. A number of Robert's shots will have that type of perspective, and he does a great job of working in foreground elements like switch stands, a luggage cart, etc., to add depth to a scene

I also like to try to get above subjects and shoot down, and I'm always trying to find spots to climb to get a perspective looking over the top the train. It's less frequent that I'll stand at eye level shooting if I can help it.



Date: 10/01/23 08:33
Re: A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: broken_link

BoostedFridge, these were taken right at the Soda Springs Rd grade crossing. One is looking west, while two and three are looking east. Both were from the south side of the tracks. Also easily accessible in this area is East Norden off of Old Donner Pass Rd, where the west portal of Tunnel 41 is. The Norden snow sheds are a short distance off of Donner Pass Road as well.



Date: 10/01/23 14:53
Re: A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: phthithu

Yeah, I think what you, BrokenL, and Evan are saying is what I'm seeing. Also, something to do with the way the engine pops and of course the scenery plays into it. 

I have never sat down to take a train photograph that I can recall but now I will have to try that. I recall Photobob saying he had a viewfinder that let him look down into the viewfinder from above--could that be right?



Date: 10/01/23 17:18
Re: A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: broken_link

I think Bob has shot a wide variety of cameras in his time, from large and medium format down to 35mm, etc. If he was using a Rolleiflex, he would have been looking at the image composition from above the camera. I almost feel like he's spoken on TO of shooting Rolleiflex cameras in the past, but perhaps it was someone else.

In terms of shooting positions, I've shot cameras in all the positions that one might shoot a rifle...prone, sitting, kneeling, standing. The articulated screens and live view / use of mirrorless cameras have made it easier to compose while shooting from low angles, though I still prefer to compose through the viewfinder if I'm able. (And I've contorted myself into uncomfortable positions at times to do just that!) The articulated screens are also good for shooting with your arms outstretched above your head, which I was doing to get the shot I shared here a couple of weeks ago when I photographed the ZLTG2 at Gorge. To get even higher I've used ultra-wide angle lenses, set the intervalometer on the camera, and then hoisted the camera in the air with my monopod fully extended. It gets the camera about 12 feet in the air, around cab windshield height.

phthithu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yeah, I think what you, BrokenL, and Evan are
> saying is what I'm seeing. Also, something to do
> with the way the engine pops and of course the
> scenery plays into it. 
>
> I have never sat down to take a train photograph
> that I can recall but now I will have to try that.
> I recall Photobob saying he had a viewfinder that
> let him look down into the viewfinder from
> above--could that be right?



Date: 10/02/23 05:07
Re: A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: bobk

Very nice shots!



Date: 10/05/23 16:14
Re: A Brief Taste of Winter on Donner
Author: ns1000

I like the look of Pic 2!!



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