Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Train of Thought

If you listen closely with your eyes an image or series of images will tell you whether black and white or color is best. In this case, with the largest operational steam locomotive in the world, the shots screamed black and white. Nothing captures the strength, the grime and the power of even a motionless machine like the immediately abstract nature of the colorless image. While my Nikon D3 has a setting for B&W only... I prefer to shoot in color and then convert the images in Photoshop. There is just more information to work with when you have the color data too... even if the image is primarily black and gray.

The Challenger 3985 was visiting Union Station this weekend... it leaves Monday morning... and lots of folks went to see it. The engine weighs in at 627 thousand pounds. It can take on 25,000 gallons of water and filling it up at 7-11 would take 6, 445 gallons.

There was a good crowd on hand to see the beast.... the kids, older ones, loved it... but were more interested in the moving diesels that kept coming by horns blasting.....
Top speed is 70 miles per hour and the engine is actually hinged to allow it to go around corners. The 3985 was built in 1943 by the American Locomotive Company. During peak operation 105 of these were in use throughout the US. This one was retired in 1962 but lovingly restored by a group of Union Pacific employee volunteers to running condition in 1981.

Originally designed to burn coal it was converted to burn fuel oil in 1990.

All shots taken with the Nikon D3 and either the 105mm lens or the 14-24mm zoom. ASA 200, aperture priority at F11 on the 14-24 or F16 on the 105. All images converted to black in white in Photoshop's Camera Raw.

The name Challenger was given to steam locomotives with a 4-6-6-4 wheel arrangement.... four wheels up front to guide it, followed by two sets of "driving" wheels and four "trailing" wheels which support the rear of the engine and its massive firebox.

When the engine did burn coal it pulled a tender with a 32-ton capacity.

There is a gift shop aboard too in one of the old passenger cars.

1 comment:

  1. You are right about black and white! KCMO's City Hall just begged to be photographed in black and white. Here are the results of setting my point and shoot to black and white between meetings at City Hall.