View Full Version : Some flash photography for your soul.

06-10-2006, 08:59 PM
Last week, my friend Gary Knapp and I headed to the Maryland/Virginia area to do a little bit of flash photography. We hit numerous points, including Port Royal, PA (NS Pittsburgh/Harrisburg Line). Harpers Ferry, WV (CSX Cumberland Sub), Boyce, VA (NS Hagerstown District) amongst others.

With that said, here's the link to my website where I'm hosting our photos. Each location takes in excess of 1 hour to set all the lighting up, and do various test fires of the gear. Coupled with ATCS, we were able to determine when the trains would pass us and determine how to best provide adequate lighting for a given train.

Hope you enjoy!



06-10-2006, 09:12 PM
great work sean.i like the pics specially the B&W of the train with CSX units.
keep up the great work and i hope to see more of this great work.

06-10-2006, 09:24 PM
Nice work. Did you have scanners in addition to ATCS? If so, I'm curious if y'all heard any comments from the train crews as they passed the flash locations.

06-10-2006, 09:26 PM
How do you fire all those off without blinding the crew?

06-10-2006, 10:09 PM
How do you fire all those off without blinding the crew?

This question seems to come about everytime I do one of these shots. Obviously we take great pains to ensure that the flashes are not positioned in a manner that would put the crew's night-vision in jeopardy. If we cannot find a way to do so, then we don't make the shot. So far I've yet to see the train swerve off the tracks or a guy fall out of the cab window, so it must be working.

Most of the crews don't even notice, of course if I can get in touch with the crew prior to their departure, then I let them know well ahead of time roughly what milepost we'll be at.

Only got one comment from a crew on the NS, the W&LE train to be specific. They thought the flash may have been a municipal transformer blowing up. We had permission from both CSX and NS to set the equipment up for this most recent set.

The flash really isn't very intense as all the flashes are several feet from the tracks and angled upward as opposed to directly at the trains. When it was Gary's chance to shoot, the flash was so dull I didn't think they had all fired. Only to look at the LCD to see that they had in fact fired as designed.


06-12-2006, 02:33 PM
Great stuff Sean! One of these days, I want to start practicing some night shots.

06-12-2006, 03:36 PM
It's alot of work, it's not an understatement to say these types of shots are like a full fledged "production". Not to mention the money and the time involved in planning the shot.

It's not like a regular railfan thing, where you can get trackside on a mainline and shoot 20 trains in a day. Often if you work through the night and only get one good shot, you can consider yourself successful.

Sounds hard to believe, but it's oh so true. LOL


06-12-2006, 04:39 PM
Well, when I get the chance (and a little extra leave) I'm going to have to take a crack at it.

06-13-2006, 12:09 AM
That's the spirit, it's certainly a very rewarding feeling. For one of my previous shots I fell in the river trying to get a couple of flash units in position. Link is attached.


But when it was finished and we saw the photo, it was just a quiet nod and a the knowledge that we pulled it off. :)

Let me know if you need help.


06-13-2006, 01:23 AM
It obviously took a lot of effort to get these images and the work was well worth it.

06-13-2006, 03:04 AM
Nice shots! Hearing about all the work that goes into it makes me appreciate all the work that went into it more and makes me take a second look at Link's stuff and leaves me even more in awe.