The North Pole Express…

I was up in Lonaconing last weekend with Tony Sweet and a bunch of other photo buddies for another shoot at the old silk mill.  After a late lunch, Tony and several others of us drove into nearby Cumberland to see if there was anything that that would stir the photographic juices.  It was late in the day and the light was failing quickly when we wound up at the historic train station and museum.  While there, a docent for the museum informed us that a steam engine would be pulling into town within the hour to take a bunch of local kids to see Santa.  This was an opportunity to good to pass up!

The train, operated by the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (WMSR), pulled into the station just as the last light drained from the sky. We got about a half hour to photograph this wonderful piece of history before it left for the North Pole (Frostburg), pulling several decorated passenger cars filled with expectant children.

This shot is a setup suggested to me by Corey Hilz.  The starburst effect from the lights was caused by the aperture leaves of my 24-70mm lens stopped down to f/22 for maximum depth of field.  The color version has an overall red cast to it based on the tungsten lighting on the station platform, but I had planned to complete the image in black and white, any way. In order to include the Cumberland station sign in the image, I had to angle my camera slightly upward, causing the vertical lines in the image to converge near the top.  In post processing, I used the Photoshop Free Transform function to “widen” the top of the image to make things look more natural, and then I used the Straighten function to establish a fixed vertical line from which the rest of the image hangs.  I used the Detail Extractor filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to get as much detail of the locomotive as I could, and then converted the image to black and white in Silver Efex Pro 2.  The final touch was to add a medium selenium tone to enhance the richness of the darker tones.