Process

Typically, it can take an hour to rig the lighting for a photograph. Difficult shots, taken over the water, deep in the woods, or requiring aerial lighting can take two or three times as long. While passenger trains run on a fixed schedual, freight trains schedules are rather variable. More time is spent waiting for trains to arrive than setting up - I've spent hours waiting in urban and rural locations, listening to the railroad dispatcher over the radio and talking with people who happen into my outdoor studio.

People have called the police because I've parked in front of their homes. People have brought guns when I've refused to leave the street. I've seen people having sex on station platforms, driving drunk through peoples lawns, and fishing from railroad bridges. America gets a little weird at night. Lots of people have walked right up to me and offered to fight.

Most people walk up to share a story: an uncle who was hit by the train at this crossing, hopping trains along the Hudson, driving a motorcycle through the Hoosick Tunnel, fighting a snapping turtle who stole a fish, getting accross a bridge right as the train arrived...

To keep warm, I walk between the lights - batteries die as the equipment sits idle in the cold. Sometimes after several hours I find a new, better camera angle or a way to refine the lighting. The process of lighting for a subject that has yet to arrive is challenging - I completely underestimated the size of a train on my frist several attempts. Mostly, I just sit in the cold.