03-30-18: Make VRE Interesting Again


Ever since the VRE roster became completely standardized with the final delivery of the Sumitomo/Nippon-Sharyo Gallery coaches, my interest in photographing commuter trains has heavily diminished. Seeing as they all look practically identical, I find them about as interesting as subways. Having mulled on this for a time, I decided to challenge myself to "Make VRE Interesting Again" by finding some artsy angles and taking some long exposures to jazz up my images. To facilitate this, I made the morning trains my target, both for the morning sun angle AND to take advantage of the darkness before the sunrise so the headlamps and trim lights on the cab cars (which face North, leading the trains for the AM rush) would stand out a bit more. 

I started out at Rolling Road station, just east of Burke, VA, as I hoped the shorter platform would give me less clutter in front of the lead coach. It kinda worked, kinda didn't. I also opted for long exposures, as short exposures wouldn't take in nearly enough light for the scene. The results aren't stellar, but good enough for me!

While I made a donut run in between the 6:08am and 6:48am trains, the natural light went from dark to the pre-sunset "blue hour," which still allowed for some shots accentuating the lights on the platform.

After the 6:48am train, I was expecting the southbound deadhead run to pass by well before the 7:08am train, however it actually *delayed* the 7:08am train, as it came down the same main as the Northbound trains, crossing over in front of the 7:08am train at the Burke crossovers just South of the Rolling Road station. Although I had planned to take bridge shot of the 7:08am train, I was now stuck, having waited for my shot of the southbound train, which didn't even turn out that well. Nevertheless, I made the best of a less-than-ideal situation and tried what I did on the 6:48am train, but with slightly better lighting.

Next, I walked up to the Rolling Road bridge from the station, which took about ten minutes. I really wanted a straight-on nose shot of the orange striped cab car leading the train towards DC. As you can see in the first picture of this blog, I captured one good shot with the blue engine still rounding the corner; a nice contrast to the silver Gallery coaches. In this shot, the whole train is gathering speed on the straightaway.

I also tried a trestle shot at Lake Accotink, but the clouds were uncooperative, so I'll have to try that one another time.

Thanks for reading, please enjoy the pictures!