Saturday, July 19, 2014

Santa Cruz Portland Cement #2 (the Chiggen)

Last weekend, when I wasn't shooting a roller derby bout, I was "chasing" a steam engine that ran through the Santa Cruz Westside neighborhoods.

On Saturday morning, as I walked towards the Boardwalk through Neary Lagoon  I discovered that the steam train was towed by the Big Trees diesel engine on it's return trip back to Felton.  I was kind of faked out.  I thought maybe the steam engine would go to the Boardwalk, and so I didn't get the shot of the steam engine.  Instead I got a shot of a dry sewage treatment pond at Santa Cruz's Wastewater Treatment Facility. 

Shooting through the chainlink fence with a 35mm lens.

dry  dry by nocklebeast

On Saturday afternoon, I walked along the tracks in the opposite direction, from the Circles towards Davenport, getting as far as the old Wrigley building.  In the distance, I could hear a train whistle (it's much softer than the diesel engine whistles or the infernal TRAIN TO CHRISTMASTOWN which ran amok on the Westside in 2012.  In the distance, I could see the steam, although it is very dark, causing me to wonder, "Is that steam? Or is something on fire?" Eventually the train caught up to me.

Again, shooting with my 35mm, I was probably not close enough for this one, and I had to crop the photo a little bit.

Santa Cruz Portland Cement

There was a curious little man riding a curious little contraption following the train.  I do not know what purpose he served.

chasing

On Sunday morning, I verified that you can set your clock by the railroad (at least if the train is originating from Felton.  I wouldn't bet on this if the train is launching from Santa Cruz).  I drove out to the apartments on Shaffer Road and walked down the tracks toward the trestle north of Antonelli Pond.  There were quite a few other photographers and train tourists who had also sussed out the train's schedule there.  I saw one photographer waiting patiently with a tripod and another photographer scurrying around the trestle trying to find a good angle for a shot.  Unfortunately the light wasn't quite right for a morning shot the the steam engine heading north towards Davenport.  I got some shots, but it was clear there would be better light in the afternoon.

So instead, I crossed the trestle to get to the south-side to understand the light on the train's return trip Felton.  Now, everyone has a certain desire to thrill-seeking in their personality.  Some folks are more comfortable with thrill-seeking... even NEEDING to occasionally seek thrills (say, Bill Clinton, W.C. Fields, Madonna, Donald Trump) than others.  Me? Not so much.  And I'm not so fond of heights.    Each board along the walkway on the trestle was either solidly bolted down, or not so solidly bolted down, and there was no way to know which board was which until stepped upon. FUCK!  Yeah, so crossing the trestle to the south side and again to the northside was a little above my threshold for the right amount of thrill seeking for me.  

The steep ravine to the north of Antonelli Pond is filled with brambles, poison oak and trees. And so it's not so easy to get a conventionally angled shot of a train crossing a train trestle there.  I settled for a photo of a strong diagonal (again shooting with a 35mm, uncropped).

strong diagonal

I returned for one last time in the afternoon to get shots of the steam engine on the north side of the trestle.

 santa cruz portland cement

with a whistle so soft, like a spooky ghost train with a whistle so soft, like a spooky ghost train by nocklebeast

Finally getting some nice light and an interesting point of view.








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