Yesterday I decided to visit and take some photographs at Ogden, Utah's historic Union Station. A restored train station and museum. I've been there several times but there is always more to see.
Arriving at the station I began looking for photographic opportunities. One key principle I always keep in mind was taught to me by my junior college photography instructor, almost 40 years ago, who constantly urged us to "look for the light" to take the best photos. Following her admonition I looked for where the light was the strongest, most brilliant, and reflective. Almost immediately the classic steam locomotive in the outdoor train shed caught my eye. The sunlight gleamed off of this powerful engine so I decided to not take one photograph but to do a small photo essay with the light illuminating key parts of the locomotive. I converted the images to black and white to to better show the contrast of the black engine and the light that made it gleam.
My first photo was of the overall the steam engine glistening in the sunshine. I composed the image to make it appear ready to roll out of the station with all it's of cars behind it. The sun shine on the front of the engine I think makes this engine more then just a static museum exhibit.
Then I moved closer to bring out the power of this steam engine with a close up image of the of the front boiler and the strong light that made the locomotive seem so alive. The low angle was because of the height of the engine but I also think the composition makes the steam engine look more intimidating as this train must have seemed to all those who watched it pull up to the station platform in it's heyday.
Next I noticed how the light shone on the driver wheels and rods that drove the engine along the rails. The light, with its contrasting shadows, brings out the strength of the locomotive's wheels. In the shadowy light it almost seemed to me as if the gleaming wheels were turning.
My final image was of the locomotive's cab with its bright white numbers identifying it. Behind cab window was where the engineer drove the mighty engine and the fireman fed coal into the boiler fire to make the steam that powered the engine. If you look thru the glass, clouded by the smoke of time, can you see them preparing the locomotive to roll out of Union Station for cities far away from Utah? In conclusion, I hope this short photo essay about a steam locomotive inspires you to look for the light, "any light," to make great photographs. And the principle of looking for the light applies to any camera model you use. With great light you can compose images that seem alive and draw attention to your subject.