My friend Deigh came up with the term “Rambo photography” recently and I thought it applied to the shot below. Let me explain.
I was enroute to Walla Walla to see friends and, ultimately, to visit Sumpter to photograph the narrow gage train there for another friend, Steve, who is an avid train fan and historian. Steve and I traveled all over Oregon and Washington together and he succeeded in sensitizing me to trains. Now I see them everywhere and catch photos of them if at all possible. So, I noticed a train gaining on me from the rear after being stopped for some construction on the highway along the Columbia River near Wallula Gap. I had just come from photographing a poplar grove along I-84 and my camera was on the seat next to me with the 10.5mm fisheye lens on it. The situation just cried “PICTURE FOR STEVE” since
- Wallula Gap is in his home neighborhood (sort of),
- the area has significance to the hydrologic history of the Columbia and the Bretz floods and
- the train completed the composition
I slowed to about 55mph and let the train come along side. I rolled down the window and grabbed the camera. After putting the camera on Aperture priority I stuck it out the window and started clicking. One handed, handheld and from a moving vehicle. Yeah… Rambo photography. The clouds were great and the fisheye emphasized their pattern. After learning to stick the camera out as far as I dared and to try to hold it level I got several shots that looked promising.
After correcting the fisheye effect in Photoshop and removing a bunch of power lines from the image I was thrilled to see just how sharp the train is. I boosted some color in the sky and train and turned the photo into a poster for a retirement gift for Steve. He seemed pleased by the image and I’m hoping to see it on the wall of his new home when I visit. While it’s not an overly dramatic picture of a train, the photo brings together a lot of context for the friendship that Steve and I have. It is surely one of my favorite shots from 2008.
Rambo photography… gotta love it.