Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snow Day - Church and Trains - January 5, 2014

This morning, I did my first pass of the day with the snow blower (about 8 to 10 inches of snow).

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Afterward, I decided to drive over to my church in Geneva to photograph it in the snow.  This is a shot I've "needed" to take for a while, so I was willing to give the roads a shot.  Happily, they  were very passable.  I had taken a few pictures of the church a couple of days ago, but wanted to get a shot with more snow in the trees. I did get a couple of better pictures today, but still not what I wanted.  Nevertheless, an improvement.

Here is the previous shot.

My first official photo of 2014

Here are today's two shots

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On my drive home, I stopped at the Geneva Metra station since I noticed there was a green signal on the south tracks.  That meant a westbound train was near.  The parking lot was nicely clear, and I parked parallel to the tracks facing east.  That way, I could see the train coming.  I knew that when it came by, I'd get sprayed with snow, so I practiced getting out of the nice warm car to take the shots, then getting quickly back into the car to avoid the spray.  With all of the snow on the ground, this practice session turned out to be a good idea.  I even cleared some of the snow away to give me some surer footing. 

As I sat there, I saw headlights in my sideview mirror from an eastbound on the other tracks.  It was too late to take a shot, so I just sat back and enjoyed the "rumble" as it went by. 

Then the eastbound suddenly started slowing down - quickly.  In fact, I'd guess it was going from normal speed to dead stopped in under a minute.  I'm not experienced with this, but I wondered if there had been an accident.  You don't often see a train stopped at the grade crossings in Geneva and I've never seen a train stop that fast...ever.  When I got out of the car to take this picture of the green signal, I could smell the brakes.

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Then it hit me.  He was protecting the crossings.  If he had proceeded at speed, he would have cleared both of them right about the time the westbound would arrive.  Since visibility was bad, and the waiting drivers might have tried to cross without seeing the approaching train from the other direction, the eastbound basically stopped to block any driver stupidity. 

Finally, I saw the westbound headlights and executed the photography exactly as planned.

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And I was able to get back in the car quickly without too much spray.  Not a bad hour in the snow.

Click on any picture to see it on Flickr.

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