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Thread: The Challenger Challenge

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    The UP 3985 Challenger was the first train I ever really took notice of. It was the first engine that motivated me enough to drive some distance to go photo. My first real foamer chase was when the Challenger came up through Kansas one snowy spring morning. I haven't missed a chance to see it when it came east during the past ten years. It headed my way again in September & October, and I made my plans. It would be closest to me during the week, a minor inconvenience. I adjusted my work schedule to accomodate it. I also gave my wife advance notice it was coming and when. She knows by now that arguing with me about the Challenger is as pointless as arguing about the opening day of antelope season. If I'm alive, I'll be there.

    Up until two years ago I worked the area the UP double main went through on my sales job, so I had a reasonably good idea of what was there from roughly Boone, IA to Lexington, NE. I decided to get my work done early and intercept the train at Columbus, NE. There's a cool old pin bridge there over the Loupe River. It's difficult to get to so I figured there would only be a few local foamers there, if any at all.

    It was a nice sunny day and the traffic on the UP main was very busy. The train was running hours late due to being bottled up on sidings. There were a few locals hanging out at the bridge that were fun to swap stories and info with. I set up on the bank with my Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lens set to 11mm. This was a wide angle shot! Looking at the river I noticed it was very low. If I had my hip waders I could have certainly walked acrossed it. I kicked myself for not being prepared, and even considred rolling up my slacks and wading in anyway.

    The train still hadn't shown up, and was by then three hours late. I had plenty of diesels to practice on, and ended up using my 2-stop graduated ND filter since the polarizer was giving such uneven results on the ultrawide lens. Finally, I heard the whistle from the Challenger! It came and I managed to get a couple of shots as it glided by. One thing I noticed was just how much quieter it ran than the diesels seemed to. Maybe that was because it was just loafing along with such
    led lighting load behind it.

    I was happy with the performance of the lens, but the shots might have been a little better if I had waded out into the river. I think this would be an outstanding place for a night shot some time!
    Awesome pics man.. I am so glad to find this old thread.. This engine fascinates me alot..Thanks for sharing pics again
    Last edited by RomanBuchanan; 07-17-2013 at 04:49 PM.

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