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Thread: Moonlight Drive

  1. #1
    Eric Miller Guest

    Default Moonlight Drive

    “Moonlight Drive”
    By Eric Miller

    The sun and relative warmth of the day have given way to a crisp, clear night. The bright, full moon dominates the sky, giving an ethereal, other-worldly look to the surroundings. Shadows fall in the moonlight, the hoot of an owl and the whisper of a brisk, chilly breeze the only sounds.

    The absolute signals at Tito, Virginia beam out a protective red “stop” to any eastbound train that might trespass.

    In the moonlit silence, the scanner crackles to life.

    “NS 9072 West, clear signal, Duffield.”

    I rub my hands together quickly, then cup them and blow into them, trying to breathe warmth into my fingers in the cold night air. In the distance, the unmistakable sound of General Electric diesels. Through the stark, winter forest, made velvety by the moonlight, comes the headlight, back and forth, searching, growing brighter…

    I tense. The brilliant white moon makes it easy to make one last check of the camera settings.

    “NS 9072 West, clear signal, Tito.”

    The big GE’s roll into view, the blazing emanation of the lead unit competing with the moon to illuminate the scene. Railheads seem to come ablaze in the headlight. A brief blap on the air horn for the rural Tito Road crossing, and 9072 West rushes past, a long, long string of empty Georgia Power hoppers trailing obediently behind.

    Soon, the train is swallowed by the night, leaving behind the eerie, intense light of the full moon.

    “Easy, I love you
    As I watch you glide…
    Falling through wet forests
    On our moonlight drive, baby…”
    --Jim Morrison

  2. #2


    Now we're talking! Great to see some new material from new names. Great to read some text with vivid description. I love the part about rubbing your hands together to keep them thawed out. It's little things like that, that we all do which makes your text ring true, Eric.

    Nice work...I say "yes".

    Martin Burwash

    ( don't happen to have a full moon shot of some sort to slip in?)

  3. #3
    Eric Miller Guest



    Thanks so much! Compliments like that from you mean a LOT to me!

    As a matter of fact, I do have a shot of the full moon, that I made that same night. I've attached it to this post.

    Sadly, the topography precluded me from including the moon, the signal bridge, and the train in the same shot. But anyway...

    Thanks again!

  4. Default

    Welcome Eric - nice feel to the text - I'm there with you. This is nice vignette of late night railfanning and the appeal of trains moving through the darkness. I have only one critical comment. I think a tighter crop on the subject matter would be good - too much nothing on the left side. I've taken the liberty of providing a suggested crop. Otherwise I vote to post.

  5. #5
    Eric Miller Guest

    Default Moonlight Drive


    Thanks for the compliments. I can indeed tighten up the cropping on the image. I'll resubmit tonight.

    Thanks again,

  6. #6
    Eric Miller Guest


    Cropped image attached.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Zanesville, Ohio


    An interesting take on the tried and true train-approaching-and-lighting-up-the-signal-bridge shot. I like the text, we have all been there, and I am sure each of us is remembering a different scene from our own past. I would vote to post, either crop. Maybe next time you would experiment with more more exciting layout.
    Chris Crook

    pictures and yap

  8. #8
    Two23 Guest


    The crop is better. I like to take similar shots (except I don't have any signals out here in Branchline Land) and generally like to pare down the image to get rid of empty space. The writing was great. I vote Yes with no hesitation.

    Kent in SD

  9. #9


    I see 3 Yes votes. What section does Eric's essay belong in?


  10. #10


    Diverging routes, in my opinion, and that's where I've moved it to.
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadPhotoEssays host

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