March 21, 2011 Travis Dewitz

You Just Need to be There

Being there is the first step to any photo. Sometimes the photo you want requires you to be there, in horrible conditions, but that is what needs to be done to get the shot you may want. Being there is what I needed to do when the weather service predicted the first big snow storm of the 2009 winter season in Western Wisconsin. The storm started to put down some heavy snow which I knew I needed to shoot in. I stayed out in the early hours of the night before capturing what I could locally knowing tomorrow was going to be the chase.

The local Altoona job was switching out Banbury Place (old Uniroyal plant) in Eau Claire, WI. I found myself a stack of pallets to gain elevation to shoot over the fence along the Union Pacific right of way. In the process, the night security guard found me and advised I should find my way off the stack.
The next morning I found plenty of snow and a soon to be departing EastboundMSSPR. Most roads were not plowed yet and trying to find spot to park out of the way was a challenge. Glad I had 4wd. The recent trackworkfrom Altoona east has increased the track speed and with the weather conditions my chase ended at Fall Creek with some flying snow. Road conditions
were very poor with not much improvement untilaround noon. The La Crosse local was working it’s way up river as a county plow was working the roads around Cochrane. The snow wasn’t coming down heavy any more but the just above 0 temperatures and strong wind made it a tough day for the crews on the ground.
The snow picked up a lot later in the afternoon as another wave pounded the area. Nothing beats heavy fresh snow and a fast train.

I ended my day in Red Wing, MN catching this SooLine led local heading back towards St. Paul. The train hustled past the Red Wing depot through the falling snow as the crossing light lit up. What a great end to a great day chasing trains in some tough weather conditions.
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