For as long as I can remember, I have always had a fascination with big machines, particularly trains.
I started with watching Thomas the Tank engine, having model trains and venturing track side to watch the trains go by. In 2011 I got my first video camera because I simply wanted to document these trains and post on Youtube.
After two years of video, I was checking out some Boxing Day sales, and came across an affordable Canon t3i with kit lens. Again, I started off with the intent of simply documenting these trains as they passed by.
It was at this point I earned the title of Railfan.
A Railfan is a person who watches trains and takes photos or videos of them as a hobby. As time and trains passed by, I found myself experimenting more and more and getting more creative.
One of the most interesting and at times most challenging trains I have shot is the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. Now in it’s 20th year, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train travels from the east to the west through Canada and the U.S. to collect food and money for local food banks and provides live music to huge crowds along the way.
I have been going to see the Holiday Train for about 10 years, going back to when they actually stopped in the train yard. Every year I have seen the show in London, grow and grow.
One railfan, many stops
When the Holiday Train made it’s stop in London in late November it wasn’t the first time I saw the train that day. I had followed the train from when it left Hamilton at 2 p.m., all the way until the show in London. Shooting the train in the afternoon is not much of a challenge but you don’t capture the full effect of the Christmas lights either.
Every year I try to mix up my shots to get a different perspective. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose. Last year I tried some panning in the dark and I was fairly successful. This year I tried a new lens and different locations.
I wasn’t as lucky, but I’m not discouraged. I will be track side again next year taking shots that I know I can do and trying some new ones.