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Lachute Sub

Wrong direction, but I’ll take it

6th July 2017

On a Monday off, I headed over to see if I could catch some QGRY operations.  At 10:15 on Monday, it departed Thurso (where it is parked over night) and headed west.  The chase was on.  It travels at around 50km/h or so, which is slow enough that you can get ahead of it (since the road that runs parallel is 90km/h), but fast enough that you can’t catch it at every level crossing like 589 heading out to Arnprior.

The first location I chose to take a picture (see above) turned out very well.  The sun was in the perfect location, shadows were minimal on the engine (some touchup was required on the engine though), and a decent background with the house and barn.  Next time I take a shot from this location, I need to remember to get lower so that I don’t end up with as many trees above the cars (which results in a distraction in the image).

QGRY Mason-Angers Station

The next stop was at the old station, which has seen better days.  This shot was a bit more challenging due to the harsh shadows on the building and the bright sky.  I decided to meter closer to the sky than the building since I was afraid of blowouts in the sky.  Thankfully the RAW image from the camera and LightRoom were able to save some of the image.  I’m wondering if LightRoom has improved it shadow algorithm since I feel that it is easier to save images these days than it used to.  Incase you’re wondering why I didn’t put the train in this shot, it was because I was worried that the train would run through the station and I wouldn’t have time to catch it on the bridge.

When I saw the light approaching in the distance, it was time to leave the station and make my way to the bridge.  Waiting on this bridge is a bit of a pastime for me.  Numerous times I have waited on this bridge hoping to catch a crossing, but have been skunked when it turns to the north to Buckingham or stops in the yard for shunting.  After about 30 minutes, it finally did cross and I was able to get the shot.

QGRY Heading West

I’ve included a less modified shot to help explain why the Instgram image looks the way it does:

  1. Cropping – I attempt to try to keep with the philosophy of Instagram and the square ratio.  Sometimes I will go 4×3, but I didn’t feel that added much since the river easily draws you into where the train is in the better in the 1×1 crop.
  2. Black and White Filter – Given that this isn’t BC with their glacier blue streams, the color of the river here is closer to mud than blue (made worse by all the recent rains).  The mud stands out much more in the colour than the black and white.  The shot works for me in black and white because the train and the scenery looks like this shot could be from 2017 or 1977.

QGRY Switching

I was expecting that the chase would end here as the train would go and service the industry just south of the bridge, but strangely it continued west past it.  I then followed it to Usine in downtown Gatineau where it put on a good show moving cars in and out of the factory.  The lay of the land there was perfect for taking shots with a small hill that allowed you to shot over the fence.

With the last bit of time I had, I waited to see if I could catch it one last time before heading home.  My new’ish camera is a full frame (fx) camera, which has meant that I don’t have the range of lenses that I once did on my crop sensor (dx).  A couple of weeks ago I said to a friend that I haven’t missed my 11-16mm dx lens at all.  But when trying to get this image, it would have been perfect.  Instead at 28mm I wasn’t able to get the full bridge in focus, which makes the image look sloppy (especially on the bottom right).

QGRY returning

That is where it had to end.  I would have loved to continue to follow it back to Masson-Angers and catch it crossing the bridge in the east direction, but time just wasn’t on my side so I had to call it a day.



  • Steve Boyko
    Posted at 9:49 pm 2017-07-10
    Steve Boyko
    Reply Author

    I really like the lead photo – the colours are striking!

    I’m glad you are discussing editing your photos. So many railfans don’t edit (beyond maybe applying a filter) and decent photos can be made into great photos with a little editing.

    • DaveM
      Posted at 5:12 pm 2017-07-11
      Reply Author

      Hi Steve,

      The editing of photos definitely does take quite a while, but I do find that it makes a big difference. Typically I’ll shot 100 – 200 images over the course of a couple of hours, and from there I’ll probably designate 2 – 5 as keepers, and will spend about 15 minutes editing each keeper photo. I find that they key here is to be ruthless when deleting pictures. If you aren’t ruthless, you will either have to spend many hours editing (which leads to anger), or you’ll take shortcuts on editing (which leads to pictures that aren’t there best).