Decided I couldn’t pass up a clear night! So, I planned ahead by scouting out a location. I found a spot near Punxsutawney, PA that looked like it was on state game lands, that hunters are free to use during hunting seasons. I was excited to see the weather cooperate! After work, I hit the gym real fast, came home, ate & showered, put on the hiking clothes (still coated in Permethrin from the Michigan trip), grabbed my gear and drove off. After an hour an a half, I got to where I was going to shoot my pic.
When I got there about a half hour after sunset, the original spot I wanted to go didn’t look like it would work. Too much high brush. But, I was along a train track. So, I set up using the road crossing as an opening to see the sky. As I sat there, I saw lights in the through the tree line behind me from a building that wasn’t on google maps. Didn’t think much of it.
I got focused in and waited for dark, and the few passing clouds to disappear. I had planned on shooting around 11:15, that’s when the milky way would be visible. And to the naked eye, it was! While waiting, I walked about a quarter mile down the track to see if maybe next time I could try farther down. I did find a spot that would be promising, but I was set up so I didn’t move.
11:15 rolled around, and the whole plan went off without a hitch. 20 minutes later, I got what I needed. This time around I worked on lighting up the foreground, which seemed to go fairly well.
As I was just finishing turning around, state police showed up stating someone called saying someone was on their property. I explained why I was there (showed them one of the many frames I took), and that I had parked on the road, and was along the tracks. As far as I know, train tracks generally aren’t private property, especially on one that goes on for MILES. They thought the idea was cool though, and just took my info, and suggested I knock on the nearest door next time to not cause any fright if I come up again. I agreed, but stated my next target area would be in West Virginia. I left around 11:45.
All day today I wanted to edit the pic….. but the OFFICE demanded I work today. I got home and got to work on it. 6 hours later (with a meal break!). I found out my lens needs calibrated a tad, it is just ever so slightly out of infinite focus. Apparently sometimes they come like that, but this works for now. I present to you: Milky Way Over a Railroad Crossing.