Driving up to the mountain, we passed by an old derailed train unit, but I paid it no mind. My goal was to take photos of not one, but two of the most beautiful things that I’d ever seen: my girlfriend and my favorite time of day. I was so lucky to have this opportunity as an assignment to motivate me to finally go out and shoot it.
We got to the top of the mountain and waited for the sun to set. My camera equipment waited on the branches of a tree as I attached my flash unit to my camera. I was prepared to take a gorgeous picture of my girlfriend against the changing colors of a beautiful Arizona sunset. My eyes were drawn to a blinking light below my eye level. It was already on?! I switched the “on/off” switch a few times, and to my horror and dismay, it died right before my eyes. I started freaking out; it would be just my luck that I didn’t have any other batteries, either! What was it with technology hating me so much lately? We headed back home to see if we had batteries and could find a closer area to try later shots.
I looked out the window sadly, as I really did want to be a good student. The train we’d talked about earlier that day caught my eye, and I realized that we could use our truck’s headlights in place of a flash! I knew that I had another option and I was losing it quick as the sun faded behind the horizon. I shouted at my boyfriend (yep you heard me right, I was with my girlfriend and boyfriend; I’m polyamorous!) to stop the truck! I had an idea! So, we pulled in front of it and angled the headlights at the train, and I hopped out and began frantically taking pictures. The lighting was even better for the assignment than what I’d had in mind! It had all worked out in the end.
With this photo I wanted to express the subtle sadness and tranquility that I felt when I looked at this train at dusk, with the navy sky behind me and a beautiful piece of history in front of me. There was a very distinct feeling of mystery that pertained to the train; the rest of it still ran, why not this one? I had so many questions for this train and yet I couldn’t get any answers. But somehow I was okay with this little mystery. I captured the curiosity and beauty of it enough to satisfy me, even though I was still disappointed that I hadn’t been able to take photos of my girlfriend. I still captured something meaningful, and that was good enough for me.
I used my 18-55 lens on my Nikon D3200 that I had received from my parents as a graduation gift. I enjoy working with a shallow depth of field, so I turned the knob to make it as small as I could, at an aperture of 4.5. The shutter speed that I went with to match my aperture was 1/15 a second. I am a naturalistic photographer in the sense that I don’t like making too many adjustments in post processing, so I left it as it was aside from changing the size of the image.
About the Photographer:
My name is Cole King, and I enjoy capturing anything that calls to me in nature and in my every day life. I’m currently branching out in all types of photography, as I want to become a more versatile photographer with a large amount of experience so I can learn different strategies and styles. I have done multiple professional shoots for clients, and my photography is on display in a gallery at NAU. You can find my photography at my Facebook page: Cole King Photography, though there is a website in the works.
To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-project. Please take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Cole would love to hear from you!