Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tired Of Waiting

In our search for this year's Christmas card photo, on Thursday we listened to the people who said that the 'Museum Reach' part of the Riverwalk now has pretty lights.
Didn't take a single picture, because it was actually the exact same lame decorations as last year, just seen by people who didn't even know about Museum Reach a year ago, I guess.

On Sunday evening we made one last attempt, heading down to St. Paul Square and Sunset Station. Sylvia had seen the lights all over the locomotive while I was failing to find parking on Thursday--it was too crowded and I gave up.
Our return visit was at the perfect time of night, giving me time to scout around before the sun went down all the way so as to be in-position with a few minutes to spare.

Southern Pacific (Texas & New Orleans) 2-8-2 #794 was fully decorated, and it's headlamp was lit:
This photo was taken about five minutes before the "perfect" time--stars are starting to be visible but the sky is still too-bright of a blue.
When are they going to light this thing up???

As usual, the tree inside the station is beautiful, with the star in the stained-glass acting as a tree-topper.

Back to the loco: Sylvia asked the security guards about the lights, and they said that different organizations are responsible for the lights on the grounds and those on the train, and were under orders to leave it alone.
They chuckled when she told them she was about to start flipping breakers if it doesn't get lit in the next few minutes.
Well, the Friends Of The SP 794 were either late or not coming down on Sunday at all, and I had already lost the sky light levels I wanted.

So we took matters into our own hands.
First, Sylvia threw a big master breaker, but nothing happened.
I was very proud of her balls.

After a while I got fed up (and cold) so I opened a steel box and looked inside with my flashlight.
A bunch of the breakers inside were labeled and I started flipping the likely suspects.
Lights started coming on!

The only breaker I didn't flip was labeled "Computer", and I was afraid of it.
Didn't want to accidentally enable the engine's smoke system, but in retrospect it might have been the one that powered all the rest of the lights--as you can see, I only got about half of the loco lit.

I was trying to keep track and return things to the way I found them, but within seconds the tourists started crowding around and "Ooh-Ahh-ing" so I decided to just leave the breaker box hanging open and get away while the getting was good.

Update: We finally put up the #1 tree tonight, and also decided to go in a different direction for the card photo.
I shot it in 5 minutes in the comfort of home, featuring our favorite ornament on the #2 silver tree that's in our front window.
Now we're both very happy with the results.

To be honest, there's only so many iconic SA locations that are decorated, and I've already used the best ones.
The new plan is to look for smaller "detail" scenes wherever and whenever they can be found, with me working hard to nail all the technical details.
My 50mm F1.8 lens is perfect for this approach, and really shined tonight.


Albatross said...

The only breaker I didn't flip was labeled "Computer", and I was afraid of it.

You should be. That's the safety breaker for the HAL 9000.

There's probably a reason it was off!!

photine said...

I always love reading about your Christmas card adventures. You are much more diligent than I am. I also ended up this year using a photo from 2008.