The Midnight Express - Mike Contos

OK. So this is the third and final of my submissions to the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Associations Photo Contest and not only one of my favorites from my trip back home last fall .. but one of my favorites of all time!

This of course is the rail bridge over Upper Falls in the stunning Letchworth State Park. There is such an amazing sense of history in this park. As you walk and drive along the "Grand Canyon of the East" you get such an amazing sense of the history of this area. From the scene of incredible geologic work from the last continental glacier that diverted the Genesee River westward, to part of the famous Seneca Tribes territory, to a wealthy industrialists personal estate, to now the beautiful State Park for all to enjoy.

And enjoy it we should! This bridge is actually slated to be demolished. The Norfolk Southern Railway announced it would build a modern bridge to accommodate today's heavier cars and cargo. The railroad company offered the bridge to the state but the state declined because it didn't want to take on the liability. WHAT A SHAME. Because of sue-happy people and the over zealous legal country which we live in, we must lose a beautiful piece of engineering, a beautiful photo opportunity, and a b.e.a.utiful viewing area if you've ever been up top. (If not, get up there soon before it's gone!)

I was so, so lucky to have been standing here waiting for the Milky Way to get into a good position when that train came chugging over the bridge just after I started a ~30 second exposure. Amazingly lucky timing down to the second because I had heard the toots of the train a ways off but had no idea when it would finally cross. So, I just had to keep shooting and hope that I'd grab it somewhere on the bridge. It worked out perfect to have started the exposure early and with the speed of the train it provided that blank space in front of the train for reference and that great motion look.

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