“Sullivans Curve is where the Union Pacific Palmdale Cutoff, and the BNSF mains 1 and 2 curve in a large horseshoe curve directly next to some large, rather impressive, rock formations. Promotional photos taken at this curve for the Santa Fe in the 1930’s through the 1950’s by photographer Herb Sullivan were fantastic, and made famous by their composition. The curve that he used so frequently was named in his honor, and rightfully so.”
September 27, 2011 – The sun begins to dip in the sky as a loaded BNSF freight train heads north up the grade in the Cajon Pass in southern California, approaching the Summit of the pass as BNSF 7726 leads the way. Shooting directly into the sun can cause many exposure issues, but if you get it right it can make for some spectacular photographs.
I shot this as a RAW file on a Nikon D700 Full Frame Camera and exposed more for the sun, but made sure I still had enough exposure in the midtones by checking my histogram.
By doing this I was able to bring the highlights down in RAW to bring the sun more in line with the rest of the photo and also used a gradient filter to help control the brightness of the sky. I also opened up the shadows in RAW to bring out the detail my sensor captured there, resulting is this final scene.