David Spielman: Guest blogger. Assignment: 6 – Train Travel. Location: Chicago. Equipment: D-Lux 5.

Our 9-year-old son is a train fan to the tenth power, and we were ready for an adventure. Infatuated with anything related to trains or anything that runs on rails; it doesn’t matter if they are big, small, plastic, wooden, real or just toys. We live in a city with an extensive streetcar system so we ride them whenever we can. While out riding bikes our favorite destination is the railroad tracks by the Mississippi River. The Public Belt rail yard is where they assemble the boxcars and tank cars in their proper order so that the trains can leave the port on their journey to their destinations throughout the country. We are such regulars there that the engineers, flagmen and all the rest of the crews know us by sight. As they pass, we are saluted by horn blasts with the men yelling to Sasha. We have taken some day trips on Amtrak but never an overnight trip. So the stage was set for this adventure.

With a few days on our hands we decided to make a trip to Chicago, of course by rail. A real adventure – an overnight train ride and 19 hours of rolling North – we were heading out on. Traveling on the famed “The City of New Orleans” train we were excited. Arlo Guthrie’s famous song of the same name was ringing in my head. We secured a sleeper car for the three of us. Knowing about the limited space, we packed light and I also made the decision to use my D-Lux 5 to document the events. You will see lots of different lighting conditions, slow and fast shutter speeds and the camera hung tight throughout delivering strong images. Also knowing that we were going to be covering a lot of ground quickly I wanted to be able to shoot on the move; again the D-Lux 5 handled the assignment with flying colors.

Upon arriving in Chicago the next morning, we were on the move again. From the Union Passenger Terminal, which has great architecture and characters, we headed to the hotel. After depositing our luggage we were off and running. Our agenda included museums, neighborhoods, parks, most of the subway system and Chicago’s elevated rails, known at the ‘L’. We were constantly on the go, stopping rarely, and the cold temps and light rain wasn’t going to dissuade us from our activities.

Traveling light is an alien concept for most photographers; we tend to be equipment fanatics. Always worried we aren’t going to have the right lens or body, we become pack mules to our fears. I’m just like all the rest, having back-ups to my back-ups. I will confess that my bag did hold my M cameras with their lenses, but I can tell you they weren’t used once on the entire trip. The D-Lux 5 is a wonderful traveling companion – light, fast, easy to use and most of all able to handle all that was framed up.


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