"One summer night in 1956 in the coal-mining hamlet of Iaeger, West Virginia, a stranger walked up to Willie Allen at the drive-in. "Excuse me, sir," he said, "how would you and your date like to watch the movie from my convertible?
"What's the catch?" Allen, then a 23-year-old Army corporal on leave from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, recalls asking.
"All they had to do, the stranger said, is sit in the car until the train passed. "I'll give you $10," he added.
"Allen and his date, Dorothy Christian, took the deal, and the stranger took their picture. Thus O. Winston Link produced one of the most elegiac railroad pictures in a series he had begun some months before....
"He took almost all his train pictures at night, when he could engineer his scenes without the sun getting in his way.
"To do that, he had to devise his own flash system. Link would mark a train's path with lanterns, and then map out where to set out flash reflectors. Each reflector, which held up to 18 flashbulbs, was wired to a portable supply of batteries and condensers. When the train hit the right spot, Link pushed a button to fire the bulbs and, 35-thousandths of a second later, released the camera shutter. The system wasn't without its quirks—since the bulbs were wired much like Christmas lights, a single broken wire or faulty bulb could knock out all the others in the circuit." -- The Big Picture @ Smithsonian
Posted by gerardvanderleun at March 10, 2014 1:59 PM