Sometimes you really plan out the lighting in a photo, getting your lights set up just so, adjusting and adjusting, and still everything fails (haha). And sometimes, you don’t set up any lights, spend no time at all adjusting anything, and everything just works. Such it was on Labor Day evening, as I was setting up at Nelson, IL, on the Union Pacific’s busy mainline. They had the railroad pretty much shut down for the holiday, but as night was falling, things began to pick up. There was an eastbound loaded coal train stopped waiting for a new crew on one of the yard tracks at Nelson, and there was a westbound manifest freight approaching from Chicago, it’s headlight visible in the distance. I plunked down the tripod to compose a shot, and noticed a car approaching on the adjacent country road. As the westbound passed the parked coal train, lighting up it’s nose, the car passed on the little country blacktop, providing some nice backlighting for the side of the train, highlighting some details on the locomotives as well as lighting up the classic old pole line beside the tracks. Sometimes you just get lucky.