Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Photos that Stir Memories

One of the fun things about viewing photos in an album is how they can trigger your memory.  Old prints in albums are always good for that, and so are images in a slideshow.  

Today, with digital photography being so common, it's even easier to see a group of photos from time past that take us for a moment to another place and time.  Especially with file sharing and 'the cloud' out there to store and backup files:  you can suddenly be submerged into a different mindset.

Here we have the daily southbound Bessemer & Lake Erie ore train enroute from Conneaut, OH to Pittsburgh where it will be unloaded at the massive J. Edgar Thompson works of US Steel.  This is spring of 2021, a few weeks before Easter and the mountains of western PA still look like winter.  CN by this date has absorbed not just B&LE but also Illinois Central, and some power desk manager decided to have a bunch of CN SD70's assigned to the former B&LE.  I miss the B&LE orange, but I have always enjoyed the look of the older EMD cab and nose design like we see here.  

This was a cold day, but one with little breeze so that the dark soil and roadbed warmed over the course of the day in the bright sun.  I love the old searchlights in this image, the train is imposing and in a hurry, and the big signal bridge and heavy roadbed belies the fact that this line sees just a few trains every 24 hours, almost entirely steel traffic.  The image is bright and dark, color yet black and white, new and old.  

This adventure was part of an 'Old Timers Weekend' trip to Cresson, PA, and it was cherished time with friends that I don't see often enough.  Life is full of opportunities and many conflict - there is rarely time to do everything we would like to do.  Balance is central in those situations, much like it is in the hobby.  

Balance - it determines how long we can stay centered.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Grab Shot

 Sometimes, there's just a shot that catches the eye, and it's one that can really draw a viewer in.  

One of the amazing strengths today of scenic materials and the availability of photo backdrops is the ability to create a scene that truly can 'take you there.'  Here we have a westbound manifest train climbing towards the summit of Clark Hill on the Onondaga Cutoff, in a scene about 12" deep.  

It's similar to thousands and thousands of railfan grab shots - shots of interesting cars or loads, one that the photographer didn't necessarily plan but are worthy in the photographer's collection for the content alone.  This car is indeed worthy of note for the cooperation involved in its creation ( ) and also as it was selected by Tony Koester for a recent 'Trains of Thought' column in Model Railroader magazine.

Each of those facts is itself a dream come true, and moments like these live on in memory.  The hobby these days is full of opportunity, perhaps more so than ever.  Just like a grab shot of a passing train, any moment can be worth remembering.