Through The Lens 79 – Cattleya ‘William Gee Grade A’

Blc. William Gee Grade A

A plant from my Dad’s Cattleya Orchid collection.  Brassolaeliocattleya ‘William Gee Grade A’ is a beautiful white cattleya with a yellow throat.

Photographing anything white like this is a challenge.  There’s a fine line too bright and too dark.  If you go too bright, the overexposed highlights will cause you to loose the fine details and texture.  Too dark and the white turns into a bland gray.  If you’re trying to shoot something like this, watch the histogram and make sure you have the highlight warnings turned on in your camera.  A few “blinkies” here and there is ok since you want some pure white in the frame.

Trip Report – The East Broad Top 2017

The East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company, located in Rockhill Furnace, PA is a place where time stands still.  The railroad, touted as one of the oldest and best preserved railroads, operated from 1871 until it closed in 1956.  The EBT was then purchased by a salvage company who eventually decided to operate a portion of the railroad as a tourist line starting in 1961. While operations ceased in 2011, the Friends of The East Broad Top have continued to lovingly restore the structures that make up the Rockhill Yard and Shop Complex.

When visiting it’s not hard to feel like you have traveled back in time a half century or more. So, when my friend and fellow photographer, Matthew Malkiewicz announced that he had secured access for a small group of photographers to visit this past January, I jumped at the chance to participate.

I arrived shortly after sunrise, hoping to get some shots around the yard in early morning sunlight. Unfortunately it was cloudy, but it had been several years since I had been there so found things to shoot despite the less than optimal lighting.

Moss Covered Coal Hoppers:

Moss Covered Wheels:

Wheels

A Pair of Switch Stands – notice the glove, most likely left by the last person who threw the switch, waiting to be picked up again, just like the line waits for operations to re-start:

The Three Way Switch – a very rare occurrence on railroads.  There are only two others that I’m aware of.

Once the rest of the group arrived we headed into the Roundhouse for two hours before breaking for lunch.

Locomotives Waiting:

Journal Oil Can:

Oil Can and Cobwebs:

Oil Can

After Lunch we moved into the shops complex for a couple of hours.

The Blacksmith Shop – Not many people have been in this building.  The columns rotted over the years resulting in a severe tilt to the building that was repaired in the last few years.

Blacksmith Shop

The Foundry:

Crucible

The Machine Shop was full of scenes, large and small:

Zanol Cocoa – Quality First:

Quality Cocoa

Light:

Boiler Shop:

You could spend days in a place like this and never run out of things to photograph. I hope to get to spend more time at the East Broad Top in the future.

Through The Lens 78 – Time Warp

The East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia, PA is one of those places where time stands still.  This shot of the roundhouse was taken this past January but could have easily been taken a half century ago.

I’ll post a trip report next Tuesday.

Through The Lens 77 – The Mighty J

The Norfolk & Western Class “J” 611 is an incredible machine. She was designed to pull the N&W’s premiere passenger trains at speeds up to 100mph. As the only example of this class of locomotive to survive the scrapper’ torch, we’re lucky she’s operational today.

In the photo above, we see her rolling past the former N&W Freight House in Roanoke.  The site is now home to the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

Last week was the third weekend I photographed her this spring. Watch for the trip Report in a couple of weeks.

Trip Report – Colorado Fall Color 2016 Part 2

Devil's Lookout

Continuing where we left off in Part 1 of the trip report, after leaving Mesa Verde National Park, I drove North to Montrose Colorado to be in position for sunrise at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison became a National Park on October 21, 1999, encompasing 30,750 acres and is known for its incredibly steep cliffs and narrow canyon.  At its narrowest point, Chasm View, the canyon is 1,100ft wide at the rim, 40ft wide at the river and 1,820ft deep!  This unique steepness and narrowness is caused by the steep route the Gunnison River takes through the canyon.  It averages 34ft of drop per mile which causes the river to cut deeper into the canyon faster than the walls can erode and widen the canyon.

Island Peaks:
Island Peaks

Pulpit Rock:
Pulpit Rock

Chasm View:

Chasm View

The canyon is difficult to photograph during the day due to the huge contrast between the shadows and the sunny side of the canyon. I think this park may be best captured in the pre-dawn and post sunset light.  A second trip to better capture this park is definitely in order.

Part 3 of the trip report will cover Maroon Bells and Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Through The Lens 76 – Painted Wall

As magma cools and solidifies, water becomes concentrated, making the remaining magma more fluid.  That last bit of magma to cool moves easily into the cracks in the surrounding rock before cooling and forming a type of granite called Pegmatite.  The light colored streaks at Painted Wall in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are an impressive example of this phenomenon.  For reference, those are full size trees above the rim of the canyon.  At 2,250 feet high, Painted Wall is Colorado’s tallest cliff.

The patterns in the rock look great in black & white too.

Check back Tuesday for the long overdue Part 2 of my Colorado Fall Color Trip Report.

Trip Report – Rosie the Riveter

This past November, Lerro Productions hosted their second Rosie the Riveter themed photo shoot at the Strasburg Railroad.  Several scenes were created in both the machine shop and the engine house depicting everything from hot riveting to toasting bread with an aceteline torch.  As usual, everyone had a great time and made some fantastic images.  Here’s a few of my favorites:

Washing the Locomotive:

Third Shift Lunch Break:

Sparks:

Rivet Heater:

Late Afternoon Break:

Cooking with Gas:

Rosie:

Thanks again to Pete for all the hard work in setting this up, to Dave for his assistance in hosting us, to Jenny, Kathrynne, Jenna, Andrea, Ginny, Shelley, Chris, Sarah and Cassie for  their willingness to model and to the railroad for allowing these shoots to happen!  Can’t wait for the next one!

Through The Lens 75 – Rosie the Riveter

I recently finished editing my photos from last November’s Rosie the Riveter shoot hosted by Lerro Productions at the Strasburg Railroad. I saw a similar shot at a previous shoot and wanted to try it myself.  I’m happy with the results but I learned that its difficult to find a good composition while trying to get the blue glow from the brazing torch to reflect in the goggles.  There’s a very small sweet spot where the reflection occurs.

Check back next Tuesday for the full trip report.

Through The Lens 74 – Wishes

In honor of Walt Disney World’s Wishes fireworks which ran its final show last night, I thought I’d share one of my favorite photos of the show.  The impressive amount of pyrotechnics, launched from the castle, the adjacent building roofs and the main launch site behind the Magic Kingdom made this show a favorite of mine. While the show was impressive from inside the park, watching it from across the lagoon really showed the scale of the show.

Through The Lens 73 – Cheat River Trains

Continuing on last week’s theme of trains in the rain, here’s one from Cass Railfan Weekend a couple of years ago. A special trip was run on the Durbin & Greenbriar Valley Railroad along the Cheat River and as was typical during Railfan Weekend, it rained.