Through The Lens 118 – Man and Machine

On a photo charter in February 2016, Christopher Brang assesses the situation while working on a stuck brake that has halted progress down the hill.

One of my goals for the year is to photograph the people involved in the operations of these historic machines more than I have in the past rather than simply focusing on the trains. Fortunately I have a couple opportunities to practice this year.

Trip Report – Railfest 2017

Last fall, I attended Steamtown National Historic Site’s annual Railfest. The highlight of the event was a night photo session that included scenes at the Sand Tower, Mattes Street Tower and the Roundhouse. I arrived in time for the night session Saturday night and then stayed over to see the event Sunday. Special events included demonstrations in the machine shop, tours of the Office and Stores Building, and of course train rides pulled by Baldwin Locomotive Works #26.

Sand Tower:

Mattes Street Tower:

Roundhouse:

Machine Shop Demonstration:

Ring of Fire:

Singing the Theme Song:

Through The Lens 116 – Night at the Roundhouse

One of my favorite photos from the night session held during the 2017 Railfest at Steamtown National Historic Site. Steve Barry provided the lighting and did an excellent job as usual. Unlike the typical practice of late where night sessions are lit with a constant light source, this one was done with flash which produces a much better quality of light and freezes the smoke and steam.

Just finished editing the photos from Railfest, so look for a trip Report Tuesday.

Through The Lens 115 – Cement Wall

Another shot from the archives. D&RGW #478 makes its way through the Animas River Canyon at a location known as Cement Wall. The narrow sliver of land that the tracks occupy and their position on the outside of a bend in the river made them a constant problem due to washouts. In response, the railroad poured a large cement wall to protect the tracks, giving this location its name.

This was taken on a private photo charter on the Durango & Silverton back in February 2011. Hard to believe this was 7 years ago as well.

Through The Lens 114 – Night at Mattes Street Tower

Taken during the night photo session at Steamtown National Historic Site’s Railfest last year. Steve Berry organized the night session and did a great job as usual.

I’m still editing images from Railfest. More to come in a couple weeks.

Through The Lens 113 – Wilmington & Western

Hard to believe this trip to Wilmington & Western was just over 7 years ago. Where has the time gone?

Trip Report – 2016 & 2017 Cass Fall Photography Workshops

Yes, I am a year behind in editing.  I recently finished up the photos from the 2016 & 2017 Cass Fall Photography Workshops.  In 2016, I was on a flight back from Colorado on Saturday morning, so I missed most of Saturday, arriving just in time for the night session:

Sunday featured a photo excursion to Whittaker including scenes at Back Mountain Road Crossing:

Lower Switchback:

Gum Road Crossing:

Gum Road Crossing

In contrast to my late arrival in 2016, I made it in time for the Friday night welcome session for the first time ever in 2017. Clayton gave a great talk on seeing and on composition.

Saturday included a shoot at the Jail:

We did an outdoor flash lesson with Monica serving as our fly fisherman model:

Saturday ended with the traditional night session, this time at the water tank:

Sunday started with a session inside the company store:

And we ended the weekend with a real treat.  We were granted access to the Ice House for a photo session:

Thanks again to Walter, Clayton, Monica, Matt and Andrew for all their hard work in putting together a great weekend. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this fall.

Through The Lens 109 – Cass Fall Photography Workshop

In one of the scenes from the night session at the Cass Fall Photography Workshops, Andy checks the line shaft of Western Maryland Shay ‘Big 6’ with the help of an inspector’s lantern.

I recently finished editing photos from the 2016 & 2017 Cass Fall Photography Workshops, so I’ll do a trip report Tuesday.

Through The Lens 107 – Happy New Year!

Since Monday is New Year’s I thought I would take the opportunity to share a couple of my favorite images from the year. 2017 was a great year photographically that included a number of trips to photograph railroads, landscapes, abandoned structures and more. In no particular order, here are a couple of my favorites:

The image above is from a photo trip to the East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia, PA from a workshop I attended in January.

Next up is a photo from the Locust Heights & Western photo charter in August. This was my first trip to this awesome place and I’m looking forward to returning in the future.

Raven’s Roost Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway was a happy accident. Traffic on I-81 on my way to Roanoke put me in position to take a detour to catch sunset on the Parkway.

Ravens Roost Overlook Sunset

Speaking of Roanoke, this photo was taken on the third of three weekends chasing N&W 611.

Ohiopyle was a quick stop on the way to Locust Heights in August. I’m hoping to make a fall color trip there in the next year or so.

Cucumber Falls

Last but not least, 2017 saw two trips to the Klotz Throwing Company for workshops.

I’m still processing photos from Strasburg, The Scranton Lace Company, Williamsburg, Walt Disney World, and the Cass Photography Workshops, so keep an eye out for those hopefully soon.

Happy New Year!

Through The Lens 102 – Wabun and the J

The engineer eases off the throttle of N&W 611 heading into a speed restriction on the uphill grade outside the town of Wabun, VA.  This was the first of two trips out of Roanoke on Memorial Day 2016.

After Norfolk Southern ended its first steam program in 1994, many thought we’d never get to see the J under steam again.  Fortunately miracles happen and the Virginia Museum of Transportation restored 611 to service with the help of Norfolk Southern and many other generous donors.  I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to ride behind and photograph one of the finest steam locomotives ever built.  Even better, I got to photograph it with some good friends.  Thanks again, Kevin, Mike and Rick!