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 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!

Through The Lens 99 – The Road to Paradise

The road to Paradise has long been the nickname for the Strasburg Railroad. Fitting name too since the line ran from Strasburg PA to Paradise, PA where it interchanged with with the Pennsylvania Railroad, now part of Norfolk Southern.

I’m headed to Strasburg again soon for a photo charter featuring N&W 475, which will be disguised as her sister locomotive #382.   N&W 382 was made famous by O. Winston Link in his photos of it operating on the N&W’s Abingdon Branch, but was lost to the scrapper’ torch.

Through The Lens 95 – Cass Fall Photography Workshop

This weekend, I’m attending the 2017 edition of the Cass Fall Photography Workshop.  While there isn’t a photo charter component this year, I’m happy that the night photo shoot will occur again this year.  The photo above is from the night session at last year’s workshop.  I can’t wait to see what Walter and Clayton have in store for us this year.

With any luck, I’ll post the photos from last year’s workshop in the next month.

Trip Report – Locust Heights & Western

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I recently attended a photo charter on the Locust Heights & Western Railroad in Clarksburg, WV.  The LH&W RR is a “backyard” railroad built by the late Keith Mason along with his family and friends.  Today the Mason Family and their dedicated team of volunteers keep Mr. Mason’s passion for railroading alive, operating most Wednesday evenings from June through October.

The LH&W RR has been on my photography “to do” list for several years, so I jumped at the opportunity to attend a photo charter, especially with the proceeds going toward the cost of recently completed boiler repairs.  Charter organizers, Matt Wilson and Walter Scriptunas, put on a great combination of daytime runbys and a night photo session.  The Mason Family and Railroad Volunteers even dressed the part, allowing the charter participants to make some timeless images.

The Flats:

First Crossing:

Lumberjacks:

The Woods:

Feeding the Fire:

Late night in the Yard:

Night Session Outtake:

Thanks again, to Matt, Walter, The Mason Family and the dedicated team of volunteers that keep this wonderful place running!  I had a great time and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Through The Lens 87 – Locust Heights & Western

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a photo charter at the Locust Heights  & Western Railroad in Clarksburg West Virginia.  The LH&WRR is a “backyard” railroad operated by the Mason Family and their team of dedicated volunteers.  They typically only operate on Wednesday evenings, June through October so this photo excursion was a special opportunity.

Look for a trip report Tuesday.

Through The Lens 84 – Chasing the J

Christiansburg Grade

Half the fun of photography is the experience behind each image.  In the case of this image, I’ll never forget the sound of N&W 611 crawling up the grade outside Christiansburg pulling a 19 car train while doing her best Mt. Vesuvius impression, or the moment when the exhaust hit the underside of the highway bridge we were standing on, lifting the bridge upward.

 

Through The Lens 80 – The Last Circus Train

When Feld Entertainment announced they were closing the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, I hoped I would have a chance to see the RBBBX Circus Train that was used to move the performers and equipment from city to city.  There were two such trains, the Red Unit and the Blue Unit, one for each of the two traveling shows.  Both trains were a mile long, making them the largest passenger trains on the rails.

With the Blue Unit running 3 hours ahead of schedule May 8th on its way from Charleston WV to Long Island NY, there was little chance I would be able to catch it after work and in the daylight the next day.  Mechanical issues caused an 8 hour delay in Roanoke VA, which allowed me to catch the train between Shepherdstown WV and Sharpsburg, MD.  Sometimes you just get lucky, this was one of those times.

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.