Since a number of folks liked my previous post from Ravens Roost Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I thought I’d share another.
I usually don’t include people in my landscape photos because they’re often distracting elements. But on the rare occasion when they’re standing in the right spot, its nice to include people to add a sense of scale. After other photographers had moved on to other locations at the overlook, I found a composition that allowed me to include two people between the trees.
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.
This photo of sunset at Ravens Roost Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway is another case of luck favoring the prepared. I was driving from work in Baltimore down to Roanoke for Memorial Day Weekend to photograph N&W 611 on her trips out of Roanoke. During lunch at work I took a couple of minutes to look up potential sunset locations on the the Blue Ridge Parkway just in case I was ahead of schedule and had time to head back up the parkway after checking into my hotel. Four traffic accidents on I-81 turned a 4 hour drive into 7 hours, but remembering one photo I saw of an overlook at the North end of the parkway, I turned east on I-64 with just enough time to get to Ravens Roost Overlook before sunset. Sometimes you just get lucky.
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.