Over New Year’s weekend I traveled to Williamsburg for what has become a nearly annual photography trip with my Dad to see the Christmas Decorations in the Colonial Area. While I did take some exterior photos in the Historic Area (when the light is as nice as it was for Friday’s post, you have to make some photos), my focus was on the historic trades.
We’ll stick with the Williamsburg Christmas decorations this week. While many of the decorations are elaborate, using a wide range of materials, some of my favorites like the one in the photo above are the simpler ones.
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!
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.