Last Saturday I attended the annual GorgeRail railfan slideshow in The Dalles, Or. This year like all prior years I enjoyed socializing with my railfan friends and viewing some very interesting photo presentations. In fact I think the socialization and connections with other fans makes this show special. With attendance less than a hundred, it is easy to chat with folks and build those relationships.
In my opinion GorgeRail is one of the most technologically sophisticated shows in the railfan community. This year the tech team rented a very powerful projector which displayed images very brightly and very clearly. It surpassed anything I’ve seen at Winterail or the Autumn Leaf slideshows. Additionally, the tech team calibrates the projector so color rendition is spot on with EVERY image presented. Audio quality is top notch thanks to the Discovery Center’s wonderful audio system (and a fix by the GR tech team). I must say here that having a professional A/V engineer, a digital imaging expert, and a strong technical geek on the technical team makes all of these pieces work together smoothly and professionally. These guys make the presenter’s show work smoothly and look great. I know that plans for next year’s show will have the presentations looking even better!
The presentations ended up about a 50/50 mix of story shows (those with a story that is supported by the images) and photo stream shows (those that are simply a stream of photos set to music). Also the shows were about a 50/50 mix of modern day images and historical images. I’d say the programs were most heavily weighted towards the SP but since most everyone loves the SP, there were few complaints. This year there were no Gorge related programs at all.
From the feedback I heard everyone enjoyed the presentations. I did too. I saw all sorts of wonderful photos spread throughout the day.
I do struggle with programs which aren’t well thought out, scattered, and don’t follow the theme or story they start with. A few of the GorgeRail shows went down one or more of those paths. Were they huge problems? Not really since the staff placed these shows at a good location in the line up to reduce their impact. Was there anything wrong with the photos in these sorts of show? Not really, the only issue (in my mind) was there were way too many photos in them. Was I satisfied? I was. I have a passion for trains and I really enjoy seeing the variety which is presented at GorgeRail even I my taste in presentations is different from that of the presenter.
Saturday evening and Sunday are traditionally railfanning days and this year was no different. Late Saturday the weather began to change in advance of an approaching storm so the sun was obscured near sunset. Sunday ended up being cloudy all day. No problem though because it was good to hang out trackside with friends.