UP in Oregon

The Eastern Oregonian published a nice series of videos about railroading in Oregon.  They cover the facts about Oregon’s railroads, a look at the Hinkle engine facility, and a family’s story of working for the UP.  I think you all will enjoy the stories and the wonderful videography.

You can find all three videos at these locations.

Oregon Railroads: Just the Facts

Behind the Scenes: Locomotive Repair Shop

6 Generations of Railroading



Saturday in The Gorge

On the 14th I spent an impromptu day in the Columbia River Gorge watching trains and hanging out with some friends.  I decided to make a full day of it so I was up at 4 and on the road at 5.  My goal was to be at tunnel 2 east of Cooks when the sun came up and my timing was impeccable as I was able to sit on the shore of the mighty Columbia and watch the sun pop over the mountains to the east.   It was a beautiful morning…as long as you could stay out of the wind.  I fought hard to keep everything on the ground while perched up on the rock just east of the tunnel.  Brutal.

I captured three trains there but I’m not quite ready to share those images just yet.

I followed the last eastbound to Bingen where it met a manifest.  A 10mph slow order and the slow down for the meet allowed me to get ahead to capture the image above of the train winding around the rocks and across the Locke Lake fill.  These guys were in a hurry to get to Lyle to meet the Builder so I let them go about their business and found a place to photograph 27.

More about the day in my next post…


It’s Early

16 minutes before sunrise an eastbound Union Pacific manifest train nears the summit at Telocaset, Oregon.  By the time the train crosses the summit and descends to the Baker valley the sun will be up and a new day will have dawned.  Right now though the train is illuminated by the twilight reflecting off the atmosphere and giving me the hint a new day is coming.

Getting up early has its rewards!

Rainy Night in Portland

Sunday evening a Google+ photo walk, organized by three local photographers, was held in Portland.   Aaron and I joined in the festivities though railroad photographs were not the primary focus of this walk.  The walkers were made up of a variety of photographers from around the area including some from north of Everett.   The walk started at Union Station and proceeded towards the river, the Eastbank Esplanade, and eventually the Hair of the Dog Brewery on the east side.  Hey, photographers of all sorts love beer, not just railfans!

Sunday the weather grew increasingly wetter and by the time the walk started around 4:30pm the rain was steady.  Despite the dampness quite a crowd showed up and impressed the organizers who thought many would not attended.  I had a couple of rail related images I wanted to capture and right out of the gate I set up for a couple of them.  As we moved along it grew dark and the wet streets started to reflect light from various street lights, headlights, signs, and buildings.  There was a lot of shiny goodness going on!

When I arrived at the Skidmore Fountain MAX stop I saw a wonderful photo brewing.  Street lights lit the area brightly and the reflections from the cobblestone textured streets were spectacular.  I set up my tripod and waited for a MAX train to arrive.  The result?  This colorful image of a westbound blue line train departing Skidmore Fountain.  As we walked we talked about how if any of us got 1 or 2 really good shots from the walk, we’d be happy.  After I saw this shot on the computer, I was happy.

If you are interested in other’s results from the walk you can view everyone’s contributed  images from the photowalk, including mine and Aaron’s here.

In The Cascades

When you drive up the Columbia River Gorge on the highway it is really tough to tell sometimes that you are passing through a pretty major mountain range.  The mountains are certainly there but they tower above so high that it isn’t really obvious what is going on.  If you drive I-84 and look across at Washington the mountains are not as abrupt or as steep as on the Oregon side so you have the illusion that you are passing through a gentle valley.   That’s far from the truth.

I love to find places where the river is fairly narrow and you can easily photograph across it.  Moffett Creek below Bonneville dam is one of the places where that is possible.  With fresh snow on the mountains and the rocky terrain I knew I wanted to visit here and capture a Union Pacific train crossing the bridge.   UP set me up with two trains for this so I took advantage.

What is hard to see in this image is how tall the mountain in the background really is.  The river is around 40′ above sea level and Wauneka Point tops out at over 2800′ (according to mytopo.com)!   This image is actually a panorama shot vertically at 51mm and from what I can tell I’m only showing about 1/3 of the mountain.  Impressive to be in the Cascades.