Happy and Prosperous 2008

At just before midnight eastern time, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2008.   May you achieve all your personal goals and may you find the door to opportunity open everywhere you look!

Door to Opportunity

[tags] bnsf, photography, railfan, trains [/tags]

Winter In The Blues

Many people get “the blues” in the winter. This year I got the blues too….more specifically Oregon’s Blue Mountains.

I just returned from a three day railfan adventure along the Union Pacific in eastern Oregon where Robert, Richard, Steve and I photographed whatever UP threw at us in various weather conditions ranging from sun to snow and ice. It was a fabulous trip that not only included plenty of trains and great photos but a bit hijinks to spice it up.

Mother nature cooperated with a nice a 6″ dumping of snow Thursday night followed by some cold temperatures that held the snow in place for the weekend. Sunday morning’s 8 degree temperature at Kamela marked the lowest temperature of the trip but the 30 mph wind with a 30 degree temperature at North Powder felt much colder! Either one of them is colder than I’m used to so I’m still working on warming up.

The grade between La Grande and Kamela summit is lined with various conifers and they were loaded with snow! In this first photo a westbound manifest crawls upgrade between Motanic and Nordeen through one of the rare straight sections. For the most part railroad operations didn’t have much trouble with the weather save for one stall and a switch heater or two that malfunctioned. Both were easily overcome with manned helpers and a signal maintainer.

Winter At Motanic

Winter At Motanic

East of La Grande there are few trees and the amount of snow deposit was much less. The winds out there kept things interesting with frequent snow drifts over the road. Just like on the west end things moved smoothly except for a couple of stalls and some switch heater issues. In this photo an eastbound Z train stops at the Pleasant Valley to await the arrival of an uphill manifest.

Meet at Pleasant Valley

Meet at Pleasant Valley

Look for more coming soon…

[tags]blue mountains, oregon, photography, railfan, railroad, the blues, trains, union pacific[/tags]

It’s Winter

Today’s forecast for Vancouver includes the threat for cold temperatures and snow. Sure enough we’ve had snow showers off and on all day and so far my high temperature has been just under 36 degrees.

So, what am I thinking about today? I’m thinking about 2.5 months ago when the temperature was just under 3 times what it is today and there wasn’t much of a risk of any sort of moisture from the sky or the river…

Z-LADV-18A at Basin

On a nearly 100 degree day Union Pacific’s Z-LADV-18A rolls through the remote Afton Canyon near Basin, CA

[tags] afton canyon, basin, california, photography, railfan, railroad, trains, union pacific [/tags]

RAW vs. .jpg

Many new digital photographers ask the question “Should I use my camera’s RAW output or .jpg?”. As we move further into the digital era this question gets asked less and less, but there are still those that ask. For those that ask me, I always recommend RAW. Why? It provides complete information from the capture which image processing software can use to finish an image.

Do you still need some evidence? If so jump over to Luminous Landscape and take a look at the tutorial Michael Reichmann posted on the topic. The difference between the two is pretty significant.

[tags] comparison, jpg, photography, railfan, railroad, raw, trains [/tags]

DINA On Location: Salem, OR

For Railroads Illustrated’s Day In North America I chose to railfan UP’s Brooklyn Sub. I’m reasonably familiar with the line north of Albany but I’d never spent any time between Albany and Eugene so part of my adventure was to learn the area. Wouldn’t you know it the day was wet and rainy, but what the heck it was October in the Northwest so out came the engineered plastic camera shields (I believe mine are Safeway brand…as in I’ll take plastic). The rain did let up a bit so I could get some photos without being soaked.

After a full day of shooting I had some night photos in mind and Salem was the perfect spot for them. Standing on the platform I was serenaded by the usual railfan radio enhanced by the live band across the street at The Ram. Ahh, Saturday night in a college town!

On October 20, 2007 Salem’s beautiful brick depot observes the passage of yet another freight as UP’s Q-PDWC rolls past at track speed.

Salem Nights

Salem Nights

[tags] day in north america, oregon, photography, railfan, railroad, salem, trains, union pacific [/tags]