A Year Away

One year ago Friday I was on a railroad photography expedition in Vader, WA with some good friends. As you saw on dogcaught.com this was a visit to record action under the soon to disappear cantilever signals. It was a busy night and we enjoyed all sorts of trains to photograph with the signals.

As it ends up these photographs were my last.

17 days after this expedition my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. As you saw in a post I chose to take a break from railroad photography so I could focus on my wife’s treatment. With changed priorities I chose to set some of my hobbies aside.

That was a tough choice but I felt my commitment to her was the most important thing. I still escaped on most Sundays for rail fanning around town with my daughter. Heck, we even made it out the Sunday after Tammy’s surgery. I used my iPhone periodically to photograph interesting things but for the most part this period was photography free. Thanks to Facebook and my great railfan friends I kept up on the happenings around the area.

Skip ahead one year. Today Tammy feels wonderful. She recovered from chemo, surgery and radiation and as a far as I’m concerned is back to normal. She feels occasional aches and pains but they are minor. She’s healthy and cancer free so I feel like the mission is accomplished!

I haven’t recovered my photography interest though. I’m not sure why but the idea of enjoying life through the viewfinder isn’t as appealing as it once was. I know that having a health issue refocuses your creativity. She and I spent lots of time problem solving and planning which used all the creativity we could muster. The result? My creativity feels exhausted. My motivation is lost.

For now I will continue my hiatus from photography. I do plan to enjoy railfanning and hanging out with railfan friends since my interest in trains and railroading hasn’t waned at all. When my motivation and creativity return I will once again drag my camera along.

Still Standing

Northbound Vancouver-Everett Manifest train passes underneath the cantilever signals protecting the crossovers at Ridgefield South on BNSF’s Seattle Subdivision.

A few weeks ago I chose to use my Sunday railfan day to visit Ridgefield South.  My main goal for the visit was to make another photograph of a train and the cantilever signals which protect the Ridgefield South crossovers.  With PTC on its way these signals won’t be around forever.  So far there are no signs of replacements being installed but you know it will happen. For now things are status quo there.

Bigger changes are afoot.  Ridgefield wants to install an overpass and eliminate the two crossings in town.  In addition a new bridge would be built across Lake River to access the S Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.  The second step would eliminate the “Wildlife Crossing” just north of the crossovers and potentially cut off all public access to this location.  That is surely years away, but as we all know time can get away from us sometimes.