Best Photos of 2010: Trains “Part One”

Over the past year I visited several tourist railroads around the East coast. This blog will showcase some of my favorite images of the first half of the year. Part Two will feature my favorite images from the second half.

At the end of January I attended a photo charter on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Obviously for a winter charter you want snow and that is exactly what I got. The weekend started off looking gloomy as I arrived with hardly any snow on the ground. Shortly after boarding the train a large snowstorm would hit, eventually blanketing the landscape with a few fresh inches of snow.

Western Maryland 734 storms though Brush Tunnel, a second after I took this shot I was fully engulfed in smoke. It was a breathtaking experience, only problem with that is that I could not catch my breath until the smoke cleared…

Since I had already shot the in tunnel view the day before and everyone else was once again inside the tunnel getting the same shot I decided to climb ontop of Brush tunnel for this unique overhead view.

Canon 7D, 70-200, ISO 100, F32, 1/10

Western Maryland 734 storms around Helmstetters Curve.

Western Maryland 734 pulls into the station shortly before sunrise.

I do not take many photos of mainline railroading operations, however during a cold and snowy January day I was able to shoot some mainline railroading in the snow.

A railroad worker walks away from his train to retrieve the brake stick.

During the middle of April I visited Dollywood Amusement Park where I photographed their “Dollywood Express”. My goal for this trip was to photograph the train in a way that disguises the fact that it is actually running at an amusement park.

Canon 7D, 24-105, ISO 200, F16, 1/10

Dollywood 70 pulls the train up the steep grade as she approaches the top of the mountain.

Dollywood 70 is serviced after a long day of pulling passengers.
Canon 7D, 10-22, ISO 200, F8, 3s

Since I have photographed the Cass Scenic Railroad dozens hundreds of times, it has become a slight challenge for me to come up with new and different angles. I try not to make this an excuse however. These next several photos will showcase some of my favorite shots from Cass during the first half of the year.

Shay #5 passes the emergency water tank during a very wet day on Cheat Mountain.
Cass Scenic Railroad Shay 5 passes through the WYE.
Canon 7D, 10-22, ISO 400, f/9, 1s

A night session at the depot during the annual Cass Scenic Railroad Railfan Weekend. Over the past few years I have worked to add actors and props to the night photo session at Cass. I feel that it adds so much more to the scene than just having the locomotive.

In July the park had a JLG manlift around for town maintenance. I was asked if I would like to use it for some aerial photography of the engines. I could not pass up the opportunity so I decided on using Western Maryland Shay 6 for a few runbys at the water tank.
While in the lift I noticed that by positioning myself over the engine I would be able to get this unique view of the smoke as the engine reversed.
While in the lift I was able to get this great elevated view of the Cass mill as the morning fog lifted.
A couple weeks later I once again had the opportunity to use the lift. This time I shot the Bald Knob train leaving the Cass depot. When planning for these elevated shots I always take into consideration certain angles that will showcase the park in the best way as some of these images will be used down the road for marketing material.

Canon 7D, 70-200, ISO 200, F18, 1/8

Around mid-June I visited the Tweetsie Railroad which is located in Blowing Rock, NC. I was given the opportunity to get some pretty unique angles around the park and also had the opportunity to conduct a small night photo session at the engine shed.

Canon 7D, 10-22, ISO 400, F7.1, 2.5s

Engineer Tim Smith tends to engine 190 after a long day of work. For this shot I positioned three sets of lights outside the engine shed to provide for some nice back-light on the subject.

The late evening sun peaked through the trees which provided for some great light on Tweetsie 12 as she stormed across the trestle.

This concludes my Best Photos of 2010: Trains “Part One” blog. Part two which featured the second half of the year will be posted within the next few days.

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