Earlier this month, I boarded a plane for Chicago to attend Conversations 2018, the annual gathering of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art. The weather was awful—freezing rain, snow and wind, but it was a fitting contrast to the warm welcome I felt at the reception and dinner Friday night.
It was a pleasure to be in the company of so many talented railroad photographers and artists. I not only made new friends, but also had the opportunity to meet several people who have contributed to and supported The Trackside Photographer—David Kahler, Matthew Malkiewicz, Dennis Livesey, Brandon Townley, Jeff Brouws and Matt Kierstead. Read more
It starts with the sound of a horn in the distance and the gleam of an approaching headlight. Suddenly, you are in the presence of huge thundering, fast moving machinery. In just a few seconds, the locomotive has passed by and you watch until the EOT marker has disappeared around the next curve. Photographing trains is fun and exciting; waiting for trains—not so much.
In December, 2015, I was on the platform of the former B&O station at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, staring across the Potomac river and hoping for a train to emerge from the tunnel on the other side. With nothing much to do while I waited, I took photos of the station, the railroad bridge, the tunnel portal, and an old passenger shelter across the tracks from the station. The train never did show up, and I finally gave up. Evening was coming on and it was getting cold.
I came home with no train pictures. That happens quite often, but I enjoy exploring the railroad landscape, and if a train comes along, it's a bonus. There are great photographic opportunities along the tracks even if the train never arrives. This is the simple idea behind The Trackside Photographer.
So, the next time you are trackside waiting for that train, take a close look at the railroad landscape. You might be surprised at what you find. Take a picture and send it to us for The Trackside Gallery. We would love to hear from you.
The Center for Railroad Photography & Art recently announced the 2016 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards program. This year, there are two categories: one for “Exceptional images from mobile device cameras” and one for “Most evocative images by living photographers.” The contest is open to all, there are no entry fees and no limit on when the photographs were taken. If you are interested, more details may be found on their website.
Edd Fuller, Editor
Your thoughts and comments are welcome.