Stormy 611Stormy 611The NW 611 sits during the firing-up process at the N.C. Transportation Museum on August 6, 2016.
The Behind-the-Scenes events give you a chance to learn more about the engine, meet the crew, and get up close and personal without as many other people around.

 

Rusted Rail Ramblings with Gene Bowker

 

A tender retirement

May 17, 2020  •  1 Comment

TendersTenders

A line of steam locomotive tenders parked on a weed covered siding at the Southeastern Railroad Museum here in Duluth, GA


River Reflections

May 03, 2020  •  1 Comment

River ReflectionsRiver Reflections - Augusta Georgia

The old Southern Railway bridge is still used by trains and leads from South Carolina (on the far shore) into downtown Augusta, Georgia. Usually the surface of the river is rippled by boat traffic or wind, but this day it seemed extra "smooth" and ready to be photographed. 

Why Post Process?

When I started in photography and even digital photography I was completely of the school that post-processing was somehow "cheating" or bad.  The idea was to get the perfect "Straight-from-the-camera" shot that accomplished everything you wanted it to.

Later on when I moved to Lightroom; I discovered Silver Efex,  which allows you to create a variety of black & white conversion effects.
 
I use SilverEfex Pro 2 for 90% of my black & white conversions and often use ColorEfex Pro 4 on color shots or to pre-process before moving to silverefex to finish up.
 
I really like how you can control the amount of the effects to best come up with the results you want.  Each image requires a different combination to end up with what you want. You get those options.

I've learned that I get the most enjoyment from photography by post-processing to make them "my own".  Taking a RAW file and tweaking it to come up with an image that "says" what I want it to. Sometimes it is easy, but sometimes it can be a long process. But the end results are worth it to me.

 


Wide World of Railroads

April 18, 2020  •  2 Comments

 

Dark Fog

The Wide World of Railroads is a series I began in early 2012 where I use a 1 to 3 (1:3) crop-ratio to create "faux"-pano style shots of railroad scenes.

This shot of the CSX in Folkston was one of the first times that I shared a photo in the ratio.  I like the way that the crop brings the train into the shot as the main actor.  In this case it seems to work so much better than the original image.

As I'm shooting railroad scenes, I use the grid in the viewfinder of my Canon DSLR to try and imagine how the shot will look when cropped.  It requires me to think differently.. because of needing to allow space at the top or bottom (or both) for cropping later on.

Another ratio which is gaining popularity is the 16:9 ratio which is the same that is used on a HDTV. With so many images being seen on HDTV's these days, it is a natural also.

What is your favorite ratio? Have you tried some shots in untraditional ratios?


A morning with the Green Dragon

February 01, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

I woke up much earlier than I expected this morning and not being able to get back to sleep, decided to get up and make coffee and have my morning bowl of joy, I mean my first pipe. It's a cold morning here in Georgia (well for us) and the smell of coffee quickly filled the room.

Looking through my jar rotation, I found myself drawn to the jar of Green Dragon from The Country Squire like it was calling out to me, sort of like a Ring. I remembered that the Green Dragon is part of the Middle Earth series named after locations in the Lord of the Rings series.

Opening the jar, I saw the combination of darker and lighter Virginias and was greeted by a sweet note similar to fresh cut grass or hay. The cut is ribbon and ready to pack.

My normal morning smokes (on work days) are usually aromatics but this had no topping and its own sweetness. I chose one of my favorite pipes, a Morgan Bones Timberwolf which is based off of the Canadian family. The tall bowl works great with Virginias and particularly with Ribbon cuts.

The smoke followed the same path as the jar note, sweet high notes with a little support in the mid tier. Flipping to the webpage, I was reminded that this is a combination of air-cured (light) and flue-cured (dark) Virginia's according to the blender. It compares quite favorably to Orlik Golden Sliced which is a summertime favorite of mine. The sweetness paired well with the bitterness of the coffee (black as the color of my soul, or something like that)

Finishing the bowl and my first cup of coffee, I was ready to tackle the world.

If you have never tried one of Jon David Cole's blends from The Country Squire you are missing a real treat. Blended in shop from choice tobaccos, you'll quickly understand why the Squire is still going strong in their 50th year.

Timberwolf 2019Timberwolf 2019


Looking for love in all the wrong places

January 27, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Looking for loveLooking for loveHe was looking for love in all the WRONG places.

 

He was looking for love in all the WRONG places. 

 

This little guy found his ideal mate I guess in the head of my antenna.  Unfortunately for him, it was a little stiff.

 

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