Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023: Blog https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog en-us (C) Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023 [email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Wed, 25 Oct 2023 23:10:00 GMT Wed, 25 Oct 2023 23:10:00 GMT https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/img/s/v-12/u547612128-o746292077-50.jpg Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023: Blog https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog 120 120 Holidays and Daily writing update https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/10/holidays-and-daily-writing-update Holiday SpiritHoliday Spirit

 

I'm looking forward to the holiday season this year.  I'm more into Halloween than I've been in years and then we get Thanksgiving and Christmas behind that!  One of my favorite parts of Christmas is getting out my Christmas pipes and a tin from my stash of Holiday Spirit from McClelland to smoke with them.  It's a nice aromatic that still has some tobacco flavor in it.

I'm a month plus into my daily goal of writing at least 100 words a day. In the first month, I wrote on about 20 days.. which isn't great but also isn't too shabby when you have not been writing at all.

Most of the posts are pretty mundane, dealing with work and various other things in my day-to-day life.  No real deep thoughts in there, but it helps as a journal to keep plugging away.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 100 word writing habit blog writing https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/10/holidays-and-daily-writing-update Wed, 25 Oct 2023 17:15:04 GMT
Getting motivated to write more https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/9/getting-motivated-to-write-more Retired Crossing GuardRetired Crossing GuardThis old veteran enjoys retirement in front of the restored depot in Folkston, Georgia as the trains of CSX pass by.

 

A goal I had when starting this blog, since it was included with my photography account, was to start writing on a more consistent basis.

I recently picked up a short book from one of my favorite bloggers/writers David Kadavy called "100 word writing Habit".  He's mentioned the concept for years, but it always seemed a little bit too easy to be effective.

After reading the book cover to cover a couple of times (it's a short read) I've made the decision to try it.  Like he mentions in the book, if you write just 100 words a day, over a year that is 36500.  

I'll be sharing some of my writing here as it is completed.

You can learn more about David on his website.

 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 100 word writing habit blog writing https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/9/getting-motivated-to-write-more Sun, 17 Sep 2023 18:16:38 GMT
NW 521 https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/8/nw-521 NW 521 DesaturatedNW 521 DesaturatedBehind the photo - The Norfolk & Western 521

I had visited the Virginia Museum of Transportation before, but somehow I had overlooked this locomotive until my most recent visit due to some of the more famous attractions there.

The 521 story.

The GP9 was acquired in 1958 to replace the famous J-Class steam engines . The 521 was the last of the class of 21 purchased from EMD. These locomotives were equipped with steam generators and featured a maroon paint scheme which complimented the Norfolk & Western's passenger fleet.

The 521 now resides at the Virginia Museum of Transportation along with the J-Class 611 which it replaced on the railroad 50 plus years ago.

The museum's website talks about the steam to diesel transition:

The railway lines found that a reduction in the size of the crew was a particularly attractive benefit of diesel versus steam. There was no fire, of course, eliminating the need for a fireman. Fueling stops were much less frequent and crews could travel further. However, they did not realize the benefits right away. The powerful railroad unions fought the elimination of the fireman. They also fought the extension of the 100 mile track regions to the 200 or 300 miles that the railways wanted. It took years to win the changes. Today, the diesels typically have two people in each cab, primarily for safety reasons.(A)

Both of these locomotives are great examples of the N&W in the late 1950s which many consider the "Golden Age of Railroading" in America.

More about the 521:http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-EMD-GP-9-521.html

Sources:
(A)
http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-start.html

 

Behind the photo - The Norfolk & Western 521

I had visited the Virginia Museum of Transportation before, but somehow I had overlooked this locomotive until my most recent visit due to some of the more famous attractions there.

The 521 story.

The GP9 was acquired in 1958 to replace the famous J-Class steam engines . The 521 was the last of the class of 21 purchased from EMD. These locomotives were equipped with steam generators and featured a maroon paint scheme which complimented the Norfolk & Western's passenger fleet.

The 521 now resides at the Virginia Museum of Transportation along with the J-Class 611 which it replaced on the railroad 50 plus years ago.

The museum's website talks about the steam to diesel transition:

The railway lines found that a reduction in the size of the crew was a particularly attractive benefit of diesel versus steam. There was no fire, of course, eliminating the need for a fireman. Fueling stops were much less frequent and crews could travel further. However, they did not realize the benefits right away. The powerful railroad unions fought the elimination of the fireman. They also fought the extension of the 100 mile track regions to the 200 or 300 miles that the railways wanted. It took years to win the changes. Today, the diesels typically have two people in each cab, primarily for safety reasons.(A)

Both of these locomotives are great examples of the N&W in the late 1950s which many consider the "Golden Age of Railroading" in America.

More about the 521:http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-EMD-GP-9-521.html

Sources:
(A)
http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-start.html

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Photography Railroad Trains https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/8/nw-521 Fri, 25 Aug 2023 12:26:55 GMT
Williamson Morning NKP765 https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/8/williamson-morning-8x10 Williamson Morning 8X10Williamson Morning 8X10The Norfolk Southern celebrated their 30th Anniversary in style during 2012 as they brought Nickel Plate 765 and the Southern 630 out onto the NS tracks as goodwill ambassadors. Early morning in Wiliamson, West Virginia and the 765 is bringing its consist to the depot where NS employees and their families will be treated to a ride over the Pocahontas Division. Learn more about this piece of living history.

 

The Norfolk Southern celebrated their 30th Anniversary in style during 2012 as they brought Nickel Plate 765 and the Southern 630 out onto the NS tracks as goodwill ambassadors.

Early morning in Wiliamson, West Virginia and the 765 is bringing its consist to the depot where NS employees and their families will be treated to a ride over the Pocahontas Division. Learn more about this piece of living history.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Photography Railroad Trains https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/8/williamson-morning-8x10 Wed, 16 Aug 2023 13:13:03 GMT
The old country store https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/8/the-old-country-store store%2520squarestore%2520square

 

On the backroads, one of the common sights is the small abandoned country stores which used to stand at many crossroads.  Usually in a state of disrepair, they were once the center of community.

The small store served the purpose of Dollar General in being a place that you could get the essentials.  Many of them offered credit to their neighbors which would be repaid at harvest time in the fall.

Now they sit mostly abandoned and the locals either drive to the nearest Dollar General or to a WalMart in the next town for their needs.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Photography South Carolina https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/8/the-old-country-store Fri, 11 Aug 2023 14:33:31 GMT
Mabry Wheel Sunrise https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/8/mabry-wheel-sunrise Mabry Wheel SunriseMabry Wheel SunriseEven during the high of tourist season in Summer and Fall, visitors can find quiet moments at Mabry Mill before and after hours.

On the weekends and during the peak tourist seasons, the mill is open daily for inspection and you can buy corn mill ground on site. The historians at the mill are great sources of information about how life "used to be"

 

Even during the high of tourist season in Summer and Fall, visitors can find quiet moments at Mabry Mill before and after hours.

On the weekends and during the peak tourist seasons, the mill is open daily for inspection and you can buy corn mill ground on site. The historians at the mill are great sources of information about how life "used to be"

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) BRP Mabry Mill Photography https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/8/mabry-wheel-sunrise Thu, 10 Aug 2023 14:18:12 GMT
Stumphouse Tunnel https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/7/stumphouse-tunnel We visited Stumphouse Tunnel here in SC for the first time at the end of June.  It's a really cool piece of history, especially for someone who loves railroads as much as I do.

While there I was playing with my R7 inside the tunnel shooting back towards the end.

I got a photo that has something interesting in it that I haven't been able to explain yet.

Let me know what you think it is in the comments.

The 2nd is a cropped in detail of the light in the first one.

Learn more about Stumphouse Tunnel

tunnel longtunnel long tunnel detailtunnel detail

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 photography https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/7/stumphouse-tunnel Sat, 08 Jul 2023 16:50:07 GMT
BRP Tunnel 2019 https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/3/brp-tunnels BRP TunnelsBRP TunnelsThe North Carolina section of the Blue Ridge Parkway features a number of tunnels.

At sunrise, the light is just starting to illuminate the darkness as I stop long enough to grab a quick snapshot out the windshield of the scene

The North Carolina section of the Blue Ridge Parkway features a number of tunnels between Cherokee and Asheville.

At sunrise, the light wass just starting to illuminate the darkness as I stopped long enough to grab a quick snapshot out the windshield.

As Spring arrives, I'm looking forward to exploring the BRP again as it is now closer than ever to reach from our home in Greer.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2019 BRP Photography throwback https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/3/brp-tunnels Thu, 16 Mar 2023 14:22:27 GMT
Draw your sword https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/3/draw-your-sword sword_03_07_2023sword_03_07_2023

 

Another monument at the Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens I really liked was this one holding a sword.

Whenever we visit a historic cemetery, I wonder how many of the monuments and other graves are still visited by family members. In some cemeteries, age has really taken a toll on the monuments aging them to the point where it is almost impossible to read the inscriptions beyond maybe the name, if even that.

I hope that you have been enjoying the shots from the cemeteries which I've collected in a new collection on my webpage which you can visit here.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 cemetery Georgia Photography https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/3/draw-your-sword Tue, 14 Mar 2023 00:27:22 GMT
Norma Oconee Hill Cemetery https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/3/norma-oconee-hill-cemetery Norma_03_07_2023Norma_03_07_2023

 

We visited the Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens, Georgia this week which is located next to the UGA Campus for the first time in ten years on a beautiful March afternoon.
The cemetery is quite large and includes a number of interesting monuments including Norma who is probably my favorite on the site. The cemetery offers "virtual tours" which are a great way to get an idea of the layout and also see some of the famous monuments.

She is located in the Jewish section of the cemetery.

Athens has a lot of interesting history besides being the home of the University of Georgia.

 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 athens cemetery Georgia https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/3/norma-oconee-hill-cemetery Wed, 08 Mar 2023 17:00:31 GMT
Poinsett Bridge 1820 https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/3/poinsett-bridge-1820 Bridge_2023_02_28Bridge_2023_02_28

 

The Poinsett Bridge was built in 1820.  It was then on the main road between Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC. 

According to the Greenville County Park's website:

Constructed in 1820, it is believed to be the oldest surviving bridge in the state. Named after Joel Poinsett, a prominent early resident of Greenville and a U.S. ambassador to Mexico, the bridge was part of the State Road that connected Charleston and Columbia with the North Carolina mountain communities into Tennessee. It is a 14 foot Gothic arch stone structure and stretches 130 feet over Little Gap Creek. Historians believe that is was designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument.
 

On a quiet day, it is a nice place to visit and admire the construction over 200 years later.  The bridge is supposed to be haunted but I've only visited during the daytime, so I can't say I've seen the ghost yet.

The SCETV also has a piece about it on their "South of Spooky" series which you can find here.

 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 Carolina Photography Review South https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/3/poinsett-bridge-1820 Wed, 01 Mar 2023 16:12:15 GMT
Williamson Morning - 2012 https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/williamson-morning---2012 Williamson Morning 8X10Williamson Morning 8X10The Norfolk Southern celebrated their 30th Anniversary in style during 2012 as they brought Nickel Plate 765 and the Southern 630 out onto the NS tracks as goodwill ambassadors. Early morning in Wiliamson, West Virginia and the 765 is bringing its consist to the depot where NS employees and their families will be treated to a ride over the Pocahontas Division. Learn more about this piece of living history.

 

The Norfolk Southern celebrated their 30th Anniversary in style during 2012 as they brought Nickel Plate 765 and the Southern 630 out onto the NS tracks as goodwill ambassadors. Early morning in Wiliamson, West Virginia and the 765 is bringing its consist to the depot where NS employees and their families will be treated to a ride over the Pocahontas Division. Learn more about this piece of living history.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2012 Photography Railroad Trains https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/williamson-morning---2012 Mon, 27 Feb 2023 19:48:39 GMT
Cornelia - the other big apple https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/cornelia---the-other-big-apple Cornelia_02_23Cornelia_02_23

Cornelia, Georgia located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Parkway, north of Atlanta was once the beginning of the Tallulah Falls Railway which ran North to Franklin, North Carolina.

It is located on the Norfolk Southern Railroad still today and has a nicely restored depot (open limited hours) along with a couple of cabooses on display.  There are plenty of seats to watch the passing trains.  Amtrak passes through in the middle of the night both ways, but the trains don't stop here anymore.

Cornelia is also famous for the "Big Red Apple" which is on display next to the depot which pays homage to the areas past as a large producer of apples.  See Patrice's photo of the apple here.


 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 Georgia Photography Railroad Trains https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/cornelia---the-other-big-apple Fri, 24 Feb 2023 16:35:26 GMT
Flowery Branch, Georgia https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/flowery-branch-georgia flowerybranch_021923flowerybranch_021923

 

We had the occasion to stop in Flowery Branch, Georgia for some quick photos downtown and also in the nearby graveyard.

Flowery Branch, which has transformed into a commuter community for Atlanta is in the middle of "modernizing" their downtown.  Where once there were quaint old buildings (and a nice mural), now there are multi-use buildings and torn up streets.

The new farmers market is quite nice by the depot and when the construction is over the residents and visitors will have a nice experience I'm sure.

Down in the graveyard, not as much as changed over the years.  There are still some interesting statues and also lots of historical graves.  Many of the gravestones have faded with time to the point they are almost unreadable. 

My favorite from the graveyard was this angel and companion.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 angel Georgia graveyard Photography https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/flowery-branch-georgia Tue, 21 Feb 2023 19:02:27 GMT
Angel https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/angel angelharp_020523angelharp_020523

 

The last of the shots for now from the Duluth Cemetery in Georgia.  I always find the statuary fascinating.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 cemetery Georgia Photography https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/angel Tue, 14 Feb 2023 17:46:52 GMT
Reading Girl https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/reading-girl readinggirl_020523readinggirl_020523

 

We recently made a trip back down to Duluth, Georgia and while there visited the old cemetery downtown. 

This had been a favorite photo location for us over the years.  This time, the amount of changes made to downtown Duluth was more evident, including the condos in the background of one of my favorite statues.  Duluth really did change during the nine years that I lived there and isn't the "quaint" downtown that I remember so fondly from when I arrived in 2013.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 cemetery Georgia Photography https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/2/reading-girl Thu, 09 Feb 2023 16:22:49 GMT
The Saturday Afternoon Post - Traveler's Rest SHS https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/1/travelers-rest-shs Bedpost_012123Bedpost_012123

The Saturday Afternoon Post.

Located on Lake Hartwell, just across the state line in Georgia, the Travelers Rest Historic Site is an interesting place to visit.

According to their website...
"This stagecoach inn and plantation home was built around 1815 by James R. Wyly. He strategically located it along the newly constructed Unicoi Turnpike, a busy highway over the Appalachian Mountains. Wyly operated the inn until 1833 when he sold it to his neighbor Devereaux Jarrett, the "richest man in the Tugaloo Valley." Jarrett continued to operate the inn, but doubled its size to make it the home place of his 14,400 acre plantation along the Tugaloo River. Three generations of Jarretts inhabited the site until the state of Georgia purchased the remaining few acres of the once-vast plantation for $8,000 in 1955. Thanks to both its architectural significance and its role in the early history of the area, Traveler's Rest was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Today, visitors can tour the house and see many original artifacts and furnishings, some of which were crafted by Caleb Shaw, a renowned cabinetmaker from Massachusetts."

Anyway, I loved how the sun hit this bedpost in one of the upstairs rooms.
 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 Georgia Photography https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/1/travelers-rest-shs Sun, 22 Jan 2023 15:00:19 GMT
TVRM 630 at Chickamauga https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/1/tvrm-630-at-chickamauga Southern 630Southern 630The Southern 630 rolls through the Chickamauga National Battlefield in 2015 pulling an excursion for the Tennessee Valley Railroad

 

A throwback photo today to my first trip to see the Southern 630 in steam at Chickamauga National Park.

 

I've always enjoyed photographing steam trains in action and some of my all time favorite photographs are of them in action or even standing still.

 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Georgia Photography Trains https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/1/tvrm-630-at-chickamauga Wed, 11 Jan 2023 00:24:24 GMT
Wood you like to sit? https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/1/wood-you-like-to-sit TableRockers_01062023-20230215TableRockers_01062023-20230215

 

On our way back from Georgia this week, we stopped at Table Rock State Park located off of South Carolina Highway 11 in Pickens County, to stretch and take a few photographs.  The Visitor Center is located on a small lake which has a nice pier for fishing. The main section of the park (lodge, camping, etc...) is located on the other side of the highway.

Out in front of the visitor center, there are several sets of rockers inviting folks to sit down for a few.

The image was taken with my Canon R7 and a 55mm/f2 Soviet-Era Helios M42 lens, using an adapter I purchased to make it fit on the RF mount. The lens is completely manual when it is on the camera and you have to adjust the settings on the R7 to "shoot without lens" for it to work.  I'll share some more test shots with it, but it is fun to use and makes me think more than the regular 50mm.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 canon Photography south carolina https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/1/wood-you-like-to-sit Sun, 08 Jan 2023 03:38:35 GMT
Happy 2023 https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/1/happy-2023 bridge_01012023-20230044bridge_01012023-20230044

My goal for 2023 is to get out and take more pictures.  We kicked that off right on New Year's Day with a drive to Campbell's Covered Bridge, which is the only remaining covered bridge in South Carolina.

They are in the middle of restoration and improvements at the park, so it was challenging to find angles where there was no construction materials visible.  The entire bridge has been repainted, so it has lost a little of the charm of aging that an old timer like this is entitled to.  However, the fresh coat of paint will keep it in good shape for years to come.

This was the first time out with my new Canon R7 camera and the 50mm RF 1.8 lens.  After shooting on a 5D full frame, it will take me awhile to get used to the 1.6x crop factor.  The camera is easy to use so far and I'm quite happy with the sharpness of the "nifty 50".

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2023 canon r7 south carolina https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2023/1/happy-2023 Mon, 02 Jan 2023 20:48:32 GMT
Holiday Spirit https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/12/holiday-spirit Holiday SpiritHoliday Spirit

 

Even small traditions can help make us appreciate the season.  One tradition of mine is to open a tin of McClelland Holiday Spirit each Christmas to enjoy over the holidays.

McClelland stopped production in 2017, this years tin was made a couple of years before that in 2015, so it's now 7 years old.  It's an aromatic tobacco with flavors of Dark Rum, Cocoa, and pecans added to the base of tobaccos.  I'm not a huge aromatic smoker, but somehow the flavor combination says Christmas to me.

I enjoy smoking it in my Savinelli Saint Nicholas pipes.  Each year, they release their Christmas pipes which have different accents on the stem based on that year's edition.  I buy the 320ex, which is an author shape and has a great texture and a size that I enjoy.  Combined with the Holiday Spirit tobacco, it puts me into as much of a holiday spirit as I can muster.

2022 Sav2022 Sav

 

Add in a glass of Papa Pilar's Dark Rum which compliments the flavors and it makes a great evening.

I look back at 2022 and realize that I've managed to do a whopping six posts this year here on the blog.  It's been a year full of changes, including relocating to a new state and also full of long hours of work.

My primary goal for 2023 is to get into a habit of at least weekly posts here.  That will challenge me to create new images, which will hopefully get me out more to enjoy the photography I love, but never make time for.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate it and I'll see you back here in 2023.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2022 Photography tobacco https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/12/holiday-spirit Sun, 18 Dec 2022 13:59:13 GMT
Memorial Day https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/5/memorial-day USMC F4 USS YorktownUSMC F4 USS Yorktown

 

My father served in the US Navy during the Vietnam Era flying as a radar operator on E-1s and later serving in the reserves as a Radar Technician on the E-2 Hawkeyes.

I grew up near NAS Miramar in the 80s when Top Gun was based there and they filmed the first movie.  Planes stood on pedestals outside the main entrance.  Our home in Poway was under the landing pattern and every day we watched the planes returning to the base.

Lots of my fellow students in school were "Navy Brats" whose father's served in the Navy.  Many of them only lived in San Diego a few years before moving on to another base.

That might have been my life if my dad had not gotten out of the Navy before I was born (after an explosion on the USS Enterprise) and taken a job with NCR working on ATMs and other projects.  He remained in the reserves so once a month and two weeks during the summer he spent his time serving.

When he passed away in 1986, when I was 15, my mother and I were invited by the Squadron to visit Miramar and I was given a tour of an E-2 Hawkeye in the hanger and got to spend some time on the flight line. This was just after Top Gun had hit the theaters.  It made me proud to be the son of a Navy Veteran (which I still am).

On Memorial Day, we remember those who lost their lives in the service of our country.  Those who gave their lives so we can enjoy our freedom. 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) day memorial https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/5/memorial-day Mon, 30 May 2022 19:55:53 GMT
South Carolina https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/3/south-carolina USS Yorktown - On the deckUSS Yorktown - On the deckThe US Yorktown is now a museum in the Charleston, South Carolina area. Patriot's Point is a fascinating place to visit with a large collection of aircraft as well as a look at life on a World War II era Aircraft Carrier.

 

I lived in South Carolina from 2002 to 2013.  Later this year we'll be relocating to the Upstate near Greer, South Carolina where my day job has opened a new facility.

South Carolina has plenty of places I have not visited in years and I'm excited to get to visit and photograph them again.

One location I'm looking forward to is Charleston and visiting the Yorktown at Patriots Point again as well as the other historical sites around the city. Here is a photo from the deck of the Yorktown which I took in 2014 on my last visit there.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) carolina charleston south https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/3/south-carolina Sat, 05 Mar 2022 17:46:28 GMT
Swirls - the visual appeal of pipes. https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/2/swirls texturetexture

 

One of the wood choices for pipes is Arbutus which is also commonly referred to as Strawberry Wood for its color.  Not as popular of a pipe making material as Briar, it can offer some very interesting grain patterns which can be brought out through sandblasting.  Arbutus is also less dense than briar, so it is lighter which is a big advantage in a big pipe.

This pipe from Morgan Pipes is from the Bones series which are pipes that come "unfinished" and will color naturally with smoking.  This one in particular is a favorite of mine, as I really love the swirls which sort of remind me of "starry night" by VanGogh.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) pipe https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/2/swirls Sat, 05 Feb 2022 14:15:25 GMT
Cold day in Georgia https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/1/cold-day-in-georgia Ice WallIce WallReminder that winter is not far behind us at 5000 feet.

Even with the warmer temperatures, the ice remains on shaded cliff faces and slowly melts into Spring.

 

I grew up in Southern California.  Poway, outside San Diego to be exact. Winter was that time of year when the mountains got snow.  Once a year, my parents would load me up and drive me to mountains for a day of playing in it (sledding on my boggie board) along with half the county sometimes.  Once the day was over, we'd usually stop at Dudley's Bread and buy some fresh sourdough and mission bread and I'd have a cup  of hot chocolate to warm back up.  It snowed once in Poway that I can remember and it didn't stick to the ground.   We got frosts and I remember the sound of the fans in the nearby orange orchards and that they lit smudge pots to help protect the crops.

 

Since moving to the South, I've learned that snow and cold come and visit.  I really look forward each year to at least getting one snowfall that is deep enough for some pictures outside and maybe a day of not going to the office.  Cold days without snow... brrr.  We're having one of those today here outside Atlanta and for me it's a good excuse to stay inside, drink coffee and catch up on some reading.

 

I have friends who live in places where they have these temperatures all winter and lots of snow and they really seem to enjoy, or at least tolerate it more than I can.  But to them, the thought of a humid, hot Georgia summer is unthinkable.  In the end, I guess it really does come down to what we are used to.


To the image, a couple of years ago, I took a trip in early April up to the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and took the image of some ice which remained up there, then I drove back home to a 70 degree day down here below.  It was nice to see, but I was happy for Spring.. if not the pollen, but that is a story for another day.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) cold ice weather https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/1/cold-day-in-georgia Sat, 29 Jan 2022 16:52:27 GMT
UFO Welcome Center https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/1/ufo-welcome-center IMG_0013-EditIMG_0013-Edit

 

When I used to work in South Carolina, one of our plants was in Orangeburg, SC.  I had seen pictures of the "UFO Welcome Center" in nearby Bowman, so one day I drove over at lunch to grab a few shots.

I don't know the history behind the center, but it is obviously someone's labor of love and came across to me as quirky in that "Outsider Art" kind of way.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) carolina road south trip ufo https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2022/1/ufo-welcome-center Sat, 08 Jan 2022 15:04:03 GMT
River Reflections https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2020/5/river-reflections 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.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Augusta Bridge Georgia Post-processing River https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2020/5/river-reflections Sun, 03 May 2020 21:41:30 GMT
A morning with the Green Dragon https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2020/2/a-morning-with-the-green-dragon 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.

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2020 Pipe Smoking Review https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2020/2/a-morning-with-the-green-dragon Sat, 01 Feb 2020 13:14:23 GMT
Looking for love in all the wrong places https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2020/1/looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places 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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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) snapshots https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2020/1/looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places Mon, 27 Jan 2020 22:30:38 GMT
The Art of Travel and Luxury Bullseye Flake https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2020/1/the-art-of-travel I spent the first Saturday of 2020 reading The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton on my Kindle while enjoying several bowls of Luxury Bulleye Flake  in several of my favorite pipes throughout the afternoon.

After several days of rain, it was nice to see the sun make an appearance bringing with it cooler temperatures and a crisp breeze.  

The Art of Travel was an interesting read to me.  The author combines his thoughts on travel and relates them to famous travelers of the past.  He writes in an engaging prose which kept me engaged.  I can also relate to his observations on travel which was a bonus. 

The key point that I got from the book was the differences between our imagined world of travel and what we find when we actually engage in it.  The thought of flying off to some exotic location versus the reality of airport parking, TSA lines, crowded or delayed flights and the let down we sometimes get from the reality of the locations we've dreamed about or only experienced through pictures or the writing of others.

We find in the book that this is something that has occurred to travelers for many years.  Some travelers acknowledge the fact in their writings while to others it is avoided and the locale remains dreamy or perfect to their readers.  Today I equated this to the travelblog posts on Instagram where the weather always seems perfect, locations are never crowded and around every corner is another picture.  We don't usually see the less savory parts of the day such as traffic jams, less than ideal hotels or foods that don't match our tastes.  I realize lots of the travelbloggers are sponsored by the hotels or locations they visit and part of their "job" (and future gigs) is to present them in their best light.  That doesn't make it reality though.

de Botton does a great job of giving the entire picture in the essays on his travels.  He discusses how even in the most exotic of locations, we still can be blogged down by thoughts of the work or world we left behind.  I know that happens to me.  Even on vacation, thoughts of work creep in and I think about what will be waiting for me when I return to the office.  When that happens, I have two choices:

  1. Give into that stream of thought and be transported back to my work world.  Instead of sitting on the beach watching the waves, now I'm back in the office in my mind.
  2. Stop.  Acknowledge the thought and then focus on something in the present and start thinking about what I'm seeing or doing or reading.

I'll admit, I've been guilty of the first one quite often in the past and sometimes I can't get it out of my head.  One of my goals (I hate that word) for 2020 is to focus more on the present and enjoy it while I can.  Today, that means reading a good book, enjoying one of my favorite tobaccos and sipping on a nice drink.  Work will still be there Monday morning.

I'll be reading more by the author as I work towards reading 100 books this year and will be sharing reviews of some of them here.

Tobacco Notes:

Luxury Bullseye Flake by Peter Stokkebye is a delightful blend of Virginias and Perique, with a touch of black Cavendish — thinly sliced into neat bullseye coins. 

The coins can either be folded into larger pipes or broken up into a ribbon and smoked in smaller ones.  I prefer to use larger pipes as during the smoke you can taste the different component tobaccos as they burn in succession.  The perique doesn't overwhelm the Virginia and the Cavendish gives just a hint of extra sweetness.  It can be purchased in bulk and I always keep it in my normal rotation.

 

You can read some reviews about it on Tobacco Reviews and see what others have to say about this classic blend.

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2020 Art of Travel Book Review Luxury Bullseye Flake Pipes Travel https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2020/1/the-art-of-travel Sat, 04 Jan 2020 20:18:13 GMT
Talking Railroads with Jpeg2Raw.com https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2019/3/talking-railroads-with-jpeg2raw-com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had the chance recently to discuss railroad photography with Mike Howard and Tim Kempere on the popular jpeg2RAW podcast show. 

This was my first "live" interview and I enjoyed sharing my favorite photography subject with them.

Be sure to check out their website and the rest of the great episodes.

 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Photography Railroad Trains https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2019/3/talking-railroads-with-jpeg2raw-com Sun, 03 Mar 2019 17:00:00 GMT
A visit with an old friend https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/8/a-visit-with-an-old-friend Norfolk & Western 611

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Photography Railroad Trains https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/8/a-visit-with-an-old-friend Sun, 14 Aug 2016 16:57:42 GMT
Norfolk & Western 521 https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/2/norfolk-western-521 NW 521 DesaturatedNW 521 DesaturatedBehind the photo - The Norfolk & Western 521

I had visited the Virginia Museum of Transportation before, but somehow I had overlooked this locomotive until my most recent visit due to some of the more famous attractions there.

The 521 story.

The GP9 was acquired in 1958 to replace the famous J-Class steam engines . The 521 was the last of the class of 21 purchased from EMD. These locomotives were equipped with steam generators and featured a maroon paint scheme which complimented the Norfolk & Western's passenger fleet.

The 521 now resides at the Virginia Museum of Transportation along with the J-Class 611 which it replaced on the railroad 50 plus years ago.

The museum's website talks about the steam to diesel transition:

The railway lines found that a reduction in the size of the crew was a particularly attractive benefit of diesel versus steam. There was no fire, of course, eliminating the need for a fireman. Fueling stops were much less frequent and crews could travel further. However, they did not realize the benefits right away. The powerful railroad unions fought the elimination of the fireman. They also fought the extension of the 100 mile track regions to the 200 or 300 miles that the railways wanted. It took years to win the changes. Today, the diesels typically have two people in each cab, primarily for safety reasons.(A)

Both of these locomotives are great examples of the N&W in the late 1950s which many consider the "Golden Age of Railroading" in America.

More about the 521:http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-EMD-GP-9-521.html

Sources:
(A)
http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-start.html

Behind the photo - The Norfolk & Western 521

I had visited the Virginia Museum of Transportation before, but somehow I had overlooked this locomotive until my most recent visit due to some of the more famous attractions there.

The 521 story.

The GP9 was acquired in 1958 to replace the famous J-Class steam engines . The 521 was the last of the class of 21 purchased from EMD. These locomotives were equipped with steam generators and featured a maroon paint scheme which complimented the Norfolk & Western's passenger fleet.

The 521 now resides at the Virginia Museum of Transportation along with the J-Class 611 which it replaced on the railroad 50 plus years ago.

The museum's website talks about the steam to diesel transition:

The railway lines found that a reduction in the size of the crew was a particularly attractive benefit of diesel versus steam. There was no fire, of course, eliminating the need for a fireman. Fueling stops were much less frequent and crews could travel further. However, they did not realize the benefits right away. The powerful railroad unions fought the elimination of the fireman. They also fought the extension of the 100 mile track regions to the 200 or 300 miles that the railways wanted. It took years to win the changes. Today, the diesels typically have two people in each cab, primarily for safety reasons.(A)

Both of these locomotives are great examples of the N&W in the late 1950s which many consider the "Golden Age of Railroading" in America.

More about the 521: http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-EMD-GP-9-521.html

Sources:
(A)
http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-start.html

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/2/norfolk-western-521 Sat, 13 Feb 2016 20:51:05 GMT
PhotoSquared: Bridge over Chattahoochee https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/7/photosquared-bridge-over-chattahoochee Bridge SquareBridge Square

 

Here is a different cropping and black & white conversion of last weekend's image made with the EOS-M3 and 11-22mm lens.

 

I liked this in a square crop format with the log in the lower right pointing towards the bridge in the fog on the opposite bank. 

 

Be sure to check out some of my other square format shots in the PhotoSquared gallery here on the Rusted Rail Images page.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) PhotoSquared https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/7/photosquared-bridge-over-chattahoochee Fri, 17 Jul 2015 11:55:43 GMT
Times are a changing... https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/times-are-a-changing

 

Times are a changing...

I officially made the jump from DSLR to mirrorless recently. I'm moving from the Canon 5D3 to the EOS-M3 (not released in the US, but purchased from a Japanese dealer).

My main reasons for finally making the jump were:

1) I've found the mirrorless system works better for my current shooting style/time. I travel for business a lot and the M3 and the lenses are easy to carry either in carry-on or when driving.
2) The EOS-M3 can use my remaining EF lenses with the adapter. I did sell my 70-200 f/2.8L as it was overkill with the smaller camera.
3) The EOS-M3 can use the new electronic viewfinder (which I purchased) which eliminates the shooting with my arms in front of me (which I hated)
4) When I went on vacation recently, I decided to leave the 5D3 at home because of the weight and the fact that I was shooting with the G1x and original M 99% of the time.

It is taking some time for me to get used to the new system but I had a fun morning taking some train shots today and I'm really enjoying the compactness and capability of the new system.

Here's a shot from this morning... edited in my normal style.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2015 Gainesville Georgia https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/times-are-a-changing Mon, 22 Jun 2015 00:35:10 GMT
Farm Wood https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/farm-wood Farm WoodFarm WoodWooden details

I always enjoy taking photos of wood.  The grain is different on every piece of wood I find.

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Wood https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/farm-wood Wed, 10 Jun 2015 23:31:13 GMT
Back to our roots https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/12/back-to-our-roots Sometimes, we need to return to our roots I think.

When I purchased my first DSLR, a Canon xTi, I decided to take it over to Augusta, Georgia to shoot along the Riverwalk and try it out. The Savannah River was quite calm that morning and there was no boat traffic.  The old Southern Railway bridge was reflected in the water. The only thing that would have improved it, a steam train going across.

River ReflectionsRiver ReflectionsThe ex-Southern Railway bridge is reflected in the still waters of the Savannah River at Augusta, Georgia.

The bridge is located at the Riverwalk Park in downtown Augusta and still serves the trains of the Norfolk Southern.

When I lived in Aiken, this was a favorite place to visit and photograph. I believe this was the only time I visited over several years when the water was this calm.

The only thing that might of made the image even a little more appealing to me would of been a train crossing the classic iron structure.

Years later, this shot is still one of my all-time favorites.  I was never able to duplicate that scene on numerous visits to the location while living in South Carolina.

The image was made as a jpeg.  I didn't know about RAW at the time and was converted to BW in the Canon software provided.  I wish I had a RAW file to process now as I think I could bring out some more details in the shadows, etc...

As we quickly approach the end of 2014, it is time to start thinking about 2015 and our goals as photographers. I'm hoping to do a better job than I did this year of getting out and shooting something every week.  I wish I could say "everyday" but with my work schedule "every week" seems like an achievable goal.

I also hope to do a better job of posting here on the blog. I look back and see some pretty "dry" periods.  My goal for 2015 will be to do at least one post a week. Hopefully, I'll exceed that.

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2014 Georgia Photography Railroad https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/12/back-to-our-roots Thu, 11 Dec 2014 14:05:51 GMT
Big weekend for steam! https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/big-weekend-for-steam Southern 630Southern 630The Southern 630 rolls through the Chickamauga National Battlefield in 2015 pulling an excursion for the Tennessee Valley Railroad

 

Labor Day is a big weekend for steam locomotives in the US.

 

The big news this weekend is the return to steam action of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's 4501 which will be a part of the annual RAILFEST! this weekend in Chattanooga, TN.

I look forward to seeing the 4501 as it returns to the rails as part of the Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam program over the next few years, joining the 630, the NKP 765, and hopefully soon the Norfolk & Western 611 undergoing restoration in North Carolina in Spencer.

 

The photo above is of the 611's long-time excursion partner the NW 1218 which resides at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke which would also be a great destination this holiday weekend.

 

Wherever you spend the weekend, I hope you have a great end to the Summer, see a bunch of trains, and stay safe near the tracks!

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 1218 4501 611 Day Labor NS NW VMT https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/big-weekend-for-steam Fri, 29 Aug 2014 00:42:15 GMT
NS 8014 Tifton https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/ns-8014-tifton

 

Snapshot

As a railfan, I might be one of the few people who don't mind being caught by a train at a crossing. The gates were just going down as I pulled up to this crossing in Tifton, Georgia last week, so I rolled down the window and grabbed my trusty #Canon #G1X to get a snapshot of the passing train.

NS 8014 leads her train through the crossing blowing the horn in the familiar long-long-short-long pattern. A friendly wave from the crew made the moment complete.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) 2014 Georgia NS Norfolk Southern Tifton https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/ns-8014-tifton Sun, 17 Aug 2014 01:59:19 GMT
Dark Fog https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/dark-fog Dark Fog ColorDark Fog ColorOn a dark foggy morning in November 2010, CSX 496 leads an empty coal train north from Florida through Folkston, Georgia.

On a morning like this.. you feel the train before you can see it appear slowly from the shadows. You hear the horn blowing for the crossings and feel the ground shake as the engines pass.

Unit coal trains move tons of "black diamonds" from the fields of the Applachians to the Power Plants which provide energy to millions of customers.

 

On a dark foggy morning in November 2010, CSX 496 leads an empty coal train north from Florida through Folkston, Georgia.

On a morning like this.. you feel the train before you can see it appear slowly from the shadows. You hear the horn blowing for the crossings and feel the ground shake as the engines pass.

Unit coal trains move tons of "black diamonds" from the fields of the Applachians to the Power Plants which provide energy to millions of customers.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) CSX Folkston GA Georgia Rail Railroad Rusted https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/dark-fog Wed, 06 Aug 2014 12:46:56 GMT
Towards art, my journey https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/7/towards-art-my-journey A big challenge for me has been to embrace the idea of becoming more "artistic" in my image making.  
Mabry Fall ReflectionsMabry Fall ReflectionsMabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway is the most photographed location on the route.

Visitors can enjoy the chance to see how life "was back then" through living history demonstrations on the weekends during the season.

Spring flowers abound and everyone should experience the beauty of a Blue Ridge fall at least once.

I was born and raised in the "realism" camp of photography where especially railroad photography was designed to capture the actual moment.  There was not a lot of room for artistic interpretations and photoshop was (still is in many circles) a crime.
In the age of digital cameras and YouTube there are millions of railfans photographing and videoing almost every square inch of rail in the US.   A lot of those images start to look alike, even to a buff to me.

When I go out railfanning these days, I find myself searching for the less obvious, the historical, or the unique.  Something different than the me too shots of the next train, or a special paint scheme.

I believe that we are each capable of creating something "better".  
Taking what we "see" with our camera and making it into something that tells an entire story visually. 

The end result isn't "photography" per se, but more digital art. I've never had any talent with a paint brush or drawing, but I've found a way to express that desire to create.  It is my own way to be an "artist", something I never thought I'd call myself.

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Americana Art Georgia Photography Railroad Trains https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/7/towards-art-my-journey Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:45:59 GMT
Fun Along the Road https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/1/fun-along-the-road Fun along the Road by John Margolies is trip across America to find all of the Quirky "Americana" type places that used to line the highways of the United States before the advent of the Interstate System.

Some of his finds are known nationally such as "Rock City" in Chattanooga, Tennessee; famous for its painted barn advertisements throughout the Southeast.

Others are smaller places, many now closed and demolished, which survived on the drive by traffic on the adjacent highway.

Margolies photographed these locations during years of road-trips which totaled over 100,000 miles.

For example, it is interesting to find out for example how many "Paul Bunyan" giant statues have been erected over the years in many different states.

Margolies wrote many books on similar topics and most of them can be picked up quite inexpensively now on the used book market.

 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Americana Books Photography Review https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/1/fun-along-the-road Sat, 18 Jan 2014 16:33:59 GMT
River Reflections https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/river-reflections River Reflections

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 is now part of  the Nik Collection by Google package, 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.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Augusta Bridge Georgia Post-processing River https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/river-reflections Fri, 16 Aug 2013 13:23:25 GMT
Around and Around https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/around-and-around shapes and angles

 

Sometimes we feel life  is just going around and around and we aren't going anywhere

Or... we pay to have that feeling.. just to enjoy the view from the top.


#transportTuesday
 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Black & White Fair Fairground TransportTuesday https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/around-and-around Tue, 13 Aug 2013 15:04:29 GMT
Looking for trains or why I am a railfan https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/looking-for-trains I am looking!

I still find it interesting when I first describe my "railfanning" hobby to others.

The idea that I'll go and spend time looking for trains or taking photographs of them seems "strange" or odd.

Well.. it's just something I enjoy doing.  Why? 

The easiest answer is I like trains.  I have thought they were cool since I was a young kid.  My dad built us an HO-scale model railroad in the garage (we didn't have basements in California, and we used to run them around the plywood with a few buildings and a "Plaster of Paris" mountain in the corner.  I really enjoyed going to Balboa Park to visit the huge model railroad museum there (which still exists http://www.sdmrm.org/ ) and also our trips to Los Angeles on Amtrak.  These days, I enjoy photographing railroads too.  They are never the same and make for interesting subjects.

Also, I like history. When I look at the names on the side of boxcars you can usually see a few from railroads that don't exist any more. Some times they might have merged into a current railroad, but many times they have just been abandoned.  I see those names and it reminds me of their stories.

Finally, I like transportation.  Trains move things. Even when they are empty they are on their way to bring another load.  Be it a hopper full of coal for a power plant, a tankcar full of chemicals, Amtrak train full of passengers, a container load of toys for Christmas, or whatever. Without trains, America would stop.

So while other folks get excited over sports, hunting, running, or whatever; I'll stick with my trains.  See you by the tracks.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Photo Railroad Trains https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/looking-for-trains Fri, 02 Aug 2013 16:52:17 GMT
Beat the summer heat https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/beat-the-summer-heat New Holland Grocery

 

Summer is finally arriving here in the Atlanta area.  While it has been wet and mostly cool so far, we're expecting 5-6 straight days of over 90 degree weather combined with typical humidity.

When I was driving between Aiken and Columbia in South Carolina for work, I'd often take the back roads home which took me through New Holland where Kirkland Grocery stands.

The store is as quaint on the inside and still sold Coca-Cola just like the Button above the hand painted sign proudly proclaims.

As many times as I drove by the store, I only stopped a few times to get a quick picture of this classic.

This one was early on a Sunday morning. (They are always closed on Sunday) 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Americana Coca-Cola Coke Rural Store https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/beat-the-summer-heat Thu, 01 Aug 2013 12:58:39 GMT
The Canon G1X : Updated Review https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/4/the-canon-g1x  

The Canon G1X is the newest professional level compact camera from Canon. The G1X offers many features normally found on the larger DSLR's in a much smaller package. The G1X however is probably not the best choice for the photography beginner due to its complexity and price point.

I decided to update my review of the G1X to incorporate what I've learned about it over the last 10 months.  This was originally written when I had stepped up from a G12 and before the G15 (which is closer to a G12) was introduced later.

The Canon G1X had an original retail price of $799 placing it closer to the price tags of the entry level DSLRs than to your normal point-and-shoot camera.  Amazon currently is running it for $549 and it has been as low as $499 on sale.  Used models can be picked up usually starting at around $450.

Canon has a great video on their website which describes the G1X in detail and also the mindset of the engineers and designers responsible for it.

1) The lens is a lot nicer and it basically replicates a EF 28-115mm dSLR (no you can't change the lens) with full-time (turn-off able) power IS which works in video or still mode.

The CMOS sensor size means the lens is really a 15.1mm to 60.4mm with a 1.9x crop-factor (compared to a 1.6x on the 7D) or a 4.6x on the G12 with it's 6.1mm lens. This is a big improvement.

There is an adapter available to use 58mm standard filters. However, you cannot use the filters and the optional screw on "tulip-style" lenshood at the same time. Later I bought a lenscover that retracts similar to the G12/G15. However, using this precludes using the 58mm filters. A CP filter comes in handy.

2) Max aperature is up to F/22 from F/8 on the G12 due to that bigger lens.

Minimum is a variable F2.8 to 5.8 which makes it the same as a stock lens. I wish they could get the minimum down more, but it is decent in low light.

3) The camera feels "better built" meaning it feels solid. it is not a typical point and shoot that you will be putting in a normal pocket though. It is quite bulky

4) There is a hot shoe and it is compatible Speedlites 270EX and higher. With a 430EX mounted it is very top heavy. However, you can use a ETTL cord for off-camera flash. They also offer a flash bracket to move the flash position to the left of the camera. It does not have full ETTL functionality.

5) The in-camera flash now pops up (from behind the Canon logo) and when it is retracted is off.

6) The ISO dial is gone from the top of the camera (it is now up arrow on the back) and the exposure compensation dial is now under the settings. The exposure compensation dial now goes -3 to 3 and you can immediately see the impact on the LCD.

ISO range is 100-12,100. Auto ISO is adjustable but the max auto is 1600 (I turn mine down to 800 usually). It is not very strong at higher ISO ratings. Of course, I am spoiled to the low light capabilities of the 5D Mark III now. But it is also not a professional level DSLR.

7) It shoots RAW (one of the reasons for getting a G-series in the first place) and you can shoot jpeg+RAW and change aspect ratios on the jpeg shots such as my favorite 1:1 "Photosquared" shots.

8) 14.3MP is nice and allows you to easily crop in on shots and still have good detail.

9) I do not do much video yet, but you can start filming with the push of a button from any mode on the camera instead of having to go to film mode. Built in stereo microphones (and wind filter function) but no way to hook in an external mic (that is a shame)

10) Max exposure time is 1 minute but there is still no "bulb" setting for night-time shooting.

Here is also a link to the full specifications on the G1X

The G1X fits a niche for DSLR owners looking for something smaller to carry with them as a day-to-day or travel camera. While it does not replace the flexibility of the DSLR with their inter-changable lenses and L-series glass, it is a great "back-up" camera and/or everyday camera.

Many of the shots that I share on Google+ and Facebook are taken with the G1X.

Here are a couple of my sample G1X shots:

Ferris Wheel

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Canon G1X Photography Review https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/4/the-canon-g1x Thu, 25 Apr 2013 12:16:45 GMT
Dogging Steinbeck Review - The Hard Truth https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/4/dogging-steinbeck-review---the-hard-truth It's not always easy to learn the "truth". Accepting the "truth" can even be harder sometimes. However, when good evidence is given that your belief is wrong, you have to.

I ran across Dogging Steinbeck: How I went in search of John Steinbeck's America, found my own America, and exposed the truth about 'Travels With Charley' by Bill Steigerwald quite by accident when I was searching Amazon for another Steinbeck book.

I read the description from Amazon and decided to give it a read as I am a big Travels with Charley in Search of America and road trip fan from way back.

 

Bill Steigerwald basically decided to recreate the trip from Travels exactly 50 years later in 2010 to discover how America had changed and also to as accurately as possible follow in Steinbeck's tire tracks. If you have read Travel you know that Steinbeck met a cast of characters, and traveled across America in a truck with a camper shell with his French Poodle Charley. I've read the book several times, listened to it on audible, and basically considered it a road-trip classic along the lines of Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon.

Honestly, what I never really thought about was how accurate a description of the trip was it.  

As Steigerwald mentions, the book has always been sold as "Non-Fiction" so I basically assumed it was telling "the truth".  Of course, I realize in many travel or other non-fiction books things are changed to protect identities, or to even make the story move along better.  This occurs in any book and is accepted.

So how much of Travels is real?

I suggest you pick up a copy of Steigerwald's book and find out for yourself.  The author has done the research (including seeing the first draft of the Travels book in NYC) and then driven the miles in a RAV4 to prove it out. 

I know I'll never look at "Non-Fiction" travel writing the same way again.

Be sure to check out Steigerwald's great blog at http://truthaboutcharley.com/


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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Book Book Review Road Trip Steinbeck https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/4/dogging-steinbeck-review---the-hard-truth Tue, 23 Apr 2013 13:41:38 GMT
Over the top https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/3/over-the-top Over the topOver the top

 

Some times we all just go over the top.

 

Look at something today from a new angle. Put that circle (or part of a circle) INSIDE the box of your own creating. 

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) BW Fair PhotoSquared https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/3/over-the-top Fri, 29 Mar 2013 11:52:56 GMT
Waterwheel Sunrise https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/3/waterwheel-sunrise Waterwheel Sunrise

 

The waterwheel served as a power source driven by the movement of water over it. However, the water was controlled to harness the power.

 

What is controlling the water over your wheel?

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) color fall mabry mill mill rail rusted rusted rail https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/3/waterwheel-sunrise Wed, 20 Mar 2013 11:32:58 GMT
years of fading https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/3/years-of-fading Store Detail

 

the sign has seen many coats of paint over its years, but it still does the job quite well.

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) fading north carolina rust sign https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/3/years-of-fading Sat, 16 Mar 2013 14:35:46 GMT
Happy Birthday Ansel Adams https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/2/happy-birthday-ansel-adams Ansel Adams was the first photographer I knew by name. Growing up in California, I fell in love with his images of the great parks and the West.
 

Source: National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/images/aag01.jpg


As I got back into photography, I learned more about the man behind the camera and the true diversity of his career and the images he produced over the years.

I highly recommend that any photographer take the chance to learn more about Adams and his influence on photography through some of the many resources available in print and on-line.

Here are a few places to start:

The National Archives has some of his work which he produced for the US Government:

http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/

Ansel Adams at 100: San Francisco Museum of Art

http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/multimedia/interactive_features/22

Ansel Adams Books

http://www.anseladamsbooks.com/

 

A few books I recommend include:

Ansel Adams in Color : Proof that he did a lot more than Black & White

Ansel Adams: 400 photographs : A great survey of his career in 400 photos

Examples: The Making of 40 photographs : Learn from Adams himself

 

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) Ansel Adams Photography https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/2/happy-birthday-ansel-adams Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:32:46 GMT
Happy 100th Birthday Grand Central Terminal https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/2/happy-100th-birthday-grand-central-terminal The most famous of all United States Railroad stations is celebrating 100 years of service today.

Grand Central Terminal (GCT) in New York City has been serving travelers for a century now.  

Originally owned by the New York Central Railroad, trains such as the 20th Century Limited departed daily from its underground tracks.

The US Post Office did a special Express Mail Stamp to commemorate the occasion. 

A beloved New York City landmark turns one hundred years old in 2013, and the U.S. Postal Service is celebrating with the Grand Central Terminal Express Mail stamp. The train station officially opened on February 2, 1913, and was soon recognized as one of the most majestic public spaces in the world.

The stamp art captures the grandeur of this architectural masterpiece with an illustration of the main concourse. Early morning sunlight streams through the 60-foot-tall windows, illuminating the people below. In the foreground, travelers gather near the round information booth topped with its famous four-sided clock. The concourse's sky ceiling stretches overhead, decorated with a mural of constellations and figures of the Zodiac.

The graphic illustration was created by artist Dan Cosgrove, working with art director Phil Jordan. 

The Grand Central Terminal Express Mail stamp is being issued in self-adhesive sheets of 10 at the $19.95 rate, or $199.50 per sheet.

Grand Central TerminalSo Happy 100th Birthday Grand Central Terminal and here's to another century of servicea

Learn More About Grand Central Terminal

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[email protected] (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker 2023) New York New York Central New York City Railroad Stamp Trains USPS https://photo.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/2/happy-100th-birthday-grand-central-terminal Fri, 01 Feb 2013 23:29:43 GMT