Rusted Rail's Ramblings

Thanks for stopping by my blog. 

I plan on using it share my images and also what is going on in my life. 

There will also be some pipe smoking content and tobacco reviews from time to time.

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.

 


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.


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.

 


The Art of Travel and Luxury Bullseye Flake

January 04, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

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.


Talking Railroads with Jpeg2Raw.com

March 03, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 


A visit with an old friend

August 14, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Norfolk & Western 611


Norfolk & Western 521

February 13, 2016  •  1 Comment

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


PhotoSquared: Bridge over Chattahoochee

July 17, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

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.

 


Times are a changing...

June 21, 2015  •  2 Comments

 

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.

 


Farm Wood

June 10, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

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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