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Welcome!

I currently live in Greer, South Carolina in the Upstate, but am originally from Poway, California. I've lived in the Southeastern US since my college days at Arkansas State. 

I enjoy traveling the backroads of America with my wife Patrice (also a great photographer), photography (my favorites), railroads, and learning about technology and how it will change our lives in every way. 

I've had the chance to work for a variety of companies in many industries over the years and had the chance to live all over the South while working in Manufacturing Management.

You can learn more "About Gene" where I discuss some of my influences.

Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]

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Who knows what we'll find on the backroads of life one story and one photo at a time.

 

 

Day job or what I do when I'm not making pictures.

June 03, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

UntitledUntitled

 

I'm not a full-time photographer.  Like many photographers I have a day job which pays the bills and use photography as a hobby and as an outlet for my creative side.

I went to college and studied Political Science.  I was sure I wanted to become a lawyer.  However, after an internship at a law office I quickly decided that really wasn't how I wanted to spend my life.

Luckily my senior year in college I found a "Management Trainee" position with a small manufacturing company which I was hired for. That position was a great way to learn everything about manufacturing at the macro level as I spent time doing everything from production supervision to shipping to material planning.

Material planning was the part of the operations that I enjoyed most and my career since then has been within the "Supply Chain" realms of planning and procurement. 

I've had the chance to work in a variety of industries including textiles, heavy machinery, high-tech, consumer products, gas turbines, and now industrial equipment.  Over the years I shifted from planning roles over to specializing more in procurement/sourcing/operations.  The variety of companies have given me a great view of how different organizations approach the problems of ensuring the right components are available at the right time.

Over 30 years in manufacturing, I've seen how technology has improved our ability to effectively operate.  From the early days of "visicalc" spreadsheets and paper work-orders, to a digital workflow and advanced ERP systems that can help manage thousands of SKUs.  Now, AI on the horizon will help to automate workflows and continue to improve our processes!

Automation and technology has also impacted my photography over the years as I've moved from 35mm cameras to digital cameras which allow us to make many more images in the field.  Waiting to see how the pictures came out back from the developer has changed to instantly being able to see what we've captured on the back of our cameras.  In addition, most of us carry great cameras in our pockets in our cellphones which mean you never have to be without a camera.  Processing wise we have programs like Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and even in camera/app editing tools which can improve our captures to show what we want them to.  New AI tools can even generate digital images from a "suggestion prompt" like the one in the photo above, which I created in Adobe Express.

I'll always enjoy photography, but I've never had a desire to do it full-time as I think it would take away the enjoyment of it as a hobby.  I look forward to sharing more of my photos with you here and hope that you've enjoyed learning a little more about what I do when I'm not behind the viewfinder.

 


Travelling the backroads of life.

June 02, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Southern MotelSouthern MotelThe sign from the Southern Motel sits along US41 near Cordele, Georgia.

The motel is long gone, but the sign remains.

 

Interstate Highways have their uses I'll admit.  If you need to get from here to there in a hurry, they are usually the quicker way to do it than the backroads I prefer.  However, the interstates come with their own challenges and disadvantages. 

If you've ever been caught in one of those interstate traffic jams that last for hours you know what I'm talking about.  Add in lots of trucks, idiots who are in a real hurry and come up behind you flashing their headlights just to get caught behind the next car and it's never what I consider a relaxing experience. 

I live near I-85 here in the upstate of South Carolina between Greenville and Spartanburg and I cross it on my way to and from work.  It's always fun to guess if today is going to be one of those days where the traffic is somewhat following or if one or both directions are going to be at a standstill. 

When I have time to get somewhere, I really prefer driving along the backroads.  You get glimpses into what life was like before the interstates, without so many trucks and all the stress of the main roads. 

On the outskirts of many towns, you'll find old motels.  Some of them are still in operation but many more are abandoned or have been converted into cheap longer stay apartments.  

Their signs can be fascinating and I always wonder what they would have looked like when the neon still glowed to call the travelers off the highway. 

This is a favorite of mine near Cordelle, Georgia on US41.  Over the years, the brush has covered it more and more, but on this trip I was able to capture a photograph which gives a hint of the past. 

Next time you are not in a hurry, I suggest finding a backroad and enjoying the drive.  You won't get there as quickly, but you'll have more fun doing it! 

 

 


Holidays and Daily writing update

October 25, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

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.

 


Getting motivated to write more

September 17, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

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.

 

 


NW 521

August 25, 2023  •  Leave a 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