February 2006 Sampler

by admin on 2016/02/01

Hello.  Here is our monthly installment of pictures from 2006, and I predict that you’ll find this set preferable to last month’s set.

We’ll start on Saturday 4 February 2006 at good ol’ Chacahoula, Louisiana, where we see westbound Union Pacific Railroad train MNOHO-3 coming through on a sunny afternoon.

Check out that the second locomotive wears Chicago & Northwestern colors.  The MNOHO was, as its name implies, a daily manifest train from New Orleans to Houston.

In what will be our only instance in this article of seeing a train that we have already seen in a prior picture in this same article, we chase this train farther and shoot it in the siding at Bayou Sale.

Well, we’ll have to wait some other time to see images of this train closer to the camera.

Next, for our third picture, we are the very next day by the tracks for another MNOHO.

I don’t know if this qualifies as “keepin’ it real.”

For our fourth picture, we are, on Sunday 12 February 2006, back at Bayou Sale, where we see this interesting MNOEW-10 with a “Catfish” Norfolk Southern locomotive leading.

I remember thinking at the time that I had made a small breakthrough in photographic understanding, maybe color balance, but I don’t know, with this picture; the lighting just seemed to work.

For our fifth picture, we are, one week later on the 19th, back out on the Lafayette Subdivision in St. Mary Parish – it’s like I didn’t leave – where we see at Amelia UP train KNOCI-18.

That’s the precursor to our modern Z trains, and that may have been my first picture at Amelia (and seems to be my first digital picture at Amelia.)  Later that same afternoon, as I made my way back east, I shot at Avondale this parked BNSF manifest train with neat old power.

I miss trains that looked like that!

For our last four images, we head north out of Louisiana.  I made my way to the “Frozen Weed” gathering on Rich Mountain, and on the way there, south of Gillham, Arkansas, I got a shot – of northbound Kansas City Southern Railway train C-WEKC – that was a milestone in my development as a photographer.

You might recall that when I came here the previous October, I was able to get some good cloudy day shots on my last day here.  I was still then of the mindset that clear skies and sunlit subjects were the only way other than night photography to do railroad photography, that the camera should be put away when the skies are cloudy; so, I took those good cloudy pictures on that October day only because I was far from home and was taking advantage of being in this place for the few days that I’d be there, regardless of atmospheric conditions.  The quality of those October cloudy pictures planted a seed of doubt in my own mind about my assumptions about cloudy day photography that reached close to the surface with my 30 December 2005 picture of the Chip Local at Chacahoula and sprouted with the above picture taken on February 25.

“That’s a tight picture,” one of my students said when I displayed it to the class upon returning.  It took getting out of flatland southern Louisiana for me to discover the winning formula.  Have you figured out what it is?  It’s something that might be more possible more often in flatland southern Louisiana with drones, but I lack one of those.

Our next (and eighth) image shows the same formula used to success, with this picture of the GMXKCS approaching Hodgen, Oklahoma, on its way down Rich Mountain.

The trick for good cloudy day railroad photography is quite simple: just keep the sky out of the picture.  The trick of finding such opportunities in a flat land is not simple!  It can, however, be done to good effect in a place like Rich Mountain.

This revelation is why I got into the habit of taking pictures of trains from overpasses, albeit in the few places that can be done, on cloudy days, and it is why Chacahoula became a go-to location on cloudy days, to the point that I wouldn’t even shoot there if the skies were sunny.

For our ninth image, we are back at Page, with some interesting lighting conditions.

This was a northbound manifest train on the morning of the 26th, but I don’t know which train.  This was one of my first pictures of a KCS train with those goofy yellow EMLX pieces of crap.

For our tenth and final image, we are, the next morning, at Stapp, Oklahoma, where we see a northbound manifest train, probably the H-train.

It looks like we’re at milepost 349, right at the reader.

That’s it; I hope that you’ve enjoyed this set, which I think is better than the last, and next month’s set will also have some geographic diversity.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Dan February 5, 2016 at 14:00

I especially like your portrait of the northbound KCS south of Gillham, Arkansas. The foliage reminds me of pictures I got not too far away on the Ouachita River when I was on a boat there in the 1980s. I also like the symmetry of the GMXKCS one with the three similarly-hued locomotives and the nearly identical hoppers coming straight out of that truss.


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