April 2006 Sampler

by admin on 2016/04/01

Hi.  Welcome to our monthly look back at sets of pictures from 2006

We wait until almost the middle of the month to start; not only is our first selected picture not taken until the 13th, but that was apparently the first time that I took out the camera at all in April 2006.  I suppose that I was still quite worn out from the intense Close Up trip at the end of the previous month, as seen in the last four images from last month, (and I think that we arrived back in New Orleans on April 1), and all of the professional catching up that I had to do because of that, and then I got sick!

On the afternoon of Thursday 13 April 2006, I was driving back from Whoadieland to Bayouland for the Easter weekend, and I heard an unpatched SP locomotive leading the train; instead of showing you an image with the lead locomotive (maybe I’ll do that if I ever get around to doing ‘day’ postings again), I’ll show you some of the cars.

This sentence is your periodic reminder that caption information for all images can be found in each image’s filename, which can be read by holding your mouse arrow over the image.

Six years to the day and almost to the hour after I took the above picture, I was back right at that same spot for another westbound manifest train.

The next day was a memorable Good Friday.

After hanging out and drinking beer with a friend, his father, and his father’s dog and cats (well, the dog and cats didn’t partake in the beer-drinking, and, actually, I’m not even sure if I did, but photographic evidence shows that my friend did), I went to the track and shot a couple of trains, one of which you will see here.

I want to say something here about the intersection of geometry and legality.  Depending on the circumstance, ignorance can be harmful and destructive, leading to unfair accusations, which are a form of persecution.  As this relates to the above picture, it reminds me of the times that those with a weak grasp on geometry have looked at such a picture and accused me of standing on one of the tracks; this has happened to me before, for pictures for which I know that I wasn’t standing on the track.

In the case of the above picture, it should be obvious that the tracks start to, at the bottom of the frame, make a little bend to the left; furthermore, especially as this is a telephoto image, you don’t know (just from looking at the image) how far each of the tracks on the right go, but I can tell you that they both branch from the siding at a point between the camera and themselves.

This gets tricky, because some train pictures that I see posted to the internet are obviously taken on railroad property, but then my questioning of your claims that some of my pictures are taken on railroad property might lead you to question how I can make the same determination about someone else’s images.  It’s an issue of optics, and I hate to call myself or even imply that I am an expert, but not only was geometry my best subject in school, and not only do I make (or have I made) my living using those geometry skills, but I have the personality type – INTP, “The Logician” – to match.

I wish that I could give a better answer than that, and I know that it is an insufficient answer, but remember, too, that a knowledge of geometry – and a somewhat intuitive knowledge of geometry, at that – is critical for succeeding in the particular type of photography that you come here to see; if you are of the opinion that I am a “good photographer” or some such, then please understand that that reality wouldn’t exist without my foundation in geometry.

For our next and fourth picture, we are back at the same spot – that same subtle bend in the track – one afternoon later, looking in the other direction as we see another MNOHO, this one with one of those goofy old Conrail GEs leading.

Again, you don’t see, in this picture, the bend in the track that starts between the point on the rails at the bottom frame and the camera.

Really, since these pictures were taken a decade before I am typing this, and since I was still relatively new to digital photography, I can’t say for certain the exact (or within the width of my own body as it stands upright) spots at which these pictures were taken (and I don’t care nearly enough to attempt to determine a precise location by using some trigonometric formulas using values of some known measurements of objects in the picture, which I am capable of doing), but work with me here, okay?

I say that part about being “relatively new to digital photography” in recognition of how digital photography and the internet have changed the calculus about what railroad pictures are acceptable for one railroad photographer to display to the others, specifically that we should no longer publicize the pictures that we take when we are on the property without official – not “my buddy at the yard let me on the property” – authorization, a topic into which I delved in point #4 after the pictures for my piece on my 23 December 2003 pictures that I wrote 10 years to the day later.  Since just about anyone can both take and publish a decent picture that is obviously taken on railroad property now, there is no more, for lack of a better term, retroactive credentialing of such pictures.

For now, just work with me here, okay?  These pictures are 10 years old at the time of this publication; it’s not like I went out last week and took these pictures.  I’ve since become much more mindful of whether the location on which I am standing when taking an photo is a place that I have a right to be, and I ask that you do the same.

For our fifth picture, we are back at almost the same place two days later, and we see The Chip Local coming eastbound.

Having two locomotives on this train was already uncommon by 2006.

Our next three images were taken at a memorable foamer gathering at Perry’s office in New Iberia on Saturday 22 April 2006.

For our sixth image, we see the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s two most powerful locomotives passing in front of the New Iberia depot – the L&D headquarters – with five hopper cars for the rice mill in Abbeville.

On Tuesday 6 January 2015, I chased a train from New Iberia to Abbeville and got 100 pictures of it, one of my most memorable sets!

Our next and seventh image shows a westbound BNSF train with an interesting third locomotive with an interesting third locomotive.

Next, taken in roughly the same spot, we’re looking in the other direction as a MNOEW with a filthy lead locomotive passes a gaggle of foamers.

From left-to-right in the picture are seen Shawn Levy, a fascinating figure in my life who died of pancreatic cancer in 2013, David Fortner, John Fortner, Tom Blackwell, and I’m not sure who that last person on the right is, but it might be George Simmons.

I did not seem to have – but surely should have had – much of a care in the world back then; oh, well.

For our ninth image, we’re finally back in Whoadieland, on the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway where an empty westbound grain train with big UP road power – two SD9043MACs, in this case – was coming down 4th Street in Gretna.

This might have been the last time I photographed UP road power on the NOGC here (and I don’t feel like digging through the archives to check), as sometime that year, this practice stopped because UP was getting horns stolen off of its locomotives as they sat for days in Gouldsboro Yard while the grain cars cycled to Myrtle Grove and back.  Also, I’m pretty sure that this shot was the time at which someone across the street from me, someone at the Common Ground Cafe, inquired about what in the heck I was doing climbing on top my truck to take a picture of this train, wondering what was special about this particular train.

Our last image, taken on the last Saturday of the month, is one of my favorite of my pictures from the NOGC, a cloudy-day telephoto shot that really pulls in an interesting background, part of the old Celotex plant that has since been dismantled.

I think that I learned here that I could pull in an interesting background on the other side of the track.

That’s all for April 2006, and it looks like I took no pictures at Waggaman or Avondale, my reliable places from that time, in the entire month; stay tuned for May 2006!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Neil H April 4, 2016 at 01:31

Happy days! Are there any street running freight trains any more? Plan to re-visit the NO area sometime before I expire.
Kind Regards.

Neil H (Sussex, UK)


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