Archive for June 2016

A Thing for Railroad Bridges

For many of us, the excitement and wonder of seeing a moving train was the start of a passion for trains and later, railroad photography. As we looked deeper and started to explore and understand the railroad better, we often develop a deep appreciation of its infrastructure system and see potential as a photographic subject. Track, signals, yards, stations, trackside structures, tunnels and bridges all have vast photographic interest in of themselves and don’t need a train present to tell a story of railroading. From my observation, bridges are probably the most photographed railroad subject other than the trains themselves….I know they are for me.

Most railroad bridge photographs seem to fall into one of three categories; train pedestal, landscape or structure inspired.

Of Memories, Experience and Vision

Having visited the East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia several times in the past months, it rekindled memories of earlier visits when the railroad still operated as a for-profit tourist operation. During these visits in the 1980’s, while I did shoot images from a railfan perspective, I was really there to watch and absorb the experience of an operating steam railroad.

More than 20 years have elapsed since I witnessed (and photographed) an operating railroad at Orbisonia. My memories are vague at best, but like most people, get awakened when I look at photographs. Not only do I specifically remember the experience of taking the image, but it reignites dormant memories of the event. So it was with a bit of mixed excitement and trepidation that I went looking for my old contact sheets and prints from those earlier visits.

Excitement for what I might discover…previously missed photographic gems and rekindled memories. Trepidation for amateurish photographic mistakes and blown opportunities. Either way it would show my evolution as a photographer and artist.