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Thread: Wet & late

  1. #1
    TomNanos Guest

    Default Wet & late

    Driving into Manchester, CT on a rainy July afternoon, just struggling to see in front of the truck as the remnants of Hurricane Cindy soaked Southern New England with bucket after bucket of rain - rail photography was the last thing on my mind. Well, maybe not the last, but it wasn't at the forefront. Not yet, anyways.

    Rolling over the Oakland Street crossing of the ex-New Haven Midland Route (between Hartford and Willimantic, CT - currently used by the Connecticut Southern Railroad between Hartford and Manchester), heading for my in-law's house to meet my wife & daughters for dinner, I looked to the left and noticed that the Connecticut Southern was switching the ADM Grain Co-Op, using a borrowed New England Central hi-nosed GP-38. Glancing at the time - sure, I had a few minutes to grab a few shots from inside the dry confines of my pickup. Just as I pulled into the driveway, the EMD started to roll out of the siding and onto the branch with nothing in tow. Couple shots later, and still not a drop of rain on my head, the locomotive continued to move west.


    Aparently the switching was done, and they were running back to East Hartford light power. Technically speaking, the clock said I was late, but the line parallels the road that my in-laws live on. What's a few more minutes, anyways? At least I'm still dry. My wife will understand...I hope.

    A quick trip west on North Main Street broght me down to a mostly vacant strip mall, where the main passes behind. Pulling in next to the grade crossing at the back of the mall, I knew I couldn't just grab my shots like I did at the Co-Op - the crossing led into a larger print house's main plant - quite a bit of road traffic was moving despite the torrential downpours. Time to bite the bullet and get a bit damp. OK, I'll wait until the geep gets into my frame, I'll jump out, grab my shots and return to the protection of the Chevy. No way I could get that wet...

    Ahhh, at last the crossing signals start flashing, bells start ringing, and I see a trio of headlights come around the curve. Lens hood goes on the end of the 70-200. With the 10MPH restriction on the rickety old stick rail, it seems like it's taking an eternity for it to approach the crossing. Finally, my prey is in range. Here goes...

    In the 20 seconds I was out of the cab, well let's say this, I get more water on me in my morning shower. Only this time I'm fully clothed and holding a couple grand in camera gear. Click, click, click. A few shots head from the CMOS sensor and eventually on the CF card. OK, I'm done - why the hell am I still standing here?

    Back in the truck, the paper towels come out to perform their absorbent duty - first up is the 20D/70-200 combo. My hair & clothes can wait. Once it was sufficiently dry, I chimp the shots. Yeah, that was worth it. Time to face the wife, and tell her why I'm late. She didn't mind at all....

  2. #2

    Default

    A nice little "slice of life" essay. I wouldn't be afraid to add maybe one more image if you have it. The two you posted do a nice job of complimenting the text....can just hear the rain beating against the monitor screen.

    I'd work a little at polishing the text. At times you fall into the same trap that I do, Tom, namely sentences that are too long, like this one! Don't be afraid to play-up how wet it was, "it was raining so hard, if I looked up I would have drowned"...that kinda of description.....only hopefully not as hokie.

    The push and pull of "the family" vs a good train picture is a great theme. This would be another thing I'd play up a bit more. The key to a "slice of life" type essay, at least to my way of thinking is some humor coupled with something I can relate to firsthand.

    A fun essay. Work the text a little so I can chuckle along with you over the situation, and get just as wet.

    Martin Burwash

  3. #3
    Mike Guest

    Default

    I think I would describe this as a trip report. I like trip reports a lot, at least when the text goes beyond, "I went here and took this shot. Then I went there and took that shot." Your text works well for me. I like to know more about what the photographer was thinking and feeling when he took those shots. And I can relate to trying to railfan and keep my camera dry in pouring rain.

    I would have prefered more pictures, or at least more dramatic ones. But I understand that wasn't possible in your situation. The rain drops add a lot to the pictures.

    So overall I like it. Of course, in order for me to vote to approve it, you're going to have to send me your 70-200. (check the TOS, no rules against selling votes )


    ...



    Alright, fine, I approve even without a bribe.

  4. Default

    Tom - I agree with Martin here. This is a slice of life or in this case railfanning. You put your finger on the part of chasing trains that most people really don't understand - doing it in the rain!

    If you could tighten up your text by breaking up the run on scentences and adding another image, I think that this one would be ready to go.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Zanesville, Ohio
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    Default

    I like this little essay. You get a nice feel for the wet afternoon, the good luck to catch a train, and the slight insanity to want to get out in the rain and actually photograph the thing- the insanity that separates the great photographers from the good ones.

    thumbs up.
    Chris Crook
    photojournalist

    pictures and yap

  6. #6
    ahockley Guest

    Thumbs up

    Tom, as someone else who lives where we get this kind of weather, I really enjoyed this short essay as a glimpse of railfanning in a downpour.

    The photographs are good... the second one is a bit boring (other than the rain) but the first one is well composed and appears to be accurately lit given the conditions. Both photos seem to portray the rain situation quite nicely.

    While some of the text seems to run together, it didn't strike me as a huge problem... I read it more as a "stream of consciousness" as he was recalling the events of the few minutes as the plotted and took his photos on his trip.

    Overall I liked it, with the photos and text working together well to set the mood.

  7. #7
    TomNanos Guest

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback everyone! I guess now that it's out here, that's the way she will be.

    As for the pictures, I wish I had more. The Manchester branch has some nice scenery, but it requires a hike - not something I was willing to do on this particular day...

    Yeah, the second photo is a bit boring, but I kinda liked the empty space filled with rain behind the locomotive....just gives me a wet shiver down my spine and screams lonelyness.....

    Tom

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