The Rusted Rail

Towards art, my journey

July 17, 2014  •  4 Comments

A big challenge for me has been to embrace the idea of becoming more "artistic" in my image making.  
Down at the MillA block away from the mainline, an older GP unit works at the feed mill. The smell of corn fills the air on a humid morning in July 2014.
I was born and raised in the "realism" camp of photography where especially railroad photography was designed to capture the actual moment.  There was not a lot of room for artistic interpretations and photoshop was (still is in many circles) a crime.

In the age of digital cameras and YouTube there are millions of  photographing and videoing almost every square inch of rail in the US.   A lot of those images start to look alike, even to a buff to me.

When I go out railfanning these days, I find myself searching for the less obvious, the historical, or the unique.  Something different than the me too shots 
of the next train, or a special paint scheme.

I believe that we are each capable of creating something "better".  
Taking what we "see" with our camera and making it into something that tells an entire story visually. 

The end result isn't "photography" per se, but more digital art. I've never had any talent with a paint brush or drawing, but I've found a way to express that desire to create.  It is my own way to be an "artist", something I never thought I'd call myself.

St Simons Life Guard Chair

July 07, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Summer is here and it is time to hit the beach

What size or aspect image works best for Social Media?

June 20, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Listening to a LensWork podcast by Brooks Jensen recently, he mentioned the idea of aspect of photos and how the "standard" image has shifted over the years as we get more and more used to the wider HDTV and computer monitors that we look at daily.

Most computer monitors and HDTV are at an aspect of 16:9 or 16:10 versus the more traditional 4:3 or 4:5.

I've noticed for a long time, that when I'm processing my train photographs, I tend to think in wider images.  I've used a lot of 15:5 (aka 3:1 or simulated panorama) in order to present these type of shots.

However they do not always present well in social media streams as they either get displayed very small or are cropped to show the center of the image.

The same thing has recently been happening with my 1:1 #photosquared shots, especially when coming across in the new "larger preview" links on G+ and FB.  The programs are cropping it into a 16:9 and never where I'd want it done.

The new challenge for me is going to be to "think 16:9" when I'm composing shots much I like currently look for shots which I know I'll crop to 1:1 later in post-processing.  I'm also going to look for some older images where I can process and share a 16:9 format at least in social media formats.  A benefit is they also look great on my screen at work as a desktop.

If you have never listened to the LensWork podcast (or read the great Black & White Art Photography magazine) check it out at

Patience or my lack of

June 17, 2014  •  2 Comments

I'm reading through Scott Bourne's 72 Essays on Photography  on the Kindle and really enjoying his perspectives on Photography and life in general.  One of my favorites so far (I'm not done with the book yet) describes his patience in waiting hours in the field to photograph hummingbirds.

Personally, I don't have tons of patience.  When I go out railfanning, I'm really expecting a certain number of trains per hour (TPH I guess) in order to keep my attention.  Especially if it is hot and humid outside.  I'm quick to decide to head back to the house when the trains are not coming, particularly when close by.

Of course, by doing this I'm missing the chance to make some great train images.  I'm also missing the chance to walk around and take some detail shots of trackside, or read some more of a book on the Kindle, or listen to some podcasts, or... 

My goal is to work on being more patient.  Try to take a little longer to make the "right" image instead of just snapping off a shot and heading to the next location. Waiting a little longer for another train when out along the tracks. Not getting so angry when I have to wait a few minutes for service on the phone or at a store.

I'll let you know how it works out.

p.s. I was just reading on Scott's website where he is retiring (retired?) and leaving social media. Good way to go out on top.

Talking Railroads with

June 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment












I had the chance recently to discuss railroad photography with Mike Howard and Tim Kempere on the popular jpeg2RAW podcast show. 

This was my first "live" interview and I enjoyed sharing my favorite photography subject with them.

Be sure to check out their website and the rest of the great episodes.



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