Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker: Blog https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog en-us (C) Gene Bowker 2017 genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Sat, 10 Sep 2016 18:19:00 GMT Sat, 10 Sep 2016 18:19:00 GMT https://www.rustedrailimages.com/img/s/v-5/u723901028-o746292077-50.jpg Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker: Blog https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog 120 120 Football Saturday and Old Favorites https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/9/football-saturday-and-old-favorites In Georgia, Saturday in the Fall means football especially when the Dawgs are playing at home in Athens.  

I watched the first half against Nichols State, but their unimpressive play had me ready to get back to watching one of my all-time favorite Railroad DVDs the Ultimate Cajon by Pentrex.

 With 12 hours of footage from one of my favorite train-watching locations of childhood (I grew up in Poway down I-15 in San Diego County) its a great reminder of "home".

I'll be posting a full review of this DVD to officially kick off the reviews, but until then have a great weekend!

Georgia Railroad 1026Georgia Railroad 1026The Georgia Railroad 1026 works the caboose train at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia on May 30th, 2015.

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Cajon Georgia Pass Pentrex Railroad https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/9/football-saturday-and-old-favorites Sat, 10 Sep 2016 18:09:23 GMT
A visit with an old friend https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/8/a-visit-with-an-old-friend Norfolk & Western 611

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Photography Railroad Trains https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/8/a-visit-with-an-old-friend Sun, 14 Aug 2016 16:57:42 GMT
Working for a living https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/6/working-for-a-living Conagra 101 GainesvilleConagra 101 GainesvilleThe remote control switcher works at Conagra in Gainesville, GA in June 2016

 

The remote control switcher works at Conagra in Gainesville, GA in June 2016.

The sound of the old switcher is in stark contrast to the high-powered road power on the Norfolk Southern behind me.

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) 2016 Industrial https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/6/working-for-a-living Sat, 11 Jun 2016 16:01:41 GMT
Norfolk & Western 521 https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/2/norfolk-western-521 NW 521 DesaturatedNW 521 DesaturatedBehind the photo - The Norfolk & Western 521

I had visited the Virginia Museum of Transportation before, but somehow I had overlooked this locomotive until my most recent visit due to some of the more famous attractions there.

The 521 story.

The GP9 was acquired in 1958 to replace the famous J-Class steam engines . The 521 was the last of the class of 21 purchased from EMD. These locomotives were equipped with steam generators and featured a maroon paint scheme which complimented the Norfolk & Western's passenger fleet.

The 521 now resides at the Virginia Museum of Transportation along with the J-Class 611 which it replaced on the railroad 50 plus years ago.

The museum's website talks about the steam to diesel transition:

The railway lines found that a reduction in the size of the crew was a particularly attractive benefit of diesel versus steam. There was no fire, of course, eliminating the need for a fireman. Fueling stops were much less frequent and crews could travel further. However, they did not realize the benefits right away. The powerful railroad unions fought the elimination of the fireman. They also fought the extension of the 100 mile track regions to the 200 or 300 miles that the railways wanted. It took years to win the changes. Today, the diesels typically have two people in each cab, primarily for safety reasons.(A)

Both of these locomotives are great examples of the N&W in the late 1950s which many consider the "Golden Age of Railroading" in America.

More about the 521:http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-EMD-GP-9-521.html

Sources:
(A)
http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-start.html

Behind the photo - The Norfolk & Western 521

I had visited the Virginia Museum of Transportation before, but somehow I had overlooked this locomotive until my most recent visit due to some of the more famous attractions there.

The 521 story.

The GP9 was acquired in 1958 to replace the famous J-Class steam engines . The 521 was the last of the class of 21 purchased from EMD. These locomotives were equipped with steam generators and featured a maroon paint scheme which complimented the Norfolk & Western's passenger fleet.

The 521 now resides at the Virginia Museum of Transportation along with the J-Class 611 which it replaced on the railroad 50 plus years ago.

The museum's website talks about the steam to diesel transition:

The railway lines found that a reduction in the size of the crew was a particularly attractive benefit of diesel versus steam. There was no fire, of course, eliminating the need for a fireman. Fueling stops were much less frequent and crews could travel further. However, they did not realize the benefits right away. The powerful railroad unions fought the elimination of the fireman. They also fought the extension of the 100 mile track regions to the 200 or 300 miles that the railways wanted. It took years to win the changes. Today, the diesels typically have two people in each cab, primarily for safety reasons.(A)

Both of these locomotives are great examples of the N&W in the late 1950s which many consider the "Golden Age of Railroading" in America.

More about the 521: http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-EMD-GP-9-521.html

Sources:
(A)
http://vmt.org/Loops-Collections/Diesel-Locomotive-Loop/Diesel-Locomotive-start.html

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2016/2/norfolk-western-521 Sat, 13 Feb 2016 20:51:05 GMT
Happy Veterans Day https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/11/happy-veterans-day USMC F4 YorktownUSMC F4 Yorktown

This would have been state of the art when my father served during Vietnam in the Navy.  He flew on E-2s as a radar tech and later served in the Naval Reserve until he passed away in 1986.  

Thanks to all who served and are currently serving today.

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/11/happy-veterans-day Wed, 11 Nov 2015 15:59:08 GMT
PhotoSquared: Bridge over Chattahoochee https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/7/photosquared-bridge-over-chattahoochee Bridge SquareBridge Square

 

Here is a different cropping and black & white conversion of last weekend's image made with the EOS-M3 and 11-22mm lens.

 

I liked this in a square crop format with the log in the lower right pointing towards the bridge in the fog on the opposite bank. 

 

Be sure to check out some of my other square format shots in the PhotoSquared gallery here on the Rusted Rail Images page.

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) PhotoSquared https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/7/photosquared-bridge-over-chattahoochee Fri, 17 Jul 2015 11:55:43 GMT
Times are a changing... https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/times-are-a-changing Amtrak Gainesville GAAmtrak Gainesville GAA late Amtrak train passes South through Gainesville, Georgia on June 21st, 2015.

 

Times are a changing...

I officially made the jump from DSLR to mirrorless recently. I'm moving from the Canon 5D3 to the EOS-M3 (not released in the US, but purchased from a Japanese dealer).

My main reasons for finally making the jump were:

1) I've found the mirrorless system works better for my current shooting style/time. I travel for business a lot and the M3 and the lenses are easy to carry either in carry-on or when driving.
2) The EOS-M3 can use my remaining EF lenses with the adapter. I did sell my 70-200 f/2.8L as it was overkill with the smaller camera.
3) The EOS-M3 can use the new electronic viewfinder (which I purchased) which eliminates the shooting with my arms in front of me (which I hated)
4) When I went on vacation recently, I decided to leave the 5D3 at home because of the weight and the fact that I was shooting with the G1x and original M 99% of the time.

It is taking some time for me to get used to the new system but I had a fun morning taking some train shots today and I'm really enjoying the compactness and capability of the new system.

Here's a shot from this morning... edited in my normal style.

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) 2015 Gainesville Georgia https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/times-are-a-changing Mon, 22 Jun 2015 00:35:10 GMT
Farm Wood https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/farm-wood Farm WoodFarm WoodWooden details

I always enjoy taking photos of wood.  The grain is different on every piece of wood I find.

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Wood https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/farm-wood Wed, 10 Jun 2015 23:31:13 GMT
A tender retirement https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/a-tender-retirement TendersTenders

A line of steam locomotive tenders parked on a weed covered siding at the 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Railroad Georgia https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2015/6/a-tender-retirement Thu, 04 Jun 2015 18:13:31 GMT
Back to our roots https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/12/back-to-our-roots Sometimes, we need to return to our roots I think.

When I purchased my first DSLR, a Canon xTi, I decided to take it over to Augusta, Georgia to shoot along the Riverwalk and try it out. The Savannah River was quite calm that morning and there was no boat traffic.  The old Southern Railway bridge was reflected in the water. The only thing that would have improved it, a steam train going across.

River ReflectionsRiver ReflectionsThe ex-Southern Railway bridge is reflected in the still waters of the Savannah River at Augusta, Georgia.

The bridge is located at the Riverwalk Park in downtown Augusta and still serves the trains of the Norfolk Southern.

When I lived in Aiken, this was a favorite place to visit and photograph. I believe this was the only time I visited over several years when the water was this calm.

The only thing that might of made the image even a little more appealing to me would of been a train crossing the classic iron structure.

Years later, this shot is still one of my all-time favorites.  I was never able to duplicate that scene on numerous visits to the location while living in South Carolina.

The image was made as a jpeg.  I didn't know about RAW at the time and was converted to BW in the Canon software provided.  I wish I had a RAW file to process now as I think I could bring out some more details in the shadows, etc...

As we quickly approach the end of 2014, it is time to start thinking about 2015 and our goals as photographers. I'm hoping to do a better job than I did this year of getting out and shooting something every week.  I wish I could say "everyday" but with my work schedule "every week" seems like an achievable goal.

I also hope to do a better job of posting here on the blog. I look back and see some pretty "dry" periods.  My goal for 2015 will be to do at least one post a week. Hopefully, I'll exceed that.

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) 2014 Georgia Photography Railroad https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/12/back-to-our-roots Thu, 11 Dec 2014 14:05:51 GMT
Paradise Lost https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/10/paradise-lost Paradise 301Paradise 301

 

The old Paradise Restaurant on US 301 in rural Georgia is no longer serving meals to hungry travelers.  Its last use was as a flea market and even that seems to be abandoned now.

With a hole in the roof, who knows how much longer it will be standing before it collapses and the sign will just be sitting next to a concrete slab

This week is another long work trip through South Georgia. 

Hopefully with the great fall weather, I'll be able to capture a few images of cotton fields, pumpkins, and who knows what else along the way.

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) 2014 BW Georgia US301 https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/10/paradise-lost Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:21:44 GMT
Big weekend for steam! https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/big-weekend-for-steam Norfolk Western 1218Norfolk Western 1218

 

Labor Day is a big weekend for steam locomotives in the US.

 

The big news this weekend is the return to steam action of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's 4501 which will be a part of the annual RAILFEST! this weekend in Chattanooga, TN.

I look forward to seeing the 4501 as it returns to the rails as part of the Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam program over the next few years, joining the 630, the NKP 765, and hopefully soon the Norfolk & Western 611 undergoing restoration in North Carolina in Spencer.

 

The photo above is of the 611's long-time excursion partner the NW 1218 which resides at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke which would also be a great destination this holiday weekend.

 

Wherever you spend the weekend, I hope you have a great end to the Summer, see a bunch of trains, and stay safe near the tracks!

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) 1218 4501 611 Day Labor NS NW VMT https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/big-weekend-for-steam Fri, 29 Aug 2014 00:42:15 GMT
NS 8014 Tifton https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/ns-8014-tifton NS 8014 TiftonNS 8014 TiftonSnapshot

As a railfan, I might be one of the few people who don't mind being caught by a train at a crossing. The gates were just going down as I pulled up to this crossing in Tifton, Georgia last week, so I rolled down the window and grabbed my trusty
#Canon #G1X to get a snapshot of the passing train.

NS 8014 leads her train through the crossing blowing the horn in the familiar long-long-short-long pattern. A friendly wave from the crew made the moment complete.

 

Snapshot

As a railfan, I might be one of the few people who don't mind being caught by a train at a crossing. The gates were just going down as I pulled up to this crossing in Tifton, Georgia last week, so I rolled down the window and grabbed my trusty #Canon #G1X to get a snapshot of the passing train.

NS 8014 leads her train through the crossing blowing the horn in the familiar long-long-short-long pattern. A friendly wave from the crew made the moment complete.

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) 2014 Georgia NS Norfolk Southern Tifton https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/ns-8014-tifton Sun, 17 Aug 2014 01:59:19 GMT
Dark Fog https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/dark-fog Dark FogDark FogOn a dark foggy morning in November 2010, CSX 496 leads an empty coal train north from Florida through Folkston, Georgia.

On a morning like this.. you feel the train before you can see it appear slowly from the shadows. You hear the horn blowing for the crossings and feel the ground shake as the engines pass.

Unit coal trains move tons of "black diamonds" from the fields of the Applachians to the Power Plants which provide energy to millions of customers.

 

On a dark foggy morning in November 2010, CSX 496 leads an empty coal train north from Florida through Folkston, Georgia.

On a morning like this.. you feel the train before you can see it appear slowly from the shadows. You hear the horn blowing for the crossings and feel the ground shake as the engines pass.

Unit coal trains move tons of "black diamonds" from the fields of the Applachians to the Power Plants which provide energy to millions of customers.

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) CSX Folkston GA Georgia Rail Railroad Rusted https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/8/dark-fog Wed, 06 Aug 2014 12:46:56 GMT
The Old Depot https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/7/the-old-depot  

The Old Depot

The small depot at Tate, Georgia sits in a state of perpetual decay as it slowly fades into history.

Down and out at the depot

 
The old depot - Tate, GeorgiaThe old depot - Tate, GeorgiaThe small depot at Tate, Georgia sits in a state of perpetual decay as it slowly fades into history.


Once the center of town

The trains don't stop here anymore, the passengers are all gone. No one waits for a loved one to step off the train from the city. No one boards a train bound for war, college, or just a life somewhere else but here.

The depot used to be the center of a community. The agent knew more about the residents of the town and their lives than probably any other person in town, except maybe the bartender.

The agent knew where they were going and where they had been. Which companies were doing well and flush with shipments and which ones were barely holding on. Western Union's telegrams came over the wires with news of births and deaths to be delivered. Deliveries from the mail-order catalogs awaited pick-up, especially around Christmas.


The trains don't stop here any more, the passengers are all gone. No one waits for a love one to step off the train from the city. No one boards a train bound for war, college, or just a life somewhere else but here.

The depot used to be the center of a community. The agent knew more about the residents of the town and their lives than probably any other person in town, except maybe the bartender.

The agent knew where they were going and where they had been. Which companies were doing well and flush with shipments and which ones were barely holding on. Western Union's telegrams came over the wires with news of births and deaths to be delivered. Deliveries from the mail-order catalogs awaited pick-up, especially around Christmas.

The trains stopped running, the agent retired, and no one ever replaced him. The depot sits alone alongside the rusting rails and the paint slowly fades away... so do the memories of days gone by.

Tate is famous for the quality of the marble mined nearby which has been used in monuments and construction throughout the United States.
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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Americana Georgia Photography Trains https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/7/the-old-depot Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Towards art, my journey https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/7/towards-art-my-journey A big challenge for me has been to embrace the idea of becoming more "artistic" in my image making.  
Down at the MillDown 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 railfans 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.

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Americana Art Georgia Photography Railroad Trains https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/7/towards-art-my-journey Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:45:59 GMT
Talking Railroads with Jpeg2Raw.com https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/6/talking-railroads-with-jpeg2raw-com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Nickel Plate 765 at Matewan, West VirginiaNickel Plate 765 at Matewan, West VirginiaThe Norfolk Southern celebrated their 30th Anniversary in style during 2012 as they brought Nickel Plate 765 onto the NS tracks as a goodwill ambassador.

The 765 is seen passing through the floodwall at Matewan, WV on it's way back to the yard at Williamson in August 2012.

Learn more about this piece of living history.

 

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Photography Railroad Trains https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/6/talking-railroads-with-jpeg2raw-com Sun, 15 Jun 2014 21:45:18 GMT
B Still https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/1/b-still Still General StoreStill General StoreI almost kept driving on when I passed this store in rural South Carolina back in 2012. I was in a hurry to get home after a long day and from the first glance it was not overly impressive..

However, something caught my attention, so I turned around and came back for a closer look.

B. Still

Walking closer after taking a few wide angle images, I noticed the wasp nest hanging under the island's canopy. Luckily, it appeared that no one was home and I quickly made a few shots of it from different angles.

The store was being covered slowly by Ivy on the front, and the roof was peeling off the top. The windows were gone, but the paint was peeling revealing the brickwork underneath. In short, it had seen much better days.

I'm sure Mr. Still's store was once the gathering place for the surrounding community back before more of the traffic started using Interstate 77 just a few miles to the East.

Farmers probably dropped in to find out what was going on and motorists stopped at the island to fill up on gasoline and maybe check their tires with free air. Probably for years, an attendant did all of that for you before the invention of self-service.

I wonder if the next time I'm up that way if the store will still be there, or if it will have been finally torn down and the lot leveled like so many others. If it is, I'm glad I took the time to photograph B. Still.

I almost kept driving on when I passed this store in rural South Carolina back in 2012.  I was in a hurry to get home after a long day and from the first glance it was not overly impressive.

However, something caught my attention, so I turned around and came back for a closer look.

B. Still

Walking closer after taking a few wide angle images, I noticed the wasp nest hanging under the island's canopy.  Luckily, it appeared that no one was home and I quickly made a few shots of it from different angles.

The store was being covered slowly by Ivy on the front, and the roof was peeling off the top. The windows were gone, but the paint was peeling revealing the brickwork underneath.  In short, it had seen much better days.

I'm sure Mr. Still's store was once the gathering place for the surrounding community back before more of the traffic started using Interstate 77 just a few miles to the East.  Farmers probably dropped in to find out what was going on and motorists stopped at the island to fill up on gasoline and maybe check their tires with free air. Probably for years, an attendant did all of that for you before the invention of self-service.

I wonder if the next time I'm up that way if the store will still be there, or if it will have been finally torn down and the lot leveled like so many others. If it is, I'm glad I took the time to photograph B. Still.

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Americana Photography South Carolina https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/1/b-still Fri, 31 Jan 2014 22:24:29 GMT
Fun Along the Road https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/1/fun-along-the-road

Fun along the Road by John Margolies is trip across America to find all of the Quirky "Americana" type places that used to line the highways of the United States before the advent of the Interstate System.

Some of his finds are known nationally such as "Rock City" in Chattanooga, Tennessee; famous for its painted barn advertisements throughout the Southeast.

Others are smaller places, many now closed and demolished, which survived on the drive by traffic on the adjacent highway.

Margolies photographed these locations during years of road-trips which totaled over 100,000 miles.

For example, it is interesting to find out for example how many "Paul Bunyan" giant statues have been erected over the years in many different states.

Margolies wrote many books on similar topics and most of them can be picked up quite inexpensively now on the used book market.

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Americana Books Photography Review https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2014/1/fun-along-the-road Sat, 18 Jan 2014 16:33:59 GMT
River Reflections https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/river-reflections River ReflectionsRiver Reflections

The old Southern Railway bridge is still used by trains and leads from South Carolina (on the far shore) into downtown Augusta, Georgia. Usually the surface of the river is rippled by boat traffic or wind, but this day it seemed extra "smooth" and ready to be photographed.

Why Post Process?


When I started in photography and even digital photography I was completely of the school that post-processing was somehow "cheating" or bad.  The idea was to get the perfect "Straight-from-the-camera" shot that accomplished everything you wanted it to.

Later on when I moved to Lightroom; I discovered Silver Efex, which is now part of  the Nik Collection by Google package, which allows you to create a variety of black & white conversion effects.

I use SilverEfex Pro 2 for 90% of my black & white conversions and often use ColorEfex Pro 4 on color shots or to pre-process before moving to silverefex to finish up.
I really like how you can control the amount of the effects to best come up with the results you want.  Each image requires a different combination to end up with what you want. You get those options.

I've learned that I get the most enjoyment from photography by post-processing to make them "my own".  Taking a RAW file and tweaking it to come up with an image that "says" what I want it to. Sometimes it is easy, but sometimes it can be a long process. But the end results are worth it to me.

 

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genebowker@rustedrailimages.com (Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker) Augusta Bridge Georgia Post-processing River https://www.rustedrailimages.com/blog/2013/8/river-reflections Fri, 16 Aug 2013 13:23:25 GMT