Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trip Logs

Not all trips are rail fan exclusive. Some are out and back excursions. Most are general trips in which I would take time to watch local trains. Like my Boston trip last summer, my goal was to see places I had lived, 25 years ago, to visit sites that I had seen but did not take pictures, and to take pictures of commuter rail and local transit. Some places that I would see are those that are orputinist, others come through research.

This is true for most trips. There is the occassional out and back excursion but most are more varied in motivations. Even it to out and backness, there is a bit of orputinism. I took a ride up to Greensboro to watch trains, shop, and generally explore. I cross the Aberdeen, Carolina Western at Candor. My instinct is to look for headlights as I cross the tracks. This this time I decided to stop for a few minutes. The ACWR swithches cars at the Purdue feed mill and a number of engines are there for that purpose. Those units also connect with the CSX at Aberdeen. I drove past the plant. I went up the road to turn around, which meant crossing the tracks, just past the plant.

Orputinism! Other units coming from Aberdeen is arriving to drop of more cars. Slow orders made this interesting.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Playing with Toys

Eventually,all cameras that use in rail fanning and other photography, find there usual place. With family and casual use, my cell phone becomes standard. It is more portable and blends with normal stuff that it is ideal having no camera bag or camera hanging around the neck. Perfect for casual shots. The following shots are an example of how this works. Hanging out at the mall, a few shots to send home would be nice. Any other camera would be uncomfortable, at best.

These are picture, taken recently, in Four Season Town Center, in Greensboro, NC. I don't have a stand alone point and shoot camera. In a setting like a family party, that kind of camera would be ideal, not bulky but good pictures.

I tried to use my camcorders still function, but it is not so good as it's video functions. The standard resolution is not all that great. If taken from the video, it is even less. The newer camcorders might be better. When I replace my current, I will look at that function. The advantage to camcorders is the nature of the screen. It moves so I can see the preview better.

I still use the camcorder for video. I find that most of my video is of trains. If it move video, if not take a still picture. What this means, casual and family video are currently from cell phone. Stills are from my DSLR unless it is in a place where I prefer something less conspicuous.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

More on My My Toy

Evenutally, all toys settle into their habitual use. I now have two DSLR's, a camcorder (mini-DVD), and my cellphone cameral (including video). Very quickly I have settled into a pattern of each use. In the beginning, I had only my SLR. Soon I got a point and shoot. I had problems with train photography with the point and shoot. After a half dozen years of trying to learn around the problems, I gave up and got myself a new DSLR. It took me two weeks to learn what I could not learn in 6 years of the point and shoot.

About the same time, I decided to replace my old camcorder. My old camcorder was a 8mm tape recorder. For some reason, I did very little train watching with it. Most of that was habit, wanting stills not video. Besides, editing the video was difficult, at the time. A new DVR with recordable DVD, made all the diffference, but a lot of orportunities had passsed. My new camcorder was a mini DVD (still in use, BTW). I set out to play with the two. For trains, it was complicated. First, I would set a tripod and video the train, while taking stills.

More recently, I take video of train, only, with exception. If it moves video it, if it does not move, take a still picture of it.

I do not use the DSLR nor the camcorder for family pictures, but use the cellphone. My last visit with the new camera had one picture on the camcorder.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A New Toy

I have a new toy, a new DSLR. One advice that I would give to anyone traveling, is never travel with a new camera. Give some time and action to a new camera, video, or smartphone before heading off with it on a trip. Being where you want to use it, is no place to learn about it.

Some years ago, I was on a tour of the Middle East. A fellow traveler stopped me to ask "how do I change film in this camera." That is the extreme in new camera blues. You should, at least, know how to change film, memory card, or batteries. Being on the road and having to any of these is most difficult to do. And by all means, carry the instruction manual.

Even with a bit of time to "play with your new toy" there are things that require time to learn adequately and know limitations. I bought my first camcorder before a overseas trip. I intent was to video the trip. I took plenty of time to learn all the operation, before leaving. However, even knowing how to operate your "toy," there is the question of how will you use it.

My new camera has a video function. Here adds questions as how that will be used. Only time will tell. Will video be a standard or just a unused possibility. Do I use the video or keep a separated dedicated video camera? I am thinking about getting a new camcorder. My thought is to wait until I run out of disk for recording.

I first work with my new camera's video. at the Hamlet station and crossing:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cont. last post

I ran the Aberdeen, Carolina Western line from Aberdeen to Pinehurst. I have more interest than just railroading. I did Run by St. Josephs Hospital. It is not longer a hospital but a retirement home.

As often as I passed it, I never got pictures of the clubhouse at Pinehurst Golf Course.
I was about to head for home and parraleling the ACW, I arrived in Aberdeen and decided to make one swing by the tracks, just in case. I did see the ACW moving on to their mainline. Now came the chase. I caught up with it after much fustrating traffic situations. It just happened to be within 50 yards of where I took the pictures of the clubhouse, parking in the same lot. Notice that the graffiti car that I took pictures of is the first car.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Day Off

Days off can consist of a number of activities. I might play with the computer or just take a drive out. The drive out might be to look at something that I want to buy or just to get away from home. I have done most things around town, but just needed to get away. I put my camera in the car, just in case and heard out to Pinehurst and Southern Pines. I  Aberdeen, The graffiti on some freight cars was interesting. Are they gang tags? Now I have a new category of railroad pictures:

Next was a run by the Aberdeen and Rockfish shops. Usually there wasn't any thing new. However, two items, new to me were there. A deisal that I hadn't photographed before and a leased engine.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More in Hamlet

First out of the gate was the CSX, heading west.

I was wondering why the NS was working Hamlet, being so far from the nearest interchange. A fellow railfan told me that three times a week there is a west bound NS to work the Winston Salem Southbound between Wadesboro and Winston Salem. So here it leaves for its days work.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Accidental Railfan

As in the last post, not all train watching is planned, set up. I was doing out doing some shopping when I heard the horn of a train in the distance. I just happen to have my cameras in the car, with me. I went into the Wal Mart bought a couple of item and came out. I again heard the horn of the train but closer and definately moving in my direction. I decided to take a few minutes (RIGHT) to take some pictures of that train. The next best site to use for video or pictures was in Hamlet. Coming into Hamlet, I crossed the railroad on a bridge and saw the tain up the tracks about 200 yards. I hurried downtown to the grade crossing at the station, the nearest one. I was not the only railfan there, by the way. I just barely got my video camera ready to get the following piece:

This was not the end of the event. Waiting were two trains, waiting for the green light to head west. To my surprise, there was a NS and a CSX freight waiting to leave.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Chance Encounter

Not all train videos are planned. I was on my way home from Pinehurst, NC when I saw the Aberdeen, Carolina Western head west. I did not have a camera handy so I let it past. I am not chasing the ACW very often. However, I see it occassionally betweeen Aberdeen and Pinhurst. The next day, I made sure that I had my cameras with me. I was heading home along the tracks. I saw the headlight in the distance so I pulled into the first business, grabbed my video camera, and ran to trackside. I did catch the train as it went by. It was CSX units pulling the ACW freight, out of Aberdeen.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Some Jewel in the Crown of the Queen City

Between Amtrak and NCDOT cam this NS freight

Lunch time found me following and finding this ACW.

Before the last Piedmont, there is this Norfolk Souther pulled by a mix freight.

All makes for a nice a full day.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Queen City, continued

After seeing the trolley, I decide to video NCDOT trains. First was No. 74 northbound, pulled by NCDOT 1755.

The next NCDOT was pulled by borrowed Amtrak Power, Amtrak 61, pulling Train No. 75 south and No. 76 north, all three being the Piedmont.

Note the low shadows, even being around 5:30.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Queen City

Often, my excursions are planned weeks in advance. Some are planned over the week for the weekend. Occasionally they are spur of the moment or a detour. Back in January, I had thought about tracing the route of the Aberdeen, Carolina Western. I even stopped by Aberdeen to see what might be sitting there ready for operation, the next day.

Now came the news. The Kinkisharyo Corporation was showing their trolley, In Charlotte, NC. The trolley simply a light rail vehicle which has a battery so it can leave the overhead wires. The Kinkisharyo Corporation has many light rails in this country, including the new green line cars in Boston. This news of the trolley was the reason to change plans.

Charlotte has a light rail line from downtown to the north. They have plans for its expansion. But looking for the trolley could be tricky. Where to find it. The old vintage trolleys went to 9th street but the light rail stopped at 7th street. This made 7th street the ideal place to look first for the trolley. And, I was right for there it was.

To be cont.