Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Chase is On (part 2)

I wasn't even going to try and catch 611, again, before arrival in Roanoke. Instead, I did some reconnoitering, before the afternoon excursion. My original plan involved chasing the train to Walton and back. I had three sites selected, one out and one back and one in both directions, which could be overlooked if time required. Here was my next change in plans. Instead of these three location, I would only try one. The two that I omitted were very popular and both had limited places to park. In one video, shows some altercations involving the property owner and railfans that were parked on her yard (something that I would not do).

I did a rehearsal run from the train station and the possible runby site, since I had time. It would be close, so I decided on an alternative. I would video the train leaving than go to that site and watch for trains, until 611 return trip. I did video the beginning of the Walton run. I did try to get to that first runby site, but got behind a pacer which slowed everyone. I pulled off to take an alternate direction, but not expecting to get there in time. I got some phone calls, which I let go to voicemail, thinking I would get back to them. But with the traffic, I pulled over and returned the calls.

I was the only person, at this location, until later. I did have someone who worked in the building, nearby, stop and ask about the train coming. Only one train came by between 2:45 and 5:30. As time approached, more people showed up. In the last few minutes the small parking spot had filled up and across the tracks, there were half a dozen more cars.

The Chase is On (part 1)

In this changed plan, I awoke, check out of the motel, and took a different route to a new runby site. According to the information I received, the train would pass my site, from Roanoke to Lynchburg, around 9 or so. I arrived well before 8, to give myself time to set up. I was first on the site. I decided that it would be best to stop and get a sausage biscuit, to go, on my trip to the site and eat it while waiting. I stopped by a connivance store near the runby site and got a bottle water to go with it. That proved to be a wise move, on my part. It was not a very busy site, only a half dozen or so people watching the train go by.

The train went by. I decided to wait for the return and than run to another site for another runby. I had anticipated the next runby to be around 11. It was an easy transition, I left the tripod where it was and turned the camcorder to face the right direction. More people came and some moved on. The train was 30 minutes earlier than expected. I almost did not get a video. I did miss two freights that passed by between runby. I could not get myself back to the camera in time. I was talking with other people, while waiting for the runby.

I than took the chase to my next site. I was not sure if I would overtake it. I found out that the engine was restricted to 45 mph. I got to the next runby with more than 5 minutes to spare. In my research, this site was a good spot, with a long straight track. However, the railroad has place a stack of railroad ties, in our line of view. This was the last spot before Roanoke. I wasn't even going to try and catch it, again.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Two Days and Counting

These last days begins the packing. All batteries are charged and extra batteries added, just in case. I have a 32gb memory card in the camcorder plus one, just in case. The big question is my use of a tripod. With my SLR, I never used a tripod. Most of my pics were taken in normal light with a fast film settings. I have hand held my camcorder most of the time. My current camcorder has shake reduction so I can handle it well. There are times when I have camera float, not shake. In long segments, this is more noticeable, particular in those that I start with a long period, that will be cut. The biggest question is the chase, taking the camera off the tripod, folding it, putting it in the car, and setting up again. I know that there are certain places where the tripod is good. A segment involving coming out of a tunnel (there will be one), or a long shot (there are a few). In both of these, set the tripod and wait, cut the dead air. I tried this yesterday and while waiting I read my phone.

Regardless of how much I plan there will be changes to my trip, made as I go. I made a decision to start a day early and go on Friday. I got to a motel, checked in and did so reconnoitering the runby sites. I found a site that I want to photo, and got my pics. I went to the first runby site. My original plan was to leave early Saturday morning and go to this site. I would be coming in from the south and locate myself at a good spot. I would than cross a bridge over the tracks and head north to the main highway to get to my other runby site.

Before I went by my first runby site, I went by a place that was a non railroad site of interest, I found while doing my street view:

In my first planning, I was to come home by way of here for the photos that I wanted. In this plan, I would approach my first runby by way of the south. After the runby, I would cross a bridge over the railroad and head for the main road leading west. In this check out, I came to the site from the north and the main road.

I now learned that the bridge was being rebuilt and now, was not there, so my first plan was not good. I found a good site with a good regress, for my chase (not hard, by the way). Now, the next morning and the chase is on.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Looking ahead, often means looking back.

Looking ahead, often means looking back. The Atlanta was an all public transportation trip, with no hotel stay. That means that I carry every thing I need and keep it with me. Therefore, I need to pack as light as possible. My next trip is an all road trip with a couple nights in a hotel. The most important thing to carry on any of my trips is camera and video camera. In reality, I have four cameras (including the video camera) I have two DSLR's. One is the older, with lower resolution, the other is better, and is my primary. Then there is my smart phone. Phone cameras are getting better and with only a bit of Photoshop, they do great. I Photoshop every pic. Several setting work to improve every pic.

For my Atlanta I only took my phone and camcorder. All was carried in my pocket and in a small backpack. For my next, I will take the SLR in addition to the camcorder and phone. I can carry more so I will pack more. Each excursion that I will chase will be short and I will get no more than two run by's each. I have been very selective. Some are short in sight line, while others are classic long views. When I edit video, it may not be in order of shooting.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Final Notes, Last Trip, Early Notes, Next and Future Tips

Looking back, the trip to Atlanta was nice, but tiring. I am looking forward to a series of chases. Much of the design features that go in one trip, go in the other. I begin with Google Maps. In chasing, I start with directions between start and finish. Consider the following map, looking at Hoffman, will what appears to be a close to road, railroad:

Of course we would need a closer look at this map. Just decrease the scale, from the "+" or "-" in to lower right corner of the map. Hoffman, on this map shows the railroad parallel the main road, if we come closer. At this point, click on screen view. You do this by looking for the orange man figure, in the lower right corner. Keeping the clicker on, you can move it to the place on the map you want to see as street view.

Clicking on the arrows forward or backwards, moves the view forward or backwards, and moving the cursor, you can scan the landscape. Here you can see a good spot to watch the train. If left to the map, alone, you might not have a good spot. The tracks could be high off the road or running through a cut. There might be more forest or bushes blocking your view of the train. But with street view you can see if it is a good location. Another thing, is locating a place to park your car. Can you just pull of the road, is there a road that could serve the purpose. In this situation, the store parking lot, across from the tracks, is ideal.

With Google Maps, you can set a series of destinations and as you play with it, move them and rearrange them. Finally, you can send them to you phone, or create a link to the map for accessing on you phone. The phone will than use these direction and let you know where to stop.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Final Notes, Public Art

I assume that, once I depart Washington, it was the end of the trip and I start reflecting about this trip and look forward to the next. Coming through Alexandria, there is the Masonic Temple, the most prominent structure.

Settining in for the remainder of the trip, I was reluctant to take pictures from the train. However, a delay coming into Raleigh gave me time to take this last picture:

I have interest in seeing a lot of things. I love skylines. I have alread shown some skylines. This trip, I did not take as many skyline pics. I do like public art. There are two forms of public. The first is those artworks that are in public own spaces.

The other form of public art are those pieces in private owned space which are open to the public or or visible to the public from public spaces.

Sometimes, art is how we place things, like this item at the Atlanta airport:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Homeward Bound

After my day of sightseeing, I took the subway and bus back to the Amtrak Station. This was a suburban station, even when the Southern RR was using it. I noticed that they had added on to the station, since my last visit, so it was not as small. The train was about 20 minutes late, arriving Atlanta and about 20 minutes late arriving in Washington. I decided to go to Arlington Cemetery. I took the subway to the entrance of the cemetery.

I saw this sculpture before getting to the visitor center:
Visitor Center:

The classic National Cemetery layout. There were fancier stones, as well. The last layout has the Lee House on the Hill. Story has it that R.E.Lee tried to decide to go north or south. He decided to go south. When north won Arlington, they confiscated his home and immediately named it a national cemetery. This was to be revenge for his choice to join the south. To keep him from returning, the first grave sites were set close to the house.
Classic is the grave of John F. Kennedy, with the eternal flame. I still remember his assignation. I was in 7th grade and the announcement was made while in class. The school became dead silent for almost 5 minutes, before we could talk about it. We were home for the funeral and the site of the caisson traveling to Arlington Cemetery.
From the grave site is this view to Lincoln Memorial.
More views of the cemetery
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:

"if I have time" destination

I was running early, in regards to my perspectus. This means that I can now do the "if I have time" destination. I was in Atlanta, three years ago and did go to the airport to watch and video the Skytrain.

This is why the Skytrain was on my "if I have time" destinations. Now I had time to go to the airport and video the Skytrain, once again.

Even with this addition, I had time to do more, so I went back to Peachtree Transit Station to do some more video and watching of the Streetcar. All told I did a lot of watching of Streetcars and here is the edited Streetcar video

Pemberton Place; World of Coca-Cola and Center for Civil and Human Rights

My next place on my list of sights to see was Pemberton Place. This space included three attractions: The World of Coca-Cola, The Aquarium, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. I first saw the World of Coca-Cola on the map and was tempted to see it, but more important was the Center for Civil and Human Rights. I decided to see the space, with the three uniquely designed buildings. I had planned to walk through Centennial Park, on my way.

Centennial Olympic Park was closed. A concert, over the weekend, had left the park a mess. They had the park closed to clean it up, so I could not walk through. I did walk the on the street side, to get to Pemberton Place. I did take pictures through the fences, mostly of art and designs.

I was not interesting in seeing inside the World of Coca-Cola, but it was a unique building so I took pictures of the outside. Besides, it was closed, this day

I loved the design of the Center and took pictures, but did not go in.

From the Place, there was a good cityscapes that caught my attention, so I took its picture, as well.