Second of two parts
I like photographic challenges. In my previous post, I wrote about how the strict security measures imposed by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad at Boston Mill station during the photo runbys of Nickel Plate Road No. 767 last September limited where photographers could go in ways that had not been the case in previous years.
Unless you had a ticket, you had to contend with orange plastic fences, large crowds and highway guard rails.
The security was designed to keep people away from nearby locations along the tracks that were some distance from the station. That had not been done in past years, but was taken to a higher level in 2016.
I spent time during the September 2016 visit of Nickel Plate Road 767 in the “ticketless zone” in Boston Park and in the ski resort parking lot on the west side of Riverview Road.
I wanted to see what I could do within the limitations that the railroad and park officials had thrust upon me.
The first thing I decided to do was to live with guard rails and a little bit of orange fencing.
It wasn’t ideal, but being in the ski resort parking lot provided a wider perspective than is available to the passengers at the station.
They had to deal with large, dense crowds. I looked for places away from the crowds and found them.
That was how I came up with an interesting angle on the east side of the tracks along Boston Road. I got the nose of the NKP 767 with the crowd of passengers and the ski resort in the background.
That image wasn’t as ideal as I would have liked due to a grade crossing signal control box getting in the way and the tight angle forced by a line of trees to my right.
However, it was a view that few other photographers thought to try and it was better than most anything I could have gotten in Boston Park.
Some of the most promising images to be had at Boston Mill are human interest photographs.
With a telephoto lens, you can zoom in on the engine crew, get shots of the passengers disembarking, and capture those still on the train during the runbys.
My favorite human-interest image of the two weeks that I chased NKP 767 was obtained at Boston Mill in this manner.
I’ve already posted that photo, but it showed a young boy sipping a bottle of soda while seated next to his grandmother in one of the open-window coaches as a look of wonder crossed his face.
Ultimately, what to do with the restrictions at Boston Mill for those outside the ticketed passenger zone comes down to what type of photography you do and how creative you are.
If you are only interested in the train coming at you, then you’d be better off to buy a ticket so you can get a straight-on shot of that.
If you are unwilling to shell out for a ticket, you could go to any number of places in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to photograph the steam engine as rolls past.
If, though, you are interested in documenting the broader story and the environment that surrounds the annual two-week visit of a steam locomotive to the CVSR, then there are opportunities waiting at Boston Mill. You just have to study the scene and try some things.
Some of your efforts won’t work out quite the way you had hoped, but you might be surprised at how a little creative thinking and working the angles can yield a better image than you might have imagined was possible.
Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders
Tags: Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad steam train trips, Nickel Plate 767, Nickel Plate Road 767, NKP 767, On Photography, Posts on photography, steam in the valley, Thoughts on photography