Roger Durfee has a photograph in the 2016 issue of the Norfolk Southern calendar. Durfee’s photo of the Penn Central heritage locomotive in the rain accompanies the month of April in the calendar. Ohio is well represented with images in the annual calendar.
The long-time Akron Railroad Club member said five of his images were finalists and he was happy to see the rain photo selected.
Durfee said nearly anyone can make a good image on a sunny day, but it doing it in adverse weather conditions is more of a challenge.
“The railroads runs 24/7 in rain, hail, sleet and snow, and I like to show that in my photographs,” Durfee wrote in the “liner notes” that accompany his image.
“I saw this train with the Penn Central heritage locomotive as I was getting off, so I drove to the other side of town to this spot to catch it,” he said. On the way over, the weather got worse, and by the time I got there, it was just a deluge of rain. Even though I was in my car leaning out the window, I got soaking wet.”
The image was made on the Chicago Line near Rockport Yard. Durfee said he liked the mood of the image and said the fact it was the black and white Penn Central unit enhanced that. He expressed doubt that a more colorful heritage unit would have created the same powerful expression.
A conductor assigned to the Cleveland Terminal, Durfee formerly worked for Conrail and joined NS after the Conrail split in 1999.
Photos taken in Ohio that are published in the Calendar begin with the month of February showing an NS intermodal train passing the Wauseon passenger station of the former New York Central in a scene with snow on the ground and the Lackawanna heritage unit trailing lead unit NS 6315.
The image was made by Tim Calvin, a track foreman in maintenance of way service in Kendallville, Indiana.
He noted in his “liner notes” that photographing in northern Ohio and Indiana is a challenge because of the lack of such dramatic landmarks as mountains and tunnels.
So he has focused on the old passenger depots that still hug the Chicago Line in the region.
The father and son duo of Dave and Kyle Ori had photographs published in back-to-back months.
Kyle, a conductor trainee in Cleveland, has the image for October that shows a train crossing the trestle over the Rocky River in its namesake city with fall foliage along the right and left sides of the image.
His father, Dave, has the image for November, which shows the NS veterans tribute locomotive leading a stack train at Port Clinton.
The younger Ori said that he was in second grade when his father gave him a camera to use during a three-day trip to photograph trains. Kyle Ori said he still has his first photo, which he described as terrible.
But father and son continued to photograph trains over the years and Kyle became a quite proficient photographer.
He is the fourth generation of his family to work for a railroad.
As for his NS calendar photo, Kyle Ori said his father gave him a tip that led to the photo. “This trestle is considered a cool shot for us Cleveland guys, but traffic volume over the trestle is low, and photographing a train at the right time of day can be difficult,” he said.
Dave Ori alerted his son that a train was coming one morning and Kyle not only got the image, but he also got his first NS calendar submission accepted.
Dave Ori, who worked for NS in Cleveland before the Conrail split, has been entering the railroad’s calendar competition since 1994.
His first submission to be published was an image made at the same location as his son’s first winning image. That was in 1995.
“That’s really funny,” Dave Ori said in the liner notes. “I don’t remember winning with that photo, but then, it was 20 years ago.”
Dave Ori said that he learned that the veteran’s tribute unit was leaving Conway Yard near Pittsburgh but he had a long drive to get to the location where he wanted to capture it in Port Clinton. He made it with about 15 minutes to spare.
Unlike his son, Dave Ori is a confirmed slide film photographer for now. His 2016 winning entry was made on slide film with a Nikon F100 camera.
“I really like shooting slides,” he said. “To me, there are still some issues with digital cameras, but I eventually will come over to digital. Maybe next year.”
The calendar’s cover photo was also made in Ohio by Jermaine Ashby, a trainmaster in Marion, Indiana.
Ashby captured an ethanol train moving through an S curve west of Vermilion.
He said he chose the location because it showed the train making a connection between the Lake and Dearborn divisions.
When he made was turned out to be his fifth winning calendar entry, Ashby was based in Bellevue. Now that he is in Indiana, he said he is looking forward to finding new locations to photograph trains.