Posts Tagged ‘reflection photography’

Steam Saturday: The Classic Brecksville Image

April 10, 2021

It is the classic Brecksville photograph. A train coming south on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, the Ohio Route 82 and the Cuyahoga River reflecting it all.

In this image, we’ve gone back to Oct. 2, 1982, when the CVSR was known as the Cuyahoga Valley Line and former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070 was the main attraction.

The river and Route 82 bridge are still there but the 4070 lies disassembled in Cleveland undergoing what could best be termed a slow and long-term restoration to operating condition.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Cruising at Indigo Lake

March 19, 2021

This is the somewhat classic photograph of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad at Indigo Lake. CVSR FPA-4 No. 6771 is just ahead of the Saint Lucie Sound on Sept. 13, 2014. Depending on the lighting conditions and how calm the water is, you can sometimes get a mirror-like reflection.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

A Fleeting Wisp of Ohio Central Glory

April 18, 2020

I’ve been going through my slide collection in recent weeks and scanning images to post online.

It’s been a diversion from the COVID-19 pandemic and brought back pleasant memories of what seemed to have been happier and less threatening times.

The photograph above of an Ohio Central passenger excursion train, though, is not one of those recent scans.

I scanned this image several months ago but have thus far refrained from posting it because of its lackluster quality.

Yet it’s the type of image in which I find myself taking solace these days and the fact that it’s less than ideal doesn’t matter.

I made this image on July 31, 2004, on a wood bridge at the west edge of West Lafayette, Ohio. The excursion originated in Columbus and was bound for Train Festival 2004 in Dennison.

It was one of several excursion trains I photographed that day during an event like few others I experienced in Ohio.

It was not an ideal day for train photography due to overcast skies and rain and drizzle. The slide is dark suggesting an under exposed image.

This photo has been sitting in a folder on my computer awaiting a decision to post it or delete it.

Sometimes a photograph has to wait for the right moment to be displayed, a moment when the content outweighs whatever technical flaws it has.

I was always a fan of the Pennsylvania Railroad inspired livery that Ohio Central FP9A units 6313 and 6307 had.

I once sat at a table with the late Jerry Jacobson at an Akron Railroad Club event and heard him say how much it cost to get those locomotives custom painted. I don’t recall the figure, but it wasn’t cheap.

Jerry talked about that expense in the same causal way that most people speak of how much they spent for dinner at a Bob Evans restaurant. In the scheme of things it isn’t that much.

I don’t have too many photographs of the Ohio Central FP9As in this livery and I didn’t see them operate very often.

Sure, I wish I had more photographs, but having regrets is as much a part of being a railfan photographer as bragging about what you did capture.

Everyone has missed out on something and everyone has something they wish that had more of than they do.

Everyone also can speak about days when they wished the weather and lighting had been better.

Having something is better than having nothing so although this isn’t one of my best images it reminds me of a day when I was there for something special.

There never was another train festival in Dennison or anywhere else on the Ohio Central like the 2004 event that was attended by 27,000 people.

Although the two steam locomotives that operated that day are at the Age of Steam Roundhouse, Jerry sold the FP9A locomotives and they can’t be seen in their PRR lookalike livery.

During the pandemic it is easy to think about what we can’t do.

It remains to be seen what end game the pandemic will bring, but for now we can look forward to some day resuming doing things we used to do without giving them a second thought.

Yet some things are not coming back. The steam excursions and other special movements that Jerry made possible may have lasted several years but in looking back on them now their time seems to have been rather fleeting.

Fortunately, our memories and photographs of those moments are not.

A Tie Back to the 2010 Longest Day in Bellevue

June 18, 2019

Life has a way of circling back to previous events in our lives at times when we’re not expecting it.

I found myself in one of those moments during a June 15 trip to Bellevue where the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts held an annual outing that takes the place of the monthly meeting.

I had gone over to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum grounds to see the group’s latest acquisition, Nickel Plate Road Berkshire-type No. 757, which is on display in the coach yard by Southwest Street.

It was not a great day for photography with overcast skies and periodic rain showers that became a more steady rain later.

The lighting was so iffy that Marty Surdyk proclaimed it one of those WWTF days. That’s “why waste the film” for those who were wondering.

I made a couple of images of the 2-8-4 and was ready to head back to the Kemper Railfan Park when a headlight on the Toledo District got my attention.

It was an inbound ethanol train that would take the Mad River Connection to continue its journey on either the Sandusky District or Fostoria District.

I noticed a large puddle next to the tracks and thought a reflection photograph might work. It did.

Seeing that image reminded me of another railroad club outing to Bellevue on June 27, 2010, when the Akron Railroad Club held its longest day outing there.

That day began with ample sunshine and an activity report written at the time noted that it was a sultry day with many members spending their time in the shade of some large trees at the foot of Cemetery Street to escape temperatures in the high 80s.

By contrast, the weather this year saw temperatures hovering in the high 60s with a southwest wind that at times made it seem colder.

Going back to 2010, by afternoon the first of a series of thunderstorms passed through, leaving a puddle in about the same location as the one I saw during this year’s RRE outing.

Back in 2010, there were two signals standing next to the track and I remember trying to make a reflection shot using those signals and a reflection in the puddle. The results were satisfactory.

We didn’t get a hard count of how many people attended that 2010 outing, but the report published on the blog said it was at least 20.

Those thunderstorms ultimately brought the outing to a close about 7 p.m. when those still there decided to head for dinner at a Bob Evans restaurant in Norwalk.

This year rain and cold combined with hunger prompted Marty Surdyk and I to call it a day around 6:15 p.m. and head for that same Bob Evans restaurant.

Back in 2010 when we walked out after dinner we were greeted by a rainbow to the east. This year as Marty and I left there wasn’t a rainbow, but there was a hint of the sun trying to peak through the clouds off to the northwest

This year the ARRC plans to return to Bellevue for its longest day, an outing that has been set for June 23.

Unless something dramatic happens to tie up the mini plant for long periods of time, those who make the trip should expect steady train action throughout the day.

Calm Water, Nice Reflection

October 18, 2018

The wind was calm and so was the water in the Attica reservoir during a visit there on the Memorial Day weekend.

That set up some nice conditions for a reflection image of an eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight on the Sandusky District.

This train would not go much farther. A malfunctioning switch at Colsan in Bucyrus had traffic stopped in both directions on the Sandusky District.

Pleased to Visit With You Miss Caroline

January 13, 2018

For a short time the water was calm enough to get a decent reflection shot. Shown is NS westbound manifest train 180.

I’ve driven past the Attica resevoirs at Caroline along the Sandusky District of Norfolk Southern many times, but I’d never stopped at the southernmost one.

I had seen photographs that Marty Surdyk has taken over the years at Caroline, but never made any images there myself until last June when we stopped there while chasing trains during the Akron Railroad Club’s longest day outing.

Nearly two months after that outing, I returned to Caroline with fellow ARRC member Peter Bowler.

Our goal was to get some reflection images of NS trains on the water of the reservoir. That was a challenge due to the windy conditions that whipped up the water and that direct sunlight was a hit and mostly miss proposition.

But we had not driven all this way to go home empty handed. We worked with what we had.

We had a situation in which NS had trains backed up waiting to cross the CSX diamonds at Attica Junction.

That junction is controlled by CSX and I can only imagine some of the telephone conversations that went on between CSX and NS officials as they tried to look out for the interests of their respective employers.

It was during the midst of the service issues that CSX was having last summer.

Not only were NS trains getting backed up at Attica Junction, but so were lesser priority CSX trains and/or those that Willard was not yet ready to handle.

In time, trains finally moved even if not as efficiently as everyone wanted.


The water wasn’t quite still enough to get a sharp reflection.

Once NS trains got the OK to go through Attica Junction they tended to run in pairs. Here the eastbound 195 passes the westbound 29G.

Detroit-bound stack train 29G cools its heels south of Caroline waiting for CSX to allow NS to run trains through Attica Junction.

At last NS stack train 29G has heard the word from the dispatch to come down to Attica Junction looking for a signal.

A westbound CSX manifest freight has the signal at Attica Junction. The view is looking northward to the east of the diamonds.

A Whatisit on the NS Cleveland Line

December 15, 2017

I made reference to this train in a previous post, but for those who missed it or forgot it, it is a westbound Norfolk Southern dimension train on the Cleveland Line carrying two large pieces of equipment and operating as symbol freight L053.

I’m told this equipment is transformers used to step up or down electrical voltage for transmission.

As a railfan, I love it when these special moves are out on the line because the dispatcher tends to talk to them a lot to let them know what opposing trains they will meet.

When you are hunting for trains to photograph you can never have too much information about what it out there.

My intent had been to photograph a train crossing the Cuyahoga River along Ravenna Road near Lake Rockwell and the Akron water works plant. I’d photographed it once before, but that was several years ago.

Akron doesn’t own the Cuyahoga River here, but it sure does what it can to try to discourage people from being here. There are fences all around Lake Rockwell along with no trespassing signs.

Over the years, I’ve seen people parked beneath the NS bridge over Ravenna Road and fishing in the Cuyahoga on the south side of the NS bridge over the river. But I’ve never hung out here to wait for and photograph trains.

Within the past year or so, someone created a public canoe launch site, complete with a parking lot and signs. That creates at least the aura of it being a public location where railfans can make photographs of NS trains on the Cleveland Line.

My strategy was to sit in the parking lot at Towner’s Woods park about a mile to the east and monitor the radio frequency. From there I can hear the detector at Rootstown as well as trains calling the signal at CP 86 in Ravenna.

That would give me ample time to motor down to the bridge and get into position.

And so it was with the dimension train. I got the photographs that I wanted and was about to turn and head back to my car when the eastbound 20E came charging past.

I had heard the dispatcher tell the L053 that the 20E would be the next train he would meet. But by the time I got to the canoe launch I had forgotten about it.

That was a close call. Had that intermodal train shown up a minute earlier, it would have blocked the L053. But this time at least things worked out to near perfection.

I got my westbound train on the bridge and I got a reflection shot in the calm waters of the Cuyahoga in late day light. You can’t complain about that.

Belle of the Cuyahoga

November 25, 2017

I had just photographed a Norfolk Southern dimension train crossing the Cuyahoga River near Lake Rockwell and had turned to return to my car.

Then came the loud rushing sound of another train, which was the 20E, an intermodal train.

One of the locomotives was a bright color so I put my camera to my eye to get a picture.

Those bright colors belonged to a “Southern Belle” of the Kansas City Southern. Such locomotives are not necessarily rare in Northeast Ohio, but not common, either.

That “Belle” sure was a pretty sight.

Reflections on a Reflection

October 28, 2017

Many of my favorite photographs have been created by happenstance. Such was the case with this image of a reflection of the former Erie Railroad passenger station in Kent in a pool of the decorative dam on the Cuyahoga River.

The story behind this image begins with a walk down to the observation platform that can be seen toward the right middle of the image.

My intent was to get a close-up view of the late day sun hitting the station, which is now an Italian restaurant named Treno, which is Italian for train.

The dam used to be functional, but several years ago the river was channeled away from it and into the remnants of the Pennsylvania & Ohio Canal. What had been the river became dry land that was transformed into a park while the dam was renovated to become, in essence, a giant water fountain.

The top of the dam is quite high, about at the level of my eyes. I happened to notice the station reflecting in the pool at the top of the dam and thought it would make a nice photograph.

I made it but all you could see was the reflection in the water. I then lifted my camera above my head and held it over the railing in the foreground.

A Canon 60D has a foldout screen that can be angled up or down. That came in handy in being able to see what the lens was seeing. I then used the live view feature of the camera to make the image.

The result was, perhaps, my best image of the day. What appears to be a reflection from a flash toward the right end of the station is actually the sun reflecting off a window.

More Reflections of CSX

September 1, 2017

CSX train Q254 passes AC Tower in Marion. With the pole line gone, it is easier to get reflection images such as this one.

You go your way and I’ll go mine. An eastbound manifest freight on the CSX Columbus Sub is about to bang the diamonds of the Mt. Victory Sub in Marion.

During a trip to Marion on a Sunday earlier this year I was surprised to find that traffic on the CSX Columbus Subdivision was heavier than on the Mt. Victory Sub. Usually it is the other way around.

Chalk it up to the dispatcher on the Columbus Sub bunching up the traffic as well the precision scheduled railroading plan of the CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison.

One strategy of the plan is to take commodities that once ran in dedicated trains and add them to manifest freights.

This has been particularly the case with auto racks and aggregates. Earlier in the day, the Q363 came through with what in the past would have been the consists of two trains.

Aside from the usual array of manifest freight, the Q363 had on the rear a very long string of auto racks.

Whenever I see an auto rack train these days on CSX I wonder why it is still running and how much longer it might be running as a single-commodity unit train.