Posts Tagged ‘snow photography’

Super Outing, Super Memories

June 4, 2021

Marty Surdyk, Craig Sanders and myself had a super bowl hours before the NFL game started on February 2, 2014.. All of our photos from that day were all keepers thanks to the unique weather conditions from that day. I miss seeing the “late” former Nickel Plate Road trestle every time I see Norfolk Southern train 206 in the top photo. Seeing NS train 145 in the middle and bottom images always brings a smile to my face.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Looks More Like January Than March

May 11, 2021

On March 16, 2013, which was a day of the train show at Lake Land College in Kirtland, Craig Sanders and I started  out in Perry in extreme winter conditions as a lake effect squall dumped heavy snow on the area.

We were fortunate to get great photos in a 24-minute span, which included a late Amtrak No. 48. The top image of a Norfolk Southern train illustrates the fierce elements.

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited showed up at 8:42 a.m. and a CSX eastbound came along at 8:51 a.m.

We then retreated to the warm car. Later we would catch a train Painesville before heading to the rain show to work the Akron Railroad Club’s table. By then the snow had stopped.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Dashing Through Some Snow

March 15, 2018

The first day of spring is March 20 when the spring equinox occurs in the Northern Hemisphere at 12:15 p.m. EDT, but this week has felt more like January than the cusp of spring.

At least where I live there is still considerable snow on the ground and snow showers were frequent throughout Northeast Ohio on Tuesday.

Light snow was falling as a Greater Cleveland RTA Green Line car made its way toward downtown Cleveland after making stop at the station on Warrensville Road in Shaker Heights.

It will run parallel to Shaker Boulevard all the way to Shaker Square in Cleveland.

Winter Afternoon in Peninsula

January 30, 2018

It had been a while since I’d been able to get out with my camera. Car troubles and other matters had kept me at home as winter fell on Northeast Ohio in early January.

More than a week into the month, I finally got everything squared away and was able to get out of the house to go do some winter photography.

I had plans to go watch a college basketball game in Akron on a Tuesday night so I left the house early and stopped by Peninsula to see what I might find.

I knew better than to expect to catch a train on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. That operation was on hiatus until later in the month. But you can still do a lot without a train.

Several years ago I photographed the Peninsula train station during winter when it had icicles hanging on it. That was not the case on this day because the sun had melted them.

A step box on the platform had accumulated some snow and the platform area had footprints made by visitors to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Snow no longer covered the rails, but in the late day sunlight the ties on the siding were barely visible as the snow had that sunken look.

At the far north end of town sat a baggage car that had been used as a prop when the Polar Express trains were operating before Christmas. Beneath that car was bare ground.

There weren’t many people around on this day. It was still cold and winter is not a time of year when many people want to visit the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

 

Railroading as it Once Was: One Day in Hudson

October 27, 2016

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A UCI train (Cleveland Electric Illuminating) has outlawed at Hudson on a cold February 1979 afternoon.

The caboose of a Conrail eastbound is just clearing the CEI units. Hudson station still had an operator at this point who controlled this busy location.

The Cleveland & Pittsburgh mains, the crossovers, the wye to the Akron Branch (several trains a day), and the westward and eastward siding switches were handled by the operator as well as the Servo machine.

Today this former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline is as busy as ever, but the wye is only used to spin power. The branch is out of service 400 feet south of the point switch.

The eastward siding is gone and the westward siding is stub-ended and little used.

The station has been leveled and the “Yellowbirds” are no longer Cleveland Electric units.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Not Much of a Winter

March 28, 2016

How about some frosted used railroad ties?

How about some frosted used railroad ties?

Although most people probably are not complaining, I missed the winter of 2016.

I didn’t make a single image of railroad operations during a snowstorm. I was only able to create a handful of images of railroads and the aftermath of a snowfall and those weren’t much. By the time I could get out, most of the snow had melted.

Nonetheless, here is a gallery of some of what I was able to record during weekend walks on the Portage Hike and Bike Trail near Kent.

Presumably, next winter there won’t be an El Nino and there will be more seasonable levels of snow. Of course we’ll all be complaining about it.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Looking west on the former Erie Mainline at Ravenna Road.

Looking west on the former Erie Mainline at Ravenna Road.

There was plenty of snow covering the former Erie Railroad mainline near Lake Rockwell Road even if the snow had melted most everywhere else.

There was plenty of snow covering the former Erie Railroad mainline near Lake Rockwell Road even if the snow had melted most everywhere else.

They are now railroad tracks, but the snow left in these tire tracks resembles a railroad track.

They are now railroad tracks, but the snow left in these tire tracks resembles a railroad track.

Sitting Duck at Edwards Road on the Carey Sub

March 18, 2015

WE Edward Road 1a

The barn at left and the tractor tire tracks in the foreground made this image compelling.

 

A simple cross buck and snow covered fields are hallmarks of rural Ohio in winter.

A simple cross buck and snow covered fields are hallmarks of rural Ohio in winter.

Looking down the tracks. Was the crew looking back?

Looking down the tracks. Was the crew looking back?

A few low hanging branches of a big old tree help frame the motive power consist, which itself shows some variety.

A few low hanging branches of a big old tree help frame the motive power consist, which itself shows some variety.

Had I not glanced to my right I might have missed it. But I look around a lot while I’m driving and as a result I spotted the covered hopper cars on the nearby Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Carey Subdivision west of Greenwich.

I started looking for the motive power, which was stopped a little west of Edwards Road. So I made a right turn off U.S. Route 224 and drove toward the tracks.

It was a grain train that I presumed was stopped to wait for CSX to give it permission to enter its line at GN Tower in Greenwich.

Because the train was sitting still, I was able to photograph it from multiple angles, including the usual angles of looking down the tracks and shooting from the side at about a 45-degree angle.

Photographing this train was a challenge. Although a cloud cover had moved in, there was just enough sunlight coming from the southwest to create some back lighting.

It was late in the day so the ambient light was diminishing. Add to that a snow cover on the surrounding fields and you don’t have ideal lighting conditions.

Yet in other ways the scene could not have been more ideal. There was more going on here than a stopped train on a single track line that doesn’t see much rail traffic on any given day. There was a story to tell with images.

There was personal interest in the lead unit, No. 6989, an SD40-2 that still wears a BNSF livery even if the lettering of the former owner has been painted over.

I had photographed this locomotive back in January on a very cold morning in Akron. It had been sitting by itself in Brittain Yard in the engine service area. Now, it was sitting in front of me just like it had been on that frigid January day.

That January portrait also had been the result of a fortuitous glance at the right time. Do you think that the 6989 wants me to find it?

I noticed some tracks in the snow heading toward the tracks before making a sharp right turn and running parallel to the railroad tracks. The tire tracks appeared to have been made by a tractor.

Those tire tracks intrigued me. They show winter and give the image some movement. The viewer’s eyes naturally follow the tractor tire tracks toward the railroad tracks and then toward the train.

The tractor tire tracks also lead the viewer toward a weathered barn on the other side of the railroad tracks.

This might have been a nice image even without the barn, but it makes for a left framing object and reinforces the sense of place. The fields, the barn, the stubble of last year’s crops poking through the snow, and the open space work together to show that this is farm country.

It is slumbering now, but soon the snow will gone and it will be time to get back into the fields to plant this year’s crops.

Some of the original images were dark so I had to work them in Photoshop. I’m still not sure that I’m happy with the results, but I got what I wanted, which was to draw out the tractor tire tracks and the clouds of an approaching front.

There is just enough light showing through the clouds to give the sense that it is late day and sunset would come in another hour or less.

I didn’t notice until I began to work with the image that there is another set of tracks in the top image, too. There are footprints that cross the tractor tire tracks and lead somewhat toward the train.

Those footprints add a sense of mystery. Why would someone have been out walking in this field?

It is the type of image that I may never be able to replicate here again because I might not have the same combination of factors that came together to make this image what it is, namely the snow cover, the tire tracks and a sitting train.

I didn’t want to spend much time here. I faced a long drive and I wanted to get home. Had I been willing to spend more time working the scene I might have come up with something even better.

Still, I was quite pleased with what I was able to make. a winter day series that started with a simple glance to my right.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Snow in the Valley

March 2, 2015

The sunlight through the trees casts an interesting shadow pattern on the undisturbed snow as the northbound afternoon CVSR Scenic train approaches Brecksville.

The sunlight through the trees casts an interesting shadow pattern on the undisturbed snow as the northbound afternoon CVSR Scenic train approaches Brecksville.

There’s snow and then there’s deep snow. No sooner had I set out from the parking lot in Brecksville toward the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad tracks when I found myself ankle deep in it.

It wasn’t that long of a walk so I trudged ahead with the objective of photographing the northbound Scenic train crossing Chippewa Creek.

The snow was even deeper on the other side of the creek. I fell once when my mind was going in one direction but my body in another.

But it was worth it because the snow had not been spoiled by human footprints or other activity. It was as pure a scene as I could expect to find in Northeast Ohio and with little imagination reminiscent of being in an isolated spot in the woods of Minnesota, Michigan or Canada.

Another photographer also hiked through the snow, but he chose to photograph from the creek whereas I wanted to be able to get coming and going shots.

It was getting to be late afternoon and the sun was low enough that much of the track was in shadows. Yet the sun streaming through the trees created an interesting effect of shadows across the rails.

The bridge over Chippewa Creek was in open sunlight, which is probably why that other guy chose to go down to the water level. He would get a nicely lighted side view.

During the winter the Scenic doesn’t stop at Brecksville station, so I had to guess as to when it would arrive there. The only scheduled stop between Akron and Rockside Road in Independence is Peninsula.

I was happy to see a spot of yellow when the Scenic came into view. That meant that the black LTEX 1420 would not be on the lead. Try photographing that locomotive in shadows.

Instead, the 1822, an RS18u that had been built in May 1958 for Canadian Pacific, was on the point. The trailing unit was No. 800, the FPA-4 built in March 1959 for Canadian National, and painted in a Baltimore & Ohio livery.

I can only hope that this motive power consist combination will continue to run a little longer.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Seeing the 1822 on the point was a most welcome sight.

Seeing the 1822 on the point was a most welcome sight.

The 1822 passes a snow-covered hillside just before crossing Chippewa Creek. The horn is sounding and the bell ringing for the crossing at Brecksville station.

The 1822 passes a snow-covered hillside just before crossing Chippewa Creek. The horn is sounding and the bell ringing for the crossing at Brecksville station.

Crossing Chippewa Creek on a sunny day that made it feel warm.

Crossing Chippewa Creek on a sunny day that made it feel warm.

The Ohio Route 82 bridge looms in the background as the 800 brings up the rear of the northbound Scenic at Brecksville.

The Ohio Route 82 bridge looms in the background as the 800 brings up the rear of the northbound Scenic at Brecksville.

The Scenic rounds a curve at Brecksville, thus enabling a side view of the entire train. Not the deep ruts cut by the train as it rolled through the snow.

The Scenic rounds a curve at Brecksville, thus enabling a side view of the entire train. Not the deep ruts cut by the train as it rolled through the snow.

 

 

Miss Liberty Dodging Snowflakes in Vermilion

February 22, 2015

The snow is flying as the NS 65V with the Central of New Jersey heritage unit in the lead passes through Vermilion. The former New York Central station is the right.

The snow is flying as the NS 65V with the Central of New Jersey heritage unit in the lead passes through Vermilion. The former New York Central station is the right.

The wind-angle perspective of NS 1071. The Vermilion railfan platform is the far right.

The wind-angle perspective of NS 1071. The Vermilion railfan platform is the far right.

My friend Adam and I were doing to get in some railfanning before attending a banquet Saturday night in Berea.

As we drove out that way we saw an online report that the Central of New Jersey heritage locomotive was leading a westbound 65V and getting a new crew at CP Ram in Cleveland.

Our plan was to intercept this train in Olmsted Falls. It was snowing steadily and traffic on I-480 was slow. As we were passing by Cleveland Hopkins Airport Adam saw an online report that the NS 1071 had just passed trough Berea.

We would never make it to Olmsted Falls in time. Plan B was to drive to Vermilion. We easily got ahead of hit despite the snowy conditions.

Much to my delight the snow continued to fall as we waited beneath the overhang of a shop on the north side of the NS Chicago Line.

After waiting longer than expected, the headlight of the NS 1071 came into view to the east. That gal looked good in the snow.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Getting ‘Clipped’ at Painesville

January 31, 2012

We were sitting around the dining room table in the home of Ed Ribinskas eating pizza on Sunday afternoon when Marty Surdyk got a text message that a CSX westbound freight with a former Iowa, Chicago & Eastern unit on the lead was approaching Conneaut.

The heads up came from Richard Thompson who had been photographing with his clan in Conneaut for much of the day. Earlier, Ed, Marty, Jeff Troutman and myself had been photographing at Perry and trading OS reports with Rich.

The plan was to putz around on Ed’s HO model railroad layout after eating. I had other ideas, first, though. I wanted to capture that ex-ICE unit. Jeff agreed to take me trackside while Marty and Ed stayed behind.

We staked out the north side of the tracks just east of the former New York Central passenger station in Painesville. It was overcast, so for lighting purposes it didn’t matter what side of the tracks we were on.

Shortly after we arrived, it started snowing. The weather forecast was for an Alberta Clipper to sweep through the area during the afternoon, bringing with it snow and much colder temperatures.

Man, did we get clipped. The clipper arrived with the speed of an express train trying to make up time. Within minutes we were enveloped in blizzard-like conditions. The wind was blowing with gale force velocity and the snow seemed to be going blowing straight across, now falling downward. It was one of those storms with large flakes and it didn’t take long to cover the ground.

Jeff had gotten out to see if the signals to the west had come on.  We had heard an eastbound train on the radio. He pointed toward the west and I ventured out into the elements. He was motioning toward what turned out to be an eastbound intermodal train.

The wind was blowing into my face and my camera lens, but I bravely fired away. I had never before attempted to photograph in such conditions. The images turned out fair, particularly the image shown above of the train passing the depot.

The storm abated somewhat, but it was still snowing hard when I heard the train we were waiting for call a signal to the east. I got out and shortly thereafter the gates began to drop at a nearby grade crossing.

I quickly discovered that leaving your camera on auto focus during a snowstorm isn’t such a good idea. The camera went hunting and many of the shots I snapped turned out blurry. But it focused well enough to hit the “sweet spot” as Duluth, Minnesota & Eastern 6366 — the City of Winona — came into view through the snow on Track No. 1 and filled my lens. 

I zoomed back to wide angle to capture a few more shots and then waited for the rear end of this rather long train to pass for a going away shot. In the meantime, a short train — perhaps a local — passed by estbound on Track No. 2. If only that train had been a few minutes earlier or later.

I suppose I shouldn’t be greedy. But opportunities such as this don’t present themselves to me very often. I shot a few going away images and it was time to go back to Ed’s house.

By the time we got there, it had stopped snowing and it didn’t snow the rest of the day. You know the phrase, “I’d rather be lucky than good?” Had I been a more experienced and skilled snow photographer I no doubt would have gotten better photographs on this afternoon. Still, for a short time on Sunday I felt good about being lucky, very good.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders