Narrow Gauge Gem at the 2019 Amherst Railway Society BIG Railroad Hobby Show.

In a world of small trains, S.D. Warren & Company’s Baldwin-built 0-4-0T is a giant.

This wonderfully restored narrow gauge steam locomotive was under steam in front of the Better Living Center at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts last weekend.

I made these digital photographs in the afternoon.

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Telephoto Views: Amherst Show January 2019.

This is part 3 in my series on photos of the January 2019 Amherst Railway Society BIG Railroad Hobby Show.

Previous views were exposed using my Lumix LX7 (see: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2019/01/27/2019-big-railroad-show-a-dozen-more-photos/) but these photos were made using my FujFilm XT1 fitted with a 90mm f2.0 telephoto lens.

The combination of a long focal length lens, with close focus and very wide aperture allows for a shallow depth of field. This technique enabled me to highlight select subjects in the image area while allowing potentially distracting elements to blend into a sea of blur.

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2019 BIG Railroad Show A Dozen MORE Photos!

Amherst Railway Society BIG Railroad Hobby Show—2019 Part 2.

I made hundreds of images.

Were you there? Maybe I caught you on camera!

All of these photos were exposed with my Lumix LX7.

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Amherst Railway Society BIG Railroad Hobby Show—2019 Part 1.

Yesterday, Saturday January 26, 2019, I attended the annual Amherst Railway Society BIG Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

This was an opportunity to connect with old friends, watch small trains run in circles, collect ephemera and old pictures and make lots of new photos.

Here’s a few from my ‘new’ Lumix LX7! More to come soon!

Bus glint!

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Long Lens, Small Trains; Another Take on last weekend’s Railroad Hobby Show

I used my Lumix LX7 for my earlier post of photos at the Amherst Railway Society’s BIG Railroad Hobby Show (held last weekend at the Big E fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts).

Ah, my old Lumix. Yes indeed. But, I was also carrying a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a ‘fast’ (wide aperture) 90mm lens.

Using a 90mm lens at f2  allowed me to make telephoto views with very shallow depth of field.

I think selective focus is a neat technique for capturing model railways. It’s a great tool for making portraits too.

Below is a selection of views exposed at last weekend’s show made with my fast 90mm.

Any favorites?

Lego my caboose!

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Dozens of NEW Photos—Big Train Show at West Springfield!

Below is a selection of images exposed with my Lumix LX7 at Amherst Railway Society’s annual Big Train Show at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

It was a great show with lots of trains, models, people. Frankly, it was sensory overload.

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Tracking the Light EXTRA: Big Railroad Hobby Show at the BIG E in West Springfield this weekend Jan 30-31, 2016.

The annual Big Railroad Hobby Show takes place this weekend.

I’ll be there on Saturday making models look like full size trains, and visiting with friends.

These views are from the 2011 show. Hard to believe that was FIVE years ago.

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January 2011; Lumix LX3

Lumix LX3
Lumix LX3

Lumix LX3.
Lumix LX3.

I find the show to be a like a big railway Brigadoon. It exists for a little more than 48 hours and then vanishes into the mist for another year.

See Amherst Railway Society’s site for details: http://www.railroadhobbyshow.com

Hope to see you there!

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Tracking the Light: Extra Post—Big Train Show photos.

Today, January 24, 2015 was the first day of the annual Amherst Railway Society Big Railroad Hobby Show, or as Mike Gardner likes to call it, ‘The Big Shoe.’

Snow in the morning resulted in a quieter that usual day. I arrived about noon and had ample opportunity to breeze through all four buildings and meet with friends.

Below is a sampling of images. Were you at The Big Shoe? Maybe you are in one of the photos!


The Big Railroad Hobby Show fills four buildings at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Big Railroad Hobby Show fills four buildings at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Lots of locomotives to look at.
Lots of locomotives to look at.







Slice of Light Photography.
Slice of Light Photography.

Otto Vondrak.
Otto Vondrak.

Springfield Union Station.
Springfield Union Station.


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Amherst Railway Society’s Big Railroad Hobby Show part 2

More Photos from January 25, 2014.

Amherst Railway Society‘s Big Railroad Hobby Show show is pure sensory overload. Everywhere you look there’s something or someone that seizes your interest. An old friend, an F-unit, a trolley buzzing underwire, video of a steam locomotive, the sounds of trains.


Paul Carver
Paul Carver.

Pioneer Valley Railroad's Dave Swirk.
Pioneer Valley Railroad‘s Dave Swirk.

Dan Howard with the Seashore Trolley Museum.
Dan Howard with the Seashore Trolley Museum.

Wait, what? A vintage fishbowl bus? At the TRAIN show?!
Wait, what? A vintage fishbowl bus? At the TRAIN show?!

Caboose and a vision of Pennsylvania's Martin Creek Viaduct in the distance.
Caboose and a vision of Pennsylvania’s Martin Creek Viaduct in the distance.

Lens-master George C. Corey.
Lens-master George C. Corey.


NMRA promoter.
NMRA promoter.

Railroad Museum of New England's Bill Sample.
Railroad Museum of New England‘s Bill Sample.


Quabog Valley Modelers.
Quaboag Valley Railroaders of East Brookfield.

Boston & Albany Hudson on the Quaboag Valley Railroader's layout.
Boston & Albany Hudson on the Quaboag Valley Railroader‘s layout.

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I exposed several hundred photos in a few hours, but after a while my mind began to numb. Railways of all kinds in all directions.

I guess it was a good show!

Click here for part 1.


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Amherst Railway Society’s Big Railroad Hobby Show; January 26, 2013

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This weekend (January 26-27, 2013) is the annual Big Railroad Hobby Show sponsored by the Amherst Railway Society. It fills four buildings at the Eastern States Exposition grounds at West Springfield, Massachusetts and attracts tens of thousands of visitors. For railway enthusiasts it’s an epic event and an annual pilgrimage. The show is the living testimony of the late Bob Buck—long time show director and proprietor of Tucker’s Hobbies. Through clever marketing, unceasing persistence and a life-long passion for trains of all scales, Bob built the show from a small railroad hobby event into a massive one. Although Bob passed away in October 2011, the show remains one of his legacies. Last year the society honored Bob with a minute of silence before the show opened; I’m told  you could hear a pin drop across the exposition grounds.

Rich Reed proudly displays  a Bob Buck pin.
Rich Reed proudly displays a Bob Buck pin.

My interest in the show is a direct result of my friendship with Bob. Not only was he one of my most enthusiastic supporters, encouraging my photography from a very young age and promoting my work (and later my books), but also he urged me to photograph the show, sometimes commissioning me to make both publicity and documentary images.

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For the photographer the show is a visually intense and challenging image making opportunity. Thanks to Bob I’d been photographing the show for more than 30 years. In my younger days I’d fumble through the day and churn through 6-8 rolls of 35mm black & white film, and then try to find a half dozen useable images.  While digital photography is a godsend, it hasn’t got that much easier. What’s the difficulty? Thousands of people are packed into the grounds all jostling for views of layouts, while haggling over boxcar kits, rummaging through back issues of magazines and regaling one another with tales of the year’s events. At every step you are confronted with someone bumping you, standing in your way, or thrusting an elbow into your lens. Garish and harsh artificial lighting makes for odd contrast and peculiar color balance while inserting unwanted highlights all over the place. The disparity of scale between the spectators and railway models presents a depth of field nightmare. For the casual viewer the show is pure sensory overload. For the photographer it’s chaos.

Yet, I always bring my cameras. These days I primarily aim to make photos of my friends, my heroes, and the model trains that catch my eye. It’s a complete contrast from my efforts working with ‘prototype’ trains. Yet, when photographing scale trains, I apply many of the same techniques that I use for the larger ones. Here’s just a sampling of today’s efforts.

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Highball Productions

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Slice of Light photography

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Promoting the Steaming Tender; the region’s favorite railway themed restaurant (located in the old Palmer, Massachusetts Union Station).

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Tucker’s Hobbies.

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My North American Locomotives is dedicated to Robert A. Buck.


Reviewing Bob Buck's work in North American Locomotives.
Reviewing Bob Buck’s work in North American Locomotives.


Master photographer George C. Corey.
Master photographer George C. Corey.

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