Tag Archives: freight cars

TRAINS Magazine Podcast: Conversations with Brian Solomon


Check out podcast Episode 17 ‘Conversations with Brian Solomon’: On a frosty day, I discuss the ins and outs of the freight car business with industry professional Dan Bigda. This offers an inside look into real freight railroading.

On the Trains page here: http://trn.trains.com/photos-videos/2018/09/conversations-with-brian-solomon

Direct link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-312824194/conversations-with-brian-solomon-episode-17

Dan has often asked me to make more photographs of freight cars when I’m out and about on the railroad, so here’s a few recent views of North American freight cars on the move exposed on frosty days during my January 2019 trip to Wisconsin.

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TRAINS Conversations with Brian Solomon, Episode 9

Brian talks with rail industry veteran Dan Bigda about issues in the industry and, specifically, the railcar supply business.
This is the first in a multi-part conversation.

Three bay hoppers cross Pennsylvania’s Rockville Bridge in summer of 2009. Exposed on Provia 100F with a Canon EOS3 and 100-400mm lens.

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California Freight Cars—18 New Photos.

Too often railway photography focuses on the head-end.

When traveling, I tend to take a greater interest in what’s behind the locomotive(s).

I made these views of freight cars while exploring Union Pacific and BNSF in California.

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It’s interesting to see the mix of modern and antique cars on the roll. Some of these are more than four decades old, others are nearly new.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1, I exposed photos in a variety of lighting situations.

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Santa Fe Freight Cars on the Roll!

Free Film and a Borrowed Camera.

It was autumn 1986. As a photography student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I’d receive an annual ‘care package’ of new, and sometimes experimental, Kodak products.

At the time I was a loyal Kodak film user, and dedicated to the careful exposure of Kodachrome 25. However, since I was on a shoe-string budget, I was happy to make use of the free roll of ‘Ektachrome du jour’—as we’d call whatever the latest flavor of Ektachrome was being peddled at the time.

Blessed with a rare bright day, and armed with my free roll of film, I wandered around Rochester documenting the railroads and the city. I had K25 in my Leica for the important photos, and loaded the free film into my roommate’s Canon A1 for experimental shots and comparison views.

I exposed this slide of Santa Fe freight cars on a westward Conrail freight with the Canon and 50mm lens. I panned using a 1/30th of second to convey a sense of motion.
I exposed this slide of Santa Fe freight cars on a westward Conrail freight using the Canon A1 fitted with a 50mm lens. I panned using a 1/30th of second to convey a sense of motion.

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Iowa Interstate, Iowa City.

June 9, 1996.

A variation of this photo appeared in a Railway Age supplement some years ago.

Exposed on Fujichrome Provia 100 using a Nikon F3T with 28mm AF lens. Exposure calculated manually with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell.
Exposed on Fujichrome Provia 100 using a Nikon F3T with 28mm AF lens. Exposure calculated manually with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell.

Back in June 1996, I was following the old Rock Island mainline. As I recall, I didn’t find much moving, and the day wasn’t the brightest. Yet, at Iowa City I visited a bridge over the Iowa Interstate’s yard and made a handful of images.

I’ve always liked this photo because it offers an unusual view with a lot of railway interest. The gondola carrying steel bars and open-door Burlington Northern 50ft boxcar are the sort of ordinary everyday elements of American railroading, meat and potato freight cars, that rarely get feature-treatment in photographs.

It was also the best way to make use of a dull day. Would this photograph be more effective if the sun had been out?

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Tomorrow: An Anniversary!

 

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Daily Post: Railcar Graffiti

Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.

Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.
Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.

Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.
Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.

Watching trains today, it seems that graffiti is omnipresent. Hardly a freight passes without heavily tagged cars in consist.

Railcar graffiti isn’t a recent phenomena. Traditional chalked tags have appeared on cars for generations. I recall photographing a tag that read ‘Edward Steichen knew’ back in the mid-1980s, and I first noticed spray-painted graffiti on the New York Subways in the 1970s.

Yet, the proliferation of large colorful spray-painted murals and haphazard spray tagging has only become widespread on mainline trains in the last couple of decades.

While freight cars are the most common canvases, I’ve see locomotives and passenger cars tagged as well.

Nor is the phenomena isolated to the United States. Train graffiti is a worldwide occurrence. I’ve photographed heavily tagged trains in Poland, Belgium, and (wouldn’t you guess?) Italy! (Among other places).

Almost every photographer I’ve met has an opinion on graffiti.

Would you like to leave a comment? Tracking the light is interested in your opinion(s). See the comments section toward the bottom of the page.

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Tomorrow: Tracking the Light features a summer morning Norfolk Southern’s former PRR at Cassandra, Pennsylvania. Don’t miss it!

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