Tag Archives: #Monson

Tornado! Ten Years Ago Today.

June 1, 2011 freakish weather conditions produced an F3 Tornado that struck my home town of Monson, Massachusetts.

I had only recently returned from months in Ireland and Europe.

The day began with a violent thunderstorm, but most of the morning and afternoon were oddly still and bathed in a weird hazy sunshine.

The storm that brought the funnel moved quickly and brought destruction.

I saw the tornado from my window in Monson and made photos with my Lumix LX3. Two days later I went into town to document the damage.

Enlarged version of the above Lumix LX3 image. A green sky is a bad!
Canon 7D photo, June 3, 2011.
Destroyed house on Washington Street in Monson, MA. June 3, 2011. Lumix LX3
New England Central Railroad at Washington Street in Monson. June 3.
Downtown Monson after the storm. June 3, 2011. Canon 7D.
Washington Street in Monson after the storm. June 3, 2011.

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Monson March Morning

Last week, we heard New England Central 608 sounding for State Line from Moulton Hill in Monson, Massachusetts.

That was the call to send Kris Sabbatino and me into action.

We drove post haste through Monson, as the northward freight was approaching the ‘Monson Tunnel’ (Route 32 underpass at Academy Hill), and selected a spot well ahead of the train where the morning sun provided excellent illumination.

I made these two views using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

After exposure, I imported the NEF (RAW) files into Adobe Lightroom where I re-profiled the color and contrast.

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Central Vermont 562 on State Line Hill-June 1986.

In 1986, my pal TSH and I had been comparing the differences between Kodachrome 25, Kodachrome 64, and Fujichrome 50 slide film.

It was early during this trial period that I made this photo of Central Vermont’s southward freight 562 with Grand Trunk Western 5808 in the lead ascending State Line Hill in Monson, Massachusetts passing the old Zero Manufacturing plant on Bliss Street.

I was very much impressed by the colors in this image when it was returned to me from Kodak, and the appearance of this slide and other K25 images contributed to my decision to adopt this emulsion as my standard slide film.

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Sunday’s Surprise.

I needed a topic for today’s Tracking the Light, so I reached in to a sorting file of un-scanned slides and found this photo: Surprise!

On October 13, 2004, photographer Mike Gardner and I chased New England Central Railroad’s 608 south from Palmer, through my hometown of Monson, Massachusetts.

This is a chase I’ve done countless times over the last 40 years, but just because you’ve done something before, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to find a new angle on it.

At Robbins Road in Monson, I made this dramatic trailing view of the train’s locomotives. Here we have a selection of NECR GP38s roaring away in ‘Run-8’—maximum throttle on the tooth of the grade.

The train was moving 10-12 mph, producing a rush of engine exhaust along with traction motors blowers blowing to keep the motors cool. (And prevent them from over heating) These blasts of hot air, combined with the wind from the train’s approach and passage, plus and sand from the sanders to maintain adhesion all helped stir up the ballast and fallen leaves. 

It was a good chase and I wish I was there now!

I scanned the photo using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 and VueScan software. My initial scan produced a 4000 dpi TIF file, which I then imported to Lightroom in order to scale it for presentation here.

June 2020 Trains Magazine features my 8-page article on New England Central.

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