Shoot it while it’s here 4

From time to time I’ll get people asking me why I shoot what they consider to be mundane photos.  By mundane, I mean trains that have run on the same schedule forever, or even pieces of railroad equipment that have been static for literally decades.  Well, in most cases, especially with regards to railroading subjects, things can change in the blink of an eye, and that attitude of “oh, it’s been there forever, I’ll get it another day” suddenly turns to “oh, shit, I can’t believe I missed it!”  Last Thursday (6/25/09) a nearly 4 decade fixture can no longer be photographed the way it has been for nearly all my life.

Well, as you can tell, something that has been around forever has changed.  Down in Essex, CT at the Valley Railroad, that little 2-6-2 steamer that guarded the entrance (#103) all these years has been moved to the Railroad Museum of New England.  Yep, shots like this one below are now impossible.

#103 sits at the entrance to Essex all dressed up for the holidays
#103 sits at the entrance to Essex all dressed up for the holidays
View in the gallery

She sat there for 38 years, and now the HT&W plow is sitting in her place at the entrance to Essex Station.  For more info on the actual move, here’s the story on the Naugy’s blog, along with photos of her moving from Essex to Waterville.  Sure, the 103 will live on at the Naugy, enjoying their hospitality and TLC, but you’ll never be able to shoot it at the entrance to Essex Station again.

Just another example of shoot it today, it may be gone tomorrow.  Words I live by…

Thanks for looking!

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4 thoughts on “Shoot it while it’s here

  • Derek Matyas

    exactly! I especially love seeing the subtle changes over time in those ‘same old boring’ trains or locations. You’re building up a historic record that one day will be priceless. I was too young to catch Conrail in it’s prime, but thanks to countless photographers capturing it I can accurately model their C30-7As and the B&A line.

    • Tom Nanos Post author


      I’m with you 100% here. That’s the way I look at all my photography – it’s my grandchildren’s history lessons that I’m recording. Which is why I don’t photoshop things in or out of my photos – only the “normal darkroom” stuff, like crop, rotate, contrast, etc. Material edits for me are a huge no-no.

  • Allan MacDonald

    I agree that sometimes in capturing history we sometimes get a little redundancy, and people that complain about it probably complain about everything.
    I had done some rail photography about 40 years ago when I lived in prime Southern Pacific territory, and I would be frequently in Burlington Northern country. Now that SP and BN are fallen flags, I wish I had shot a lot more than I had. UP is very impressive, but BNSF somehow does not excite me at all; Give me the old Santa Fe or Burlington Northern anyday!