Thoughts on 10 Years of Nights

As I usually do, I kick many ideas around in my head – from ideas about potential photos, to reassessing the photos I’ve taken thus far.  Lately – well, over the past couple of years, at least – I’ve been thinking about my night shots quite a bit.  What do I like?  What don’t I like?  What can I do different?  And, not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things, but do they stand out from the seemingly growing sea of after-dark shooters?  The answers to these questions – along with studying a number of other photographers’ work, both contemporary and classic – seem to be shaping my view of the night, and what direction I want to go in.  In this post, I’ll basically look over my entire experience after dark and see where that brings me.  Strap yourself in – this is going to be one of the, if not the longest article I’ve posted here.

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The Thames River is Dry

P&W K667 backs ethanol empties into the NECR in New London

Change – something that’s for the better.  Despite the fact that I instinctively abhor change, I do honestly believe in that in the end it is a good thing.  But I’m not here to talk about my personal philosophy – but rather how change relates to the railroading world, and specifically recording railroad history.  Railroads are a dynamic beast – not only are they literally moving down the rails, but both the landscape they travel through and what they’re transporting is also constantly changing.  This post is about the latter – what is going on with what the trains themselves are carrying, and one commodity in particular, namely ethanol.

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As quite a few of you may know, I’m a member and volunteer at the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum in Willimantic, CT.  Well, last night (11/3/09) the museum was broken into and quite heavily vandalized.  Click here for the story, including some photos of the damage, from the Hartford Courant.  Shit like this just makes my blood boil…  Instead of repeating it, click this link to head over to where I posted a few comments in the thread on the New England Railfan board.


Merry (belated) Christmas

Christmas this year has been a busy one.  Not because of the running around, fighting the crowds at the stores.  Not because of work getting in the way.  But rather we had a little hiccup.  You see, my oldest daughter was admitted to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford Monday evening with what they thought was Kawasaki’s Disease (yeah, I’ve never heard of it either).  After some tests, they pretty much confirmed it (there is no specific test for Kawasaki’s, but rather a series of criteria – just about all of which she met), and started the treatment.  Thank God, she responded well to the treatment, but also we found out she’s allergic to aspirin (another part of the treatment), which threw another kink into things.  But finally, after nearly a week in the hospital, we’re all home.

This ordeal just reiterates one thing to myself, something I’ve always believed in – everything we purchase this holiday season really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  Without family and your health, you truly have nothing.

Merry Christmas everyone.  I got what I wanted for Christmas – a bit late, but I did get it.  My daughter is back home, and on the road to a full recovery.

-Tom, Jill, Katina & Callie Nanos

The 2006 incarnation of the Nanos Christmas tree
The 2006 incarnation of the Nanos Christmas tree
View in the gallery

Seven Years

Seven years ago today, something horrific happened – a day I’ll never forget.  I was traveling for work – on a 2 week assignment to assist some co-workers in Morris Plains, NJ with the implementation of a document management system (in fact, it’s the same team I’m now a part of in my new job – two of the people I was closely working with are now my bosses).  This was the second week of the assignment, and that Tuesday started out as a beautiful sunny morning.  Then it happened.  Sitting in a cubicle the room started buzzing – a plane hit the World Trade Center.  Then trying to check sites like CNN and CBS News was impossible.  They were totally overwhelmed.  Then another plane hits the other tower.  Then the Pentagon gets hit.  What was going on?
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6 Years – Never Forget

US FlagIt’s hard to believe it’s been six years already since the day that changed the world, quite literally. I still remember it vividly – I was in Morris Plains, NJ on the 2nd half of a 2 week business trip. I can still see the smoke from the burning towers rising in the distance above the tree line – at that distance it was quite small, but still visible. And then the sheer horror and disbelief that they actually fell. Then the reports of a plane hitting the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the erroneous reports of numerous other hijacked airliners still in the air – but there was only one more, Flight 93. Needless to say, my trip was cut short, and I headed home, the scenic route – instead of heading back over the Tappan Zee as I normally would have, I headed further north on the Thruway and took I-84 back home.

Anyways, my point here is to never forget what those 19 Islamic terrorists did, never forget who did it, and never forget those people who lost their lives six years ago today. Support our troops serving overseas and here at home, along with the multitudes of fire & police personnel helping to keep us safe. They’ve got our backs. Remember that freedom isn’t free. I’ll leave you with a famous quote from Thomas Paine’s first paper in The Crisis, published on December 23, 1776. You can interpret it as you wish.

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

Hey, I was a political science major at UConn. I gotta use my degree from time to time to make it worth the money I spent for my four years in Storrs. :D


Missed History – Revisited

I had originally wrote this piece for the railroad photography magazine CTC Board – Railroads Illustrated  at the request of then editor Paul Schneider (CTC Board had since been sold to White River Productions, where it’s now called simply Railroads Illustrated ). It appeared soon after I wrote it in the September 2005 issue of CTC Board. A scanned version of the article & photo can be found here if you’re curious. Anyways, it’s an opion piece I wrote concerning increased actions of law enforcement and security officials towards railfans, espeically those who are taking photos of railroading operations. My largest concern is the potential gap in historical coverage if for some reason rail photography was deemed to be illegal (which it’s not), and I took a metaphorical photo depicting that potential lack of coverage.  I just wanted to share my thoughts – which have not changed in the year and a half since I put them down on paper. Feel free to fire off any comments you may have, either here, or privately via email – whichever you prefer.


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