New Year’s Eve 2014 – a time to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments – of course, in the context of the good old blog here, that would be looking at things photographically speaking. Well, 2014 was a light year for me in the photographic realm – only getting out to shoot about 40 times through the entire year (typically I’d get out more than 120 times each year). But I’d like to think this year was about quality and not quantity. Let’s see if my picks for the year reflect that…or is the cold I’m fighting influencing my choices…
As the winter months approach, we start thinking about the coming New Year. Along with the holiday celebrations, it’s time to get a new calendar to hang on the wall! After a few years’ hiatus, there’s a 2015 calendar available with a year’s worth of my photographs – but this is something that I only had a limited role in putting together. And I’m making exactly $0 on their sales. The non-profit volunteer organization, the Friends of the Valley Railroad, decided to dedicate the entire 2015 calendar to my photographs, to tie in with my recently completed exhibit at the railroad’s Oliver O. Jensen Gallery. The 13 month calendar – also titled A Dozen Miles in a Decade – features 15 photographs of the Valley Line, including a number that were not in the exhibit (OK, to be honest, there’s probably only 14 you’d be interested in – #15 is my version of a “selfie” on the back cover of the calendar). To purchase a copy (priced at a very reasonable $12 plus shipping), you can either visit the gift shop at the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat in Essex, Connecticut or click here to go directly to the FVRR’s online store. All proceeds go to the FVRR, enabling them to continue to work on the railroad’s infrastructure and rolling stock. So please help me support this great group, and be sure to pick up a copy or three!
Last week I was in New Jersey for work, and one day I had to head down to the Collegeville, PA office. Not having much time for shooting on this trip, I figured the trip back from the Keystone State provided an opportunity to get a little shooting in – even if it was only for a few minutes. And with no flashes along for the ride this time, it had to be somewhere that had ample ambient light to work with. That location was Lansdale, PA.
On October 4, 2014 the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum in Willimantic, Connecticut continued a tradition spanning more than a decade. For the 11th year in a row, the museum hosted a Night Photo Shoot where a group of photographers from around the area converged on the museum to light up the night.
Between the end of June and the second week of July, my family and I took a (mostly) camping vacation through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont – I’ll be doing an overview blog post on the entire 2+ week trip at some point in the future. One of those stops was North Conway, New Hampshire to ride the Mount Washington Cog Railway to the summit – as well as let the kids have fun in the water park inside the hotel we were staying in for a couple nights. One of the nights we were there, I made my way up the road to the Conway Scenic Railroad, meeting up with fellow photographer Bill Willis for a little two-person night photo shoot. Bill secured permission for us to be on the property for the evening, and I brought a couple of Alien Bees along for lighting. For the next few hours, we ran around the yard and photographed as much as we could.
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.
Last night I got word that Providence & Worcester train NR-2 would be making a right hand turn at Plainfield, heading for Willimantic, instead of their usual run down to Groton and along Amtrak’s Shore Line. With the train’s change in plans, I also changed mine – originally I was set to meet up with a couple other photographers to light up NR-2’s trip south through Ledyard then move over to the Niantic River Bridge on the Shore Line. Since I really had my heart set on shooting a freight, and with the change in plan of NR-2, I opted to change my plans and not meet up with the others – who ended up sticking around NAN last night.
For the past 8 or so years I’ve been exhibiting my photos in various art galleries around eastern Connecticut – whether as a part of a photo club group exhibit, supporting a special event at the gallery or splitting the bill with another photographer. The summer and fall of 2014 will bring a change in that trend – from the end of May to the end of October, the Oliver Jensen Gallery in Essex, Connecticut will be hosting my first solo exhibit! The gallery, which occupies a room at the former Dickinson Witch Hazel bottling plant, now known as “River Valley Junction” at Essex Station, is named for one of the founders and chief visionaries of the Valley Railroad. The title of the exhibit will be A Dozen Miles in a Decade – The Valley Railroad from Old Saybrook to Haddam, 2003-2013 and will feature a selection of photos I’ve taken of the railroad, both day and night, over the past 10 years. I’m currently selecting the photos I’m thinking about hanging in the gallery, scanning film and making prints. As the date gets closer, I’ll post more details here, including information about the opening reception and when the gallery will be open for viewing. Also, there will be a tie-in with the Friends of the Valley Railroad’s 2015 calendar. More details on that will be coming soon as well…
In the meantime, be sure to mark your calendars – the opening reception will be Friday May 30, 2014 from 5-8pm, and will be open to the public. I hope some of you can make it down to Essex for the kickoff! Stay tuned for the rest!
For those of you on Facebook, click here for the event created by the Valley Railroad.
First off, I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. Hopefully everyone had a safe and joyous Christmas and holiday season. And to kick off the new year, I figured I’d pull together a recap of my 2013 photographic ramblings along the rails of the northeast – well, one favorite from each month, that is. Last year wasn’t exactly a stellar year for shooting, quantitatively speaking – only managing to get out a few times a month over the entire year, but I did get some decent stuff in those limited times trackside – including shots of CSX, Norfolk Southern, Providence & Worcester, PanAm Railways and the Valley Railroad. I went through and picked out my favorite shot from each month of the year, and I figured I’d talk a bit about each one here. So grab your favorite beverage, sit back and enjoy what you’re reading and seeing!
Just wanted to take a moment on Christmas Eve morning to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that! Whatever holiday you celebrate this season, please enjoy it with those who are closest to you – you never know what tomorrow will bring. Thank you all for reading along with me over the years, and I hope to post more in 2014 – I’m working on some different ideas featuring my work, and hope to have updates on that soon. But in the meantime, here’s a copy of this year’s Christmas Card – some folks got a print version of it, but I wanted to share an electronic version for the folks following here on the blog.
Thank you again, and I hope you have a happy and joyous holiday!
See you in 2014!