With the recent significant snowfalls that have blanketed the Nutmeg State in the early parts of 2015, railroads have had to run extra trains to clear their lines of snow. Normally tourist lines would not need to do this since they’re typically spring/summer/fall operations. But the Valley Railroad in Essex, Connecticut is a bit different – they run a special train on Presidents’ Day Weekend – the Eagle Flyer – and with a large base of snow on the ground, they ran their century-old plow up the line to move the white stuff to the side.
Between 2006 and 2008, I embarked on a project that long-time readers of the blog probably noticed. Among what I was regularly photographing through the year, I also made it a point to shoot the ongoing progress of Amtrak’s Thames River draw moveable span replacement project. An effort by the railroad to replace the aging span that bridged the channel in the Thames River where many ships – both civilian and military – pass every year.
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!
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.
As you can probably tell, I haven’t been able to head out and shoot much of late – for a number of reasons. So instead of letting things further stagnate here, I decided to go back in time and dig out some older photos I took before I implemented the blog (first blog post is from February 2007). And for our first edition of X years ago today I present you a brief chase of the New England Central Railroad between Palmer, Mass. and Willington, Conn – with a little bit of Providence & Worcester, CSX and Mass. Central thrown into the mix for good measure – as I photographed it on October 24, 2005.
To start off the month of June, I rode along with the Valley Railroad‘s Essex Clipper Dinner Train. But not as a passenger enjoying the on-board dinner with my wife, as we usually do every summer. Nope, instead I rode up in the head end with the engineer for the 2 1/2 hour ride from Essex to Haddam and back, enjoying the scenery along the Connecticut River valley. Well, and of course snapping a few pictures along the way.
For this blog post, how about a quick peek into some of the work I’ve been doing to prepare for my upcoming gallery exhibit in Essex, Connecticut? I figured something different might be kind of refreshing here – instead of the usual photos of what comes out of my camera, we’d take a look behind the curtains for a minute or two. I’m in the planning/printing stages currently, right on schedule for the May 30th gallery opening reception (Click Here for the Event on Facebook).
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.