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hoydie17 02-17-2015 10:56 PM

Wait a Second....
 
1 Attachment(s)
So, with all due respects to both Darryl and Mitch, trespassing simply doesn't get more blatant than this.

Last Summer there was a huge spat about folks having their photos rejected when it was "obvious" that they were trespassing on railroad property.

So, explain this one?

[photoid=519327]

To be clear, my point of view on this is that it is NOT RP.net's responsibility to determine who is or isn't trespassing. However, when I expressed that point last year on a couple other threads, I was quickly berated and informed that RP SHOULD be policing photos for such egregious behavior.

According to the EXIF, the shot was taken at 24mm, so this isn't a case of a tele-mash making it look closer than it actually is.

Noct Foamer 02-17-2015 11:10 PM

Good grief. Where I live, this just isn't a big deal unless you're on a "sensitive" property such as at an ethanol plant, quarry operation, or major rail yard. About the only time I've heard a railroad get upset out here was when a kid was out deer hunting along the tracks and shot a forky that was spooked by the train. Crew didn't like having an -06 touched off in their direction so they stopped the train, got out, and cut him a new one. On many of my flash shots I'm crossing tracks to get to the other side, but I use common sense about it. I've created ZERO problems and have had no complaints.

I'll add that I never take shots much closer than 30 ft. from the rail. Those shots just don't look that great to me. If I do take a close shot, my camera is on a tripod and fired by a CyberSync.


Kent in SD

hoydie17 02-17-2015 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noct Foamer (Post 183818)
Good grief. Where I live, this just isn't a big deal unless you're on a "sensitive" property such as at an ethanol plant, quarry operation, or major rail yard. About the only time I've heard a railroad get upset out here was when a kid was out deer hunting along the tracks and shot a forky that was spooked by the train. Crew didn't like having an -06 touched off in their direction so they stopped the train, got out, and cut him a new one. On many of my flash shots I'm crossing tracks to get to the other side, but I use common sense about it. I've created ZERO problems and have had no complaints.

I'll add that I never take shots much closer than 30 ft. from the rail. Those shots just don't look that great to me. If I do take a close shot, my camera is on a tripod and fired by a CyberSync.


Kent in SD

The key point in your comment is "where you live". Here, AMTRAK is very protective of their own property, especially the NorthEast Corridor (NEC). AMTRAK Police are well known to be heavy handed as well.

I question two things about this picture; a) the judgement that posting this image so soon after capture was a good idea and b) RP.net giving it the thumbs up when clearly the photographers are both trespassing.

Again, I respect both Darryl and Mitch's contributions to the hobby, I'm not on a vendetta. But this plays back to the inconsistently enforced "standards" for this site as well. Especially when this was a hot topic not even a year ago when other folks were posting photos where they were perceived to be trespassing and being rejected for that very reason.

miningcamper1 02-18-2015 12:24 AM

This would have been a good poll topic. ( OK / Not OK )

Mgoldman 02-18-2015 01:48 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by hoydie17 (Post 183819)
Again, I respect both Darryl and Mitch's contributions to the hobby, I'm not on a vendetta. But this plays back to the inconsistently enforced "standards" for this site as well.

Sean - I don't believe for a minute that you have a vendetta against either myself nor Darryl, nor any other railfans, yet I do question why you simply didn't simply direct your curiosity in a more respectful manner; namely a PM to either myself, Darryl, or perhaps Chris.

I'm not a fan of the shot in the same manner as you would likely not be a fan of a shot featuring an engineer rubbing his eyes after a night flash session. It's a fine line we all walk as we progress and attempt to push some boundaries and catch scenes less often captured. The Corridor, btw, is especially difficult to shoot if you hope to work around or through the catenary infrastructure.

Publishing /posting images such as ours may well lead others to follow without the precautions of an experienced photographer (AND railfan) such as you or I, Daryl or Kent. "Nothing more blatant" - I would hardly say. I constantly capture people crossing the tracks there, walking the right of way and even posing for pics on the ROW. Leaning over the ballast would hardly quality as "doesn't get more blatant then this". And such a measure is a rarity. Darryl and I have shot that location (within minutes of each others residence) in just about every way imaginable. We're regulars there. Though extremely rare, we are aware trains go both directions on the westbound track. Like you, we "notify" so as to not stress the engineer. We waved in advance, held our cameras high and leaned over the ballast - in this particular incident, not much longer then the shutter speed required to capture the scene.

In my own personal opinion, it's much less dangerous or aggravating then having multiple flashes (or even a single flash) fire off in the dark of night. I have several speed lights and a Lumindyne but after speaking with many steam tourist train operators, I'm quite hesitant to use them - much more so then leaning over the ballast a couple times per year a few feet from the station platform.

As for RP - you are well aware there are inconsistencies in the screening process - not only from time to time, but screener to screener. I assume that may be one of the issues effecting the number of images you share here.

No disrespect, Sean - your work is spectacular and commentary often right on the mark and well thought out - most often, that is.

Here's a shot from a Milwaukee Road chase in Chicago, many Moons ago that I would call "blatant"! Beyond blatant. I chased them off the tracks both physically and verbally.

http://forums.railpictures.net/attac...1&d=1424227658

/Mitch

Darryl Rule 02-18-2015 02:27 AM

Photo in question had been removed. It will stay in my personal collection. However, just for the record, I was down near the weeds lining the ditch there, well behind where the yellow line Would be on the station platform. Sorry for posting the photo and hope I caught it in time before a huge thread war starts. Have a good night everyone.

Noct Foamer 02-18-2015 02:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miningcamper1 (Post 183820)
This would have been a good poll topic. ( OK / Not OK )

Not two options--three: (1) OK (2) Not OK (3) Yawn.



Kent in SD

Noct Foamer 02-18-2015 03:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 183821)
In my own personal opinion, it's much less dangerous or aggravating then having multiple flashes (or even a single flash) fire off in the dark of night. I have several speed lights and a Lumindyne but after speaking with many steam tourist train operators, I'm quite hesitant to use them


First, some information. I've been intensively doing night/flash shots for going on ten years now (just completed season #9.) I personally know many crewmen on the trains--they have my cell phone number, I have theirs. I've flashed over 300 trains by now on at least six different railroads, in states (and a province) all over the Northern Plains. I've sat in the cabs of locos (parked) and deliberately fired x2 White Lightning X3200 monolights (~2700ws of power--a LOT!) placed about 50 ft. off the rail. It wasn't a big deal. I've talked to dozens of train crews and all have said even the big monolights do not bother them. They tell me it's not even nearly as bad as coming to a grade where a semi has their brights on. They don't even see the little Nikon SB flash go off. I've talked to BNSF trainmasters, CP trainmasters, UP trainmasters, CN trainmaster (1), and the general managers/owners of at least five shortlines. All say the same thing--they've heard no complaints, and have actually encouraged me to keep getting shots for them. After over nine years, my only conclusion is that train crews really don't have a problem at all with flash. Here's a shot I did recently where I popped x2 WL X3200 monolights (biggest monolights made?) at full power directly at the train, with snow covered ground. This was enough power to generate an exposure of f11 @ ISO 800. This was a LOT of light! It's approaching daytime brightness, even. The next day I had lunch with the conductor, and he told me even that much flash* was no problem at all.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96826069@N00/16496757856/


My conclusion is this. Flash from big monolights, doesn't bother train crews when done properly. Flash from the little 4AA type strobes doesn't bother them at all. Keep in mind that when I'm doing it, there is only ONE pop. I have a degree in medical science, and I think what's going on is that from one pop some distance away, it happens so fast (1/1000s) the pupils in the eyes don't really have time to react. Second, train crews are usually staring straight ahead and I can't think of ever having flash right next to the tracks--it's always at some angle. Third, the crews are watching the bright lit area in front of them, not staring into darkness The result is their pupils are already "stopped down" for the light. I suspect there is little difference in the brightness of their headlights and that of the little 4AA flash like Sean uses anyway.

So why do some of your tourist line guys complain? My guess is that these are mostly stationary shots and you are doing multiple pops. That would get annoying, and is why I decided against buying the Paul Buff Einstein monolights that would allow me to make three or four quick flash shots, POP-POP-POP! Again, I've done hundreds and hundreds of trains for nearly a decade; not a single complaint. I do hear complaints from train crews about foamers being too close to the tracks. The reason is they don't know if its a foamer or a suicidal wacko about to jump in front of them.

I'm not picking on you, but it's a common misconception that flash shots are somehow "bad". I counter that with actual real life experience whenever it comes up. I have ~10,000ws of flash power** and have not hesitated to use it when that much is needed.

An addendum, for historical perspective:
Most of the time I shoot f5.6 @ ISO 800. With 4x5, I shoot f8 @ ISO 800. My maximum is f11 @ ISO 800. Consider this: The Master, O.W.Link, was shooting f11 or f16 @ ISO 100! That is six stops MORE light than what I typically use, i.e. 64 times more light (if I did the math right). When Link stopped down to f16 with his ISO 100 film, he was actually shooting at full daytime light levels! Were there any complaints? None known.


Kent in SD

*One X3200 is roughly
equal to x16-20 Nikon
SB flash

**Roughly equal to
x125 Nikon SB flash
SB flash.

Mgoldman 02-18-2015 04:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noct Foamer (Post 183824)
I do hear complaints from train crews about foamers being too close to the tracks. The reason is they don't know if its a foamer or a suicidal wacko about to jump in front of them.

I am well aware of that specific fact and I try to educate others. It's not what you do, but what it could look like you are about to do in the eyes of another. That's why I always wave (one hand, not two, lol), and hold my camera up to see often with the strip dangling.

As for flash photography at night - when popping off multiple flashes (you get lazy and only bring one light), that is not often a problem as the crew is either not in the cab or they are engaged in something inside the cab, if even just a conversation.

I jumped in the band wagon - got some stuff on E-bay followed by a few speedlights but after speaking with the engineers at Strasburg, W&W and New Hope, I can say it was somewhat unanimous - "I hate those damn flashes!". They are pretty cool about it in general, after all, they cater to tourist (even the non-paying ones) and with a heads up, will often work the engine for you. But I've heard the opposite occur when no notice is given.

The nice thing about a tourist excursion line is you can actually walk up and say hello. Give them a heads up. Get permission. How do you do that with the Norfolk Southern Corporation?? Why would they even consider allowing any risk? This ain't 5 guys, or even 20, now we're talking a corporation with lawyers and shareholders.

And then, let's say you find a way. How do you find a way while you are vacationing in a new territory? How do you get access to even ask, let alone get permission to flash an engineer of a freight train?

I'm not trying to aggressively retort your statements, Kent - I'm genuinely curious. There was a quite a lively debate some time back on the site Trainorders.com. There were certainly more who seemed annoyed then favorable. Warning flash? - The thought was, "what's going on up there? What was that flash? Is there a problem". Flash light or flash light with an orange glow? A safety vest - again - they said, "What is going on up ahead? Do I need to be concerned? Should I slow down, or stop?"

I hope you are right! And I'm sure you, Gary, and Sean have made good friends and excellent contacts in your localities though such examples seem the exception in a world where just about anyone can afford a beginners set up.

Then, for me, add the dense population of the Northeast. I've heard too many stories of the police arriving to investigate mysterious flashes. "What are you doing?" See this big flash bulb? I'm gonna flash it right at the engineer of the train when he goes by! OK? Lol - maybe things are different in the prairies of SD and the mountains of WV and PA!

/Mitch

Noct Foamer 02-18-2015 04:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 183825)
And then, let's say you find a way. How do you find a way while you are vacationing in a new territory? How do you get access to even ask, let alone get permission to flash an engineer of a freight train?

I'm not trying to aggressively retort your statements, Kent - I'm genuinely curious.


The thing I love most about forums are the discussions. I learn a lot about the world as well as photography. (Actual discussions, not flame wars.) Anyway, over the years most train crews in my area already know me. The ones on the BNSF call me the "Flash Foamer" for crying out loud. A few months ago I started taking shots of the RCPE out in the western half of South Dakota for the first time. I have a radio and know where trains are waiting, and simply drive there, get out, and talk to them. This is entirely "within bounds" here. I chat and let them know what's coming up. They usually give me their emails so I can send copies (and I can later get future train line ups too. :-D ) I also had the crews I do know further east pass the word along in advance.

It's not always possible for me to catch crews, of course. MOST of the time what I do is stand in a spot where I can be clearly seen, and wear a BNSF safety vest. (Traded to a trainmaster for a framed photo.) I have my camera on a tripod. I'm almost always at least 30 ft. if not 50 ft. off the rail. Trains clearly see me in their headlights, and by the time I pop the flash they have it figured out. (Foamer!) I really have no hesitation going anywhere in the Midwest and getting some shots. I have run into a few small town cops and local deputies, but they are simply curious. One in Minnesota didn't care about the flash, but was getting "excited" by the automatic rifle on my backseat. I put it back into a case to make him happy. The funniest incident was when one deputy spotted one of my flash up in the air, winking its little LED lights on the back. I was sitting out in the snow about 200 ft. away. He got out of his car and walked up to the flash. When he reached for it, I popped the trigger! The guy jumped back. :D I shined my flashlight to show him where I was, and I filled him in when he came over. Turned out he was a fellow foamer!

I have never photo'd trains east of Chicago/St. Louis, and in fact rarely go East at all. Mostly we go west, north or international for our vacations. I do get the feeling that "back East" is much more crowded, with people aggressively defending their turf. Don't really have that here, and Gary Knapp doesn't seem to either. I rarely ask permission to be somewhere to photo trains, unless it's a "sensitive" spot such as ethanol refinery, large grain complex, etc. I've never been turned down. My state only has about 800,000 people and it's all small towns with two small cities. It's been easy for me to get to know the owners of railroads, trainmasters, general managers, road masters, etc. I simply go to their offices and chat. The fact I know so many of their peers makes it much easier. In small towns, the usual way people get to know each other is to say something like, "Howdy, I'm Lars Olafson from Watertown SD." The usual response will be something like, "Oh, Watertown eh? Do you know Ole Siguerson? He's my wife's cousin." And so on. Almost always you'll come up with someone you mutually know, and once that's done you've just become a "local." Not sure if things are so much different Northern Plains vs. Back East, might be more of a rural vs. urban deal. You might be amazed at the places I've been given permission to photo from, just by asking in the right way.


Kent in SD

SFO777 02-18-2015 05:05 AM

The folks in the cab don't always think "foamer" when they see folks feet from the track...
http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_12970005

mark woody 02-18-2015 09:28 AM

As a train driver I have experienced a fatal suicide and an accidental vehicle collision, the suicide will always remain in my mind and directly made me more aware of people near the tracks, causing me added stress, I used to run from the country to the city on both quick passenger and slow freight, the suburbs and city areas are the worst, seems people just love to hang out under bridges, near tunnels etc day or night and you just never knew when someone was going to jump.
For me near the tracks wins the loser race every time.
Sorry guys nothing personal intended.

bigbassloyd 02-18-2015 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 183825)
maybe things are different in the prairies of SD and the mountains of WV and PA!

/Mitch

There's no other way to say it then meanly, based on my travels through every state minus the Islands, and Alaska. There's a steep reduction in assholes, and common-senseless idiots in the rural areas. :)

Mass hysteria and idiocy rules the higher population areas. I awaken every morning thankful that I do not have to deal with it in daily life.


Loyd L.

RobJor 02-18-2015 03:22 PM

When I was 13 or so I would ride my bike to the golf course to caddy, the last mile was a narrow road. Cars would make a big sweep to keep away from me. I wondered what is the big deal, there is plenty of room? When I started driving and went down that same road, yikes, is that kid going to swerve in front of me, fall off, hit the shoulder.

I often think of the train crews like that, esp the fast trains. They have all this stuff to look out for and then there is a guy with a camera. I can't see that photo anymore so
not making any judgement but the faster the trains, the closer to the tracks, the less the margin of error.

Bob

Decapod401 02-18-2015 04:55 PM

Beside the crew apprehension issue, it's just not a good idea to be anywhere close to a moving train. Many years ago, a friend of mine photographed a long mainline freight at a remote, walk-in location. After the locos passed, he worked his way down to the tracks to walk alongside the train back to his car. A metal band securing a load on a flat car had broken, and was bouncing along next to the car. It caught my friend on the back and knocked him on his face. Fortunately, he only had some scrapes and bruises, but it could have been a lot worse.

Ever since hearing that story, I avoid being near the tracks when a train is passing. It's low probability, but the remote chance of a derailment, a broken strapping band, a shifted load, or errant brake rigging is enough to make me respect that a picture is not worth that high a price.

jdirelan87 02-18-2015 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noct Foamer (Post 183826)
The thing I love most about forums are the discussions. I learn a lot about the world as well as photography. (Actual discussions, not flame wars.) Anyway, over the years most train crews in my area already know me. The ones on the BNSF call me the "Flash Foamer" for crying out loud. A few months ago I started taking shots of the RCPE out in the western half of South Dakota for the first time. I have a radio and know where trains are waiting, and simply drive there, get out, and talk to them. This is entirely "within bounds" here. I chat and let them know what's coming up. They usually give me their emails so I can send copies (and I can later get future train line ups too. :-D ) I also had the crews I do know further east pass the word along in advance.

It's not always possible for me to catch crews, of course. MOST of the time what I do is stand in a spot where I can be clearly seen, and wear a BNSF safety vest. (Traded to a trainmaster for a framed photo.) I have my camera on a tripod. I'm almost always at least 30 ft. if not 50 ft. off the rail. Trains clearly see me in their headlights, and by the time I pop the flash they have it figured out. (Foamer!) I really have no hesitation going anywhere in the Midwest and getting some shots. I have run into a few small town cops and local deputies, but they are simply curious. One in Minnesota didn't care about the flash, but was getting "excited" by the automatic rifle on my backseat. I put it back into a case to make him happy. The funniest incident was when one deputy spotted one of my flash up in the air, winking its little LED lights on the back. I was sitting out in the snow about 200 ft. away. He got out of his car and walked up to the flash. When he reached for it, I popped the trigger! The guy jumped back. :D I shined my flashlight to show him where I was, and I filled him in when he came over. Turned out he was a fellow foamer!

I have never photo'd trains east of Chicago/St. Louis, and in fact rarely go East at all. Mostly we go west, north or international for our vacations. I do get the feeling that "back East" is much more crowded, with people aggressively defending their turf. Don't really have that here, and Gary Knapp doesn't seem to either. I rarely ask permission to be somewhere to photo trains, unless it's a "sensitive" spot such as ethanol refinery, large grain complex, etc. I've never been turned down. My state only has about 800,000 people and it's all small towns with two small cities. It's been easy for me to get to know the owners of railroads, trainmasters, general managers, road masters, etc. I simply go to their offices and chat. The fact I know so many of their peers makes it much easier. In small towns, the usual way people get to know each other is to say something like, "Howdy, I'm Lars Olafson from Watertown SD." The usual response will be something like, "Oh, Watertown eh? Do you know Ole Siguerson? He's my wife's cousin." And so on. Almost always you'll come up with someone you mutually know, and once that's done you've just become a "local." Not sure if things are so much different Northern Plains vs. Back East, might be more of a rural vs. urban deal. You might be amazed at the places I've been given permission to photo from, just by asking in the right way.


Kent in SD

Me: Quickly skims this extremely TL;DR post, sees the keywords "BNSF safety vest" and "assault rifle." Sighs, then opens up desk draw, pulls out shot glass and bottle.

Mgoldman 02-18-2015 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdirelan87 (Post 183833)
Me: Quickly skims this extremely TL;DR post, sees the keywords "BNSF safety vest" and "assault rifle." Sighs, then opens up desk draw, pulls out shot glass and bottle.

John - you skimmed too fast.

The BNSF safety vest was given to Kent by a BNSF employee. I've often thought that wearing a vest "might" be a good idea, the assumption being that you would be more visible and appear more professional (who wears a safety vest before a suicide or during an act of vandalism?). On the other hand, as I mentioned above, you may actually appear more distracting to the crew pondering who you are and what's going on up ahead.

As for the rifle, Kent stated it was an "automatic", not an "assault" rifle. I'm not a hunter, but I suspect there are quite a few in SD.

I've met Kent and a bunch of us (including Samuel Phillips and Travis Dewitz) spent a night photographing the elevated line in and around Chicago - a nicer and more sane gentleman, you'd be hard pressed to find!

/Mitch

JimThias 02-18-2015 09:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noct Foamer (Post 183824)
I do hear complaints from train crews about foamers being too close to the tracks. The reason is they don't know if its a foamer or a suicidal wacko about to jump in front of them.

That's why foamers need to wear safety vests!!

:lol:

JimThias 02-18-2015 09:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 183836)
I've met Kent and a bunch of us (including Samuel Phillips and Travis Dewitz) spent a night photographing the elevated line in and around Chicago - a nicer and more sane gentleman, you'd be hard pressed to find!

/Mitch

I've chatted with Kent several times as well. Who are you fooling, he's CRAZY! :lol:

:D

CSX1702 02-18-2015 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias (Post 183837)
That's why foamers need to wear safety vests!!

:lol:

http://images.sodahead.com/polls/002..._2_xlarge.jpeg

JimThias 02-18-2015 10:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CSX1702 (Post 183839)

Admit it, you're a member of this facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1428393120728620/

:-P

CSX1702 02-18-2015 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias (Post 183841)
Admit it, you're a member of this facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1428393120728620/

:-P

How insulting, Jim.

JimThias 02-18-2015 10:14 PM

http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/s...aughing002.gif

JRMDC 02-18-2015 10:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias (Post 183841)
Admit it, you're a member of this facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1428393120728620/

:-P


What is the joke or issue or controversy? Why does that FB page even exist? What am I missing?

miningcamper1 02-18-2015 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias (Post 183837)
That's why foamers need to wear safety vests!!

:lol:

Goes against my long-time strategy for shooting photos: Be inconspicuous.

Especially if I was someplace without specific permission.

Noct Foamer 02-18-2015 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias (Post 183837)
That's why foamers need to wear safety vests!!

Safety vests. I mostly wear them at night for several reasons. First, my winter clothing is all black, which soaks up more heat from the sun during the day, and at night gives me the option to fade into the shadows if sketchy looking characters show up. Sometimes I'm set up along a road, and wearing all black at night is just dumb! Now for another point. All railroaders are wearing safety vests--it's required. I rode with Tim Smith, operations manager for the Dakota & Iowa Railroad (DAIR) one night, and he told me he was glad I was wearing a vest. He said for one thing, it impressed him & other employees that I take safety seriously, something foamers aren't always known for. Other local trainmasters have told me something similar as well--they equate safety vests with people who want to act safe. I have had a few railroaders tell me I'd might be a bit better off wearing a yellow one instead of an orange one on some rail lines. Their reasoning was that FRA guys and railroad superintendents always wear orange, so someone wearing yellow would be seen as less threatening. I sometimes wear a vest in the daytime, especially if alongside a highway. I have heard of railfans getting hit by cars. :( I'll mention one other factor I've discovered too. When wearing a safety vest, it's sort of like "camo". You blend in more, and to someone watching you tend to look more like you belong where you are, rather than "suspicious." No one can accuse you of "sneaking around" if you're wearing reflective clothing. :smile: When I was only wearing the all black clothing I was sometimes greeted with some suspicion, especially out in the middle of the night. By simply adding the vest all of that has pretty much disappeared.

As for the rifle, many of the remote places I like to haunt at night are full of deer. No, deer aren't going to attack me, but I know full well that where there are deer, there are mountain lions. There have been some "incidents" out here involving those. A few years ago a switchman for BNSF quickly climbed up on top of a grain hopper, and watched a big cat circle him below. :shock:


Kent in SD

jdirelan87 02-18-2015 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 183836)
John - you skimmed too fast.

The BNSF safety vest was given to Kent by a BNSF employee. I've often thought that wearing a vest "might" be a good idea, the assumption being that you would be more visible and appear more professional (who wears a safety vest before a suicide or during an act of vandalism?). On the other hand, as I mentioned above, you may actually appear more distracting to the crew pondering who you are and what's going on up ahead.

As for the rifle, Kent stated it was an "automatic", not an "assault" rifle. I'm not a hunter, but I suspect there are quite a few in SD.

I've met Kent and a bunch of us (including Samuel Phillips and Travis Dewitz) spent a night photographing the elevated line in and around Chicago - a nicer and more sane gentleman, you'd be hard pressed to find!

/Mitch

I'm pretty firmly on the fringe of the social aspect of railfanning now adays, so maybe I've just forgotten just how goofy this hobby can be. But, I was totally blown away when I heard people (presumable alot of people if its happening enough that I've heard about it) are wearing safety vest while railfanning. I consider myself to be a pretty civil person who rarely draws a line in the sand when discussing a topic. But this is one such time: there is no reason to wear a safety vest while railfanning and by doing so you look like a complete moron.

Railroad employees are required to wear safety vest because the nature of their work requires them to be in situations and positions where the potential exist they could be injured from railroad equipment. Unless you are tresspassing or acting like an idiot, you as a railfan should never be in such a situation.

As for the "assault" rifle vs "automatic," point taken, shame on me. I actually really do not like the use of term assault rifle as most times you see it now adays its being used for shock value. But that being said and as a total moot point for this discussion, I seriously doubt the practicality of an automatic weapon for hunting purposes.

I've never met Ken, but I certainly respect the opinion of you and Jim (the other poster who said they've met, I think). So I guess I'm guilty of judging a book by its long, boarding off topic TLDR forums post 8)

CSX1702 02-18-2015 10:24 PM

I am not, have not, nor will I ever be a *cringe*.......foamer.



;)

Freericks 02-18-2015 10:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd (Post 183829)
There's no other way to say it then meanly, based on my travels through every state minus the Islands, and Alaska. There's a steep reduction in assholes, and common-senseless idiots in the rural areas. :)

Mass hysteria and idiocy rules the higher population areas. I awaken every morning thankful that I do not have to deal with it in daily life.


Loyd L.


Hmmmm.....

Noct Foamer 02-18-2015 11:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdirelan87 (Post 183847)
(1) But this is one such time: there is no reason to wear a safety vest while railfanning and by doing so you look like a complete moron.

(2) I seriously doubt the practicality of an automatic weapon for hunting purposes.

(3) I've never met Ken, but I certainly respect the opinion of you and Jim (the other poster who said they've met, I think). So I guess I'm guilty of judging a book by its long, boarding off topic TLDR forums post 8)


1. Keep in mind I do most of my railfanning in the middle of the night, often on deserted back roads where if there is someone driving, they aren't expecting someone to be standing around. I've had at least two close calls. Even in daytime railfans have been hit by cars and killed. I'd rather look like a "moron" than road kill. I do have a family.

2. They are a lot of fun to throw the select fire forward and take out a running coyote. :-) I use a .30-06 for antelope, elk, and everything else (including ducks.)

3. Just as an aside, some of what I write might be a bit tongue in cheek. My strategy for life has been: wake up, have fun at what you do, help people where you can, go to bed, repeat. So far, it's working. :smile:


Kent in SD

JimThias 02-19-2015 12:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 183844)
What is the joke or issue or controversy? Why does that FB page even exist? What am I missing?

Well, quite a few people on fb have been mocking that page, and although I don't have a problem with it, I do find it funny and like to pile on by joking about it. :twisted:

That being said, I think John summed it up perfectly. And this may be why so many people are mocking it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdirelan87 (Post 183847)
I'm pretty firmly on the fringe of the social aspect of railfanning now adays, so maybe I've just forgotten just how goofy this hobby can be. But, I was totally blown away when I heard people (presumable alot of people if its happening enough that I've heard about it) are wearing safety vest while railfanning. I consider myself to be a pretty civil person who rarely draws a line in the sand when discussing a topic. But this is one such time: there is no reason to wear a safety vest while railfanning and by doing so you look like a complete moron.

Railroad employees are required to wear safety vest because the nature of their work requires them to be in situations and positions where the potential exist they could be injured from railroad equipment. Unless you are tresspassing or acting like an idiot, you as a railfan should never be in such a situation.


JimThias 02-19-2015 12:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noct Foamer (Post 183851)
Even in daytime railfans have been hit by cars and killed. I'd rather look like a "moron" than road kill. I do have a family.


SD in Kent

In that case, every pedestrian walking near a roadway should be wearing a safety vest. Railfans aren't more vulnerable to being hit any more than the average pedestrian.

:-)

Noct Foamer 02-19-2015 01:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias (Post 183853)
In that case, every pedestrian walking near a roadway should be wearing a safety vest. Railfans aren't more vulnerable to being hit any more than the average pedestrian.

:-)

Well.........at times they might be. I'm a veteran of a number of UP 3985 chases across Missouri and Kansas. :shock::rolleyes::shock:


Kent in SD

Ween 02-19-2015 02:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdirelan87 (Post 183847)
...there is no reason to wear a safety vest while railfanning and by doing so you look like a complete moron.

I will throw out one exception that has made me seriously consider wearing a safety vest...and it has absolutely nothing to do with safety. Whenever I am railfanning and visible to road traffic while on a military base (even though you need a military ID to be there and have gone through at least 1 check point), I get the Security Forces called on me almost every single time because I appear suspicious to all those people driving by wanting to prevent the next 9/11. Nearly every...single...time. To say it's annoying is an understatement.

I figure if I'm wearing a safety vest, I would look more official, that I'm supposed to be there. As such, people would not call the cops on me. And so much for the Air Force's Eagle Eyes program!

Freericks 02-19-2015 02:19 AM

Further to Chris' post - when you are in a really bad neighborhood there is something to be said about a safety vest and a hard hat and a scanner (which looks like a walkie to anyone walking by you).

That being said, I've maybe done that two or three times, but I think it can be helpful. The downsides are everything others mentioned and my own personal desire to not interfere with the rails in any way. Wearing a vest can really catch their attention and make them think you are some sort of official watching them.

KevinM 02-19-2015 02:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noct Foamer (Post 183846)
As for the rifle, many of the remote places I like to haunt at night are full of deer. No, deer aren't going to attack me, but I know full well that where there are deer, there are mountain lions. There have been some "incidents" out here involving those. A few years ago a switchman for BNSF quickly climbed up on top of a grain hopper, and watched a big cat circle him below. :shock:

I could definitely understand carrying some sort of firearm way out there in the boonies, not so much because of people, but because of the critter threat. Most critters, including cougars, won't bother you most of the time, but if one does decide you look tasty, it's nice to have an insurance policy. I don't own any guns, but when I am out in the wilderness, I do typically bring my big Mafrotto Monopod. It probably won't help me fend off a bear, but it might make the difference with a cougar. Cats are pretty intelligent animals. They know that any serious injury will eventually kill them, so they're not looking to mess with anything they figure is going to give them a hassle. From what I've read, almost everyone who has ever been attacked by a cougar, and has fought back, has survived.

As for people, I don't think I have ever felt threatened enough while photographing trains to need any sort of firearm. It has always baffled me why so many guys are packing on charters. I was at Nevada Northern a couple of weeks ago, which is about as laid-back as it gets, and there was one guy with a big-ass automatic handgun on his hip. Not sure what he was afraid of. Perhaps "Dirtball", the engine house cat growled at him. :-P

WRT your weapon, you referred to it as an "automatic rifle". To me, that term means a fully automatic weapon, chambered for a rifle cartridge....basically, a machine gun. There must be some Federal hoops you have to jump to own one of those. I know it can be done, but I suspect it's not easy.

Noct Foamer 02-19-2015 03:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevinM (Post 183862)

WRT your weapon, you referred to it as an "automatic rifle". To me, that term means a fully automatic weapon, chambered for a rifle cartridge....basically, a machine gun. There must be some Federal hoops you have to jump to own one of those. I know it can be done, but I suspect it's not easy.

Easy in many western states, including South Dakota. No criminal record, pay the $500 federal fee, and your're good. Easy, but a bit expensive. Suppressors (aka "silencers") are the same way. I considered one for my .30-06, thinking I could get a second shot at antelope if they didn't hear the first one. However, they only reduce the blast, not eliminate it from rifles. There's also the mini sonic boom created by the bullet. I decided against spending the $1,500 on one and bought another lens instead.

And here's the irony. In the Western states I chase trains in the gun laws are fairly lenient, but I very rarely feel threatened by other people enough to want one. There are places I'd like to take photos (such as eastern parts of Kansas City) where I do not feel safe, but my thinking is if a place is dangerous enough to actually need a gun, I'll simply avoid it in the first place. I just want to chase trains, not get into a shoot out. If you are in bear country, it would be wise to carry bear spray. The stuff actually works very well.


Kent in SD

jdirelan87 02-19-2015 03:43 AM

I am willing to concede the "hiding in plain sight" expiation has at least some theoretical merit, but thats were in ends, in theory. If you are wearing railroad safety gear to either throw off authorities and/or potentially unsavory local characters, plain and simple, you are incorrectly utilizing the equipment. Obviously, the reason safety gear is the color it is is to draw attention to a potentially dangerous situation on the railroad. And draw attention is exactly what railfans are doing dressing like this, expect there is no railroad danger, just a hobbyist essentially crying wolf. Like has been said, what you are doing is at best distracting and at worse confusing train crews by dressing up like a railroader.

Yes, getting questioned by the cops is annoying, but if you are in right, you have nothing to fear. As for railfanning in seedy areas, I've done it plenty of times in places like Chicago and LA. Same thing; yes, you might get a rough looking person ask what you are doing, but 99.9% of time that interaction will end after a few awkward exchanges. And not to mention, if your concern is about personal safety in the worst parts of town, railroad employes and equipment get ripped off just as easily as the next person in the really rough neighborhoods, so maybe the best course of action is to just steer clear.

For my parting shot: lets just cut through the rhetoric: I think its safe to assume the real reason railfans are wearing safety gear is not because for its risk mitigation qualities, its because railfans what to show off their railroad swag to other railfans. This is just an offshoot of those guys who wear hats with lots of railroad pins in it; its an expression of ones love for the hobby. Case in point; Kent made a point to share with us he got his official BNSF vest from a trainmaster (sorry to single you out Kent, I really liked your light hearted reply to my boarderline trolling post). In these cases, safety gear is being worn as a fashion statement.

Freericks 02-19-2015 04:08 AM

While I mostly agree with John, I will say my experience has been that the vest and walkie have caused unsavory folk to steer clear of me. Simple fact. Now, then again, I've done it, like I said, maybe three times in forty years, so I'm not exactly making a practice of it - and the last time I used it I was on a road (and frankly had simply not yet taken it off after having had it on for legitimate reasons). Had a drunk (or worse) stare me down and then keep walking.

CSX1702 02-19-2015 04:58 AM

Wanna wear a vest? Become a railroader. That's my plan.


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