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Old 12-30-2012, 05:35 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Duluth, MN
Posts: 1,398
Default Top 10 of '12

I am surprised no one has started this yet! With it being that time of year to reflect on what we have shot.

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 418141
Photograph © Max Medlin

In 2003 (IIRC) the last train ran down the Barron Subdivison in Wisconsin. It was a former Soo Line and then Wisconsin Central branchline. In 2012 Superior Silica entered an agreement with the Canadian National (WC) to ship millions and millions of tons of frac sand from a plant in Poskin. This meant the CN needed to rehab a good 40 miles of track, at a cost of 43 million dollars. Brand new welded rail, fresh ballast, and 6 months later the the line was open in much better shape than it had ever seen before. Owing to all the crossings ripped out by the CN, and the public outcry, they decided to run their Santa Train up to appease the masses. Two of my long time friends were selected for the 3 day job and the train is seen here posing just before departure as the sun popped out at Barron.

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 413965
Photograph © Max Medlin

In late October fellow RPer Steven McKay was headed my way for a visit and we decided to do a private night photo shoot on the railroad I manage. We grabbed the two Missabe engines and put them in position. It was really nice having just two guys, besides all the work, because we knew what we wanted and were able to set it up without any interference. Anyone that knows me knows that I hate those stupid cliche posed photo shoot shots of a guy with a lantern in front of the engine staring blankly into space, or the guy cleaning the headlight with a Carhartt on or something that looks just out of whack. Case in point would be this photo:
Image © Shawn Christie
PhotoID: 379311
Photograph © Shawn Christie
Literally awful pose. What I was trying to accomplish with this photo was something that could pass the quick look over test of being the Missabe in the late 1980's. We tried to make it as authentic as we could, flannel and overalls, Missabe hardhat, authentic safety glasses from the era. I was going for a glazed over look conductors so often get when told bad news, and since we had both engines wanted to have one in the background, as engines side by side in Two Harbors was not an uncommon thing. There are a few things I would have done better but overall I really like how it turned out.

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 397341
Photograph © Max Medlin

This train is the widest load ever handled out of the Twin Ports and was fascinating to watch.

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 410139
Photograph © Max Medlin

With the Missabe being my favorite railroad it is definitely cool to still see maroon operating 8 years after the CN takeover.

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 408090
Photograph © Max Medlin

One of the best chases of the year, and my girlfriends first. Chased this thing all over MN with great sun, a happy crew and nice looking engine!

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 390047
Photograph © Max Medlin

This ended up being one of the only E-Rails (they go to Escanaba, MI) of the year and I have always loved the sag at Rockmont. This was the first shot I have of the sag with glass long enough to show it!

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 419033
Photograph © Max Medlin

I was lucky enough to be able to shoot the WSOR roundhouse at Janesville this year, and even more luckily the WSOR #101 was inside, which is unusual, and there was an open stall next to it allowing a nice broadside. I will keep my thoughts off of a public forum, but with WSOR having new owners I am unsure how long the E unit or chances to get shots like this will last, so I am very thankful I got the opportunity.

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 387345
Photograph © Max Medlin

Another place I was able to tour is Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops. The 10+ building complex is just massive. I really liked this view of a Superliner just suspended in the air.

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 388876
Photograph © Max Medlin

I have always said that my railroad is more short-line than tourist, what with our 28 miles of track, heavy winter freight operations, and frequent moves into CN and BNSF yards for various movements and trains. Being in management doesn't give me a whole lot of time (or drive) to shoot stuff I see everyday but I do like to showcase our line when I can. Here is a little shot spot off of I35 showing our two Missabe horses holding coal empties back as they head for the BNSF.

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 417415
Photograph © Max Medlin

Finally, essence of the Missabe.
I personally have had a problem with those trying to tell us to turn railroad photography into an "art form." It's fine for them to do so, I welcome it in fact, but what I do have a problem with is that the practitioners of the more "arty" shots, I have found, tend to look down their nose's at others who are shooting more "mundane" shots.
Railroad photography is what you make of it, but one way is not "better" than another, IMHO. Unless you have a pole right thought the nose of the engine! -SG
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