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Old 08-11-2014, 04:36 PM   #1
Ron Flanary
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Default Summerail at CUT-2014

I realize not everyone cares about multi-media events like Summerail or Winterail, but since several regulars were there (and some were presenters), I thought some of you might enjoy this. Please add your own thoughts.

This started with an e-mail from my friend Charlie Buccola to several folks. I responded, and that note is pasted below Charlie's.

Steve Barry (R &R editor) was one of many who proclaimed this year's Summerail the best ever. The shows ranged from very good to outstanding IMHO. There was something for everyone except for the diehard steam fan -- no steam exclusive thought there were a few smoky moments. For the traditionalists, Joe McMillan (60- 80s ATSF Chicago to LA), Mike Schafer (60s -70s Chicagoland and passenger trains everywhere), Mike Raia (father Bill's Soo Line 70 - 80s) and Jeff Mast (NS ex-PRR in Pa in the current era) certainly filled that bill. For those wanting to see railroading in the dusk - dark - dawn times, Chase Gunnoe and Eric Williams had great offerings. A different take came from Bryan Bechtold (cows trackside at Denver stockyards) and Ron Flanary (Souvenirs). Taking rail photography to a new level were Sayre Kos and Bill Beecher (stunning presentations in the current era). These two had many the audience ready to sell their cameras and take up knitting. The absolute killer program in my very strong opinion was Beecher's (a CN, WC and other engineer) who blended video clips in with imaginative still images backed by an audio track that included rail sounds at key points. This program raised the ante by more than a few chips. But my few sentences do not do justice to any of the fine programs. Just wait till next year!

My response:

I've done quite a few multi-media shows over the years (over twenty five years at least), and most of them have been shown at Summerail. I presented shows at EastRail in New Jersey a couple of times, and once at Winterail in Stockton, CA in 1998. There was a time when I honestly thought I was a pretty decent photographer, and could produce an inventive and entertaining show. In fact, when I finished doing my "Souvenirs" show several months ago and sent it to Oroszi (he liked it), I had a good feeling of accomplishment. It wasn't perfect, of course, but at least I was satisfied with it.

However---Charlie's comment that many us us are now ready to sell our cameras and take up knitting is half correct. I'll be doing more writing and maybe some painting rather than knitting, but I have already pulled the batteries out of my Nikon, boxed up my camera gear and stored it in the closet as a first step. But the idea that I'm a pretty good train photographer is out the window after seeing a few of these shows, particularly (for me) the shows by Sayre Kos, Bill Beecher and Eric Williams. Beecher's show was a jaw dropper. It mixed some ultra cool video clips (in the snow at night in many cases) with even more outstanding still images.

For some time now, I've been saying the younger digital-era folks are taking this hobby to a level never known before. The only way a geezer like me can maintain any degree of respectability is to drag out some grainy 50-year old shot of an RS-3, F-unit or Alco cab and ask, ".....hey, sonny....ever see one of these??" During Eric Williams' show, for example, some of the night scenes in the winter were taken in the mountains (most of them on the former Erie main to Port Jervis I think), and Dave leaned over to whisper in my ear. " live in the mountains, so why can't you try something like this?" My answer: "It's too cold, it's dark as hell, I'm old and can't get to the places I would like to go, and even if I get there, I don't have the talent or expertise to replicate anything like that."

Seriously-----I'll be starting a new watercolor painting this week. I think it'll be a good one, and I look forward to working on it. I don't think Beecher or Williams can do railroad art on canvas or paper yet----but I'm not sure. But if they do, I'll have to start Chinese paper cutting, cooking, macramé or primitive wood carving.

Oh yes....I cannot WAIT until I see what Dave Oroszi flushes out for shows next year. I'll bring some of my macramé to display between shows.

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