Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Year in Review

Last year around this time, a fellow blogger posted his 10-favorite images of 2007 and challenged others in Observation Car, a discussion list of railroad art and literature, to do the same. So I did, but have since grown tired of the crabby atmosphere which permeates much of the discussion on that list. But it was a good exercise and I noticed a rather disturing thread in my selection. Seven of the 10 images were made right here in Fullerton, and I thought, "I need to get out more often." I also challenged myself to get more work published.

I'm happy to say that I successfully met those challenges. Here are 10 of my favorites from this year. Well, the first six months of the year. It seems that images 1–9 were all made prior to June 30, 2008! There's a good reason for that…the house! Construction in earnest began June 3, and I pretty much shut down the creative photography efforts for the next five months, shooting only progress images of the house construction, family events and assignments at work. But looking back, I feel pretty good about the images I made from January to the end of June.

Full Eclipse of the Moon, February 20, 2008. It had rained all day, and I had little hope of seeing the moon or its eclipse through the clouds. However, the sky began to clear just as the moon was rising, and I managed to catch the passage of Metrolink 608 approaching the platform in Fullerton right at the beginning of the eclipse's totality.

This image got published alright. As a two page spread in Locomotive 2008! It was used to lead an article on BNSF merchandise trains that run over the San Jacinto Industrial Lead to March Field. Many of those ObsCar guys would write this image off as a "crappy weather" shot, but in my opinion, the early morning low clouds hovering over the University Park area of Riverside, California give this image of the MBARJAC1-23 an edge it wouldn't have otherwise on February 23, 2008

Shot through a chain link fence in crappy weather. Enough to make heads explode on that list. This image hasn't been published, but it did win a Bronze award in the photography contest sponsored by the Center for Railway Photography and Art which was themed "A Sense of Place." I think this image certainly communicates a sense of the place which is the Alondra Blvd. crossing of the BNSF in La Mirada, Calif., on March 1, 2008.

A fan trip on the Sierra Railroad, March 9, 2008, found the California foothills green and the weather more than pleasant. The last photo runby of the day found nearly everyone lined up on a grassy hillside. Looking for something different, I headed for a nearby almond orchard where the backlit blossoms and steam went "electric" for me.

This is another image used in the article published in Locomotive 2008. The MJACBAR1-21 eases around a curve and down the 2.2% grade as it exits Sycamore Canyon in Riverside, Calif., on March 21, 2008.

Union Pacific train MWCDA (West Colton to Dallas Merchandise) rolls along side the Salton Sea on the former Southern Pacific "Sunset Route" on March 28, 2008.

Metrolink trains rest at the San Bernardino station on a Saturday morning, April 12, 2008.

Santa Fe steam locomotive, 3751 pulls a special train along the Pacific Ocean, under the historic Highway 101 overpass in Del Mar, Calif., on June 1, 2008. This turned out to be the very first image I had published in Trains magazine.

Ryan Humphrey and his son Max enjoy the passing of a BNSF freight as it rolls through Fullerton, Calif., on June 27, 2008.

My wife Amy and I relax inside our newly remodeled home on December 19, 2008. I can start thinking about doing photography again!

Halloween, Etc.

Editor's note: I wrote this post shortly after Halloween, but for some reason (which escapes me now), I didn't publish it. Hint: the "Etc." probably refers to my unfinished business, but again, for the life of me, I don't recall what that was. So four days before Christmas, here it is. I'll have a new post (or two) up soon.

It's not my favorite "holiday" to be sure, but with kids and grandkids about, ignoring Halloween completely is an unthinkable proposition. Fortunately, we were able to offload the task of handing out candy onto Emily (who was grounded due to some bad behavior last Halloween) and her friend Emily (who wasn't grounded) while John and his buddy Nick hit a few houses and called it a night. They did, however, put a fair amount of creative energy into their pumpkins, as can be seen in Amy's pictures.

Emily turned the lid into a jaunty beret.

John's barfing pumpkin reprised a holiday classic.

Of course the grandsons had a great time. I'll just steal a couple of images from Melissa's blog and put them up here. I'd have stayed home to give these kids some candy.