Every time a NYC subway train stops in the station, the conductor, located in the center of the train, points to a zebra hashed sign hanging from the ceiling. This is done to confirm that the train has stopped at the correct spot. The trains are so long that if they are not stopped in the correct spot, there's the potential that one end extends out of the station creating a dangerous situation. Although the hashed signs have been installed since WW1, the practice of pointing at the zebra boards began in September 1996. The MTA has a great article on the history of this practice on their website.
My goal for this photo was to capture both the sign and the pointing conductor in one shot up close. I found that my fisheye lens on my tiny Fuji X-T1 mirrorless camera to be the perfect set up for this photo. I don't usually like to tilt an image, but in this case, I was super close to the sign and the conductor and this tilted crop was required to fit it all in.
If you follow his pointing finger, you might not think that he's pointing at the sign. This is an optical illusion caused by the fisheye lens. There appears to be an arc between the conductor's finger and the sign, but in reality, it's a straight line.
I recently visited Kansas City for the first time in over 15 years and enjoyed walking it's downtown streets observing its numerous architectural photo opportunities. Armed with my Fujifilm X-T1 and the 16-55mm lens, I began my urban photo safari at a local coffee house, the Roasterie, featuring a vintage DC-3. I savored my very first nitro infused cold coffee at this very stunningly cool coffee shop.
If you're a coffee fan, you must try this ice cold nitro infusion. It was so smooth requiring no creamer and had the texture of a Guinness!
Here's a shot from my Instagram feed:
After coffee, I Uber'd myself into downtown. Luckily, some fast moving clouds coupled with a variable ND filter helped make this 10 second exposure:
Ghost signs provide insight to a building's historical past:
Opened in 1914, the Beaux-Arts styled Union Station is stunning! Here's a ceiling portion of the grand hall 95 feet above me with the chandelier weighing 3500 pounds.
A sweet font and window detail:
Since it was Sunday, this was closed so I had amazing BBQ instead. I love old retro signs!
Finally, a TWA rocketship. I want one.
As you can see, Kansas City offers lots of fun architectural details to appreciate. I look forward to my next visit!
The Washington State Chinese Lantern Festival ran from the end of September through the middle of November of 2015 in Spokane, Washington's Riverfront Park. The lanterns were created by a Chinese company, Tianyu Cultural Transmission Co, Ltd, of Sichuan, China. The festival was extremely colorful and beautiful to photograph!
Just west of the really skinny part of Maryland is Cumberland and the home of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (WMSR). The WMSR is a heritage railroad that begins it's trips in Cumberland and turns around in Frostburg, running about 75 minutes each way. Excursions begin at the Western Maryland Railway Station built in 1913 during the golden age of steam powered rail travel.
This past summer, I had the unique and exciting opportunity to ride in the cab of this engine where I took most of the following photos. Please forgive me in advance as I am not aware of the many technical terms associated with trains.
Here, engine 734 enters the Cumberland station pulling several passenger cars to begin it's journey. This 2-8-0 engine was built in 1916 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. Currently, this engine is undergoing it's 15 year major inspection/tear down so the WMSR will be using another engine from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum. I felt this image just had to be black and white!
The fireman (the guy who keeps the coal burning so that we have steam and thus have power to move) maintains the various moving parts of the locomotive while it's parked in the station before our trip. I saw quite a volume of steam drifting around - I knew there was the possibility of a good photo to be made.
Before getting underway, Richard shovels coal into the fire.
Crawling out of the station, we can see the engineer is seated on the right side of the cab, the firman is nearest to me feeding the fire, and the guy who stands in the tender feeding the coal forward is observing. I'm in the left seat of the cab hanging on.
With eye protection, gloves, and hearing protection in place, we're racing down the track! Although you can't feel it here, it's a very turbulent ride in the cab of the engine!
I really liked looking up at the coal smoke pouring out of the engine.
Although a cool wet day, each time the fire doors opened a wave of heat blasted us.
I don't normally do funky antique film conversions, but it seemed to work in this case.
At the end of the line, the engine turned around on the turntable in Frostburg, and moved to the other end of our train.
The crew of the train really got into their roles by authentically dressing in period wear.
Visiting the East Broad Top Railroad in Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvannia is like entering a time capsule of a fully functioning railroad of the late 1800s through the first half of the 1900s. It comes complete with a roundhouse containing several locomotives, a machine shop, a number of supporting buildings, and a number of coal cars scattered about the property. Unlike a clean manicured museum, this was a fully functioning facility that appears to have suddenly shut down and is in amazing condition for the railroad enthusiast or anyone who loves photographing technical still lifes.