At Rails End

I’ve been shooting photos since May 2019, and in the short time that has elapsed between then and now, I’ve learned a whole lot of diverse things about photography, such as how to judge for myself what would make a good picture, how to revise my photos in post, and little practical skills such as setting a tripod or a background up and understanding a histogram. And I’m still learning. Never be ashamed to admit that you could still learn, whether you’re twenty five or eighty five. Being a lifelong learner can prove to be very beneficial when you least expect it.

Another thing that I am still struggling to figure out is my niche. There are a lot of possibilities for subjects in photography, and it can be difficult to find a few to concentrate on and begin to market.

Among one of my favorite subjects is rail photography. As a kid, you see trains and are fascinated by them, wishing that you could be up there with the engineer, flying by and seeing the world from their perspective.

One thing is for certain, you will never completely comprehend how large a diesel locomotive is until you are practically standing right next to it. This is truly one of the biggest thrills I’ve ever had opportunity to partake of. Marion, Ohio, where I have gotten my start with rail photography, is an excellent place to go if you want to see a lot of traffic. The station is like a peninsula, surrounded by track on three sides. To the west, a CSX North-South Line, Running from Toledo to Portsmouth and beyond Ohio’s border, to the east, a Norfolk Southern artery snakes down from Sandusky, after paralleling Ohio’s border with Lake Erie. The East-West CSX line coming from Indiana, and running to Cleveland and beyond Ohio slides in to finish it all off with a tip top triple interlocking of three sets of double tracks. Amidst all this, Marion Station is not a quiet place. On an average day, approximately sixty trains pass through this point on all three lines, classifying this as a major hub.*

The trouble with rail photography is that it can involve a lot of travel, depending on where you live, and there may not be a lot of financial profit from it, unless you’re Brian Solomon for Trains Magazine. The flip side is is that rail photography can be very rewarding to the casual observer who wants to see if they can get a nice picture to remember their visit.

CSX Eastbound Train 008 Passes through Marion Station, April 18, 2020, 11:27 A.M.
Vintage Conrail Caboose on a CSX siding in Crestline, Ohio, March 6, 2020, 3:37 P.M.

*Due to this current situation, Rail traffic has been down significantly. There is no saying for how long this may continue.


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