Monday, May 9, 2011
Adventures in Photography: Trains in Vermont
My dad is an avid train fan. On a recent trip to Vermont, we combined his love for trains with my joy of photography. Staying near Randolph, Vt., we had the opportunity to see the Amtrak Vermonter pull into the quaint old train station. This train uses two identical engines, one at the front and one at the back. With some careful planning, we found a location where I could make images of the train as it approached us and as it past us. In each image, because of the identical engines, the train looks like it is approaching the viewer. Approximately eight hours later, the train that we photographed arrived in Washington D.C.
In a day of cars, jumbo jets, and cruise ships, trains seem to be the forgotten cousin of the travel industry. Yet, for many, they still hold a certain mystique that is irresistible. Maybe it’s the sounds of the clacking wheels or the conductor shouting “All Aboard”. It might be the blur of colors as a train whistles by or maybe it’s just the fleeting daydream of traveling on the train to an unknown destination. Whatever the attraction, trains are still fascinating people in the 21st century!
On our train inspired journey, we were able to take the Green Mountain Flyer from Bellows Falls to Chester Depot, VT. This train ride passes a beautiful waterfall, gorge, and two covered bridges on its way to the tiny village of Chester. The track runs through the mountains and hardwood forests of Vermont, making it a good option for fall foliage viewing. Chester, looks like the quintessential village from a child’s model railroad. While there, take a moment to wander around the rail yard and notice the old vine covered rail cars, the classic caboose and the historic village center.
In the town of Barnet, in the Northeast Kingdom, we saw the most fascinating collection of trains. The Passumpsic Railroad is a private collection which includes the only running steam locomotive in Vermont! Passing by it on Route 5, our first impression was that we were looking at a train junkyard. There were many old cars and one ancient, rusting locomotive parked along the side of the road. After photographing the old locomotive, we introduced ourselves to the caretaker, who invited us to see the collection’s restored locomotive and photograph the rest of the property. By taking a moment to introduce ourselves we were allowed access to the ultimate “model” railroad collection.
This month’s tip: Rather than performing the quick drive by shot, take a moment to introduce yourself to property owners. In most cases the property owners are excited that you think their home, barn, yard etc., is worthy of a photo. They will usually let you wander around to search for the best angle. Sometimes you might even find a better shot!