Tips, advice and ‘how I got the shot’ info on photographing steam locomotives and contemporary railroad operations.
In October, I was able to revisit the East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia, PA. Pete Lerro of Lerro Productions organized a photo charter with EBT’s 2-8-2 no. 16 and a variety of antique cars and reenactors.
I’ll be giving a presentation on the surviving steam locomotives in the US on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. for the Haverhill Historical Society at Alumni Hall in Haverhill, NH. Free and everyone welcome. We’ll look at a variety of engines operating from coast to coast.
I’ve got a 2024 wildlife wall calendar available. They’re 9×12″ with 13 photos – the cover and 12 months. They’re $25. I can mail them to you for $3 an order if you’d like or catch me around town, I should have some with me. You can order them at www.IansPhotos.com.
The East Broad Top Railroad was a 3′ gauge coal hauler than ran from Broad Top Mountain to the Pennsylvania Railroad in Mount Union, PA. Built in 1873, the EBT ran until 1956. Since 1956, it has run, off and on, as a tourist railroad. In 2020 a new group of railroaders formed the EBT Foundation and brought the EBT back to life once again.
Pete always tries to come up with a creative shot after dark. This time he went all in, attempting to recreate O. Winston Link‘s Hotshot Eastbound. Link captured the original photo on August 2, 1956 in Iaeger, West Virginia. The photo required 42 #2 flashbulbs and one #0 flash bulb and was captured using a Graphic View camera that use 4×5” sheet film. The image of the airplane was added in the darkroom. Link’s image:
Inspiration for this last shot came from Harold M. Lambert Jr.’s shot of a soldier kissing his girl goodbye at the New Hope, PA station during WWII. Lambert’s shot:
The new management at EBT has made amazing progress restoring the railroad and buildings. They’re rapidly working to relay the track south of Orbisonia and restoring the other steam locomotives. They run steam excursions regularly. Certainly worth a visit. Get the details on their site: East Broad Top Railroad.
Long before I started photographing wildlife, I started tracking down our working steam locomotives. Since the 1970s, I’ve traveled throughout the US, Canada and even to Inner Mongolia to photograph locomotives under steam.
This last week, I took a trip to Cumberland, Maryland, to visit the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to photograph restored Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 no. 1309. Pete Lerro, of Lerro Productions, organized the charter. Pete always does a great job on the charters and the Western Maryland Scenic is a great place to visit.
The star of the show is no. 1309, the largest operating steam locomotive east of the Mississippi. She was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in November 1949 and was the last steam locomotive for domestic use produced by Baldwin. She was designed to haul the railroad’s coal trains through Kentucky and West Virginia. She worked for the C&O until retired in 1956. No. 1309 and sister no. 1308 were preserved as static displays. The Western Maryland Scenic acquired her and gave her a complete overhaul. She moved under her own power – for the first time in 64 years – on December 31, 2020. These days, she regularly hauls the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad’s excursion trains out of Cumberland.
I have a PowerPoint slideshow of steam locomotives across the US. I’ll be giving the show at the Howe Library in Hanover, NH on Wednesday March 8, at 6:30 p.m. The show is free and everyone is welcome. I’ll have an exhibit of railroad images hanging upstairs at the Howe Library in March and another exhibit of railroad images at the New Hampshire Art Association’s Gallery in Portsmouth, NH in March.