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The Railroad Tracks

18 01 2012

The inspiration for these pictures came a week ago when I went by Bi-Lo to get a Bottle of Soda before a date. When I walked in, I noticed a couple wearing tattered coats and backpacks walking toward the building. They sat down on the sidewalk as I was walking in the door. When I left they were still sitting there. They were probably in their mid twenties, she was holding two cats and he had a lanky dog curled up in his lap.

What really stood out about them though is that they didn’t try to hit me up for a change. I walked to my car and got in but I was caught up on this couple so I walked back up to them. I asked if they were hungry, they were of course, so I told them if they were okay leaving the pets tied up with the bags, I’d buy them a couple of hotย sandwichesย at NY Piza and Pasta next door.

They accepted eagerly and told me about their lives and travels. They mostly hitch hiked but they also hopped trains. They were making their way to Florida where her mother lived to try to get a job and enough spending money to go back on the road.

I decided to start my first shootabout on the tracks. I wanted a few pictures with a vintage feel since the concept of trains stirs up memories of the early railroad days. When I saw the RC Cola can, I couldn’t pass it up. I shot a few angles and a few exposures but I settled on the straight on shot and let it get a little bit dark to convey a rustic and dark mood contrasted by the white lettering.

Getting down close to the tracks for a few shots was a lot of fun. I used a 60mm macro lens and set a low f-stop so only a short stretch of the track would be in focus. I also wanted to focus on the bolts and slats on the side since they were more visually interesting the plain metal flat on top of the track.

I was down low on the tracks when I heard a train coming. It was quickly in sight and I didn’t have time to switch lenses. I would’ve liked to use a wide lens and capture a long stretch of the train but I settled on making do with what I had. I settled in 10 or 15 ft from the track, squatted down on the ground and started shooting the interesting cars on the train. I liked the above shot because you can see a couple of similar cars and even a bit ofย graffiti.

Finally on my way back to my car I was drown to the upright gates. I framed up a shot with the sky in the background and got in as tight on the sign as I could while still seeing at least one of the lights.

Overall, the location turned out to be a lot of fun. I ended up going to a few more spots that day too though so check back for new posts. You can follow the blog or just keep up with me on Twitter to see when new shoots go up. Remember to share with your friends on Facebook if you like what you see. If you go on your own shootabout, send me pictures and/or a short story so I can share it with the rest of you. Until next time, God Bless and happy shooting!

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49 responses

19 01 2012
IsobelandCat

Times are hard for so many people. I can’t imagine what it must be like to hitch your way across country with a dog and two cats. here in the UK you hardly ever see people hitching anymore. Yet it used to be commonplace.
Thanks for visiting my page.

19 01 2012
96arley

Thank you for the comment. Their story was really very interesting. I only scratch the surface here, I wish I could do more about them and the many people like them.

20 01 2012
Angeline M

Wonderful shots. I love trains. And you did a great thing in offering food to that couple.

20 01 2012
96arley

Thanks, they really stood out. If it wasn’t so dark I would’ve tried to spend an hour doing pictures with them. Something about trains makes me feel good. Kind of a constant moving forward. Life doesn’t stop, it just occasionally slows down enough for you to hop on ๐Ÿ™‚

20 01 2012
barbaraelka

it is so nice you fed the people. I love pictures with railroad theme. Nicely done.

20 01 2012
96arley

Thanks! They were actually really great to talk to. Hopefully Iโ€™ll be able to meet them again some day

20 01 2012
Bill

Everything about railroads fascinates me. I love traveling by rail. When I have the room I tinker with model railroading. I really enjoyed this entry on your blog.

20 01 2012
96arley

Thanks. I’ve always been an airplane guy but I feel like railroads kind of mirror the purpose of this blog. A little break from the popular in favor of something more elemental, down to earth, and artistic.

23 01 2012
Anita Mac

Great story and awesome shots! Love the close up of the tracks. Cool that you helped them out too – I am sure you brightened their day.

23 01 2012
96arley

Thanks Anita, sometimes little things like that can do as much for you as the other person ๐Ÿ™‚

23 01 2012
Slava

very cool collage! Love it!

23 01 2012
96arley

Thanks, honestly I hadn’t realized I could upload more than one picture, lol, that was my first post ๐Ÿ™‚

23 01 2012
Tricia Booker Photography

Wonderful story that adds even more beauty to your lovely photos!

23 01 2012
96arley

Thanks Tricia! It meant a lot to me to be able to help them out

24 01 2012
Tyran Grillo

I love how you narrate your images. I also completely understand the instinct to get up close and personal with your photographic subjects. Sometimes the most visceral details (e.g., the soda can) are the ones we take for granted.

24 01 2012
96arley

Glad you enjoyed it. I’m glad you connected with that one, it was one of my favorites

24 01 2012
Photography By Yassin.

Beautiful shots, truly inspiring.

24 01 2012
96arley

Glad you’ve enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚

25 01 2012
chrisefranklin

Great shots, well complemented by the post processing!

25 01 2012
96arley

Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed them.

25 01 2012
hardcoverphotography

Really nice work, particularly the freight. I’m about to post something similar, tracks in my hometown of Nottingham.

25 01 2012
96arley

Awesome, if you have a few shots you don’t use on your blog and would like to write a bit about yourself and the pictures I’d love to have you make a guest post, email me if you’re interested arleyseth@gmail.com

26 01 2012
vitacaptus

Love, love, love the railroad/train shots! I grew up with a Dad that and still has HO scale model trains, so I try to shoot railroad/train themed photos when I can.

Great blog!

Mike

26 01 2012
96arley

That’s great, all I had was Brio ๐Ÿ™‚ and thanks, I’m glad it’s coming together now (the blog)

26 01 2012
wittypixaday

ty for visiting my page. you are welcome to share any of my pictures or poems that is on my WordPress wall provided that you give me credit for it. happy picture-adventure-taking sir. ^_^

Sue
~Proverbs 19

26 01 2012
96arley

No Problem and Thanks, I’ll have to check it out!

26 01 2012
bwbears

you have captured the atmosphere very well, I like your photos! They all seem to tell a story.

26 01 2012
96arley

That’s a big part of this. I want more than just pictures. I want to convey a message ๐Ÿ™‚

28 01 2012
Steph

What a blessing you were, to the couple….not many would have stopped. Kinda reminds me of the good Samaritan story ๐Ÿ™‚ also, thanks for stopping by my blog.

28 01 2012
96arley

I appreciate that and it’s one of my favorite stories ๐Ÿ™‚

29 01 2012
imp images

cool shots great work

29 01 2012
96arley

Thanks, glad you like it

31 01 2012
MikeC366

Great story telling with your shots Arley. I especially like the arrangement.
Mike.

31 01 2012
96arley

Thanks Mike, I try to give people a feel for why I took the picture when I share my shots and I’m glad you picked up on that ๐Ÿ™‚

1 02 2012
marionowen

Thank you mightily for sharing your experience. I can only think how grateful they are for your kindness. Did you happen to make any portraits of them or did it not feel right or ___? Again, thank you.

1 02 2012
96arley

I do have a cell phone snap but since I haven’t talked to them about it and since I mentioned the fact that they were train hopping, I decided not to share it. They do have my card though so I hope one day I’ll hear from them and have the opportunity to share their picture as well as possibly meet them one day to take some new ones.

7 02 2012
Cris

Nice shots! I tried liking them but it wouldn’t take. So, consider yourself Liked!

And thanks for dropping by and liking my entry for this week’s photo challenge: “Ready to Collapse”.

Perhaps your visitors would like to stop by and view it at
https://fstopfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/weekly-photo-challenge-waiting-to-collapse/

Thanks and have a great day!

8 02 2012
jesterqueen1

Those are gorgeous. I especially like the train itself from so close, and I love the accompanying story. I’m so glad you got them a meal.

8 02 2012
96arley

Yeah that close up of the train was a little scary. That sucker was moving. I didn’t realize how fast it was until it went roaring by me. Had to catch my balance after being smacked in the face by the wind! haha

9 02 2012
Mitchell Buchanan

I love trains! The low-saturation feel of the graffiti-covered train cars is great. Cool story, hope to see more train photos soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks for the “likes” on my blog, by the way!

9 02 2012
96arley

You’re welcome, I might have to stop and shoot next time I see one of the old trains stopped for the evening ๐Ÿ™‚

9 02 2012
Mona

Arley, I read your narratives … of course, your shots draw me in, but your narratives keep me. As I read this one I want to duplicate your experience. I started envisioning places I could shoot, and with each one, I came up short because I’m a small, 61-year-old white woman and I feel vulnerable. My subjects have been limited to save spots and cute children. I want to venture out, but even shooting dawn shots at the local city park is not safe for a woman alone. Continue shooting and posting so I can live vicariously. ๐Ÿ™‚

10 02 2012
96arley

I’m honored and touched by your words. We live in a society so advanced yet so backwards. I would trade my camera and every picture I’ve taken to have grown up in a world where people didn’t have to be afraid of enjoying the beauty our world has to offer in every possible venue, I don’t know if I could do it knowing the culmination of such a world would be what we have today though… I’m deeply appreciative you find something special in my writing and thank you again for sharing in your comments

20 02 2012
Lissa Rabon

I love “train graffiti”. I always thought a study of it would be interesting.

20 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, I want to do a series one day. It’s one great piece of art you don’t have to be in a big city to appreciate. It’s a traveling exhibit ๐Ÿ™‚

30 05 2012
Cliche Tree « ShootAbout

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