Chasing trains

Catskill Mountains, trains, Travel

Steam and Diesel locomotives side by side DURR

I was a virgin train chaser until this weekend. Now I am an addict.

It is not every day a steam locomotive and diesel engine share the same track in a small upstate New York hamlet.  Train chasers travel all over the country to capture a shot like this. I needed only to drive down to the bottom of my hill.

If you are not a rail fan, you most likely will not understand the adrenaline rush and pure joy that comes from chasing trains.  No, I am not talking about traveling along a stretch of highway parallel to the rails, speeding up or slowing down to stay in synch with the train. This is dangerous.

The safer form of chasing trains entails researching and choosing a train you wish to photograph, mapping out strategic stops for photography ahead of time, and following the train from its departure station to its arrival station and back.

I was a virgin train chaser until this weekend. Now I am an addict.

It all began while location-scouting for an upcoming documentary project (about trains, of course.) I got wind that the local tourist train, Delaware and Ulster Railroad, had rented a steam engine this weekend for a “Haunts of Rip Van Winkle abbreviated rail tour. The steamer would come to my town, “turn around” and head back to the station.

Twice this weekend, overlapping departure times of the usual 116 diesel pulling the silver liners  all the way to Roxbury, NY from Arkville, NY caused these two historic locomotives to pass each other like two ships in the night.

Above is the money shot, a still taken from the video footage I captured of the event.

But true passion is never satiated, and I was not going to head back up the hill to my house. I rushed out to Rt. 30 (adhering to speed limits, of course) and hurried up and waited until the steamer rounded the curve with the Round Barn as its backdrop.

Running back to where my car was parked, across the tracks and across the road, I worked off the morning’s pancakes.

My next stop was at Kelly’s corners, and I kneeled down, prayer like, camera resting on the guardrail, and snapped shot after shot of the steamer crossing the bridge over the East Branch.

By the time I got to the parking lot at my last stop, the motley crew of chasers I had inadvertently joined had grown. A friend I wasn’t expecting to see was there. We hugged. The sun was shining. The whistle floated towards our ears, the scent of coal teased at our nostrils, we all took our places. We waited.

The wait climaxed into 10 or 15 seconds of the train’s approach, sun on her nose, brakes screeching, steam filling the cloudless sky, and following her cars with my lens.

Most of my footage from today is being kept under wraps for the above mentioned project. I really can’t wait to share it with the world. The world of rail fans that is!

How to Keep the Local Music/Art Scene Alive

Ben rounds, blog, Catskill Mountains, music videos, photography

The local music movement depends on small businesses working together. Its a symbiotic relationship.   The bar in town hires the band. The band hires a promoter/photographer/blogger. Its a busy night (as a result of the crowd-pleasing band being there) so the wait staff does well on tips.  The audience is impressed, someone grabs a business card, checks out the website, and hires the band for their next event.

And so the cycle repeats.

The following is an example of how this all works: A local favorite, the Ben Rounds Band, was hired by a local venue.  A photographer (me) put together the promotion of the event, and proceeded to video the 1st set.  Next, an exciting new collaboration between the promoter (me) i.e.  (Mountain Girl Photography & Design) and Fred Cristiani, aka bass player for B.R.B. then led to the latest production by MGP&D…a band booking demo complete with a fun time-lapse.  Next, an employee of a local business hired the band for their upcoming outdoor celebration.

Above: One of the many Ben Rounds videos on YouTube

So do yourself, your favorite local band, and your community a favor: watch and share this booking demo, hire local bands, or at least support them at their gigs.  Show appreciation by tipping the band, and keep them in mind the next time you want to hire entertainment.  You will be supporting not just the local music scene, but local artists who specialize in the promotion of music, local restaurants, and everyone in between.

Keep the local music scene alive!

(Find original blog post here, for my client Ben Rounds.)

Watch the fun “My Dog LiL” video that chronicles the day of a three-legged Jack Russell Terrier!