Saturday, April 21, 2018

Draft and Cover, Volume 1

There are a couple of holes to plug, but here's the cover that accompanies the first draft of Volume 1 - TRAINS just received from my graphic designer. I've got some reading to do!

Look up, look way up.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Portage la Page 27

When you get an email from your graphic designer with 'Ready for you' in the subject line, you click on it. Bryan is asking what I think of the layout so far? My response, "Yessir!". Other appropriate responses would have been, "Whee doggies!" or "Slap my ears with honey and roll me in a beehive!". Crushing it. Schooling it. Taking it to church.

I've wondered how many photos would fit on a page. I was thinking six. But there are plenty of pages with seven and eight. Fully captioned from original observations. Portage in portrait and landscape formats. And though neither you nor I can afford full colour on every page, ten colour pages and colour covers give us over 70 photos in colour. And they will be the most colourful, if that makes any sense. Seeing this stuff in print after forty years makes me completely nonsensical.

And very proudly happy. Happily proud. There I go again.
Thank you for that email, Bryan!
Look up, look way up,

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


542 photos in this book. Here's a small snapshot of the Portage la Prairie snapshots I just shot over to my graphic designer. Fully edited and captioned. 

Volume 1, TRAINS is getting ready for takeoff.

Look up, look way up.

Monday, March 19, 2018

You Can Tell a Cover by its Book

If you believe a cover tells you what's in the book that follows, you're right! With over 400 photos to choose from, cover photos for the above (it's only a mockup) could be a months-long pursuit.

Or just hours. What does the Trains volume contain? Trains! CN, CP, VIA and hey, it's Western Canada so grain shipping has got to be included.

Progress update: Captioning...done! Selection of 10-page colour section photos...done! Hoping to get the first volume to the graphic designer this coming weekend...maybe!

Look up, look way up!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"I'm Ready When You Are"

Very welcome words I heard this week! Touching base with Bryan my graphic designer, though he's now retired, it sounds like Bryan is ready to go. Like this seasoned snowplow, wearing fresh paint and just outshopped when I photographed CN 55251 behind the Co-op fertilizer shed in Portage in 1982. And now, winter has reportedly descended on Manitoba once again!

I'm currently captioning, thinking of creating ways to describe the action in the photos I'm poised to share with readers. I will be sending the Trains volume to Bryan first, then Grains will follow.

It's amazing to be part of a great team effort, from graphic designer to contributors to your humble book creator!

Look up, look way up,
I know I am!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What to Leave In, What to Leave Out

We're older now, but we're still running. Against the wind. My Dad photographed CP 5518-3002 setting four cars over into Portage yard on July 3, 1976. I'm definitely including the photo in Trains and Grains, but cropping was a challenge.

To hone in on the train itself, some cropping was required, to get a square 126-format B&W print down to a rectangular shape. But just look at the shadow cast by the train order signal mast on a sunny Portage morning.


Look up, look way up.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Oh Caption, My Caption!

For the last two weeks, I've been faced with one question. How do I describe this? Well, it's a train at Portage la Prairie, MB. That works for one photo, but what if there are hundreds that can be described that way? 

"What language shall I borrow?" Fortunately, I'm not just captioning from what can be seen in the photo. That is acceptable if it's all that's available. Yet I have notes, numbers and consists to rely on. I have the engine numbers, dates, times, specific subdivision location and much more. But for now, in the above photo, SD's power an eastward CN freight on the Rivers Sub, with VIA's CN-CP connecting track at left and grain moving on the Gladstone Sub at right. That's the bare bones info.

I can write 20-30 captions per hour. But I still need to go back and check each caption against the original notes and the original photo, and proofread for accuracy and completeness before it all goes to my graphic designer.

Then there's the challenge of finding various verbs, sportscaster-like, to describe essentially the same action. Led by, pulled by, powering, leading, switching, backing. You know, train verbs.

Did I mention all the above is actually quite enjoyable?

And yes, for those who are asking, this will all be available come spring (and man, I hope spring is coming!) The two-volume set awaits contributions from two members. Then everything needs to get the once-over. Or twice-over.

Look up, look way up.