Thursday, January 18, 2018


THIS JUST IN: TWO-VOLUME SET! I'm pleased to announce that there is simply too much material for one book. With over 700 of my photos to include, I've decided to split the one-book project into a two-volume set.

Not-so-creative working titles: Volume 1 - Trains. Volume II - Grains.

When creating my books on VIA Rail, I was committed to keeping my books affordable. That means keeping postage costs manageable, as these are factored into my books' prices. As long as these books weigh in at less than 500 grams, Canada Post handles them for half the price that they would if they were 500 grams or more.

That's all the more reason to split this project up into a two-volume set. One book for the Trains enthusiasts. One book for the Grains enthusiasts. And two books for the ten or so people that enjoy both!

Look up, look way up.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

So Cylindrical, so SD! And an Announcement

As I continue the task (some would say arduous, I would say enjoyable) of photo editing, I'm enjoying the opportunity to apply life-saving technology to bring some of these early-80's photos back to life. As I was doing so, I was struck by two things...
One - how cylindrical the grain trains were. (Except if they were boxcar trains!)
Two -  most often, led by SD's. On both CN and CP. (Except of course if led by a Geep, or C-424!)

I'm thinking that an announcement will soon be in order. An exciting announcement about this Trains and Grains project. But first, a chat with my graphic designer is in order. Lemme get back to you on that.

Look up, look way up.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Good Enough? Yes!

Heard this saying before? 'A good photographer never shows his bad pictures'. I paused, thinking of that saying as I was editing these photos for my upcoming book project. Then I thought of another saying - 'every picture tells a story'. This eastbound - a ground-pounding GMD-1 trio - tells a story. I could just sit on them, not share them, and therefore never let them see the light of day. But wait, this isn't, this is my own project. So I decided to ask a focus group on Facebook. The unscientific results follow - the answers are insightful, amusing, modest, forthright and earnest. The question was: What do you think, sit on 'em or share 'em?

Share! Sometimes these are our only records, only photographs, all we have. I cringe thinking that in a quest to present only the perfect we lose the personal story told in photos like these. - CM

It suggests a time and place, not a photo contest, I say use them. -BS

Use it! Somewhere out there is a picture of the Turbo Train in Nelson, BC that no one will ever see because the photographer thought it was overexposed . -CW

Share them no matter what anyone thinks! - MW

I personally like it when photographers share roughs amongst their diamonds. It adds character and tells a story! - JB

If I didn't share my questionable shots, I'd have very little to share! - MH

I think they're beautiful! - EH

Trains don't stop and wait for you to compose your shots. That's doubly true for photographing noteworthy consists. So, so long as the photo isn't completely terrible, I say post it. – NL

Share them. Your pictures tell a story about what you could see back in the 1970's and 1980's. - NB

Share them! - SB

Something else I always heard... never throw out your bad pictures. There will come a time where where they could be irreplaceable. -MT

When I first started photographing elevators I was using a point and shoot and was very inexperienced. Since then my equipment and skill have improved but many of those early shots can never be replaced as many of those old giants have since fallen. - MZ

I'll take a poor photo of something that doesn't exist any more, any time. - SB

Some of these photos were taken with a new-to-me simple camera - plastic viewfinder, hand-cranked, subject to blurring and no manual controls. It was 110 format - remember that one - tiny negative. And I was 14 years old while taking the first ones.

The people have spoken. Those shots that are not completely terrible will be in this book! All of 'em!

Look up, look way up.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures

Who the heck ever thought that these now, so-called 'vintage self-adhesive photo albums' circa 1976 were a good idea? Once the acetate sheet is pulled off, you're not even half-way there. You have to surgically remove the photo print from the sticky-backed, glue-lined pages. Only then can you do what you want to do with the photo.

Like scanning it.

Thankfully, not all of the seven hundred photos I scanned were stuck in these infernal albums! There were lots of photo corners. Remember them? Well, that's what we used back in the 1980's!

But what a trip down memory lane. Trains and grains. And that's what's going into this book project. Part of how I spent my Christmas vacation.  I just did a ten-year time travel.

Look up, look way up.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Number of Photos

To choose from: Trains 400+. Grain elevators 250+. Don't think I'm gonna run out. Just ran the numbers!

Look up, look way up.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Read!

A very Merry Christmas to all who are following this Trains and Grains project. I know that 2018 will be a great year, and I think you know why.

Thanks for your interest and support so far on this journey!
Look up, look way up,

Monday, December 18, 2017

Trains OR Grains?

No, it's Trains and Grains, but recently I wondered if one could exist without the other. Were potential book readers more interested in grain trains or grain elevators? Was that decision point even a thing? Apparently not.

The results of a largely unscientific Blogger widget poll on this Trains and Grains blog revealed zero percent preferred grain trains over grain elevators. However, 25% preferred grain elevators over grain trains. But here's the big news: 75% voted for 'Do I Have To Choose? Now that is not a result I would have expected.

Aren't they separate things? Well, I guess not. You can't fill a grain elevator without having a grain train going down the track to help empty it. And you can't fill a grain train without a grain elevator. It reminds me of the old adage, "A general needs an army, and an army needs a general". General interest.

This helps me muchly. It reminds me that grain trains and grain elevators are inexorably linked, and it's a linkage that's obviously a popular one. It's a linkage I will be sure to maintain and preserve!

Look up, look way up,