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B&O Photo Tours


Steve's Picture Picks
Favorite modern photos from the tours

Accompanying each photo below are:

Click a photo to see a larger view. Please send your comments and corrections to Steve.



These photos are favorites of mine from among the tour pages. Which do you like best? Let me know.

CSX 3175

CSX 3175
Mile: CCS 1.5 Date: Jun 2021
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

An overhead view can capture the surroundings; in this case M&T Stadium balances the off-center train.


Cargo

Cargo
Mile: BLR spur 1.8 Date: Feb 2021
Ease: A View: E
Area: A- BLR:
Map: AA 2 C 11 Topographic Maps

Two railcars, two planes, a contrast not captured in many train pics.


MTA 5037

MTA 5037
Mile: BLR 10.3 Date: Nov 2020
Ease: B+ View: SW
Area: A- BLR:
Map: Ba 26 J 3 Topographic Maps

At first I thought the fence at left would ruin this photo, but instead it serves to draw the eye to a center around which there is much action.


Amtrak 2036

Amtrak 2036
Mile: PRR 106.3 Date: Jan 2019
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

Shooting through dirty windows (of BWI Station's walkway) is usually a recipe for a poor photo, but this one turned out better than expected.


Amtrak 2010

Amtrak 2010
Mile: PRR 88.0 Date: Nov 2018
Ease: B- View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: Ba 37 A 7 Topographic Maps

Nature abhors a vacuum. Our brains want to fill the emptier area on the left, which in a still photo can create the illusion something, like this train, is actually moving to fill that area.

Where catenary poles can interfere with a clear view to the trains, consider photos at track curves.


MTA 5050

MTA 5050
Mile: BLR 1.1 Date: Sep 2018
Ease: A- View: E
Area: B BLR:
Map: Ba 42 K 3 Topographic Maps

Water-reflection photos never go out of style. This one whould make my photography instructor happy: he was fond of photos that visually separate into thirds (1/3 top section, 1/3 middle, 1/3 bottom).


Misty

Misty
Mile: PRR 124.6 Date: Jun 2018
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: A- T6: 389
Map: PG 8 J 13 Topographic Maps

Seabrook Station's platforms sit well inside the catenary poles, and that facilitates less-obstructed views like this atmospheric one. Figure out how to work with whatever weather gets thrown your way, and sometimes you can also capture something viceral.


Hill

Hill
Mile: PRR 95.5 Date: Jun 2018
Ease: C View: E
Area: B- T6: 230, 325
Map: Ba 35 B 10 Topographic Maps

Few railroad photos give relevance to the vertical dimension. Here, as an Acela unit peeks out, the hill above demonstrates the reason for Union Tunnel. This shot required getting onto a building's roof, something that took multiple requests, a long walk, and $$$ in tips.


Thawing

Thawing
Mile: WB&A Date: Jan 2018
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: B- EH:
Map: AA 2 H 4 Topographic Maps

The Patapsco River no longer freezes over as often as it used to, so icy photo-ops are fewer. I like to capture the season within rail photos. Fortunately, a rare mild day that month made recording this ice a little less unpleasant.


Biker

Biker
Mile: WB&A Date: Nov 2017
Ease: A- View: SW
Area: A EH:
Map: PG 10 A 8 Topographic Maps

ON YOUR RIIiight! When this biker blew past, I realized the air blowing into his shirt would help him loom large even as he rode into the distance along the WB&A right of way. Train photos are, of course, mostly about the machines, but people in frame can help draw the viewer into the scene.


MARC 7857

MARC 7857
Mile: PRR 116.5 Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B View: NE
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 12 C 9 Topographic Maps

Can a rail photo say "football season"? Here's my best attempt: autumn colors, an off-center, leaning train that expresses action, and a signal gantry to serve as a goalpost.


Monuments

Monuments
Mile: ASL 23.5 Date: Sep 2017
Ease: B+ View: W
Area: C IC2:
Map: DC 17 C 1 Topographic Maps

As usual, looking toward a bright sky messed with the contrast and colors, but the opportunity to capture an 8-car Washington Metro train in front of the Library of Congress, Capitol, and Washington Monument was too interesting to pass up.


CSX 7691

CSX 7691
Mile: Met 32.0 Date: Apr 2017
Ease: B View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 8 A 10 Topographic Maps

I have few spring season photos that make the "my favorites" cut. That might be because around here it's a brief period between the arrival of mild temperatures and the leaf out that obscures views.


CSX 7725

CSX 7725
Mile: Met 21.6 Date: Sep 2012
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Mo 19 F 9 Topographic Maps

This is a rather ordinary photo, but it appeals to my eye. I like how the crossing flashers frame the loco. Also, it's snapped from just a few feet off the ground, a height not often available for rail photography. Sometimes a small difference like that is enough to make a photo stand out.


Carrollton Viaduct

Carrollton Viaduct
Mile: OML 1.4 Date: Oct 2010
Ease: B View: N
Area: C+ IC2: 35, 339, 386
Map: Ba 42 F 3 Topographic Maps

The sound of an engine's horn encouraged me to get in place for this shot. Though the train never arrived, foliage plus reflections created an autumnal scene.


CSX 5234

CSX 5234
Mile: Was 21.3 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: A- View: SW
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: PG 4 J 3, Ho 19 K 13 Topographic Maps

A visit to Laurel yielded this first-known photo of CSX 5234, so fresh from the factory it had not yet been painted in CSX livery. I had no idea it had been pressed into revenue service. Sometimes luck is better than skill.


PSINet Stadium

PSINet Stadium
Mile: CCS 0.5 Date: Mar 2001
Ease: B View: S
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 43 A 2 Topographic Maps

I like that the colors of the CSX engine complement those of the Ravens banner. The train is off center, but nicely balances the stadium on the right. Detail is a bit lacking since this originates from a 0.8 megapixel photo the camera saved on a floppy diskette (!). Digicams have come a long way since then.


Upstream

Upstream
Mile: OML 18.1 Date: Oct 2000
Ease: C+ View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ba 32 B 8, Ho 12 D 1 Topographic Maps

This photo had been "lost" for 20 years due to a poor print of it that deceived me into thinking it came out too dark. A fresh scan of the negative 20 years later said otherwise, and the image immediately jumped into my favorites. The stone pier had supported B&O's second alignment at Daniels, Maryland.


Savage Mill

Savage Mill
Mile: Wash 10.4, spur 1.0 Date: Sep 2000
Ease: A View: NW
Area: A IC2: 393
Map: Ho 20 B 8 Topographic Maps

The lighting is excellent, the colors dramatic, the Bollman bridge beautiful, and the occasion important: the ceremony to designate the bridge a National Historic Landmark.


CSX 736

CSX 736
Mile: OML 16.0 Date: Jan 2000
Ease: B View: NW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 G 3 Topographic Maps

The sound of a train horn prompted a half-mile brisk walk in snow in order to get into position for this shot. Auto-focus didn't like the cold weather, so I recovered for only a couple shots. The engines provide all the color.


CSX 263

CSX 263
Mile: OML 19.5 Date: Dec 1999
Ease: C View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ba 31 J 8 Topographic Maps

This Old Main westbound surprised me when it emerged from Dorsey Tunnel. But, this time the auto-focus worked and I had the chance to rattle off a series of shots.

This shot has the train so close it's starting to blur, and this was probably 400 speed film. Yes, serious photographers used slower speed film, but then they have better glass (lenses) than I do.


Scenic Bridge

Scenic Bridge
Mile: OML 19.0 Date: Dec 1999
Ease: D View: SE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ba 31 K 9, Ho 12 A 1 Topographic Maps

Serene, interesting reflections, a foreground object (trees at left) to create depth, and the smallest arched stone bridge on the Old Main. This bridge became disused around 1900 when a shorter, bypass route was built on the opposite bank of the river. I might be too late to image a steam train puffing away as it hauls good upstream here, but I can still imagine it.


Patterson Viaduct

Patterson Viaduct
Mile: OML 10.7 Date: Nov 1999
Ease: D View: NW
Area: A IC2: 115, 390
Map: Ba 40 K 7, Ho 13 A 1 Topographic Maps

More autumn colors and reflections in this shot. In 1999, I just happened to venture out on the right day and captured the Patapsco Valley foliage at its peak. I've never been able to visit again at peak color.


C&O 1604

C&O 1604
Mile: OML 0.1 Date: Jul 1999
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 1 Topographic Maps

Yes, this photo is a bit overexposed, but that helps bring out the detail on this incredibly massive steam locomotive. Bright lighting also helps the camera to achieve a sharp focus.


Mt. Clare

Mt. Clare
Mile: OML 0.0 Date: Feb 1999
Ease: A+ View: W
Area: B IC2: 338, 368
Map: Ba 42 K 1 Topographic Maps

My very first trip to snap railroad pictures resulted in this appealing shot of Mt. Clare station. It was a brisk February day and sunset was approaching.

This is an example of how important lighting is to good photos: you need either 1) bright light, 2) dramatic light, or 3) lots of luck.


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