In the accolades department, one of my pictures of Heber's #618 was chosen as best color photo at WinterRail: http://www.mikemassee.com/gallery/v/trains/heber/07-02-07_Heber_Valley_Railroad_locomotive_trestle_sunrise_0045_v02.jpg.html and a Nevada Northern Image was picked as a runner up in a contest at the Center for Railroad Photography and Art, and will be shown in an exhibition at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento beginning this month. http://www.railphoto-art.org/award2009/massee.html The competition was tough and there are some terrific photos there.
In the publications department, the Railroads Illustrated May issue features a cover story which is a Photo-Essay by Steve Crise and I about railroad lanterns.
The Feburary issue of TRAINS magazine featured a photo of the newly restored Nevada Northern #93 as I documented its return to steam in late December.
A lot of great photos came out of this year's winter freights.
The Nevada Northern saw #93 in service, albeit only in the yard due to a defective new crown brass. However, the weather was excellent (read: driving snowstorms!) so many unique and excellent photos were gotten. I helped the NNRY run the freight this year. Steve brought his lantern collection, including a borrowed lantern from famous railroad photographer Donald Duke. Together we shot these lanterns around the yard during the evening in 17 degree weather, and that became the Photo Essay for R.I. I also had an opportunity to photograph the Nevada Northern Electrical Shop, which had been previously unavailable. It is an amazing space, preserved from the day the railroad shut down in the early 1980s. See all these images here:
I also took a number of photos at the NNRY in December during #98's steam trials. There were a lot of things I got to do that I normally would not have time to do during a regular photo freight, so there are some interesting pictures here and there of structures, etc, plus some real fun pictures of #93. http://www.mikemassee.com/gallery/v/trains/nevada_northern_dec_08/
The primary purpose of this visit was to produce this promotional video for the Nevada Northern: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hpxq8mzzw8&fmt=22 (uncheck the HD button if it loads too slowly for you, or pause and wait for the red bar to catch up)
I took my first trip to a Colorado Railroad in February, to the Durango and Silverton. Many thanks to Tom Schultz for alerting me to the private Charter and Dave Gross for running it so well.
and also shot some video with my Canon 5D Mk. II:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlhY0J5-ftg&fmt=22 One camera does it all!
Despite its natural beauty, Durango is a very challenging place to shoot stills in anything other than fresh snowfall due to the complexity of the scenery. But the railroad and right of way are just incredible, and the owner has a real passion for it. He plans to keep the railroad alive by building a much needed conference center in Durango, and using part of the profits to pay for the railroad, which like most steam railroads do not pay for themselves through ticket sales alone.
The last event this spring is the Pacific Coast Round Up at the Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, CA. This is a private 3' gauge railroad owned by SLO-area real estate developer Rob Rossi. They have acquired a Bob Harpur-built 4-4-0 American re-creation, originally constructed for Astroworld in Texas in the 1960s. Also in the mix is an H.K. Porter Prairie 2-6-2 and a Vulcan. The rolling stock is none other than four original Disneyland "RETLAW 1" passenger coaches, the original coaches used on the Disneyland Railroad when it first opened. One car, the Painted Desert, has been fully restored by the Hillcrest Shops in Reedley. There is also a number of colorado narrow gauge cars on site which are used for freight double headers, of which there are many pictures. The ranch, a Spanish Land Grant Ranch from the 1700s, is stunning, offering a lot of photographic opportunities. Link to all Pac Coast Railroad pics: http://www.mikemassee.com/gallery/v/trains/pacific_coast_railroad/
Video was also shot and will be forthcoming.
On the Live Steam front, I am in the middle of shooting an HD documentary about a wonderful backyard railroad in Portola Valley, the Flintridge and Portola Valley RR, run by Ron Schmidt, Peter Moseley and Bill Boller. During the first shoot session I also took some photographs, which include some hyper-real locomotive night portraits, and images of Bill Boller's 268 in "Bumblebee" colors - seeing steam for the first time. http://www.mikemassee.com/gallery/v/livesteam/flintridge_and_portola_valley_09/ Some more photos from an earlier visit are here: http://www.mikemassee.com/gallery/v/livesteam/FRPVJan08/ with yours truly at the controls of Peter's Consolidation.
More night portraits will be forthcoming this year.
The Sage Brush Short Line in Ridgecrest also had a Christmas run, New Years Day run and a Spring Meet. All of those photos can be found here:
Many thanks to the Pruitts for their incredible hospitality and generosity.
Our own live steam project is coming right along, as my father continues work on the Allen Models Chloe 0-4-2 Plantation engine, and I work on the riding tender down here. Some pictures of the chassis with completed valve gear can be seen here:
There's some interesting stuff in the works for later this year and next winter, so stay tuned.
Most recently I did another night shoot at the Mesa Grande Western, my favorite photo is here: http://www.mikemassee.com/gallery/v/livesteam/mesa_grande_western_spring_09/09-05-17_Mesa_Grande_Western_Railroad-7492.jpg.html
Until next time,