Old Trains - Guest Photography
Topic: Guest Photography
Old Trains - Guest Photography
There's something romantic about old trains, and out here in the west we have a great collection of them, restored to perfection, as shown in photographs here and here. But our friend, the high-powered Wall Street attorney, reminds us they have great old trains back east.
The Catskill Mountain Railroad Scenic Train runs between Phoenicia and Boiceville, New York, about twelve miles. The trip takes about an hour and a half. You leave from Mount Pleasant, ride along the Esopus Creek, looking for bald eagles, great blue herons, hawks, deer and such things. On the north is Mount Tremper and on the south Mount Pleasant and Romer Mountain. At the Phoenicia stop there's the Empire State Railway Museum in the restored 1900 Railroad Depot.
This is what is left of the Catskill Mountain Branch Line of the long-gone Ulster and Delaware Railroad. Bluestone for the sidewalks of New York was quarried near here, and produce and dairy products from these parts were sent along with that to the city by rail. Traffic the other way was city folks off to the Catskills' boarding houses and hotels - 676,000 passengers in 1913. Automobiles changed that, and the New York Central ended up using the tracks for general freight. In October 1976 the Ulster and Delaware Railroad folded, and in 1979 the County of Ulster purchased the Catskill branch to make it a tourist thing. In 1983, the Catskill Mountain Railroad was chartered to operate a tourist passenger operation as well as freight service. The whole line will be back in operation one day.
Photos copyright © 2006 - M. A. Hewitt, all rights resevered
The location -
Topic: Light and Shadow
Hollywood was miserable this date - Monday, June 26, 2006 - dark all day and in the nineties, with the feel of thunderstorms nearby, but they never came - just distant rumbles now and then. The sky turned an odd sick yellow in the late morning and the air was throbbing - time to unplug a few things before the electrical storm. But that passed and the whole basin reverted to a dark and steamy calm. This is not how it's supposed to be out here at the edge of the Mojave, with the mild Pacific just down the road.
This is hard to capture in a photo or two. At LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, down on Wilshire) there's a new David Hockney exhibit - portraits this time. The man is famous for his swimming pools. From the LA City Beat review -
But if Hockney were to paint a Hollywood Hills pool on a day like this, it would look like this, outside the window here. Printed as a negative, this is how it felt here.
The prolific Hockney has by far a more widely disseminated body of work than any current L.A.-identified artist. Ed Ruscha's output, much more subtle and ironic, is a distant second in this regard. Hockney's swimming-pool paintings in sun-bleached pastels (like "A Bigger Splash" and "Pool with Two Figures") have come to define a kind of sequestered gay Southern California privilege. The later long rectangles of various local canyons received wide public display as well. Winding roads and sprawling flora in neo-Fauve colors became emblematic - for better or worse - of a chamber-of-commerce veneer that is, in reality, a precious commodity. Hockney may make sharp observations about L.A., but he's never been one to lacerate the city's most vulnerable foibles.
The sun at six in the evening, obscured by the low steamy clouds -
Note: These were shot with the medium telephoto lens - AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G - using a polarizing filter.