Tag Archives: photography

Photos from the FREMO Zuidbroek 2010 Meeting

I just returned from a quick trip to Europe where I attended the 20th anniversary meeting of FREMO Netherlands. It was the largest meeting that I’ve ever attended and featured hundreds of modules and over a kilometer of track. The H0 Europa layout reached from Scandinavia all the way to the Alpine nations of Switzerland and Austria.

There were plenty of opportunities to operate trains – everything from little commuter rail buses in Norway to international express trains on the double-track mainline running from Denmark to Switzerland to mixed freight trains on a private branch line.

Check out some of the sights that I caught along the way:

H0-Europe Layout

H0 Europa Layout (click to enlarge)

FREMO USA, americaN, 0e/0m, 1:32 scale layouts

FREMO USA, americaN, 0e/0m, 1:32 scale layouts

Steam engines in Thorshaug, Norway

Steam engines in Thorshaug, Norway

Shunting in Steinhorst, Denmark

Shunting in Steinhorst, Denmark

Rail bus waiting for service in Grimstad, Norway

Rail bus waiting for service in Grimstad, Norway

The last VT25 from Arendal arrives in Grimstad at dusk

The last VT25 from Arendal arrives in Grimstad at dusk

My favorite scene complete with express train at Vatnamot mountain in Norway

My favorite scene complete with express train at Vatnamot mountain in Norway

Goods train on its way from Hullebua to Krasnes, Norway ...

Freight train on its way from Hullebua to Krasnes, Norway ...

... passing a farm in Stussustuen ...

... passing a farm in Stussustuen ...

... gaining speed in Korsnes ...

... gaining speed in Korsnes ...

... waiting for a green light near Sandnes, Norway

... waiting for a green light near Sandnes, Norway

V65 ready for duty in the petroleum plant Rheinshagen, Germany

V65 ready for duty in the petroleum plant Rheinshagen, Germany

German workhorses waiting for permission to enter Rothenburg on the double-track mainline

German workhorses waiting for permission to enter Rothenburg on the double-track mainline

Prototypical control panel in the Michelstadt, Germany fiddle yard

Prototypical control panel in the Michelstadt, Germany fiddle yard

Local commuter train snaking down to Burg am Stausee, Germany

Local commuter train snaking down to Burg am Stausee, Germany

Austrian narrow gauge train in Niederoberzissen

Austrian narrow gauge train in Niederoberzissen

The legendary Swiss "crocodile" peeking out of the shed in Weinfelden-Wildegg

The legendary Swiss "crocodile" peeking out of the shed in Weinfelden-Wildegg

Swiss Rhb 213 picking up transport wagons in Bietingen

Swiss Rhb 213 picking up transport wagons in Bietingen

Unit coal train and international express train meet in Czech Stará Paka

Unit coal train and international express train meet in Czech Stará Paka

Micro brewery with its own siding on the FREMO USA layout

Micro brewery with its own siding on the FREMO USA layout

View more pictures on Thomas Woditsch’s page

Photos from the Steamtown National Historic Site

A few weeks ago, my wife and I spent a weekend in the Scranton, Pennsylvania area. This was an opportune moment to pay a visit to the Steamtown National Historic Site. There was not enough time to go on the steam ride to Moscow, PA but plenty to take look around the museum.

Here are a few highlights from our visit:

Baldwin Locomotive Works #8

Baldwin Locomotive Works #8 (click to enlarge)

Lehigh and New England Railroad, Caboose #583 (brake rigging)

Lehigh and New England Railroad, Caboose #583 (brake rigging)

Delaware & Hudson Boxcar 18119 (brakehose & coupler)

Delaware & Hudson Boxcar 18119 (brakehose & coupler)

Louisville and Nashville Railroad, Post Office Car #1100

Louisville and Nashville Railroad, Post Office Car #1100

Lackawanna 664 EMD F3 & Reading 903 EMD FP7

Lackawanna 664 EMD F3 & Reading 903 EMD FP7

United Pacific 4012 Big Boy

United Pacific 4012 Big Boy

DL&W 82209 coal hopper

DL&W 82209 coal hopper

Turnout - notice the missing guard rails

Turnout - notice the missing guard rails

View more photos on flickr.

2010 Glottertal FREMO:87 Meet

I just returned from a very nice visit to Germany, where I stopped by the 2010 Glottertal FREMO:87 meet. Even though I didn’t run a single train during the operating sessions, it was great to be back, talk shop and catch up with friends and fellow modelers from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The modular Proto:87 community seems to be growing quite nicely in Europe and I hope that we US modelers can soon start our own Proto modular system.

ETA 515 makes a quick stop in Seeburg

An ETA 515 makes a quick stop in Seeburg (click to enlarge)

The layout was compact but offered a few interesting features including a short narrow gauge set-up that crossed the standard gauge line on a few dual gauge modules. A completely separate test layout with two fiddle yards allowed for running unfinished projects, locos and cars from other eras/continents including my just completed Penn Central X58.

My Penn Central X58 361825 on a test drive

My Penn Central X58 361825 on a test drive

The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw was in wide use and seemed to help speed up coupling and uncoupling – otherwise quite tedious tasks, which tend to slow down switching and lead to time-crunches during operating sessions.

The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw speeds up switching

The new coupling tool from Dutch Werps Modelbouw speeds up switching

I left the meet inspired to pick up the pace on my modeling projects including a few converted Proto:87 engines. My goal is to help prepare enough era 4 German rolling stock to allow for an operating session with more modern material by 2012.

Below are a few more scenes along the right of way taken with my new DSLR. Enjoy!

Taking a breather on the front porch - a popular scene on the FREMO:87 layout

Taking a breather on the front porch – a popular scene on the FREMO:87 layout

VT 95 in the colorful fiddle yard Rambach

VT 95 in the colorful fiddle yard Rambach

Missed photo op at a level crossing

Missed photo op at a level crossing

A local freight train on the way to Gutach

A local freight train on the way to Gutach

Getting milled lumber ready for pick-up in Gutach

Getting milled lumber ready for pick-up in Gutach

The local freight train arrives in Heiligenthal

The local freight train arrives in Heiligenthal

93 1099 with an afternoon freight train on the way from Fornsbach to Iserlohn

93 1099 with an afternoon freight train on the way from Fornsbach to Iserlohn

A VT 95 and ETA 515 meet in Heiligenthal

A VT 95 and ETA 515 meet in Heiligenthal

VT 798 blast from the past

My dad sent me two pictures from his archives with his Christmas package. Both depict a late era 4 “Schienenbus” railcar photographed in 1993, shortly before the VT 798 was decommissioned between Seckach and Miltenberg (formerly KBS 566, now KBS 784).

VT 798 in Buchen, Germany

VT 798 railcar in Buchen, Germany. (click to enlarge)

Fast forward to 2010. The manual signals and the turnout in the foreground have been removed and no station personnel works at this post anymore. But hey, at least the trains are still running…

VT 798 railcar near Buchen, Germany

VT 798 railcar near Buchen, Germany.

On this one the railcar is a little blurry, but I like the motion it adds to the shot. This could be anywhere on one of the FREMO:87 modules. Notice how the grass is shorter near the road.

The scene pretty much looks the same today except for the overhead lines, which have been removed a few years ago.

My new macro photo studio

I have been thinking about getting a little macro photo studio to better document my modeling activities for a while now. My first attempt was pretty low tech involving two IKEA night-stand lights, two sheets of copier paper and an Apple MacBook. The set-up yielded some decent results, but the background isn’t as white as I would like, and there are too many shadows under the car. The light emitted by the two IKEA lights is probably not enough to make this a viable approach.

The MacBook photo studio.

The MacBook photo studio.

PIKO Tds shot using the MacBook studio.

PIKO Tds* shot using the MacBook studio.

Next, I was looking on the web for a tutorial on building a light tent. The Strobist blog provides a nice step-by-step approach to building a DIY $10 macro photo studio. I bought some white tissue paper at the local pharmacy and got a box in order to try it for myself. As I was cutting out the sides of the cardboard box, it became clear that the box’s skeleton was not very sturdy and probably wouldn’t last long. Besides, there was still the problem with proper lighting and storage since the box couldn’t be folded up.

Finally, I decided to invest a little bit of money in a photo studio tent with lights that I found on amazon.com. The package arrived yesterday, and a friend and I set it up and gave it a test drive. Setting up the tent was a breeze, and we were up and running within five minutes.

A few first shots revealed that the bulbs rated at 2,800 lumens are not quite strong enough to fully light the tent through the lining. This was somewhat discouraging. I may have to get brighter bulbs down the road or use a flash directed at the ceiling for additional indirect lighting. To get around this issue, my wife suggested we remove the front screen, aiming one lamp diagonally in from the front and the other one from the opposite side through the lining. This approach yielded very nice results – the background is bright with subtle shadows behind the car.

PIKO Tds in the new photo tent.

PIKO Tds in the new photo tent.

When we were done, we faced another challenge: correctly folding up the big tent to fit back into the tiny carrying case. There were no instructions and no manual, so we went looking for the solution online. We were pleasantly surprised to find a short instructional video on YouTube that explained how to open and fold a photo tent.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the purchase, and I am looking forward to working more with my new macro photo studio. Now I just need a better camera.

Do you have any tips you want to share about your model railroad macro photography set-up? I am looking forward to your comments.

*The progress on my PIKO Tds project will be covered in a forthcoming article.