Friday, July 30, 2010

The Lilies of the Field

Lilacs frame a brace of five MLW's: 4720-4724-4236-4500-4212 as they depart CP's yard in Smiths Falls, Ontario on May 20, 1991.
Foreground. Subject. Background. These are three components of any photograph. Foreshorten the foreground, or block out the background, and the subject is accentuated. Railways are geography and trains operate through a landscape. The landscape is overwhelmingly natural, occasionally urban. 5798-6014 and an eastbound freight with the same lilacs on May 9, 1998:

By submerging oneself in the foreground vegetation, it's like being in a submarine diving to periscope depth. At periscope depth, a ship on the surface is still visible, even if an occasional waves cross the field of vision. It's the same with trains. Once in a while, placing the camera "down in the weeds" yields a different view of the train, with the lilies of the field in the foreground given prominence equal to the subject. On July 24, 1999 CN 5293-9416-5352 lug all of train 301's 130 cars uphill at Mi 183 Kingston Sub:
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?" From the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6 NLV - the inspiration for this post.
Queen Anne's lace, lilacs, goldenrod, milkweed, thistles, chicory, clover and sumac provide interesting foregound fodder. 2010 is a banner year for Queen Anne's lace in our area. Train 366 leaves Belleville behind 5403-GCFX 6062 and 6061 (above)Fall foliage. 9505-2115 with train 307 approaching Mi 180 Kingston Sub at 1400 hours October 5, 1997:
The engine crew may be wondering what that guy's doing in the weeds. Train 308 to Dartmouth with power 5348-9649 heads through Queens East interlocking on August 1, 1998:
Wild prairie grasses. GMD-1's 1067-1012 assemble their train in CN's Portage la Prairie, Manitoba yard on September 18, 1985:
Field crops and orchards. Train 301 heads for Toronto, passing a field of soybeans west of Trenton on August 24, 2000:
Poison ivy, burrs, surprised wildlife, groundhog holes and uncertain footing lurk in the undergrowth, but ah, as the results burst into bloom... VIA engine 907 at Queens East on June 2, 2002:
It can be the same old location, same train, but the angle gives a whole new perspective on what's passing by, adding visual interest, unique framing and a new plane of focus. CN crane 50472 with pile driver heads down the Cataraqui Spur on August 28, 1996:
Parting the grass and flowers like a ship sailing across a vast sea, guided onward by a succession of telegraph pole "lighthouses". Train 307 behind 5369-5133-7305 at the Bath Spur wye on August 17, 1997:
Running extra...

Noted American railroad photographer Wallace Abbey injected life and activity into many of his photos. Often shooting the train from head on, the subject is given prominence, a sense of motion and depth. By manipulating three different elements as foreground, subject and background in many of his photos, each photo is like three pictures in one. Check out some of his famous shots here.

The Flowers of the Forest is played as the official solo pipe lament of the Canadian Forces, written to commemorate the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513.

Hungry for some railway-theme eating? Try The Junction on the main street in Stirling, Ontario - a former CN point. Framed railway prints inside the restaurant, a patio sign showing a diamond-stacked One-Spot, and UP 3985 on the menu cover, make it a fine place to enjoy a cool beverage and a chicken club sandwich with sweet potato fries.


Zartok-35 said...

Nice pictures. Flowers look good with trains.

Eric said...

Couldn't agree more, Elijah. Something a little different for Trackside Treasure...where technology meets nature. Thanks for stopping by,