Category Archives: Railroad

Who’s a Big Boy – Chapter 3

This is my final collection of images from the day I spent following the Union Pacific Big Boy a little ways across central Iowa.

The Big Boy is 133 feet long and 17 feet tall. A standard diesel locomotive is 74 feet long and 15 foot 7 inches tall. A school bus is 40 feet tall and 10 feet tall. A standard sedan is 16 feet long and 5 feet tall.

These last pictures were taken just west of Carroll, very near a town called Maple River.


Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

In “Who’s A Big Boy – Chapter 2”, I discussed my big gamble and defeat by the high bridge. Well here is a picture that Teresa got of the Big Boy with the RX0 II:


Big Boy

This concludes my Big Boy photos. Means I need to get out there and take some more train photos in the near future. Don’t care who calls me a foamer.

Who’s a Big Boy – Chapter 2

The last time I discussed the day I spent following the Union Pacific Big Boy from Cambridge to Carroll, I noted that I rolled the dice and lost big time when the Big Boy crossed the High Bridge. I decided to setup shop on the north side of the bridge. There were several hundred people there to watch the Big Boy cross the bridge. Almost all of them set up on the south side.

I decided to setup on the north side because the bridge that the Big Boy was going to cross is the north bridge. The south bridge no longer has traffic go across it. By setting up on the north side, I would have an unobstructed view of the Big Boy.

However, minutes before the Big Boy crossed the bridge, a regular old freight train stopped on the bridge. As if to purposely make sure I couldn’t see the Big Boy. Oh well. There is never a shortage of train picture opportunities in Boone.


Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

For the record, I do some day want to eat at Angry Beaver. 100% seems like my kind of place! Still at least 1 more collection of Big Boy photos on their way.

Week 225 Theme Reveal

Today I reveal the 2020 Photography 139 Calendar images for September and October.


2020 Calendar - September
September

The September image is of the Union Pacific Big Boy. It was taken a few miles east of Boone, near Jordan. It was taken on August 2, 2019. The Big Boy was on a tour to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Details

Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: f/8
Exposure: 1/400
ISO: 100


2020 Calendar - October
October

The October image was taken in the Discovery Garden at the Iowa State Fair. The subject is a monarch butterfly on top of a zinnia. The picture was taken on August 19, 2018.

Details

Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 200mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure: 1/320
ISO: 400

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If things go right, by the time you read these words I will be somewhere in Illinois or Missouri or maybe even Kentucky on my way back from Orlando, still high from a Cyclone victory of Notre Dame.

Therefore, when I get home from Orlando I will publish all the submissions for last week’s theme CANDID PORTRAIT.

However, just because I’m out cruising through the country, doesn’t mean you should be delayed on starting this week’s theme:


WEEK 225 - HDR
HDR!

HDR! What a great theme! Wait a second. What the Hades is an HDR image?

Okay, so this is the one that I was pretty sure would end the double digit submission streak. If the holidays didn’t end it already, but CANDID PORTRAIT is a pretty easy theme especially when, is there a better CANDID PORTRAIT opportunity then little kids opening presents on Christmas morning?

But none of that answers the question what is an HDR image? HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Here is a great explanation from Digital Trends:

HDR stands for “high dynamic range.” For those who aren’t so acquainted with this high-tech shutterbug lingo, dynamic range is basically just the difference between the lightest light and darkest dark you can capture in a photo. Once your subject exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, the highlights tend to wash out to white, or the darks simply become big black blobs. It’s notoriously difficult to snap a photo that captures both ends of this spectrum, but with modern shooting techniques and advanced post-processing software, photographers have devised ways to make it happen. This is basically what HDR is: a specific style of photo with an unusually high dynamic range that couldn’t otherwise be achieved in a single photograph.

The best way to think of it is several pictures taken at different exposure levels, combined to create one image.

How the hades am I going to do that? Well, it isn’t as hard as you think. Pretty much every camera (including your phone camera) has a setting that will do this for you automatically. For example on my Pixel 2:



I can turn off and on HDR. Or even enhanced HDR. Look under you camera settings, you can find it there too.

You can also try to get fancy and take individual pictures yourself and try combining them yourself. You can even use an HDR toning program to create an HDR image from just one image.

As you can see, this isn’t an intimidating theme at all. You can literally take a picture of anything, as long as you change a setting on your camera before you take the picture.

It is almost too easy!

Sky

Today we will reveal the January and February images for the 2020 Photography 139 Calendar.

The January image:


2020 Calendar - January
January

The January image was one of the earlier pictures I took with the drone. It was taken for the TRANSPORTATION theme of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. The image is of the original Kate Shelley High Bridge and the less pleasing aesthetically bridge that replaced it. This image was taken February 23, 2019.


Details

Camera: Hasselblad L1D-20C
Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: f/4.5
Exposure: 1/160
ISO: 100
Altitude: 420.3 meters above sea level

The February Image:


2020 Calendar - February
February

The February image is of a pink hollyhock that grew in my backyard. This photo was elected by popular vote to be entered in the Nature category of the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. It won first place in that category. This picture was taken August 6, 2013.


Details

Camera: Sony SLT-A35
Focal Length: 60mm
Aperture: f/9
Exposure: 1/160
ISO: 400

We will reveal the March and April images tomorrow.

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Back in March Logan got a dog. A dog named Sky. He brought it over to my house so Sky could meet Naima. Here are a few pictures of Sky:


Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

Sky

I don’t know that I have seen Sky since this day. It would seem that Logan should correct that.

Who’s a Big Boy? – Chapter 1

Before we get into the meat of this post, I’d like to remind you that tonight at the Boone First United Methodist Church from 5:15-6:30 we are having a soup supper that is a fundraiser for our 2020 Mission Trip to Indianapolis:


2019 Soup Supper Poster

Hope to see many of you there tonight! You can even stay for the Christmas Concert that follows!

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Back in early August, the world’s largest steam engine (or something like that) the Big Boy toured through Boone. It was on its way from Des Moines to Omaha. I took part of the day off and followed it from roughly Cambridge to Carroll. Here is a collection of some of the pictures:


Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Big Boy

Teresa joined me after the Big Boy stopped in Boone for the rest of the trip.

I took a gamble with where I set up for when it crossed the high bridge and I lost big. Very big. But I’ll get into those details in Chapter 2.

2009-07-24 & 2009-07-27

I decided to throw two folders into today’s walk down memory lane because one folder really only had two pictures of Brandon in it.

The other folder had a ton of pictures from a trip to Ledges and a trip to Des Moines with Sara. There has been a lot of pictures of Sara in these recent trips down memory lane. I think I’ve seen Sara exactly one time in 2019. I think I saw her twice in 2018. If things break just right, I might see her again in 2020.


Future Road Trip Master

Sore Feet

Sore Feet

Lousy with People

Lousy with People

Lousy with People

Lousy with People

Lousy with People

Lousy with People

Lousy with People

Lousy with People

Lousy with People

Sore Feet

Sore Feet

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Future Road Trip Master

Lousy with People

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Jay and more sparklers.

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

Once gain, hitting up that sweet, sweet 2018 backlog. Back in September I went to see and ride Thomas the Tank with Bethany, Nora, and Bethany’s friend Harvey and her kids.

I frequently go down to the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad when Thomas is in town, but this was my first experience riding Thomas.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day:


Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

I’m not a parent, but I think that bringing kids over to see Thomas is a pretty good deal. While riding Thomas might be something of a rip-off, there is plenty of other things to do there for free. Riding Thomas also gets you a free ride on the trolley, so that makes it a little bit less of a rip-off.

Anyways, Nora loved it!

An Artist’s Notebook Post #3,500

Welcome to the 3,500th entry in “An Artist’s Notebook”. The blog portion of my Photography 139 website. It has been along time since I first took keyboard hand sitting in the old Computer Mine setup or possibly in my Mom’s basement, because that is where my life was at that time.

In fact, the first time I posted anything on “An Artist’s Notebook” was August 9, 2006. The very first word I wrote, “So”. Maybe not the best word. Maybe not the most forceful word. It is a word that almost feels like an apology.

I clearly didn’t know where this was going to take me and I’m not sure I even know where I’m at now. So.

I would go on in the first post to state that I had a few goals for this blog.

#1. To write in it.

I think I can say safely that 3,499 posts later, I have written in it. I often wonder if I were to print out every page of “An Artist’s Notebook”, how many pages it would be. While I know that most of those pages would just be pictures at not necessarily words, I’m still pretty sure that the entire thing would run several thousands of pages. While the things I write and the nature of what I write and post has changed over time and I’m sure it will continue to change, I will say for now, I’m still on track for Goal #1.

#2. To be as truthful as possible towards my true thoughts and feelings.

On this goal I’m going to give myself an incomplete. I feel that I am truthful to my loyal readers, but I don’t know that I necessarily share my feelings a lot. For example, I don’t know how many of you know how much I despise the open-faced sandwich. It is a pox upon mankind. Kind of like anti-vaxxers. When I think about it, I suppose I don’t hold back much. However, I’ll have to double down on my efforts to let you know about my true feelings. A 5,000 word piece on the worthlessness of the open-faced sandwich is coming your way on Sunday!

#3. Producing something that makes me worthy of having a pretentious sounding journal title like: “An Artist’s Notebook”.

The question here, is this: Is the blog any darn good? It would be arrogant of me to claim that it is. I have garnered a small amount of loyal subscribers. But I’m sure a better blog would garner more. My entries do occasionally gather comments. But I’m sure a better blog would gather more comments. I guess I’ll have to keep plugging away and let the sands of time figure out if this thing is any good.

On these mile marker posts, I like to look at what things and what people have most influenced this post.

On my 750th post, these were the Top 16 post categories and I’ll assume, the only categories I had for posts back then:

1. Photography – 295
2. Friends – 269
3. Life – 238
4. Family – 98
5. Religion – 63
6. ISU Football – 41
7. Jaycees – 40
8. Movies – 39
9. Blogging 33
10. Sports – 25
11. Work – 25
12. House – 24
13. Writing – 23
14. Comedy – 20
15. Politics – 17
16. History – 12

On post 1,000, these were the 10 people that I had tagged the most in posts:

1. Jay (144)
2. Jesse (143)
3. Shannon (140)
4. Derrick (117)
5. Jen (101)
6. Teresa (96)
7. Willy (93)
8. Sara (88)
9. Baier (65)
10. Dawn (64)

By post 1,447 these were the 10 most tagged people:

10. Dad – 117
9. Carla – 118
8. Sara – 122
7. Willy – 124
6. Jen – 143
5. Teresa – 144
4. Derrick – 157
3. Shannon – 160
2. Jay – 180
1. Jesse – 195

This picture of Evie was the most popular picture on my website:



By post 2500, these were the 5 most tagged people:

1. Jesse – 283 Posts
2. Teresa – 244 Posts
3. Shannon – 231 Posts
3. Jay – 231 Posts
5. Derrick – 220 Posts

By post 3,000 these were the most popular categories:

#10 – Jay – 262 Posts
#9 – Life – 274 Posts
#8 – Teresa – 282 Posts
#7 – Shannon – 289 Posts
#6 – Animals – 301 Posts
#5 – Portrait – 313 Posts
#4 – Jesse – 328 Posts
#3 – WPC (Formerly RWPE) – WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – 432 Posts
#2 – Flowers – 436 Posts
#1 – Photography – 440 Posts

And these were the most tagged people:

#10 – Vest 204 Posts
#9 – Jen – 205 Posts
#8 – Willy – 209 Posts
#7 – Derrick – 241 Posts
#6 – Mom – 247 Posts
#5 – Carla – 261 Posts
#4 – Jay – 262 Posts
#3 – Teresa – 282 Posts
#2 – Shannon – 289 Posts
#1 – Jesse – 328 Posts

Here we are, post 3,5000. I should point out before I reveal the current most popular categories on “An Artist’s Notebook”, I should point out that while I’ve been going back and fixing old broken entries via our Saturday night trips down memory lane, I have also been re-categorizing and breaking some categories into multiple categories. That is why some categories have actually lost posts. Hopefully some of those generic categories like “Photography” and “Life” will be down to zero some day.

Here are the most popular categories:

10. Photography – 311 Posts
9. Teresa – 312 Posts
8. Carla – 314 Posts
7. Shannon -351 Posts
6. Black & White – 390 Posts
5. Weekly Photo Challenge – 394 Posts
4. Jesse – 404 Posts
3. Animals – 477 Posts
2. Portrait – 516 Posts
1. Flowers – 537 Posts

10 Most Popular Not People Categories:

10. Art – 243 Posts
9. Nature – 260 Posts
8. Personal Photo Project – 261 Posts
7. Road Trip – 288 Posts
6. Photography – 311 Posts
5. Black & White – 390 Posts
4. Weekly Photo Challenge – 390 Posts
3. Animals – 477 Posts
2. Portrait – 516 Posts
1. Flowers – 537 Posts

10 Most Tagged Humans

10. Jen – 222 Posts
9. Vest – 234 Posts
8. Willy – 238 Posts
7. Derrick – 267 Posts
6. Jay – 294 Posts
5. Mom – 300 Posts
4. Teresa – 312 Posts
3. Carla – 314 Posts
2. Shannon – 351 Posts
1. Jesse – 403 Posts

You may be wondering, what does it take to improve my Photography 139 Score? How do I get on the big board by the time Post 3750 comes around next August-ish?

1. Submit pictures for the WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.
2. Assist or pose for photo projects.
3. Be related to me.

If you are wondering who is just outside of the top ten? The 3 people just outside of the Top Ten are Kim, Sara, and Logan.

Here are the current most popular pictures in the Photography 139 Gallery, by views in the last 365 days:


Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa
10. Iowa State Cyclones Football Varsity Marching Band – 514 Views

Howard Family Photo Shoot - 2017
9. Howards 2017 – 571 Views

Ortho 2 Holiday Card Portrait
8. Michelle – Computer Mine Holiday Card – 2018 – 690 Views

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005
7. Cy beating down Herky – 746 Views

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
6. Rapid City Mission Trip – 776 Views


5. Autumn Sharp – 935 Views

January 1, 2019
4. Selfie Project – January 1, 2019 – 1251 Views

July 15, 2017
3. Selfie Project – July 15, 2017 – 1511 Views

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
2. Metropolis, Illinois – 2724 Views

January 14, 2019
1. Selfie Project – January 14, 2019 – 3215 Views

And these are the Ten Most Popular Albums in the Photography 139 Gallery by views in the last 365 Days (You can go to the album by clicking on the picture):



10. Autumn Sharp – 2020 -11,036 Views

SELF-PORTRAIT
9. Misc. Portraits – 11,198 Views

Ortho 2 Holiday Card Portrait
8. 2018 Computer Mine Holiday Card Portrait – 11,409 Views

Iowa State vs. Nebraska
7. Iowa State Cyclones Football – 2008 – 12,024 Views

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma = 2018
6. Iowa State Cyclones Football – 2018 – 12,715 Views

Naima at Dickcissel
5. Naima – 14,770 Views

Page 49 - Reject
4. Photo Journal Rejects – 14,872 Views

June 25, 2019
3. Selfie Project – 2019 – 37,416 Views

WEEK 180 - TRANSPORTATION - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
2. Weekly Photo Challenge – Year 6 – 43,174 Views

9 Emotions Project - Anders Runestad
1. 9 Emotions Project – 58,863 Views

Whew! Well, I’m spent. Thanks to everybody that subscribes to this here blog. You are a big part of whatever success that is does have!

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This is your reminder that this week’s theme for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is FRAMED:


WEEK 212 - FRAMED
FRAMED!

Reminder that a FRAMED photo is a photo where your subjected is FRAMED by objects that aren’t the subject of the photo. Like a window. Or a door. Or literally anything that creates negative space.

Happy photo harvesting!

WPC – WEEK 208 – SKY

SKY wasn’t a super popular theme, but it was still popular enough to hit double digits and keep the streak alive!

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 208 - SKY - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 208 - SKY - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen

WEEK 208 - SKY - MONICA KEWER
Monica Henning

WEEK 208 - SKY - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 208 - SKY - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 208 - SKY - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 208 - SKY - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

WEEK 208 - SKY - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 208 - SKY - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard

WEEK 208 - SKY - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 208 - SKY - CATHIE RALEY
Cathie Raley

WEEK 208 - SKY - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 209 - ARCHITECTURE
ARCHITECTURE

ARCHITECTURE! What a great theme! But what is an ARCHITECTURE photo? Basically it is a photo of a building or similar structure. That is it!

I look forward to seeing your interpretations!

This is the first week in the next 52, which means I am starting a new Smugmug gallery.

If you want to review all the images from the last 52 weeks, click on the link below:

Year 6 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE


There were 548 submissions for 52 themes! Solid work!

HOUSEKEEPING


A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.

OR

I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.

It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

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That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very achitectural Monday!

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Results

Another Pufferbilly Days has drawn to a close. Seems like a fitting time to share the pictures that my loyal fans selected for me to enter into the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest and furthermore, if any of those pictures received any form of love.

Here are my entries:


Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
Displayed – Hidden Treasures of Boone County

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
Displayed – Hidden Treasures of Boone County

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
Displayed – Photojournalism

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
1st Place – Photoshop

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
1st Place – Nature

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2019
Displayed – Nature

In the last 2 years I’ve been blessed to get 1st Place in 3 of the 4 enigmatic Pufferbilly Days categories. However, Hidden Treasures of Boone County has still eluded me. I got a 3rd Place in that category last year. I might have to make that a focal point of some of my photography in the next few months. Unless I somehow get my wish and get some kind of administrative role with the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

I do have a small group of photographers that would probably help me start my own Photo Contest, I just don’t know in what context I could start a contest and have it work.

Thanks again to everybody who voted to help select my entries!