Newfoundland Railway

While on a shore excursion out of Corner Brook, Newfoundland on a New England / Atlantic Canada cruise, we passed a small museum honoring the Newfoundland Railway.  I was on a bus, and wasn’t too happy – as seeing the museum and not being able to photograph it was worse than not seeing it, not knowing it was there, and then not feeling like I missed anything.  We’ve all been there for something.

As things would have it, we had some time before the ship sailed, so…  It was off to the dock and to the cab line.  And then, a short drive to the museum in Humbermouth, NL.

My cab driver was a native Newfoundlander, and had driven by the museum many times, but had never stopped.  He walked with me as I photographed, and as we talked about life in Newfoundland, we also talked about the history we were looking at.  One thing about trains is that they an often tell a story.  The rails themselves tell you who made them and when, and sometimes, where as well.  Castings have the manufacturer’s name, and often the date.  Engines have a Builder’s Plate to tell their story.  So, in about half an hour, we both learned things we didn’t know before our brief encounter.

Unfortunately, the Museum itself was closed, so my education about the Newfoundland Railway was limited to the rolling stock on display.

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The Newfoundland Railway ceased operations in 1988 when the Trans-Canada Highway was completed across Newfoundland.

Here’s a link to the Newfoundland Railway Gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

If you’d like to learn more about the museum, check out the Railway Society of Newfoundland Facebook Page.

The Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador’s railway site can be found here:  Railway Society of Newfoundland

Also worth checking out is the Railway Coastal Museum website.  The museum itself, with excellent dioramas and displays in former Newfoundland Railway passenger cars is in St. John’s, NL.

If that’s not enough information, here’s some recommended reading: “Rails Across the Rock: A Then and Now Celebration of the Newfoundland Railway.”  Pieroway, Ken.  2013  (I don’t have it in my collection yet, but it’s been well received in the reviews I’ve read.)

We saw just enough in Newfoundland to add it to my Bucket List.  A few hours of shore time just didn’t do it justice.

Searching the Galleries

Some of you may have looked at the Galleries on Laughing Frog Images, and said “wow, that’s a lot of really super / great / awesome stuff!”, but then wondered how you might find something you want (or don’t know that you want until you find it).

Some of you simply enjoy browsing the galleries and letting your mind go somewhere else for a while.

Some of you enjoy searching the galleries for something that works for you.

And, some of you want to search for specific things.  This post is for you!

There’s something that’s been lurking up at the top right corner of the site.  But it lurks quietly.  And, you might not notice it.  So, here’s a little help to make searching the galleries for that special image a little easier.

The best way to do this is with some screen shots from the site:

First, the search function is activated by clicking on the magnifying glass icon up in the top right corner.

home screen with search 2 arrow

Clicking on the icon opens up the search field.  Type in what you’re looking for, and click on the icon once again.

home screen with search arrow

In this example, I typed in BNSF to find some train pictures.  The results page is shown below, and it tells me that there are two (2) galleries with 34 pictures in them tagged BNSF.

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The search function works off of keywords that I’ve assigned to every image (at least I hope so…!).  So, as long as our minds think alike, this is going to work just fine…

Seriously, I did try to be practical with the keywords to make things easier for everyone who might be searching the galleries.  Any feedback is welcome and appreciated!

We hope this adds to your viewing and shopping experience on Laughing Frog Images.

Polarizing Filters

I was asked about polarizing filters recently.  I usually have one with me when I travel.  By usually, I mean that it’s usually in my bag except when I really need it, but that’s another story…

Polarizing filters can do some great things – reduce or eliminate glare, enhance colors, and manage reflections.  If you want more on the how and why of a polarizing filter, click here.

So, when would you want to have a polarizing filter with you?

Here’s a list to consider:

  • Taking a bus or train or plane trip where you’ll be shooting through windows.
  • Shooting shiny or glossy objects in bright sunshine or under bright lights.
  • Heading to the beach.
  • Shooting things on or in the water.
  • Photographing colorful things like fall foliage on a cloudy/hazy day.
  • When you’re going to have to deal with reflections on a glass/clear/glossy surface.
  • When you’re shooting in stark sunlight or mid-day.

In other words, they’re not a bad thing to have in your bag.  All of the time…

One thing to remember is that any time you have a filter on your lens,  there’s a chance for internal reflections between the surface of the filter and the lens.  These reflections can be good – or they can ruin a shot.

The photo below shows a polarizing filter used to help bring out the colors on a gray day, and it shows an unintended “star” effect from the filter.  In this case, the star effect on the headlight and ditch lights arguably helps make this picture.  It wasn’t something I set out to do – but it works in this case.

I had to take a breath and a step back, because I wasn’t happy with this as a “train” picture.  For most people, it seems that this is a fall foliage picture that happens to have a train in it, and the star effect adds to the picture.  The law of Unintended Consequences reinforces the fact that we all see different things in the same picture.


For more examples of a polarizing filter used to enhance fall colors (that would look great on your wall, or on a mug), check out this gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

If you’re interested in getting a polarizing filter for your camera bag, start with your local camera store!  Without your patronage, we won’t have them – and we need small businesses like them!

Happy shooting!

Your friend the Neutral Density Filter

Ever wonder how a photographer made an image in which the water flows like smooth liquid?  And the image was made during the day?  And you’ve tried – but you can’t do the same thing!

Well, it’s time to meet your new friend the neutral density filter.

What’s a neutral density filter?  Well, in really simple terms, it eats light.  Well, not really, but what it does is cut down on the amount of light that ultimately gets to your image sensor or film.  Or, you can simply just say it eats light.  This allows you to increase your shutter speed to get that flowing effect and to increase your depth of field to get more detail in your image.  If you want all of the technical info – check out this link to Wikipedia for all the tech stuff.

In order to use a neutral density filter, your camera at least needs (1) the ability to mount a filter and (2) a “M” [manual], “A” [aperture] or “S” [shutter speed] setting so you can adjust things.  And, there are a couple of other things that you’ll need that are really, really, really, important: (3) a tripod, and (4) a remote control or a remote/cable release.  (Nobody is that steady….)  If your camera can’t take a remote control or a remote/cable release and it has a self-timer, you’re in business – use the self-timer in place of the remote control or remote/cable release.

Does a ND filter work on the Automatic (a.k.a. “idiot-proof”) setting?  Honestly, I don’t know, as I’ve never tried that – but I don’t see why it wouldn’t, at least from a process standpoint.  I’ve always sought to get the longest possible shutter speed in conjunction with the highest (smallest) aperture I can when using a neutral density filter and used “M” or “S”.  If anyone out there has the answer to this question – let us know!

If you’re curious, the Frog has the following ND filters: 0.3, 0.6, 0.9 and 1.8 in various sizes.  You can stack them to increase the effect, but image quality may be compromised.  In general, the fewer things you have on the front of your lens, the better.  I tend to limit the number of things on the front of my lens to exactly one (1).  If you’re shooting with a DSLR or an advanced hybrid and wanted to get just one – I’d go for a 0.9 at minimum.

I have a 62mm variable ND filter for when I’m traveling light with just my 18-270mm Tamron, but I have yet to use it.  Some love them, and some hate them.  I’ll let you know what I think when I finally get a chance to use mine.

The image below of the Merced River as it flows east out of the Yosemite Valley was taken at 5:45PM.  Without the neutral density filter, this would have been impossible.  However, with the 1.8 neutral density filter and an ISO of 100, it was possible to take a 10-second exposure at f29 to get the resulting image.  (Hint: it looks great as a metal print!  Or a print on Fuji Pearl paper!)  The camera was a Nikon D5100, and the lens a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8.  I had the big tripod along for the trip (the “Mother Pod”) as this is a heavy lens, and used a cable release.

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These critters aren’t necessarily cheap.  If you’re going to get a neutral density filter, get the best one you can afford.  While you may not need the most expensive one out there, if there’s a significant price difference – go to your local camera store and/or read the reviews and consider the comments.  If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.  And… if your filter has a flaw, so will your image.

This image can be found in the Laughing Frog Images’ galleries by simply clicking here.  It would look great on your wall.  Or on your water bottle.  Or on your coffee mug.  Well, it’d probably look great however you’d like to get it!


Our Silent Partner

As some of you might have wondered or figured out, there’s no way that those of us at Laughing Frog Images could make all of the products that we offer for purchase.

We’re good, but just not that good.

When Laughing Frog Images was in it’s fantasy / planning stage, several different fulfillment partners were explored.  Some offered things that others didn’t.  Pricing varied.  Terms varied.  Background services varied.  So, the search and discovery went on.  And off.  And on again for a couple of years.

When it came time to get real and launch Laughing Frog Images, Zenfolio was chosen as our Silent Partner.

Laughing Frog Images is based upon two simple premises:

  1. Photographic art should be affordable to everyone who wants it.
  2. You should be able to get the image that you want the way that you want it.

Product offerings, pricing, and background services were key factors in the decision, but ultimately quality and services to the customer were the final factors.  For example – it you want a print, but the source image isn’t capable of making that size print, the website tells you that and won’t let you order it.  I’d rather have that happen than someone ordering a print that looks like was the by-product of a six pack for lunch.

And there you have it, the story behind how a teeny, tiny, small, little enterprise can offer you so many ways to make an image yours.

Check Laughing Frog Images out if you haven’t been there in a while.  You can get something for yourself or beat the stress of holiday shopping by getting something for everyone on your list!

Western Pacific Railroad Museum

The Feather River Express laid over in Portola, CA for two nights, giving The Frog a full day to explore Portola Railroad Days and the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola.

The Western Pacific Railroad Museum is one of the more notable railroad museums in that they not only have a great collection of locomotives,  but also passenger and freight cars from the Western Pacific and connecting lines.  And – you can also rent a locomotive and be an engineer for an hour or two.  Who out there can honestly say they never wanted to run a locomotive?  Who, I ask!

The Western Pacific Railroad ran between Salt Lake City / Ogden Utah and Oakland, CA.  It was acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1983.

The Western Pacific Railroad Museum Gallery is a reminder that there was a time before graffiti, and that railroads did paint things other than black and red.  Railroads even had slogans in those days!  And, who knew that the Strategic Air Command had command centers on the rails?

Great museum. Great area.  What else can be said?

For a look at the sights and sounds of modern railroad power in 1952, as well as a look at passenger cars from that era, check out a few short video clips on Laughing Frog’s YouTube channel.

This is a view-only gallery (at least at this time).

If you like what you see, consider making a visit to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum to experience it for yourself, or at least make a donation so that others can continue to enjoy the museum and the artifacts for decades to come.





A Week in New Hampshire

Following on the Weekend in New Hampshire post, here’s an actual itinerary from an October trip in which Mrs. Frog was introduced to what a “real” fall is.  We were very fortunate and timed the fall foliage almost perfectly.  This was even more remarkable given that the airline tickets were purchased in June.

This was a very busy week, and this itinerary was actually covered a couple of years before the weekend trip.  I’m not going to go into deep details about every thing and every place, rather I’m just going to lay out what we did so that you can take it for what it is and use it as your own itinerary, or for ideas to create your own trip.  This starts in Boston, MA late in the afternoon.

We tend not to stay at the high-dollar hotels/motels/inns as we’d rather put that money towards fine dining and meals we wouldn’t normally get or eat back home.

If you think that New Hampshire is a small state and there’s not a lot to do, this itinerary proves otherwise.

Images from this trip can be found on Laughing Frog Images here and here and here

DAY 1:

Dinner: Warren’s Lobster House, Kittery, ME.  Just because it’s been there forever and a day, and I first ate there back in 1971 or 1972.  It hasn’t changed much…

Stay: Your choice.  We based ourselves in the Fairfield Inn in Portsmouth for the first three nights.   Day 2 is backtracking, but at least we weren’t packing and unpacking…

DAY 2:

Tourist Day: Salem, MA.  The drive on Route 1 and detours along the coast are a journey of their own.  Witches.  Peabody Essex Museum.  House of Seven Gables.

Lunch: Red’s Sandwich Shop, Salem.

Dinner: Go to a lobstah pound.  Markey’s Lobster Pool or Brown’s Lobster Pound in Seabrook, NH.  Which one might be dictated by which line is the shortest…

Stay: See Day 1.

DAY 3:

Photo Stop: Cape Neddick Light / Nubble Light. York, ME.

Photo Stop & Walk: The Marginal Way.  Ogunquit, ME.

Lunch: Barnacle Billy’s.  Ogunquit, ME.

Cruise: Portsmouth Harbor Cruises.  Portsmouth, NH.

Dinner: Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe.  Portsmouth, NH.  If the mustard-crusted cod is on the menu that night….!

Stay: See Day 1.

DAY 4: Hit the road!  Early!

Drive to Conway, NH and make a left on the Kancamangus Highway (Route 112).  Photo stops as you wish.  Might want to get some snacks before you make that left, because once you do, there’s nothing ’til Lincoln.

Lunch (could be a late one): Gordi’s.

Train stop: The Hobo Railroad is in Lincoln.

Take I-93 north.  Consider the following along the way:  Clark’s Trading Post, The Flume Gorge, and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway if the weather is cooperating.

Stay on I-93 North to Littleton, NH.

Stay: Thayer’s Inn.  Littleton, NH.

Dinner and a Martini: Baliwick’s Fine Restaurant.   Littleton, NH.

DAY 5:

Breakfast: Littleton Diner.

Wander ’round Littleton: Chutters (world’s longest candy counter) or Fresh Salon and Day Spa for a (couples) massage.  Littleton is a great, friendly small town, and a reminder that there is life outside the city.

Train Ride:  Just outside of Bretton Woods, NH is the Mount Washington Cog Railway.  You have to once in your life!  They still run one trip a day with a steam engine!

Dinner: Libby’s Bistro (check days and hours first!)  Gorham, NH.

Stay: Somewhere in Gorham – just don’t drive back to Littleton like we did!  It’s too long of a drive after a fantastic meal.

DAY 6:

Train Ride: The Notch Train on the Conway Scenic Railroad.  If you can make it happen, get seats in the Dome Car.

Dinner: Bernerhof Inn (it was a German restaurant at that time, but still looks interesting).  Glen, NH.

Stay: Where we stayed has changed, so you could stay at the Bernerhof.  It looks like the Golden Apple Inn is within walking distance…

DAY 7:

Free-form day.  We spent it in Crawford Notch and along Route 16 on the east side of Mount Washington.


Dinner: Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub.  Glen, NH.

DAY 8:

Breakfast: Glen Junction Family Restaurant.   Glen, NH

Next stop: We drove east to Portland, ME and checked out Portland Head Light and the surrounding parks.

Lunch: Don’t remember where we ate at back then, but now Eventide Oyster Company in Portland is a must!

Dinner: Kelly’s Roast beef on Route 1 in Saugus, MA, just north of Boston and Logan Airport.  Yes, we slept on the flight home…

We hope you find this helpful in planning your travels, now or whenever the time comes.