PH&D in black & white published!

Yes, I know, the Frog and the blog have been quiet lately.  Two reasons.  First, the day job that helps keep this going has been very, very hectic of late.

Second, “The Port Huron and Detroit Railroad in Black and White, 1984” is now available on CreateSpace via Laughing Frog Images and also through the Port Huron & Detroit Railroad Historical Society at their events!

2015-08-24_7-02-52 proof full cover

For every book purchased through Laughing Frog Images or the Frog’s CreateSpace e-store, a $5.00 donation will be made to the PH&DRRHS.  The donation also applies to the PH&D and Connections in Color when purchased through those channels.

The black and white book concludes the two-book series on the PH&D if for no other reason that I’ve now shared and published everything I have that’s worthy of sharing.

The PH&DRRHS’s HoboFest starts on September 11, so I’d been working to meet that delivery deadline most every spare minute I had the last few weeks.

And then, when I’d finally finished the book and placed the initial print order, along with the feelings of pride, accomplishment and completion, there was a sense of “end.”

I don’t really know how to describe it.  I still don’t understand it.  Almost like hearing Porky Pig saying “Th-the-th-th-that’s all folks…”

That aside, it really was quite an experience to revisit the past and the PH&D in black and white.  I never shot that much black and white.  I was never that enamored with it, even though I am a great admirer of the works of O. Winston Link, Jim Shaughnessy, J. Parker Lamb and others.  Maybe it’s because they shot “then” while I was shooting “now.”  In 2015, “now” is “then”, and maybe that’s part of why this book hit me in a way I hadn’t imagined.  There’s just something about seeing the PH&D in black and white that’s very different than seeing it in color.  I can’t explain that either.  I don’t know if this makes any sense, but I “see” things in my black and white work that I didn’t “see” in my color work.

I hope that the readers feel the same way.




Stickers your way!

And now, for something new and different!

Laughing Frog Images is pleased to announce the availability of four different styles of stickers from the Mpix Pro Lab!

2015-08-02_15-28-40 stickers 600

You can be selfish and keep them all to yourself, or if you know someone worthy, they make great gifts since they come in a silver tin box.

One caution with these products:  These stickers come from the Mpix Pro Lab.  There is no color or exposure adjustment made in the production process.  In these modern times, we look at web pages and galleries such as Laughing Frog Images on a multitude of devices – monitors, laptop screens, smartphones and tablets.  Unfortunately, there isn’t any consistency between screen resolution, brightness, or color accuracy between these devices.

While we can control how an image looks when we upload it into the galleries, and we can predict how it will look on the products we offer, we can’t control how it looks to you nor can we control how the final product might look versus what you expected it to look like.

As we can’t offer refunds on these products since they’re made just for you, our advice would be to look at these on a calibrated computer monitor if at all possible before you place your order.  If you can’t make that happen, choose a well-exposed image that has detail you can discern in the shadows.  That’s the best advice we can give you on selecting an image for your stickers.

If you’re now able to sleep at night because you’ve found THE stickers that you’ve been waiting for, stickers are located in the “Specialty” products group on the products page.

Amtrak Gallery updated!

You might has well have figured that this was coming given the recent videos and NJT gallery update!

There were some firsts in my brief time on the platform waiting for my train.  Besides the NJT ALP-45DP, I saw and photographed my first Amtrak ACS-64 locomotives.

There was probably two  “lasts” that day as well – my final video and still images of Amtrak’s AEM-7 locomotives.  As the ACS-64s arrive, the AEM-7s are being put out to pasture.

WP_20150721_17_53_35_Raw__highres LFI 420 wm

In the above photo, we see Amtrak’s Siemens ACS-64 pulling a northbound into the station as a Bombardier ALP-45a pushes a NJT train south.  If those names don’t sound familiar to you, or sound”foreign”, there’s a reason.  These locomotives are based on European locomotive designs, as there isn’t a sufficient market (or cohesive transportation policy) here in the States for the domestic manufacturers to create and maintain an off-the shelf domestic locomotive design.

Fittingly, at least to me, was that my southbound Northeast Regional Train was pulled by AEM-7 917.  As she drifted into the station, there was still enough sun left to capture her in pixels, and that image is in the Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor Gallery on Laughing Frog Images.  In all likelihood, that was my last ride behind an AEM-7.  Despite being over 30 years old, she was earning her keep that day, and I clocked her over the century mark (100 m.p.h.) more than once on my journey.

Amtrak donated AEM-7 to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, so they won’t go the way of Alco’s C-628 and numerous steam and electric locomotives that either live on in recycled metals or are forever gone.

Amtrak is betting that the Siemens ACS-64 will be around for a while, unlike the HHP-8 locomotives from Bombardier / Alstom that were 15 years old and are being replaced along with the AEM-7s.  The Amtrak HHP-8s never quite lived up to their expectations or potential.  Time will tell…

For the curious, all of the new images started as a .dng file from my Icon smartphone.

Thanks for looking!  And think about what a cool coffee cup this picture would make for you or the railroad enthusiast that you know…  If this one doesn’t catch your fancy, there’s more in the Frog’s galleries!

NJT gallery updated

As you might have noticed, there’s some new “stuff” from New Jersey popping up on Laughing Frog Images.  I’m still processing and sorting out the vacation photos, and this little run of NJT and Amtrak is what you might look at as “low hanging fruit.”  The day job has been really busy of late, so I’m making do with what I’ve got to work with.

2015_07_21_18_46_07_Raw__highres LFI 420 wm

I managed to catch NJT ALP-46A electric locomotives (4600 series numbers) and ALP-45DP dual mode diesel and electric locomotives (4500 series numbers) in some sweet late day sunlight, which has given me the chance to add to the NJT Gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

I haven’t been a good student of the NJT fleet, and when I saw the first 4500 roll by – I noticed that it only had one cab.  Of course, that happened while a cloud was stealing my sun, so that shot didn’t make it to the gallery.  I was starting to watch the clock, as the time for my train was drawing near.  And I saw an ALP-46A.  And then another one.  And then – you guessed it, another one.  And the clock kept ticking…  The last train before mine was headed up by a 4500, and that image did make the gallery.

When I had some time to research the 4500s, below is what I found on the Bombardier website (the link follows as well if you want to look at some of the technical information that’s posted).

Dual power for all lines

New Jersey and Montréal: Two metropolitan regions, similar challenges. Only a few electrified tracks for passenger transport are integrated in a well-utilised freight transportation network with diesel traction: a heterogeneous infrastructure that often forces passengers to change trains.

To overcome such system limits and to markedly increase travelling comfort, both NJT and the Canadian Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT) utilise Bombardier’sALP-45DP. This modular locomotive combines the technology used in the bogies, the locomotive body and the propulsion of the ALP-46A. However, two further diesel engines are also integrated. Because the DP locomotive is used in push-pull operation with double-deck coaches, it also has a pantograph and driver’s cab.

So, while it was a brief wait at EWR for my train, it was an interesting one, as I managed to catch a new locomotive that quite frankly, I wasn’t even aware of!

Thanks for looking!  Enjoy this brief look at how many folks in Jersey travel every work day.  It has to be better than I-10 in Los Angeles County….


Pacific Sun Railroad

The Pacific Sun Railroad is a WATCO shortline that was established to take over local freight traffic from the BNSF on their former ATSF Escondido Subdivision and Miramar Branch.  Seems like it’s the stuff that the BNSF didn’t want to be bothered with.

As near as I can figure, the pictures in the Pacific Sun Railroad Gallery on Laughing Frog Images represent half of the railroad’s locomotives.

From what I’ve been able to find on the web, these are said to be former Western Pacific GP40s that have been upgraded to -3 standards. These workhorses are somewhere between 43 and 49 years old.  They’re working for at least their third owner – the Western Pacific was merged into the Union Pacific over 30 years ago.  It’s almost hard to believe that the 40-series Geeps have been around that long!  That means I’m…. never mind.

They’ve reportedly got two other units – said to be former Seaboard Air Line GP35s working for at least their fifth owner.  I’ve only seen these units in the yard at Stuart Mesa.

I’ve seen the GP40s working at night several times, and most often parked behind a fence at a transloading facility along Miramar Road.  This was the first time I’ve seen them in daylight and not behind the fence, so naturally that called for their portrait!  It was late in the day in nice light – the deep blues were starting to set into the sky.

Once again, these were taken with my Microsoft/Nokia Icon.  This is a .jpg image made from the original .dng file.

WP_20150528_17_12_34_Raw__highres LFI 420 wm

Here are two sites to check out if you want to learn a little more about the Pacific Sun Railroad:

Now, to get the GP35s…!

Thanks for looking.

45 Seconds at EWR Station

One of the nice things about waiting to see a train at the NJT / Amtrak Newark International Airport Station is that you’re generally going to see trains, especially if you’re waiting during rush hour.

Occasionally, you’ll see multiple trains at once – I’ve been able to capture three trains at once in a still image.  Not a great still image mind you, or else I’d be posting and talking about that, but I’ve done it.  There are times where it’s a busy 45 seconds at Newark.  And there are times it all comes together.

So there I was with my trusty Icon, and a southbound Amtrak Acela was coming through.  So, I set up for it and started the video before the train entered the viewfinder.  There’s a neat thing that happens in advance of a fast moving train on continuous welded rail – the rails start to “sing” before the train gets there.  As I set up at a bit of an angle to the tracks, if you turn the volume up – you can hear this before you see the train.  It’s pretty neat.  I’m sure that there’s a technical explanation and term for this phenomenon, but I’m going to go with singing…


And the Acela slides on through the station.  Then, I hear another train behind me – I have no idea what it is or what track it’s on, and I can’t turn around without really screwing up this hand-held video.  So, I try to stay still and just keep the video rolling.  I let it roll until the northbound Amtrak is out of view.  Until 45 seconds at Newark are memorialized.

An Amtrak local comes into view, cab car first.  Ok, that works!  And then, in the golden light of late afternoon, I hear the “psst”s (yeah, I know that’s not a word, but I don’t know how else to try to phonetically describe the sound) of the locomotive – and I still can’t turn around to see it.  And then, an AEM-7 in push mode glides by me.

And I’m happy, because I finally got a great video clip of an AEM-7 in sweet light!  You see, the AEM-7’s are being replaced after 30+ years, and I don’t get an opportunity to see them very often, let alone get a video in sweet light.  For all I know, this is the last time I’ll get an AEM-7 on video.  So, it was a good day.

One day, I might even find that miracle tripod that you can take with you on a whirlwind transcontinental business trip.

In the meantime, enjoy, hand-held and all!