Pirate Museum

st-augustine-8050One of our favorite places visited on our trip to St Augustine was the Pirate Museum. It is a neat mix of history and pirate lore which appeals to kids and adults alike.  My featured image above is a silver skull decorated with pirate related items.  The museum includes lots of items like this – treasure items related to piracy on the high seas.

I think the thing that impressed me most about the museum was the explanation of how many of the most historically famous pirates were originally either part of or sponsored by the navies of the major colonial powers.  You would think that we would learn from our own history how dangerous it is to train people in the use of military power and then think that you can just turn them off when you don’t need them anymore.  Does the term military contractors sound familiar?

In any case, the museum is a really interesting and fun place to visit.  Be sure to make the stop if you are in St Augustine!

Pirate & Treasure Museum – St Augustine, FL
Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
38mm @ f8 –  1/10 sec – ISO 2500

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Flowers will grow anywhere

You too can bloom where you are planted

Flowers aren’t picky about where they grow.  They add color and beauty to any spot as long as there is some sun and some water they’re happy.

I liked the contrast here between the little yellow flowers growing wild and the heavy industrial components of the wheels and suspension of this rail car.  Soft and hard, decay and growth, side by side.  The world is full of these contrasts.  Some people find this hard to deal with and others find it interesting and beautiful.  I fall into the second group.

Hoping that you all can appreciate the variety of life and learn to bloom where you are planted!

Happy Labor Day weekend

Southeastern Railway Museum
3595 Buford Highway
Duluth, GA 30096

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
14mm at f/10 – 1/20 sec – ISO 100

Central of Georgia

Junk or treasure? It depends on how you look at it.

Another of the pieces of rusty rolling stock at the Southeastern Railway Museum.  This one I found very interesting as it displays so many marks of the past.  The broken window, the reflections of other rail cars, the faded “Central of Georgia” markings all give you something to look at and ponder.  The detail as well, with the rivets of the car body and the rusty streaks of color seem almost placed there piece by piece as a decoration.

It is amazing to see such marvelous scenery in what most people would consider junk.  Ah well, I can think of worse things to spend time contemplating.

Southeastern Railway Museum
3595 Buford Highway
Duluth, GA 30096

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
19mm at f/10 – 1/30 sec – ISO 100

Anyone for a train ride?

All aboard the Southeastern Railroad Museum train

How can you have a real railroad experience without a ride on a train?  The Southeastern Railway Museum offers rides on an operating full-scale train so everyone in the family can get a little time feeling the rails beneath their feet.  Engine #3 (shown above) is  a 50 ton Diesel Switch Engine that was built in 1948 by General Electric. A couple of cars and a caboose provide room for riders to get a joy-ride around the yard.

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It is fun to watch as the engineer, conductor and the yard crew get everything ready for the “All aboard”.  People stand and wave to the other museum visitors as they depart on their ride.  Children of all ages seem to be thrilled by their time on the railroad.

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This is really a very interesting place and a great source of photo opportunities.  There are wonderful details, beautiful colors and rusty textures all around.  The museum is open Thursday thru Saturday with more going on during the summer than other times of the year.  Train rides usually start around 11:00 in the morning and have a several times before and after noon depending on the volume of visitors.  Check dates and times on the website before going but, it’s definitely worth the trip whenever you can go!

Southeastern Railway Museum
3595 Buford Highway
Duluth, GA 30096

Featured image settings:

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
24mm at f/8 – 1/160 sec – ISO 100

Going Postal on rails

Mail from a train what’s the Zip code for that?

This is one of the must-see attractions at the Southeastern Railway Museum.  I have seen many shots of the Post Office Car sorting bins – usually done as HDR images because the lighting is so hard to manage.  Much of the car is fairly dark except for the super-bright bulb lights hanging from the ceiling.  The car is also long and narrow so what is close up is much brighter than what’s at the other end of the car.

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Car 1701 – U.S. Railway Post Office Grand Junction

This stainless steel car was built by Pullman for the Tennessean passenger train. Post office cars were used to sort mail while in motion for subsequent delivery to destinations.  You can see from the picture above, that since this is an official post office, you could even drop a letter in the slot on the side of the car!

RailroadMuseum-34One of the things that I found most interesting was at the opposite end of the car from where the sorting bins are.  A heavy-duty hook hangs from a railing next to a door in the side of the car.

Think about it – all those old movies with the train running past a station and the mail pouch waiting to be picked up.  Yep, I think it’s that hook.  Of course, in most of the movies, there was someone either hanging precariously from the hook or nearly getting knocked off the train by it.  I’m sure in reality that it was probably just used to pick up heavy mail bags and load or unload them but it’s much more fun to imagine the great railroad chase with people running across the top of the train, dodging the hook and ducking below tunnel openings just in the nick of time!

A few notes on my post-processing for these:  I recently had the privilege of attending an Advanced Digital Darkroom class with James Duckworth.  Jim taught us some of the more involved Paintshop techniques and I used some of his methods in processing these.

  1. On the featured image of the mail bins, I took a 5 exposure bracket of the mail car.  Then, instead of running those through Photomatix to get a HDR, I picked out the best overall exposure and one with the best shadow detail and one where highlights were not blown out and brought these into Photoshop as layers.  After some detailed work with layer masks, I was able to get a good combination that looks natural.
  2. For the image with the mail hook, I used focal merge.  I took one exposure with my focal point on the hook, to get that sharp and a second one with the focal point near the middle of the car to get the mail bags and bins in focus.  Once again, these were brought in as layers and I used the mask tool to blend the two and get that extended depth of field.  This is my first attempt at “focal stacking” and I thought it came out pretty well.

Southeastern Railway Museum
3595 Buford Highway
Duluth, GA 30096

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
11mm at f/11 – 10 sec – ISO 100

Railroad History preserved

The private railroad car “Superb” used by President Warren G. Harding is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia is full of fun and history.  The first time I visited here, I spent my whole trip checking out the trains, busses and other vehicles that are outside.  There’s so much to see that I didn’t even venture into the actual museum that is indoors.  Well, this time I went inside and I’m glad that I did!

As you enter the museum-proper, the first thing you see is a Pullman passenger car with a lighted sign and red, white and blue bunting on it.  This private railroad car named “Superb” was used by President Warren G. Harding and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  You can imagine the President standing at the railing, waving to the crowds as he made his way across the country in 1923 aboard this car.  President Harding died in San Francisco in August of 1923 and his casket was carried in a funeral train back to Washington DC in this same car.

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Telegraph Office at a Train Station

The museum holds many exhibits of historic trains and cars but also memorabilia of the train stations and the businesses that serviced the railroad traffic.  There is a lot to see here so, when you make your visit, be sure to check out the treats that are inside too.  Oh, by the way, it is cooler inside so you might go in just to get out of the blazing sun!

Southeastern Railway Museum
3595 Buford Highway
Duluth, GA 30096

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
11mm at f/10 – 1/20 sec – ISO 800

Southeastern Railway Museum

Engine 1026 – GP7 Locomotive – Georgia Railroad
This locomotive was built in 1950 by the Electro-Motive Division (EMD) of General Motors

I went on another outing with the North Georgia Photography Club yesterday. This time, it was much closer to my home so I was very glad to join them.  The Southeastern Railway Museum is in Duluth, Georgia off of Buford Highway.  I have been here before but had not been back in quite a while so, it was a lot of fun!

The museum includes a variety of train engines, cars and memorabilia as well as other vehicles such as MARTA busses, taxis, and automobiles from years past.  It is wonderful to be able to get up into the train cars and wander around the yard.  There is so much to see and lots of great image opportunities to be had.

The image above is a locomotive and a series of cars that are back in the area where restorations are done.  I love seeing all the track and switches in the yard.  This equipment is as interesting as the trains themselves.

I have lots more from this trip so there is more to come when I get my post-processing done.

Southeastern Railway Museum
3595 Buford Highway
Duluth, GA 30096

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
16mm at f/8 – 1/200 sec – ISO 100