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   Amber in the Union Pacific dome diner # 8003 at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay.  I was never a fan of late 50ies early 60ies decour like that used in this car, but Amber loved it.  The view traveling across country while taking in a meal in this car must have been really nice.

July 25, 2012

Playing in thunderstorms

Lightning Over Madison

Lightning Over Madison

   Around 11:00 pm the first line of a storm front moved into Madison.  Upon noticing thunder, I grabbed my gear and got on my bike.  The sky was fairly active and the activity seemed to be mostly to the north east.  So I rode out on the bicycle path along John Nolen and setup my tripod.  I took 260 shots ranging from 1 to 5 seconds of exposure time.  Of those I saved 7.  By the end the lightning was dwindling, and a light rain had begun.  I packed up and headed back to the house.  From the radar images, I knew this was just the first wave of the storm and there was more to come.  So I downloaded the images from my camera and monitored the radar.
   Sure enough, the next wave of the storm rolled in.  I went upstairs to have a look at conditions and found it raining heavily.  That didn't bother me as I thought I might be able to find some cover and wait out the heavy rain to get some more shots.  However, this didn't happen.  Once in the rain I found the storm only building.  The heavy rain was obscuring all the lightning and visibility was low.  Even if there was a shot, the wind was so high I could not have kept water off the lens.  My plans for a second session had to be scrapped.  By the time the rain did stop, the skies were no longer flashing.
   The image selected for today comes from two lightning flashes.  One is over the skyline and brighter, giving a blue-white color cast to the clouds it illuminated.  The other strike was some cloud-to-cloud lightning that was (presumablly) obscured by the clouds and giving it a red-orange hue.  They happened within seconds of one an other, but not in the same exposure.
   Amber in subtle selective color.  I chose to allow color just on the wine glass which lets small hints of hue from the stained glass behind the camera.   The wine glass is already in focus, the color simply adds enhances this center point.  The subject of the image is hiding, so the fact the focus has made her softer seems fitting.
Andrew Que and the 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower

Andrew Que and the 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower

   Built for London and North Eastern Railway and named (renamed actually) after the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe (and to-be U.S. president) Dwight Eisenhower after World War II.  This LNER Class A4 has drive wheels 6'8" in diameter that disappears behind streamlinning—I stand 5'10" and the wheels are clearly taller than me.  This is a British locomotive and weights in at 230,600 pounds.  Locomotives in this class could sustain 90 MPH.  Although not set by this locomotive, the world record for a steam engine was set with this class at 126.4 MPH.  At this speed those drive wheels would be turning 1,668 RPM—impressive for something that large.  This locomotive ended it's career in 1963 and came to the United States the following year.  Since then it has resided at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay.  The design seems to cross Art Deco and Steampunk (the formar I'm sure had infolance, but the latter did not exist at the time) and when this locomotive came onto the scene in the mid 1930ies it must have looked very futuristic.
   Photo by Amber.

July 22, 2012

National Railroad Museum trip

 Union Pacific 4017

Union Pacific 4017

   Amber and I went to Green Bay to visit the National Railroad Museum.  I've loved trains since I was a little kid, and this museum has one of the largest steam engines ever produced: Union Pacific's 4-8-8-4 "Big Boy".  Weighting in at over 760,000 pounds and producing 6,000 horse power, this locomotive was so long (85 feet) it had to be articulated to make turns.  There is really no way to appreciate the size of this train until you stand next to it.  In the picture to the left, Amber is standing in the cab looking out the window while I am standing a little more than half way to the end.  The steam pipes going to the drive cylinder must be 8 inches in diameter.  Look at the size of the crank shaft and connecting rods between to those 68" drive wheels—massive!  Despite it's size, this behemoth could reach speeds of 80 MPH.  It was also able to pull 4,040 tons up a 1.77 percent grade (steep in railroad terms) and doing so could burn over 22 tons of coal and consume over 12,000 gallons of water in a single hour.  The coal car held 28 tons of coal and 25,000 gallons of water.  Awesome machine and it was privilege to stand next to this marvel of engineering.
   More than 41 hours into a 1,600 page book entitled Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer.  Very, very interesting.

1 comment has been made.

From Steve

Beloit, WI

August 21, 2012 at 6:12 AM

Ahhhh! I have read that particular book as well, back when I was attending high school in Brodhead. Very fascinating read. I good deal of my insight into the workings of the Third Reich came from that book.