random thoughts on railroad photography, railfanning, technology, and such

Entries in Ramblings and Such (82)


Whitman Visits UP Facility and Chaos Reigns

Yesterday, former eBay CEO and Republican governor candidate for California, Meg Whitman, toured the Union Pacific’s intermodal facility in Oakland, CA which resulted in a very odd, and perhaps, a very telling exchange between Meg Whitman and the press.

Watch the following two videos from the San Francisco Chronicle and you will see what I mean.

The first one is of Whitman’s spokesperson, Sarah Pompei, in a brief meeting with the press after Whitman’s tour of the facility had concluded, advising the press on what was going to happen next.  At this point the press was NOT allowed to accompany Whitman on the tour even though the press where invited to the event by Whitman’s campaign and, as seen in the video, they are not even going to get an opportunity to ask any questions of the candidate.


In the second video you can see the end of the “conference” between the Union Pacific managers and Whitman.  At this point the reporters try to ask questions of the candidate.  


If I were running for governor of California, I am confident that I would be in charge and know how and what decisions need to be made.  Especially in handling a press conference.  “How do want to handle this Sarah?” asks Whitman.  “I think we’re not going to take questions right now.”  Are you kidding me? 

Also, in the first video, you can see and hear Pompei clearly state, albeit in a stammering sort of way, that the reason that the press were not allowed to accompany Whitman on the tour was “UP did not want that to happen…”

According to reports, Aaron Hunt, a spokesperson for the Union Pacific, said “we planned, actually, to have press talk with Meg on the tour….we understood there would be media availability and we wanted to work with that.”  Clearly someone is not being truthful.  Since I have not seen video of the UP statement I placed a called to Aaron Hunt and I am awaiting his response.

Based on the compelling videos, I suspect that the UP is telling the truth.  Not a good way to launch your candidacy for governor to say the least, or ANY office for that matter.

I had hopes for Whitman, coming from the technology sector and all.  Meg Whitman is not very impressive at all and I even have lost respect for eBay!

Here is video from a post from CBS 5 in San Francisco for a more complete picture of the events:

Let me know your thoughts.


Sometimes Life Throws You a Curve

Whenever we are out for a weekend on one of our shooting trips I try to get up before sunrise.  I learned sometime ago to appreciate the special lighting conditions and opportunities that occur only when the light level is low and soft that happens at sunset and sunrise.

On our most recent outing to Lavic, CA, on BNSF’s Needles Subdivision, Lappy woke us up because he needed to go outside.  The time was 4:15 AM. Perhaps a tad bit early but I didn’t want to chance it and oversleep so I got up.  I cleaned up, got a little something to eat, and put on ample layers because I knew it was going to be cold outside - and it was.

It was still dark when I got outside but the sunlight was making a discernable streak in the eastern sky.  The weather continued to be as excellent as it was the day before.  There was little to no cloud cover and no wind at all, but is was cold, very cold.

I began to assess the location, its accessibility and scenic features.  Little need to analyze the color was required because the darkness stripped away all but several shades of blackness.  My hopes were for an opportunity to shoot an eastbound train lit by the rising sun but it would also be cool to get a westbound train silhouetted against the dawn.  I picked a spot that afforded me an opportunity to get a shot of a westbound or an eastbound train and began to gather my gear.

I recalled hearing trains passing our location all night as we slept and I was worried that one would come before I was ready so I franctically yet methodically worked to get everything ready.  Eventually I was ready.  My camera was mounted and my tripod leveled and securely positioned.  My video camera was  also in place and fully charged.  The sun was beginning to rise as the eastern sky began to glow.  I was filled with anticipation.

I was ready and my gear was ready.  The skies were beginning to develop into a canvas of promise.  There was only one thing missing for a railroad photographer, the train.  So I waited.  And waited.

Did I mention that I waited?  Because I did.  I waited and I waited. And then I waited some more!  Where were the trains?  No clue.  All I knew was I in place, ready to shoot, and the moment was perfect except there was no subject in the frame.  Such is the life of a railroad photographer, I thought.  Unlike a landscape photographer, we are dependant on the presence of a train in order to fulfill our desire to get the perfect shot.  None was seen, or heard at all.

The sun began to reflect off of the rails and highlighted the eastern edge of the curve that was before me.  I took this opportunity to create a rail-related scene without a train.  I compose the shot and reviewed the results.  I missed.  The lighting was all wrong.  I adjusted the settings on my camera and proceeded to shoot the sun rising over the curve.

I like the shots that I took, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help but think about what the shots would look like if a train had been there.  Perhaps I would have emphasized the train too much and missed the moment.  I’ll never know for sure.  Maybe next time I’ll get the shot that I had hoped for. 

Deb, let’s go out again! 

Sunrise Curve 3

Sunrise Curve 1

Sunrise Curve 2

Sunrise Curve 4


Puppy Update # 1 (3 Weeks Old)

Here is a shot comparing the puppies from when they were 2 days old to when they became 3 three weeks old:

          Chase (bottom each photo) ‘n Steel - My they have GROWN!