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

Entries from September 1, 2010 - September 30, 2010


Sunset Over Metrolink’s San Gabriel Sub

It was the first day of fall, September 23, 2010. I had just completed my commute from Los Angeles Union Station to Upland, CA aboard Metrolink train #322 and as I walked to my car I was grabbed by the scene of the sun setting near the tracks.

I decided to see if I could grab a shot or two before i headed home so I walked up to the Euclid Avenue grade crossing and set-up my camera on my Gorillapod SLR-Zoom tripod and fired off the following shots:

Occupied Block at Sunset - A distant Metrolink train #326 is backlit by the setting sun on the first day of fall in 2010.
[9/23/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry

Making Up Time - Metrolink train #326, a good ten minutes behind schedule, blows through the Euclid Avenue grade crossing in Upland, CA on the first dall of fall in 2010.
[9/23/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry

Sunset Over the San Gabriel Subdivision
[9/23/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry

Sunset Over the San Gabriel Subdivision
[9/23/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010 Joe Perry


My Dreams Came True

Recent circumstances and my health issues have given me cause to pause and reflect on my life, who I have become, and to “weed the garden” of me, so to speak. During this introspective endeavor I have learned a lot about myself and the choices I have made throughout the years. Like everyone, I suspect, not all of the choices were the right ones. There was the time… Oh, never mind, water under the bridge.

There is one choice I am extremely grateful for having an opportunity to pursue. That choice was following my heart. Of course I am referring to Deb and I. If you will indulge me, I would like to share our story and some of my feelings about “us.”


The Story of Us

Believe it or not, we are soul mates and have been since the very beginning. (EDITOR: Guys you can tune out a bit and just look at the cool train parts of the photos.) Just like the sappy love songs that you hear on the radio, we actually locked eyes and both of us had an experience where everything else faded away and I could see our life together play out in my mind at hyper speed. It was truly love at first sight. Ask anyone who was there, they’ll tell you it is true. That was in August of 1993.

Now depending on which view of attraction you subscribe to, some might say “RUN AWAY!” Well, I was too intrigued and moved to do that, not that I haven’t tried over the years! It took sometime for us to get our opportunity to be together but we were bonded together from the onset. The unveiling of ourselves and the melding of our lives to one has been an amazing journey. With her I feel totally comfortable to be me. Heck, our first date included a trip to the local Egghead Software store!

As our relationship grew, we began to take road trips everywhere. Any free moments we spent traveling and exploring all that our renewed sense of life afforded us. At some point Deb asked what I liked and I replied “Truthfully? Trains.” She quietly chuckled. Eventually, maybe a year later, she told me the truth about what she thought when she asked me that question. She thought I was making a joke. She grew to learn otherwise. Subsequently Deb is the only other person that has shared an aspect of the draw of the rails for me. One day she said, “You know what I like about railroading? The Symmetry.”

If you have read of some my railfan trip reports you know that Deb accompanies me more often than not. In the years that we have been together, I have been extremely fortunate to have her share the best railroading experiences that the west has to offer from the Columbia River Gorge, Washington to Promontory, Utah to chasing the UP Monster Train. I am grateful for the fact that she enjoys vacationing where the rails are as well. We spent our first anniversary in Sacramento, California visiting the California State Railroad Museum. Her favorite trip to date was when we went to the La Posada Hotel, Winslow, Arizona in 2006.

It is not a case of her “playing the part.” Rather, I believe, she genuinely enjoys our trips and appreciates what we share. To wit, on the road chasing steel, she is very active in reading the ATCS display and discerning movements based on signal indications to help set-up for the next shot.  She knows what I have taught her about trains over the years and brings a fresh perspective to my sometimes limited views. Any railfan could not ask for a better partner.

None of this is why I love her so. Instead the aforementioned items serve to further illustrate the fact we are meant to be, and I know how lucky I am to have discovered her. (I am also grateful that I am such a gorgeous and intriguing man that I have kept her infatuated all of these years – but that is a different post!)

The reason why I love her is because she is the most caring, funny, and loving person I have ever met. She carries me when I am too weak, bolsters me when I am weary, and strengthens me always.

To My Dearest Deb, 

Despite what life has in store for me, I worry not. For I have truly lived – and I want to thank you for coming into, and more importantly, staying in my life despite my many shortcomings.

I hope we can share many more years chasing steel and growing old(er) together.

I love you, now and forever.

Love, Me.


iPhone HDR: Metrolink

Here are two recent HDR efforts made from an Apple iPhone 3GS telephone with the application called “Pro HDR for the iPhone 3GS.” The application currently sells for $1.99.

NOTE: Apple iPhone 4 users will now have native HDR support built-in to their camera upon updating to iOS version 4.1 which is now available for download.

Montclair to Upland at Sunset - Multiple exposure image shot with an iPhone 3GS on the Metrolink San Gabriel Subdivision from Montclair to Upland, CA.
[9/7/2010 - San Gabriel Subdivision] © Copyright 2010, Joe Perry

Metrolink Train #410 Against the Sunset at Ontario, CA - Metrolink train #410 blows under the Mountain Avenue overpass and pass a control point a few minutes from it’s scheduled stop at East Ontario, California.
[9/3/2010 - Los Angeles Subdivision] © Copyright 2010, Joe Perry.