Train in Vain

For the past 2 years I’ve been taking the family to the Strasburg Railroad in Strasburg PA. I went there when I was a kid, and it has been fun going back as an adult. My son really loves Thomas the Tank, and anything else related to trains. The Railroad has a running steam train that makes a 45 minute round trip down a 5 mile straight track. They have beautifully restored the engine and cars. The craftsmanship inside the coaches and dining cars is beautiful so book a ride. We usually eat lunch in the dining car during the train ride. The Railroad also has special ‘Thomas the Tank’ events on certain dates. I have not gone to these, but I imagine they are extremely busy, so you should book any train rides in advance.
After spending some time at the railroad, check out the Choo Choo Barn up the road. They have an amazing model railway that recreates many scenes from the local area. The attention to detail is amazing, everytime I go back, I see something I missed the last time. Across the street from the railway is the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. They have indoor and outdoor displays of many different historical engines and railcars from the Pennsylvania Railroad. They have steam engines, streamliners and trolly cars from the glory days of the rail era.

The railway is located in Lancaster County (Amish Country). The picture above gives you an idea of the mix of ‘tourist trap’, beautiful landscapes and rustic appeal. There are a ton of things to do in town (outlet stores, greasy spoons, arts and crafts etc), so the non-train lovers won’t get too bored. The Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park is another place to stop by if you have kids.

Deep Thoughts

Deep Thoughts
Deep Thoughts

The remnants of his popsicle still evident in his hand, Evan contemplates his strategy for obtaining a second one. He knows it won’t be easy, but he will not rest until he gets a red one. Modern Ice pops are much better than the ones I grew up with. How do they squeeze all of that artificial flavor and color into them?

Hiding behind the camera

Evan and his camera
Evan and his camera

I don’t usually like to have my own picture taken. Something seems to go wrong in every shot, and I look older and more out of shape than my own self-image leads me to believe. The one exception is when my son picks up his camera. He shoots with a Fisher Price instamatic. It’s an older model with a flash cube and a fixed focal length lens. The images appear in the viewfinder for instant review just like modern digitals… the difference being that it only has a four image memory, and the images can’t be deleted. With the price of budget digital cameras being as low as they are, I really need to get him a real one. He likes to hide behind the camera, and avoid having his picture taken just like his daddy. Unlike his daddy, when someone gets a shot of him, he usually looks as cute as a button.

I took this shot with a Nikon D100 at ISO 800, 1/8 sec – f/4 . The image is pretty sharp considering the shutter speed, although you can see some motion blur in his hair. The lens used is a Nikon 24mm f2.8 prime. I really like the lens alot. On a D100 it gives an angle of view similar to that of a 35mm lens on a film camera. It’s also a fairly small lens, which is the main reason it stays on my camera alot.

A photo blog by Sean Unruh