Archive for the ‘photo update’ Category

SITE UPDATE: Transit Day 2009

Monday, October 12th, 2009

I just uploaded photos from my last two trips to Seashore on September 27 and October 10.  They start with number 211 on this page (in the 5th row).  The latter date, btw, was Transit Day, so there was quite a lot happening.  In between regular trips to Talbott Park with 1267 and 434D were two photo runbys at Messerve’s Crossing, featuring 01000/0210 and the train of R9s (the “A train”).  As with last year, I was in charge of the photo line at Messerve’s.  Special rides were done on 01000/0210; the A train; Chicago, North Shore & Milwaulkee interurban car 755; #4 Cambridge-Dorchester car 0719 (making its first trip up the main line in over 25 years); and Wheeling Traction Co. car 639, the latter being for members only, as the shop is still doing finishing touches to it.  There was also some stuff involving the buses and trackless trolleys, but I paid little attention to that.  Although the day started off rainy when I left Boston, the rain had stopped by the time I reached Portsmouth, NH and the clouds gradually cleared away during the day.  The only downside was that my camera’s battery died around 3:30PM, so I missed a few opportunities for shots.

The photos in this update are also the first ones from my new Panasonic ZS3 that I’ve uploaded. The ZS3 replaces my old Canon SD400, with which I’ve become dissatisfied over the years. The new camera takes better photos, with noticeably less noise at higher ISO speeds. It also has a bunch of features which outclass all comparable cameras from Canon, particularly the ability to set a minimum shutter speed to use and to optically zoom while shooting video. It can shoot video at 720P, although the quality is relatively poor.

Time to list all the recent photo updates

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

This is a little late, but I’ve finished posting all the new photos I took whilst doing the station map photo survey.

Red Line - the first few photos on this page are from an earlier railfanning expedition, but the rest were taken during the survey.

Blue Line - new photos start on the third row with number 60.

Science Park - most of the last two rows starting with number 14. My first photos there since the elevated was torn down.

Lechmere - the last three photos are new.

D-Riverside Line - new photos start with the last one on this page, although the first six are from a decade ago and were scanned in over the summer.

Commuter Rail - I’ve scrapped the original page and created separate pages for each line. New photos can be found in the pages for North Station, South Station, and Boston to Braintree. The latter is the only one with photos taken from the survey; the other two have photos that I’ve taken over the past several years.

Mattapan-Ashmont High Speed Line - the last four photos are new.


At last, I finally have time to work on my own photos

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I finished up the last processing work for the photos I took for the station map photo survey over the past week, so I finally have time to work on the photos I took for myself during that time. Up first is the Blue Line. On September 2nd I was out covering Wood Island to Wonderland, getting photos at most of the stations on that half of the line. The exception was Wood Island, where a work crew was removing the top layer of the platform with some jackhammers. I was not inclined to stay around any longer than I had to to get the map photos I was officially there for. I’ll have to go back another time. The photos I did get, though, start here with the last one on the third row.

Coming soon will be photos of the Red Line, Green Line, and Commuter Rail. The latter will take the longest to do because I think the best way to do it is scrap my existing gallery and create new ones for each line. Otherwise it’s a real pain in the ass to update the existing gallery.

Wow, I am way behind on updates

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Well, a lot has happened on the site since I last updated the blog. My photo scanning project is mostly complete now, with only my slides from Railcamps 2000 and 2001 left to do. All my shots from Europe (those worth scanning, that is) have been scanned. I have posted selections of photos from the first five trips I took to Europe, which can be found here. I’ll post photos from my trip to England in a few days.

Last weekend I was up at Seashore for the 4th of July trolley parade. A couple of cars that rarely see the light of day go pulled out and shown to people. Photos of that are here.

Yesterday, since I had to go into Boston anyway to pick up work at CTPS, I brought my camera with me and spent a few hours photographing the Tall Ships that are in Boston this week. It was quite an interesting collection of vessels.

I’ll be heading up to Seashore again tomorrow. Boeing 3424 finally got trucked up there yesterday, so I’ll be getting photos of that. Hopefully it’ll be ready to run soon. That will be cool.

Scanning the past

Monday, June 8th, 2009

First thing’s first: I have new photos up of Seashore (starting with the last 3 images on that page) and the Mattapan Line (summer photos on that page and the next). I also have a new photo at the bottom of my Funny Photos page. Enjoy!

Classes are out for the summer, which means I still have plenty of work to do. Besides data entry for CTPS and railfanning, I have two major projects I’m working on. First is an iPhone app I’ve been thinking of for a while. I finally got a book on iPhone development, so I’ll be starting that project once I get the other project out of the way.

The other project, which is currently being worked on, is scanning in my photos from my trips to Europe. I recently upgraded to iLife ‘09, and the new version of iPhoto includes this neat feature called Places which lets you geotag your photos. It then produces a map with pins wherever you took photos. So now I’m busy scanning photos so I can populate the map. I am uncertain if I will post those photos online. If I do, it will be a limited subset due to space limitations on my server. Regardless, it’s fun going through those photos again and remembering all the places I’ve been.

SITE UPDATE: Photos from around the BU Bridge

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Last Friday I went over to Cambridge to have the hard drive in my MacBook Pro replaced with a larger one. Since I had a few hours to spare while that was being done, I went and took some shots from the nearby BU Bridge and the Boston College branch of the Green Line. My shots of the B line are here, while those of other subjects are here.

SITE UPDATE: Valley Road in the snow

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Today I boldly ventured out into the blizzard we’re having to take some photos of the trolleys at Valley Road.  Those photos can be found here.

Last Sunday I went up to Seashore again to help out with the last day of Christmas Prelude. It turned out that, due to the ice storm a few days previously, operations were canceled all weekend (Seashore was without power until Saturday night), and no one had bothered to send out an email about that. I did take a few photos of the ice-encrusted trees while I was there. This is the only shot that really came out well.

SITE UPDATE: Ashmont photos

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

I’ve uploaded some new photos of the Red Line and Mattapan trolley at Ashmont.  The Red Line photos are on the second half of this page, and the trolley ones start with the last six on this page.

Transit Day 2008 was fun

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Yesterday was Transit Day up at Seashore Trolley Museum. As you’d expect, I went up there with Bernie to help out. Unlike Members’ Day, which I’ve been told was a letdown compared to previous years, Transit day really was a success. Lots of equipment that is rarely seen or used was brought out, and there were a lot of activities that weren’t part of the normal routine at Seashore. Photos of the day’s events can be found here.

Although I didn’t take any pictures of them, a lot of buses were on display and in operation. Many are part of the museum’s collection, and a few privately-owned ones showed up as well. Several of the buses provided shuttle trips from the visitor’s center over to Highwood.

On the trolley side of things, we arguably had too many cars in service yesterday. 1267, 631, 1700, 303, and 38 (finally back in service) were all running. Of course, the visitor’s center loop is only able to hold three or four cars (depending on whether the first car loads from the front or back), so we had fun all day repositioning cars to keep the track in front of Arundel clear when it was needed by subway cars. I got to run 38 a bit on one such repositioning move. Both controllers on it suck. It’s pretty much impossible to put either one into the first point - I kept skipping over it right into the second point.

The big events of the day were three photo runbys, the first the museum has done in years. Each one featured a different set of subway cars. Each runby followed the same procedure. One of the trolleys (303 for the first two runbys, 631 for the third) would bring photographers out to Messerve’s Crossing, where the runby would occur. After unloading, the trolley proceeded up to Tower 4 (the overhead along part of the line is supported by towers instead of lineside poles) to change ends and wait for the conclusion of the runby. Once everyone was in position at Messerve’s (most people stood on the platform there, while a few adventurous souls went a short ways up or down the line), the dispatcher was informed that the subway cars could be sent from the museum. The cars would make one pass by the photo line heading north, change ends at Tower 2, and then make another pass heading south back to the museum. Then the trolley would return from Tower 4 and bring everyone back to the museum. After the first two runbys, people could then ride the subway cars they had just photographed out to Biddeford Switch (at the entrance to the loop at Talbott Park) and back. The third time, because of time constraints the subway cars only made one trip, so people could either ride the cars or be in the photo line at Messerve’s.

The first runby was at noon and featured Boston El cars 0210 and 01000. This runby was quite successful, with the cars flying by Messerve’s. The next one, at 2:00 wasn’t quite as good. The R-22/R-33 set (aka “Redbirds”) came up from the museum quite slowly, and almost stopped at Messerve’s after pulling down the power station, which they did a second time before getting up to Tower 2 to change ends. The return trip was much better, and I got a video of that. It was later determined that the reverser on one car was broken, so it was actually trying to go in the opposite direction. The third runby, which was at 4:00, featured the museum’s R-9 set from New York City, which is often called the “A train” after the destination sign on the front. This one I opted to ride instead of photograph, figuring that I have a better chance of getting photos of it in the future than I do of riding it.

Although they seriously impacted the regular trolley schedule and presented some additional though minor organizational problems, the runbys went off quite successfully. I feel it would be a good idea to make runbys a semi-regular part of the museum’s normal operating schedule, as well as do them at other places on the line (the curve near the end of the line would be a good place). Not only could they bring more visitor’s to the museum, they would also be a good excuse to pull out rarely used equipment.

The only other things of note yesterday were that the Gibbs car made some runs back and forth on the Butler Grove lead, and there was a line car demonstration.

wow, I’m way behind on updating this

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Wow, I’ve fallen way behind on updating the blog.  First up, I have a few photo updates.  I’ve added a ton of new photos of Seashore Trolley Museum, starting halfway down this page.  I also have some new photos from Greensboro, starting with the last six on this page

I’ve been quite busy this summer up at Seashore, going up every 2-3 weeks on average.  I’m now qualified on cars 1267, 631, 303, and 1700, and I’m familiar with how to operate the Type 3 snowplows and Eastern Mass snow sweeper P-601. The only things I don’t have are the formal pink license card and a name badge. Otherwise I’m a fully qualified motorman/conductor.

Last Saturday was Members’ Day at the museum, so naturally my friend Bernie and I went up. 631, 1267, and 303 were in service as usual, and mail car 108 was also put into service, though for members only as there are no seats on it. Although 1700 is back in service, it was blocked inside Riverside Carhouse by Boston El cars 0210 and 01000, which were placed on Riverside track 2 (the same track 1700 is kept on) so other cars could be retrieved from Central. One of those cars was Eastern Mass snow sweeper P-601, which was placed on South Boston track 1 for the day. Double-decker 144 from Blackpool, England, which normally sits in the back of South Boston Carhouse on track 2 was pulled out into the sun for the day. Its exterior has been repainted recently so it looks pretty nice, but the interior and electrical systems still need to be restored before it can operate.

Interborough Rapid Transit “Gibbs” car 3352 was pulled out from Central, and made several runs up and down the Butler Grove Lead. This was the first time it had run in many years, so there was lots of dust and rust flying off its trucks during the first trip it made. Around 3PM the museum’s Smee cars (the R-22/R-33 “Subway Series” cars from NYC) made a trip up the main line as the members-only Banana Split Express, with banana split sundaes being served on board. Yum! With the number of people on board, of course, many didn’t get served until after the train returned to the visitor’s center, but a good time was had by all nonetheless. I opted to get a vanilla and chocolate sundae without the banana.

Later on 108 developed a hotbox just after leaving Talbott Park. There was some discussion as to whether one of the Type 3 plows should be sent out to rescue it.  Fortunately, it was able to coast back to the visitor’s center.  To save time, the crew was ordered to pass non-stop by Morrison Hill, so I was sent out to flag the crossing there, and pick up the paddles from their conductor on the fly.  Now I know what it must have been like to pick up train orders on the fly when railroads still did that.  When 108 was being put away in South Boston I noticed that one of the resistor grids was glowing red hot.  Clearly whoever was running it left it in a point below full series for too long.  

Near the end of the day we tried to do a trip with North Shore Line interurban car 420. First, we had to move the MBTA side-dump car from Highwood track 2 to track 1 so that 420 could get out. Although 420 was blue-tagged with a bad motor, the dispatcher decided to ignore that and we started getting the car ready. We had to spend several minutes playing with the emergency brake valve before the air tank started to charge up. Alas, all that work proved to be for nothing, as it turned out a Brill Bullet on track 3 was sticking too far out for 420 to get by, and we had to put it back in the carhouse after moving it only 150 feet or so.

The last thing we did was take P-601 on a trip to Talbott Park. The car runs fine, but as we discovered, at least one of the controllers has suffered some internal damage and the points are virtually impossible to distinguish. That trip was also interesting because some fairly dense fog had rolled in, so visibility in places was down to only two line poles. After that we left to go home.

I’m now enrolled at Massasoit Community College in their Electronic Technology program. So far the coursework has been utterly unchallenging. Hopefully, though, I’ll be able to graduate and get a real job.

I got a 2G iPod touch back on the 10th. I would’ve gotten one the day earlier when they were announced, but the Braintree Apple Store didn’t have them yet. And when I did get mine, they hadn’t even put any on the display floor - they were still flashing their memory in the back. It’s quite a nice model. The front of course is the same as its predecessor, as is the power button on the top. The polished metal back has a nice curved shape. The cutout for the Wi-Fi antenna is now a black plastic oval, much nicer looking than the rectangular cutout on the previous model. A welcome addition over the old model are the volume up/down buttons on the left side. I’m conflicted on the addition of an internal speaker. While there are times when it’s good to have, there are also times when I wish it wasn’t there.

On the software side, not much has changed since I reviewed the original iPod touch. The major changes include the addition of all the apps the iPhone comes with (phone excluded, of course), plus access to the App Store, which didn’t exist when I did that review. I have discovered a few oddball things that can’t really be discovered by playing with the display units at the stores. First, if music is paused and you unplug the headphones or anything else plugged into the headphone port, it resumes playing the music using the internal speaker. While the last few iPod models (this one included) will pause music when you unplug the headphones, this is the first one I’ve seen that does the opposite. I have no idea if the original iPod touch or the iPhone models do this as well. Regardless, it’s not desirable behavior.

Next, it seems I was wrong about the iPhone firmware displaying every video on the device in a single big list. While it remains true that there are no submenus for the various video types and no support for video playlists (except as a way for choosing what videos to sync to the device, but more on that in a bit), there are in fact submenus for any TV show, artist, or podcast for which there are three or more videos. These submenus sort videos either by newest first, or in alphabetical order if the season/episode tags haven’t been set. I’d prefer the option to sort by oldest first, which is a more natural sorting order.

I had some minor problems getting it to work with our wireless network, mostly due to the router being a bitch and not adding the iPod touch’s MAC address to the list of allowed devices. Once that was resolved, I had some more problems getting the Remote app to work properly. It would allow me to select songs, albums, artists, and music videos to play, but nothing else. After posting a question on Apple’s discussion boards, someone pointed out an oddball setting in iTunes that had to be changed. Remote now works fine.

I’ve purchased a bunch of apps from the App Store. iMatrix takes photos stored on the device and overlays the “raining code” effect from The Matrix on top of them. It looks pretty cool (here’s the original image). A Free Level is essentially the Level demo app available to iPhone developers with some added (and very annoying) sound effects. I have a pair of unit converters, which in fact have different capabilities. Strangely, the one with a thousand different units is missing Kelvin, which the other one does have. FileMagnet replicates the disc mode from other iPods, although it depends on a Mac-only app for moving files onto the device. This doesn’t pose a problem for me at the moment. It also can open a number of file types that the iPhone OS doesn’t handle at all. iResist is a resistor color code calculator - quite useful for my electronics classes. Bubble Snap is one of the several bubblewrap popping games available. iCounter is a basic tally counter - it might be useful for my work at CTPS at some point. Constitution is an annotated copy of the US Constitution - you never know when that might be handy. Flashlight simply turns the entire display to a single color - white is the default when you open it, but there’s half a dozen other colors. Mondo Top 5 is a set of five different versions of Solitaire. After having Solitaire on my last few iPods, I’d miss not having it around. Cannon Challenge is a game that’s little more than a demonstration of projectile motion - you set the angle and speed of a cannon shell and try to hit some targets. I have a pair of calculators, one which includes the programming mode that the built-in calculator lacks (if I ever need to convert between decimal, hexadecimal and binary), and one which is a graphing calculator. Finally, I have the official AIM client. Now if only someone would make an IRC client.