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A day of railfanning, and then a somewhat disturbing dream…

February 23, 2009, 8:44 PM

First of all, hello! I can’t believe it’s been a week since last I wrote a Journal entry. I guess I haven’t had much to say lately. But now I do.

And by that, let me tell you about the fun I had on Saturday! Matthew Tilley and I got together and hit the Metro, doing a railfan trip on the Blue, Orange, and Yellow Lines. The trip served two purposes. First of all, I really enjoy Matthew’s company, as we always have fun when we get together, and this was no exception. Secondly, I bought a new Canon PowerShot SX10 IS camera in the past week, and so this was also acceptance testing for the camera, as I ran it through all of its paces in the many varied lighting conditions that Metro offers.

Now if you’re wondering about why I got another new digital camera within a year of getting Duckie and the Kodak, and since neither of those cameras have broken down (trust me, I’d tell you), let me explain. When it comes to the Kodak and me, it’s not working out. Basically, the Kodak is a little too automated for my needs, and goes from fully automated to fully manual with very little in between. Big Mavica gave a lot of in-between options for shooting, and I had gotten accustomed to having those, and missed them terribly. So the Kodak will be going on eBay soon. I figure, while it didn’t work out with me, it will almost definitely be perfect for someone else, and so let’s see if I can recover some of my investment in it. Plus I can provide sample images taken with the exact camera being offered for sale, so we’ll see what happens.

But all in all, the railfanning went well. And the Canon performed exceptionally well, too. Matthew and I did the Blue/Orange/Yellow Line circuit, meeting up at Rosslyn, and then going from there down to Franconia-Springfield, up to King Street, down to Huntington, to Pentagon City, up to L’Enfant Plaza, out to New Carrollton, in to Stadium-Armory, out to Largo, and then back in to Metro Center, where we parted company.

Most surprising is that we weren’t done until like 9:30 at night. Seriously. Usually our railfanning sessions go until 5:00 or so. Not so this time, where we ran out of daylight before we got to New Carrollton. The shadows were getting long when we left Pentagon City, and then the sun was gone by the time we reached New Carrollton.

Then one thing on the Canon that we got good use out of was the screen. Unlike every digital camera I have ever owned, the Canon has a movable screen. You can put it in place like most other digital cameras I own, you can turn it to face in and use the electronic viewfinder, and you can swivel and turn it to suit whatever needs you may have. So for sharing pics on the spot, rather than looking behind, I just turned the screen around to face Matthew. “See?” Plus I also was able to get some low-angle shots of the trains. For that, I got down on one knee, pointed the screen where it faced straight up, and then aimed low. So here’s an example, featuring Breda 2052 at Franconia-Springfield:

So the lighting wasn’t the best, but still, I think it has potential. However, it is a shade hard on the knees, so I possibly might want to invest in some knee pads if I plan to do a lot of this. Then we also saw Breda 3146 at Largo Town Center, which has been fitted with white LEDs for the interior lighting as part of a test. That was slightly creepy looking, since white LEDs are actually bluish in color:

In my opinion, it’s a little too ghoulish, but then again, these LEDs are new, and this car looked like it was fairly fresh out of rehab. The fluorescent lights tend to yellow a bit after the car has been in service a while (e.g. the 5000-Series cars, whose lights have yellowed somewhat compared to when new), so who knows – these LEDs might look normal after a period of time. But this brilliant white lighting just looks a bit creepy. Metro needs to look into more natural-looking LEDs for interior lighting. White LEDs like that might work great for the door lighting and other lighting on the cars, but for interior lighting, it’s a poor idea.

Then when I got back home, I reviewed the photos and determined that the Canon had passed its acceptance testing and was going to become the new main camera, and Duckie’s new partner. Then after I went to bed, I had a dream…

In this dream, I was out railfanning. In the dream, I was allegedly at Cheverly, but the station looked more like Takoma or Fort Totten, with center platform and gull-wing canopy (Cheverly has side platforms). But anyway, I was at “Cheverly”, and a train derailed right in front of me. It jumped the tracks, flew up, and landed on its side on top of the canopy. And I caught it all on camera. Oh, my goodness. Thankfully, as it was just a dream, no one was hurt. But the canopy was crushed, and it was very strange seeing that canopy essentially demolished by a train derailment. But you want to know what the really strange thing was? The car in my dream was a real car. After the car came down on the platform, I looked to see if I could determine the identity of the car. It was Breda 4048. And then I woke up.

That was a really strange dream, don’t you think? I was thinking about that all day yesterday and then wondered what I would get this morning. If I got Breda 4048, I’d really start to wonder. But as it turned out, I got Rohr 1026 in the morning, and Breda 3280 in the evening. Not 4048, and not even a 4000-Series. Though I did see Breda 4018 (of Woodley Park-Zoo accident fame) in the lead position going towards Shady Grove while I was waiting for my train in the evening. I consider that in itself like tempting fate, since 4018 was in the lead position going towards Shady Grove when it was struck back in 2004.

Either way, though, that was certainly a make-you-think-about-it dream. Go figure. But I had a great time railfanning Metro with Matthew. That was a lot of fun.

Web site: My new Metro Center photo, taken on the railfan trip just after Matthew and I parted company.

Song: *ding ding* Doors opening! Step back to allow customers to exit. When boarding, please move to the center of the car.

Quote: I love railfan trips. They're fun...

Categories: Dreams, Matthew, WMATA