Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Camera Gear And Other Stuff

I figured I should write up an entry about what gear I have and carry around when I'm out photographing trains or other train and railroad related subjects.

My Camera body is a Nikon D80 10.2Mpx. It is a great camera and I've had no problems so far. Since I shoot in RAW only, I do wish the buffer was a bit bigger up to 9 or 10 compared to 6 or 6+1 as I like to call it. There is a small pause between the 6th and 7th shot. The D80 uses SD cards so my main card is a Sandisk Extreme III 8GB that holds near 800+ shots in RAW even though the display initially shows 655. I also have a Sandisk Extreme III 2GB card and Sandisk Ultra II 1GB card.

I own 3 lenses at the moment. My first lens is a Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm 3.5-4.5 G ED, which came in a kit with the body. My second lens is a Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 G ED VR II. At the time, this lens was about $525 CAD and is a pretty good investment if you're looking for a fairly decent zoom lens. My most recent purchase is a Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 12-24mm 4 G ED, although I don't expect to take very many train shots with this lens. I bought more for the wide angle feature for photographing landscapes and buildings like grain elevators. Maybe I'll try to catch a prairie train shot with it. This one was just over $1000 at the time of purchase.

I also have the MB-D80 vertical grip with two batteries which gives a combined estimation of 5000 shots before I have to recharge the batteries. I usually average between 3000 and 3500 depending how long I leave the camera on, if I'm using the flash, do alot of playback, or playing around with settings in the menu. Cold is also a factor on charge life and reduces the life of the batteries fast. They do regain some of their charge if you can warm them up. Although the MB-D80 does add weight with the extra battery, it is handy for it's vertical grip functions making it less awkward to shoot and of course the extra power longevity.

One purchase that I'm happy about is my Uniden TrunkTracker III model number BC246T. It is capable of holding 2500 channels on average. It depends on how much information I use in the tag to identify the frequency. It was a bit more than what I wanted to pay, but was worth it in my opnion. Besides it was the only choice I had that was decent.

Other items of interest are a Kenko 67mm circular polarizer, an infrared remote shutter release Nikon ML-L3, a pair of compact binoculars, some cleaning supplies, extra Sandisk SD cards.

All of the above fits neatly into my Crumpler Six Million Dollar Home carry bag.

Two other items that I would not be able to live with out is my tripod and ball head. Apart from their normal positions, the legs can be spread out to almost flat. Although I do have to slide out the neck all the way and switch it to a horizontal position. In a stand up position with the neck fully extended, I can just manage to look through the view finder and can barely read the control display on the top.

The list:
  • Nikon D80
  • Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm 3.5-4.5G ED, 67mm diameter
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm 4.5-5.6G ED VR II, 67mm diameter
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 12-24mm 4G ED, 77mm diameter Aspherical
  • Manfrotto 055X Pro tripod
  • Manfrotto 488RC2 ball head
  • Kenko 67mm circular polarizer
  • MB-D80 vertical grip
  • 2 Nikon EN-EL3e batteries
  • Sandisk Extreme III 8GB SD card
  • Sandisk Extreme III 2GB SD card
  • Sandisk Ultra II 1GB SD card
  • Nikon ML-L3 infrared remote shutter release
  • Uniden TrunkTracker III BC246T
  • Extra AA batteries for scanner.
  • compact binoculars
  • cleaning supplies
  • Crumpler Six Million Dollar Home carry bag
  • Canadian Trackside Guide 2007 Edition
  • 2 different map books of Alberta
  • A black journal spiral bound notebook
  • Pens

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Macleod Sub Auto Rack Storage - Part 2

If you wish to follow along in Google Earth to see my stops and travels, here is the kmz file for download.

September 6th, 2010

Last time I posted about the first block of auto racks in storage on the MacLeod Subdivision. This post will list the first 27 out of the 39 auto racks from the second block further south. I’m only posting about the first 27 cars because when I was out there taking pictures and writing down notes, I was attacked by a very agitated hawk. I wrote about this back on September the 6th about my experience that day.

I started at the south end of the block and worked my way north from Township Road 182 (594th Ave) on foot. There are a few clumps of trees along the way which made difficult to take pictures of some of the auto racks. It had rained the day before and the grass had not had time to entirely dry out in the thicker areas, so by the time I got to where I stopped, I was soaked from the knees down.

Below are my notes in list format of the railroad name, reporting marks and type for the first 18 auto racks. The order of the list depicts the order of the auto racks as they are on the track starting with the first auto rack north of Township Road 182 with UP TTGX 995204 and ending with BNSF TTGX 965095.

UPTTGX 995204Bi-Level
UPTTGX 604313Bi-Level
UPTTGX 991678Bi-Level
NSTTGX 996582Bi-Level
UPTTGX 991757Bi-Level
CNCNA 712721Bi-Level
UPTTGX 991277Bi-Level
NSTTGX 980664Bi-Level
CSXTTGX 253344Bi-Level
UPTTGX 255721Bi-Level
CP RAILTTGX 981526Bi-Level
UPTTGX 516921Bi-Level
UPTTGX 965046Bi-Level
UPTTGX 982758Bi-Level
CONRAILTTGX 963142Bi-Level
CONRAILTTGX 970789Bi-Level
CSXTTGX 931189Bi-Level
UPTTGX 159847Bi-Level
TFMTTGX 994737Bi-Level
CONRAILTTGX 603753Bi-Level
TFMTTGX 995796Bi-Level
TFMTTGX 995651Bi-Level
CSXTTGX 152538Bi-Level
UPTTGX 994965Bi-Level
BNSFTTGX 997339Bi-Level
BNSFTTGX 965095Bi-Level

The following photos of the auto racks are ordered similar to the list above in a left to right, up and down direction.

You will notice that in the last photo the doors facing me on either end of the auto rack are opened. It appeared to be the same for the remainder of the auto racks.

Soon after those 27 auto racks, the agitated hawk was starting to get aggressive so I high tailed it out of there to come back later in the fall when nesting season is done and he’s gone for the winter.

Goggle Earth kmz file.