The Caboose

This last page is just some boring information (foamings?) about some of the slides shown here and even a bit about myself.

Cameras: For Christmas of 1963 at the age of 15 my Mom gave me a used Kodak Rangefinder 35mm camera and after trying it out with a couple of rolls of black&white film, I loaded up my first roll of Kodachrome II. Joe Seidl, whom I've known for nearly 50 (!)  years now, was old enough to drive, so we headed to Green Bay, WI and got some of the C&NW's F-units and Fairbanks-Morse units on film. Back in those days, no one seemed to mind kids wandering around railroad yards with camera in hand. This camera, while ok, really wasn't all that great, so by July of 1967 after earning money by cutting the neighbor's grass and so on, I was able to buy a new Miranda model "G". This was the same camera as Joe was using then, so of course I could borrow his telephoto lenses! This camera worked well enough for me for about 9 years. In 1976 I finally upgraded to the Canon AE-1, and then in 1979 I traded that in on a Canon A-1. That camera has been scrapped, but I am still using the A-1 series, with 2 newer A-1's, and I have the 5 fps motor drives for them, along with various lenses, including a 24mm, and 35-105 and 80-200L zooms, all Canon FD series. And even today (September 2011) I am still shooting film! Of course Kodachrome has gone away, so I am using Provia 100F now. It is a good film, and it does scan better than Kodachrome  did. See update below....all of my A-1's are now scrapped or retired. I had 5 A-1's but 3 of them have died and with the ever increasing costs of film and processing I have decided to go over to the Dark Side, aka digital.

Film: I've always used Kodak's Kodachrome film - mainly on the advice of my Grandfather. I am sure glad that I did - especially seeing how badly Ektachromes and Agfa slides taken in the early '60's have faded. When I started railfanning, it was Kodachrome II, then in 1976 the Kodachrome 25/64 series came out (this was when I was living in Canada, and the K25/64 film was marketed later there). I have tried the odd roll of Fuji, but I just don't like its color balance. I have recently tried the new Fuji Provia 100F film, and while it is very good, it still is not as good as Kodachrome! The Fuji film seems to be a bit bluish (or colder) in the color balance as compared to Kodachrome. This was noticed when comparing slides shot of the same subject at the same time with 2 cameras, one with K64 and the other with Provia 100F. Now that Kodachrome is on the endangered species list, I am thinking about if I want to join the 21st century and go digital, or try out various films from Fuji and Kodak as a replacement for Kodachrome. So far, I feel there is no substitute for Kodachrome, so as long as Kodak still makes it, I'll be shooting it. Update! Now that Kodachrome is no longer being made, I am now shooting Provia 100F (and the odd roll of Provia 400X) and I think it is a lot better than it was a few years ago - see my photos in the Road Trip 2009 section. All photos taken after September 1, 2010 are on Provia 100F or are digital (yes, I can feel the power of the Dark Side!).

Update August 31, 2012: Well it has finally happened - I am now shooting 100% digital! In October 2011 I bought a Canon 7D with a 24-105mm f 4.0L IS zoom lens.  I have since added a 70-200mm f 2.8L IS Mark 2 and a 17-40mm  f 4.0L zoom lens, along with another 7D body. I have sold all of my film cameras and equipment.

Scans: The older scans were made with the HP PhotoSmart scanner (original model), saved as .jpg files of about 215K each at 600x800 resolution. Scans made since Sept. 2001 are made with the Nikon ED4000 Super Coolscan at 1024x768 resolution and about 115K file size. I have been rescanning some of the older slides with the Nikon, and the results are worth the extra time it takes. I've also become better at fixing the flaws in the older photos with Photoshop (i.e., removing dust spots and other problems, and also optimizing the color balance, sharpness, and so on). Update! I am now scanning the slides using the VueScan software and posting them at 1300x900 resolution at 72 dpi. I feel that the VueScan software is far superior to the Nikon software supplied with the scanner. Eventually I would like to re-scan all of the older photos but that will take a while....

A little bit about me <if your monitor hasn't broken yet :)>. I was born in 1949 in Iowa, but grew up in Menominee, Michigan. I graduated from Michigan Tech University in Houghton, MI in 1971 and my first job was with the K-Mart store in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Quickly realizing that retail work wasn't for me, and wanting to work on a railroad, I applied at the Algoma Central "for anything" and 2 days later they offered me a "temporary" job as a car checker. I did that for a year, then I wrote my "C" book exam and went operating. This was taking and delivering train orders and other office work. I wrote the "B" book exam to become an agent and then also sold tickets at some of the stations on the ACR. I did train for a dispatcher's position (and wrote my "A" book exam), however the day after I finished the training they cut off 8 jobs in the agency. Not having enough seniority to hold anything at Steelton year round I decided to move out here to the Phoenix AZ area where the rest of my relatives were, and since then I have worked various jobs in the electronics and aerospace industry (Motorola, Allied-Signal Aerospace, Met-One, Convergent Media). That certainly was a long ways from selling passenger tickets and hooping up  trainorders at Frater Station....! I also was a partner in The Railfan Photographer magazine (now The Railroad Press). I am now retired and enjoying myself.

This picture of me was taken July 24, 1998 by John Sharp while at the throttle of the Belton, Grandview & Kansas City RR's GP9 in Belton, Missouri running at all of 10 mph! Still, a lot of fun for $20.00.
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Some links to other sites you may want to check out.....


Carr Tracks

Copper Range and other Upper Michigan RR's

Belton, Grandview & Kansas City RR Museum

Excellent site for Canadian only photos!



Duluth/Superior Wis. Railfanning

More Info on the ACR with rosters, modeling, etc.

Southwest Shorts by Wes Carr

USA by Rail



If you want to learn about Michigan's Upper Peninsula, pasties, da yoopers eh, etc. click here.

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This Web Page and all photos on it are copyright 1998-2013 by Ted Ellis. All rights reserved.