Frank Carroll Photography: Blog en-us (C) Frank Carroll Photography (Frank Carroll Photography) Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:51:00 GMT Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:51:00 GMT Frank Carroll Photography: Blog 120 120 How the Railroads built many of our small towns How the railroads built many of our small towns.


In the first few centuries of our country towns were built near water transportation, along lakes rivers and coastlines.  Transport by water was simples, easy, and, other than ships and boats required fairly simple infrastructure.  The docks served to warehouse the goods coming and going through the port, or on the river quays.


It was an arduous task for many farmers, lumbermen and other industries to deliver goods and materials to the large ports.  Poor roads connecting the interior towns to the ocean ports and the river terminals, hindered the development of our country for approximately the first two centuries.


With the development and invention of steam locomotives in England in the first quarter of the 19th century gave a boost, first to mining, then to other industries, including passenger service.  Making travel easier and safer for goods and materials started the industrial revolution, and also gave a tremendous boost for passenger travel.


As the railroads built their way across the country to connect the large cities, small towns sprung up.  Many of these towns were purpose built to service the steam engines, which consumed hundreds of gallons of water, and cords of wood.  By the turn of the twentieth century the steam engines, still kings of the rails, now consumed fuel oil and coal, instead of wood, but water was always very important.  The railroads also needed service facilities for the engines and rolling stock, plus this also allowed the local farmers and industries to ship their goods to the larger markets and ports.  Business began to  boom, and more people moved to the communities, and many small towns became destinations for tourists.  More about towns that were actual tourist destinations in another article.


Since this is just a basic article about how railroads helped build small towns, I won’t detour into the seamier side of the railroad conglomerates.  I will publish another article about the business practices of build the railroads across the country.


What were many times a section station, with appropriate facilities for maintenance of the railroad, became small towns.  Railroad employees needed services, food and other goods to survive, and the region around that small town now had a way to mine, grow, and harvest products to be shipped to other places near and far.


Whether it was gold mining, or timber, railroads carried the goods.  Many a railroad company was formed for the sole purpose of transporting gold and silver out of the western mining districts.  The towns quickly grew with schools, churches, hardware and mercantile shops, along with a post office, blacksmith, and many other services and retail shops.


By the end of the 19th century the railroads in the US had reached nearly their ultimate building of their lines connecting the cities and towns across our country.  There were some declines because of recessions, and other business declines.  Some gold and silver mining districts had played out, consolidation of some of the smaller railroads removed some of the duplication of routes, and a majority of the larger communities were now connected.  


Railroads now streamlined their equipment, and their advertising.  Larger and faster steam engines were developed and built, along with refrigerated cars, and of course, safer and more reliable equipment.  The advertising by the railroads developed into a true industry, luring people to not only move to small towns in far away places, but for people to spend vacations in exotic places like Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks.


The two world wars really demonstrated the effectiveness of a strong rail system crisscrossing this country to ship goods, war materials, and soldiers to the coastal ports.  It is also the wars that showed the shortcomings of the railroads in efficiently handling all of the needs of a global conflict.  


It was the wars that also hastened the decline of the passenger traffic for the railroads.  The wars developed the airplanes, making them safe and efficient transport for human passengers, delivering us even quicker to our vacation and business destinations than the railroads.  The building of the interstate highway system also added to the decline of railroad passenger traffic; and one would also have to add the improvements of the automobile over the twenty years after the end of World War II.


Since World War II we have seen many railroads form huge conglomerate rail lines. These mega-railroads no longer carry passengers, that is a quasi-government road; the railroads of today are haulers of huge unit trains for coal, and intermodal traffic, with a few mixed trains of goods.


That is a brief history of the railroads and how they helped build our country during the industrial revolution beginning in the 1820’s.  Some small towns and communities will have different influences and outcomes with railroads, but those are better covered in individual blogs about those communities.


]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:50:39 GMT
"The Crummy" The Caboose, also know as the crummy, and other, sometimes derogatory names, was the conductor's office.  The conductor, was the manager of the train, keeping the paperwork on the trains schedule, the cars that made up the train, and other pertinent information.  The caboose came into regular use by the railroads during the 1830's, and the form eventually evolved to the steel car with windows and a cupola or bay window. The term caboose derives from the Dutch word kabhuis which referred to a cooking shack on the deck of a sailing ship.  Today, the caboose is retired in favor of an end of train signal, eliminating the conductor and brakemen.

The caboose was also used to watch the train for hot bearings, shifting loads and other problems.  The caboose was also a house and kitchen for the crew on long hauls and protected the crew from inclement weather.  Many stories and songs were written about the caboose and the crew that rode the rails in them.

Please enjoy the photos I took while riding the cupola of the caboose on the Nevada Southern Railroad on the trip from Boulder City to Railroad Pass near Las Vegas.

Find a local excursion railroad that has a caboose or two in their equipment roster; and, maybe like the Nevada Southern, you too can ride the caboose.

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Nevada Southern Railroad caboose crummy railroad train Tue, 21 Mar 2017 21:29:29 GMT
Useful Tools for Photographers We all look for items that help us with our photography skills, making it easier to control the light reaching the film or the camera sensor.  I have found the following useful in my work, and I hope they will assist you in making your next photo shoot a bit easier.

  • Table 1. Exposure times, in seconds or minutes (m), for various exposure values and f-numbers
    EV f-number
    1.0 1.4 2.0 2.8 4.0 5.6 8.0 11 16 22 32 45 64
    −6 60 2 m 4 m 8 m 16 m 32 m 64 m 128 m 256 m 512 m 1024 m 2048 m 4096 m
    −5 30 60 2 m 4 m 8 m 16 m 32 m 64 m 128 m 256 m 512 m 1024 m 2048 m
    −4 15 30 60 2 m 4 m 8 m 16 m 32 m 64 m 128 m 256 m 512 m 1024 m
    −3 8 15 30 60 2 m 4 m 8 m 16 m 32 m 64 m 128 m 256 m 512 m
    −2 4 8 15 30 60 2 m 4 m 8 m 16 m 32 m 64 m 128 m 256 m
    −1 2 4 8 15 30 60 2 m 4 m 8 m 16 m 32 m 64 m 128 m
    0 1 2 4 8 15 30 60 2 m 4 m 8 m 16 m 32 m 64 m
    1 1/2 1 2 4 8 15 30 60 2 m 4 m 8 m 16 m 32 m
    2 1/4 1/2 1 2 4 8 15 30 60 2 m 4 m 8 m 16 m
    3 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 2 4 8 15 30 60 2 m 4 m 8 m
    4 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 2 4 8 15 30 60 2 m 4 m
    5 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 2 4 8 15 30 60 2 m
    6 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 2 4 8 15 30 60
    7 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 2 4 8 15 30
    8 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 2 4 8 15
    9 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 2 4 8
    10 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 2 4
    11 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 2
    12 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2 1
    13 1/8000 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4 1/2
    14   1/8000 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 1/4
    15     1/8000 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8
    16       1/8000 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15
    17         1/8000 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30
    18           1/8000 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60
    19             1/8000 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125
    20               1/8000 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250
    21                 1/8000 1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500
    EV 1.0 1.4 2.0 2.8 4.0 5.6 8.0 11 16 22 32 45 64
  •  (a detailed comparison of Nikon and Canon Camera


There are charts and tables available for various cameras, Neutral Density filter calculators and more.  The ones above are basic and a great help for all levels of photographers. These make it much easier than memorizing all of the details, although you will memorize some of them as you use the settings and study them as you do your photography.


]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) charts comparisons photography tables Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:51:00 GMT
Davenport Locomotive at the Nevada Southern RR Museum This little 30 ton locomotive worked around the Hoover Dam and the railroad yards that served the dam from the yard in Boulder City.  This little locomotive worked in the area from 1936 till the yard in Boulder City closed in the early 1960's. Hauling all sorts of electrical equipment and materials to finish the Hoover Dam in the last half of the 1930's, it continued to work until it was retired in the early 1960's.  Please visit the Nevada Southern RR Museum in Boulder City, NV where this locomotive is retired, and resting.  If you have or plan to have one of these on your model railroad, please visit our facility to get all of those details for your model correct. 

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) ."Hoover 30-ton Boulder City Dam". Davenport Locomotive Nevada Mon, 13 Mar 2017 21:57:03 GMT
Work at the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum Being the photographer at the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum (NSRM) is fun, challenging, and lets you be a kid again.  I remember the days when my dad would help me with my Lionel trains, take me on trips on the railroad, and just have fun watching the trains go by.  I no longer have a model railroad layout, no room at home, so I play in 0ne to one scale; the engines and cars are bigger, and weigh a lot more.

As a photographer you find yourself taking photos of the train leaving the depot, crossing bridges, and making it's way back and forth along the rail line.  At this point, the NSRM has a short 45 minute round trip ride from Boulder City to Railroad Pass.  This will change in the future when the new I-11 bypass is finished around Boulder City.  One also takes photos of the riders as they board the train, enjoy storytime and crafts, visit and ride the scale live steamers trains. NSRM also has special trains designed for the seasons, like the Santa Train, Pajama Train and more.

The museum also has a number of static displays of railroad equipment, a boneyard you can visit, and scale model railroads located in one of the passenger cars located next to the train platform.  Lots to do and see, plus spend some time with the volunteer staff learning how this railroad helped build one of the world's engineering wonders, the Hoover Dam.

Next time you visit Las Vegas, or if you are a resident of the area, please take the time to make the thirty minute trip from the Strip out to Boulder City.  If you see me on the train platform, stop and chat, I'll be happy to assist you in great places to photograph the trains.

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Arizona Colorado River Hoover Dam Lake Mead Nevada O'Callaghan/Tillman Memorial Bridge Union Pacific bureau of reclamation photography railroad Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:11:52 GMT
The Shamrock, TX Conoco  

The Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café is located along historic Route 66 in Shamrock, Tx.

  • Built in 1936 by J. M. Tindall and R. C. Lewis at the cost of $23,000;

  • John Nunn drew his idea for the station on the ground with an old nail.

  • With its Art Deco detailing and two towers, the building was designed and constructed to be three separate structures.

  • The first was the Tower Conoco Station, named for the dominating four-sided obelisk rising from the flat roof and topped by a metal tulip.

  • The second was the U-Drop Inn Café, which got its name from a local schoolboy's winning entry in a naming contest.

  • The third structure was supposed to be a retail store that instead became an overflow seating area for the café.

  • The Tower Station was the first commercial business located on the newly designated Route 66 in Shamrock and is one of the most imposing and architecturally creative buildings along the length of the road.

  • Until about the late 1970s, the Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café was light brick with green glazed tiles.

  • Now refurbished with light pink concrete highlighted by green paint, it still looks much the same as it did during the heyday of the Mother Road.

  • The towering spire above the service station still spells out C-O-N-O-C-O, a reminder of the booming business that the Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café once saw.


Today, the City of Shamrock owns the building, which it has fully restored using a Federal Transportation Enhancements Grant and local fundraising. Visitors are welcome to the station, which is now operating as a visitor center, chamber of commerce office, and community center.



]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Conoco Route 66 Shamrock Texas service station Wed, 04 Jan 2017 22:03:33 GMT
Doors - From the inside, or is it the outside?

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) doors gates Thu, 03 Nov 2016 22:45:00 GMT
A Wonderful Sojourn

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Arkansas El Rancho Memphis Missouri Route 66 UP 844 doors steam engine Mon, 31 Oct 2016 22:12:42 GMT
The Eureka and Palisade Railroad Eureka_Palisade blogEureka_Palisade blogA short history of the Eureka and Palisade RR in Nevada


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]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Sat, 27 Aug 2016 23:32:33 GMT
VIrginia and Truckee Railroad pt 2 V&T pg 2V&T pg 2


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]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Carson City Nevada Virginia City Virginia and Truckee excursion railroad steam trains Sat, 27 Aug 2016 22:48:20 GMT
The Virginia and Truckee Railroad V&T pt 1V&T pt 1

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]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Carson City Nevada RR Truckee Virginia and history short Tue, 16 Aug 2016 17:40:07 GMT
Rusty Diamond T Rusty Diamond TRusty Diamond TA rusty old Diamond T truck in Chloride, AZ

A rusty old Diamond T truck in Chloride, AZ

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) AZ Chloride antique diamond ghost t town truck Thu, 11 Aug 2016 17:00:39 GMT
Improving your photo skills - more practice. In practicing my avocation, or hobby to some, I find that sitting at home looking at the TV or computer screen does not improve my photo skills, neither does it help my waistline.  With warmer weather this week, I am planning more adventures outdoors, down to the park, taking the dogs to the bark park, and a bit more hiking.

What to do on this assignment:

  1. select your lens, I will use my 85mm lens;  no photos with any people in them, just the dogs at the dog park;
  2. gather your other equipment, monopod, or tripod, jacket, water, etc;
  3. at the dog park I plan on taking photos of my two Cairn terriers from ground level, so some sort of ground cover will be needed
    1. take shots of the dogs playing with other dogs
    2. get shots of them fetching toys
  4. on the trail hike I will take ten shots as I first reach the trail head (approx 30 degree turn for each photo); walk approximately 100 yards and repeat;
  5. in the park near our home I will take photos around the park, including the baseball diamond; the picnic tables and grills, the children's  play area, and the bare trees.

Save all of the photos in one file, name it assignment 1 or (date) + assignment.  Now you will go back to each of these places after the trees and bushes have started to leaf and repeat the photos you have taken on the first run of this assignment, add people if possible, but do not show faces. Make a good effort to match the photos together from the first to the second trips; study each shot, and note the differences.  You may want to write down what you see different in each shot, from the greenery, to the lighting, note the warmth or coolness of the lighting; what the addition of people adds to the scene, and whatever else you notice.

What should you notice?  This is what this assignment is all about, what you see in each shot and scene, how light, leaves on trees, and people make the second set of photos different.  This also helps you as a photographer to SEE  what is in the scenes you take.

Note:  You might want to take a plastic garbage bag along to remove some of the visible trash so you photos will look neater.

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) assignment bark park camera parks photography photos Wed, 10 Feb 2016 15:00:00 GMT
Early history of Kingman, AZ

Kingman, AZ

The US War Department directed Lt E.F. Beale of the US Navy to chart and build a road across the southern tier of states along the 35th Parallel, and to test the feasibility of using camels as a mode of transport.  Lt. Beale traveled through the Kingman area in 1857, and built a part of the road in 1859.You may find remnants of the old wagon road in White Cliffs Canyon; Beale Springs is named after the surveyor and engineer.

The Town of Kingman was founded in 1862 when Arizona was still a territory.  The town was a siding and stop along the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad during those early years; the town was named for Lewis Kingman, a surveyor for the railroad.  Kingman became the county seat after several transfers between Mojave City (1864-67), Hardyville (1867),  Cerbat (1873)< Mineral Park (1877-76) and Kingman in 1887.

More about Kingman soon.

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]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Arizona Kingman history photography Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:33:00 GMT
Improving your Photography Now that you have your basic photography gear, and you have read your camera manual from cover to cover, and studied the camera functions, we will move to the next steps.  One must practice their hobby just as they would a new vocation, and put in plenty of practice; very few people sit down at a piano for the first time and play Rachmaninoff's Variations on a theme, it takes years of practice.

What should you practice, and how?

  1. Decide what you feel your favorite subject(s) are, note them down;
  2. develop a training schedule, you might take three days per week, or so many hours per day and take photos of one of your subjects from point one; use only shutter speed and aperture value to obtain proper exposure leaving the ISO at 200;
  3. spend time studying each of the photos, delete the obvious over/under exposures, out of focus, etc, keep the best in one file
  4. select a second of your subjects and repeat items two and three;
  5. go back to your first subject and repeat the photo session but, change backgrounds, do the same for your second subject; compare all photos together, selecting the best photo of the two subjects;

After doing this for two weeks, comparing the photographs, you should be able to select four good pictures that represent the two subjects, or maybe four subjects.  Next round I will review the f/16 rule.

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) camera learning photography Wed, 03 Feb 2016 22:45:00 GMT
The O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge The O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge

This engineering marvel of the 21st century is the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States, and is the widest concrete arch bridge in the western hemisphere.  The bridge was built because of several factors, including the steep grades, sharp hairpin turns, and the narrow road approaching, and crossing the Hoover Dam, plus the security worries brought on by 9/11.

The bridge was designed to be compatible with the engineering design of the Hoover Dam. The pedestrian walkway provides a stunning view of Hoover Dam, a view provided before only by helicopter, or rough climbing.

Tourists now have two engineering marvels to visit in the Las Vegas area.  One should plan a few hours to stop and visit the Hoover Dam and Bridge.  Take plenty of photos for the memories.

Visit Gallery

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Arizona Colorad River Dam Hoover Nevada O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge US93 Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:30:00 GMT
Morro Bay and Morro Rock Morro Bay and Morro Rock

The Chumash (Native American tribe) were the first peoples to inhabit this region of the California coast, building a settlement along and near Morro Creek.  The next people to visit and inhabit the area were the Spanish.  The town of Morro Bay was founded by Franklin Riley who built the docks and town to export the dairy and other ranch products from the inland area to the large cities along the California coast.

The city became a fishing center in the 1940’s, after an extended period of vacation development from the early twentieth century.  During World War II the beaches north of the rock were used by the US Navy for amphibious landing training.  Today, the town is a vacation spot , especially for photographers; although there is still some fishing.

Morro Rock is the most striking feature of the city and bay.  The area attracts photographers from all over the world for the spectacular scenic provided by the rock, sunsets, and weather. 

Morro Bay is a great place to spend a weekend or a week, enjoying the wonderful restaurants, the views, and taking photographs as the sun, rock and Mother Nature provide the scenic wonders.

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]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) California California Coast Chumash Morro Bay, photography Fri, 29 Jan 2016 15:30:00 GMT
Improving your photography - the camera Improving your photography

I have discussed the equipment you might consider for your photography, but not in depth.  I will begin with that side of your hobby/avocation in this blog, beginning with your camera.

I do not recommend a “full automatic” camera, including those available for your smart phone.  Yes, there are apps for camera smart phones that add to your abilities to adjust the input of your photos.

Therefore, find a camera that provides you the ability to adjust these basic three items:

  1. ISO – the ‘film’ speed; low numbers mean greater detail, high ISO numbers allow you to shoot in lower light, but add grain and noise to the photo
  2. Shutter speed – low numbers (1/30 sec and lower) provide motion blur, and low light capabilities; high numbers (1/125 and higher) stop the motion
  3. f/stop or aperture, control light, and also the depth of field

These three items allow you to create a different feel in your photos, from stopping the movement of a race car, to allowing the blur of the water as it drops over a waterfall; from having only the focal point in focus, and blurry in front an behind that point or the whole photo being in focus.

These are the primary controls you have over the photos you take.  Please find a good camera with these three controls available; do not depend on icons of flowers, or a runner to provide these controls.  In future blogs I will explain more about the individual controls in more depth.

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) ISO apeture camera shutter speed Wed, 27 Jan 2016 16:00:00 GMT
Why were the Big Boys built? Why were the Big Boys built?

The Union Pacific (UP), along with many other railroads needed more power to pull ever longer and heavier trains.  Beginning in the early 1900’s railroads sought other means of pulling the trains other than just adding more engines and crews to pull the freight.  The articulated locomotive was developed by a Swiss engineer named Mallet.  He took two engine-driver wheel sets, and hinged one in front to turn, rather than a longer, rigid frame, which made it more difficult to manage curves in the tracks.

These Mallet’s, or articulated locomotives gave the railroads what they needed in larger, heavier, and more powerful  locomotives to pull those heavier trains.  Most Class I railroads, like the UP, built a variety of sizes of these behemoths.

The UP 4014 and her 24 sisters were the culmination of this type of steam engine, as the diesel age had begun, and more and more of the diesels were added to the fleets of railroad power.  The Big Boys were the last steam engines built for the UP and were used to pull the long freights over Sherman Hill in Wyoming.

More information about these locomotives here:

]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) Mallet Sherman Hill UP Union Pacific articulated steam engine Mon, 25 Jan 2016 18:45:00 GMT
Post War Kelso After the war.

‚ÄčKelso declined rather rapidly after the war ended.  Steam engines were replaced with the new diesel electrics, first the passenger trains then slowly the freight trains had diesel engines at the point rather than the smoke belching,m and fire breathing steam engines.  The diesels did not require the frequent stops for water that the steam locomotives did, and with the advent of dining cars in the 1930's, fewer passengers visited Kelso.  as the freight trains were replaced with the diesel engines, the helpers were no longer necessary to make the Cima grade.

The silver and gold mines were closed at the beginning of the war, and the poor quality of the iron ore at the mine south of Kelso, that mine did not last either.  Much of the cattle that were transported by the railroad now moved by truck to market.  During the 1950's and early 60's the engine shops were dismantled along with the water and coaling facilities.  Soon there was not much left but a maintenance crew. For over two decades the Kelso depot languished, falling into disrepair and was in sad shape.

More about the depot next time.

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]]> (Frank Carroll Photography) California Kelso Union Pacific depot diesel railroad steam locomotive Fri, 22 Jan 2016 17:00:00 GMT