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Edition #216  February 15, 2014

The Waterplug

Photographer: Kevin N. Tomasic

                                                                                                                  Photo by Kevin N. Tomasic

The Waterplug

As photographers, we pride ourselves on being able to see things and capture them on the medium of our choosing, either film or digital. We also pride ourselves on getting a different view, a unique angle or using light in a new and interesting way.

I’ve seen dozens of views of firemen filling tenders at waterplugs and most are pretty straightforward. You know--the old holding the lever, looking down into the tank, lest it overflow shot and these are great, but how many times can you see this? There have been others shot from the coal pile or the top of a train car behind the tender….etc. I’ve no problem with any of these, but recently I was presented with something different.

I was down in Cumberland, Maryland, watching the preparations being made for the WM Scenic’s 2-8-0 #734 to haul some happy tourists up the mountain and as part of the work; the fireman had decided to give the steamer a drink. Of course, I watched him intently hoping for “my” filling the tender fireman photo, since in all my years of rail photography I’ve never taken this shot. The light was pretty good to shoot either the front or the back of the waterplug. As I walked back a bit and looked up to size up the shot, I noticed something sparkling in the sun—it was the water pouring out of the standpipe and into the funnel/spout which directs it down into the tender hatch. I watched it for a little while, kind of marveling that I’d never noticed this before. The shot came easy and looked just the way I wanted it to.

I’m happy I got the shot, but now I wonder—what else have I missed over the years by not looking closer?

Kevin N. Tomasic


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