Some photos of my railfanning around the East Bay 2012 is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.


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What camera/lens combo were you using for those far zoom shots of the trains passing the refinery (or whatever it is)? Those shots are truly remarkable for the lack of heat waves or other distortion.

Good shot of the osprey. I take my osprey action shots hand held with my 100-400 zoom. A tripod mounted 4.0/600 would probably be too cumbersome to capture the action like you did
Thanks Bill, and it is a refinery by the way, ConocoPhillips to be precise. Those were taken with my 1D4 and 100 to 400, as was the Osprey shot. And yes, there is no easy way to wield a 600 hand held, but I've used a Wimberly head on a buddies tripod and was able to track pretty well with it, as well as a Really Right Stuff monopod. Not something I would like to hike around with of course(not to mention they are not cheap), but a lot of guys use them around the marshes here in winter and get really good results.

We've had a very cool summer here for the most part, which has made for some great long distance shots I usually can only get in colder months. I caught the C&NW heritage unit at that same location this weekend, and will post them once I get them downloaded off the camera and converted.


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Barley caught a shot of this one, I had just pulled up. Looks like a nice way to travel


And from a while back, some shots of the very sharp looking UP 1995, the C&NW heritage unit. It was a beautiful afternoon and people were out enjoying the cooling effects of the bay.






I wish I had mad clone tool skills to get rid of the bush that protrudes into this shot.

And the last one heading away.


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That roadbed is so well manicured that it looks like a model railroad layout.
Doesn't it though? I'm guessing that the CADTX money helps with that as by far the most traffic on the line is Amtrak California. But over on the BNSF, they just finished doing major tie and ballast work as well, and it looks equally as nice for now.


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I've been spending time after work in Franklin Canyon lately. They have been replacing ties and re-ballasting the whole line. There is a nice spot in the shade where I can sit in the car and wait for trains. I was surprised to see a westbound auto rack train in the afternoon. Usually I get the UPS train.



I usually get eastbound auto trains on the weekends, like this one.



The American Kestrel (a member of the falcon family) hunting above didn't seem to take notice. He quickly found something to eat and went into an amazingly fast dive.

Unfortunately, the afternoon light doesn't favor eastbound trains in the canyon, which runs much east and west.


Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Good catch of the kestrel. They are very shy and usually won't let you get close. It must have thought you just a part of the landscape.


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They were putting away the switcher for the night just as I pulled up. Nice to see the old EMDs still working hard.


This is on the other side of tunnel number three in Franklin Canyon from where I usually park. It was once the longest tunnel on the Santa Fe system. Of course this one came from the wrong way to make the light work the best. I will be checking this area out more in winter when the sun is either covered or in a different spot.



Now I was out yesterday checking out an Osprey next at the California Maritime Academy pier in Vallejo, and happened to catch an Amtrak. It was an oddly cloudy summer afternoon for this area, but I took some snaps. I don't know how this view would work on a sunny afternoon.

The nest if anyone is interested. We are crawling with Osprey nests this year, and they are all over the Carquinez strait hunting. The chicks are starting to learn to fly as well. These were taken from a vista point on the bike trail of the I-80 bridge spanning the Carquinez Strait.

Capital Corridor rounding the bend from Rodeo into Crockett

Capital Corridor across the bay from me heading under the Dead Fish restaurant in Crockett California. So so food, but the bar has a great view of the water.

Then past the Nantucket restaurant.

The mommy and daddy Ospreys are very protective of their nest!

And one last BNSF in Pinole for the week. This one had been held for a while in Hercules before finally getting the green for the last leg into San Pablo.

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
There are at least three osprey nests near me that I photogrpah, but none are near Puget Sound or the railroad tracks. The osprey have been diving for fish at low tide below Sunset Ave., which provides entertainment and action photo ops when a train is not passing by.


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California Zephyr running west along San Pablo Bay...One more stop before its final destination of Emeryville California.


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I was out of town for the weekend, so nothing new, but I like this one. Out of the haze, six Geeps show themselves heading back to the Ozal yard from Oakland, slowing as they head through the C&H Sugar plant.


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Taken from the same spot, but this time at 24mm on a full frame versus 400mm on a cropper. Lots of leased equipment working the Martinez sub lately.


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Thought I missed my shot when I pulled into my spot just as the afternoon UPS train was passing. I decided to stay and read for a bit and see if any hawks showed up, when just 20 minutes later, this very short train showed up following right behind. Glad I stayed.


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Are there any signals at your spots which can tip you off that trains are coming?
No where close. There is a just a signal at the switch for the Christie siding, but it stays dark until the train rolls over it. I usually just try my luck after work as the westbound UPS train is usually there between 3 and 5. If not, that is what a couple of photo magazines and a big drink are for!

Westbound Capital Corridor leaving Ozal yard in Martinez


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Well, my computer that I do most of my photo editing on took a dump. So while I am assembling parts for a new one (it was time anyway), here are a couple recently shot from the cliff at Pinole shores similar to others I have posted. I am working on some new locations hopefully soon, when my mandatory overtime at work ends and allows more exploration time.



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I wish I used a slower shutter speed on this one. I would have like the blur to be more pronounced on the passenger train as it speeds past the holding UP freight, but with full sunlight, I would have needed a ND filter to do it right. Still, it was nice of the freight to stop ahead of the crossing, giving me ample time to take multiple shots of it.

Now if only the sun would cooperate...


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Forgot the ones from the other side of the train. Either way it was tough because it was later afternoon and I was shooting right into the sun. Still cool to be able to be that close and have time to compose.

Further out

Way far out with max zoom.

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Does anyone else see a resemblance between these new EMD(?) units and ALCO's old Century series with the small number boards; narrow, rectangular windshields; and the notches in the short hoods which house the sand filler pipes?


I had to look at some ALCO photos to compare, but yes there is a vague resemblance. I find the ALCO's much more appealing particularly the SP&S paint scheme. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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