Famous Train Photographer?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by spb, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. spb


    Not sure this is the right forum, but here goes...

    Can anyone tell me the name of the American photographer who worked - I
    believe - from the 30s to the 50s and was famous for his powerful night shots
    of steam trains? All I can remember is that he would wait for a train at a
    likely spot and capture it with a gigantic flash setup. Googled the hell out
    of this one, can't find anything.


  2. O. Winston Link ( i bet you are getting a dozen answers within a minute of me hitting
    send. ;~)
  3. spb


    Thanks very much! Why is it so hard to remember that name? Got up on Google and found the classic pic of this guy. Does this say "intrepid photographer" or what?
  4. mind you : he used flash bulbs so after every single frame, each bulb needed to be replaced!

    Now That's Dedication!
  5. :) I have a couple of those three-headed flashes, and hundreds of big edison-base bulbs.

    Me thinks it is time to revive the old Art of the Bulbs.
  6. spb


    And from the looks of his equipment, he used a *lot* of flashbulbs!

    After more Googling, I found that there's actually a O. Winston Link Museum. http://www.linkmuseum.org/index.html

    It's in Roanoke, VA. Coincidentally, I'm going there this weekend to visit relatives for Christmas. I might try to sneak away from the festivities and check out this museum - if it's open the day before Christmas, that is.
  7. Seems I read that on his shot of the train passing the drive in movie, he used 10,000 flashbulbs
  8. spb


    I was just looking at some of his photos online. I think you must be right about the drive-in picture. There was another one - a couple standing on their front porch watching the train go by. Looks like he used one bank of lights for the train, another for the couple, and a third illuminating a small section of wooden fence in the middle ground - so it wouldn't be just a black space. That was a simple setup - he must have had to get pretty creative with some of the others.

    His trains are amazing, but sometimes I find his juxtaposition of train with everyday life a little odd. Humorous sometimes - like the one of a group of 50s-looking "beautiful people" lounging around a swimming pool with this big, freakin' steam train puffing along in the background. Probably need to read a bit more about what he was trying to say.
  9. Check out the books if you can ('Steam, Steel, and Stars' and 'The Last Steam RR in America'). It looks like the museum has them for about $25 each but I've gotten both from the local library and the photographs are really pretty spectacular, and interesting from a historical perspective. I can't remember if it's mentioned in the books, but I've always wondered what the poor engineer must have gone through in the split second all those bulbs fired from the pitch darkness.
  10. Another bit of triva:

    In the movie "October Sky" O. Winston Link has a cameo part as a steam locomotive engineer.
  11. Jack Floyd
    Seems I read that on his shot of the train passing the drive in movie, he used 10,000 flashbulbs
    That's an insane amount of light! Whew. Does everyone realize how much light some of the edison-base bulbs put out? Hundreds of times the power of a typical hammerhead flashes.
    Somewhere around here I have the Giant Mazda (#75?) that was used for aerial photography. I'm half afraid to handle it.
    (BTW - Isn't that drive-in picture actually two images combined?)
  12. "BTW - Isn't that drive-in picture actually two images combined?"

    I believe the plane on the screen was actually added in the darkroom. (What are the chances of a motion picture frame coincidentally synchronizing with his shutter?)
  13. spb


    re: airplane - I was wondering about that? It did seem a bit coincidental, especially with all those flashes going off nearby.

    re: Books - I'll take a look. Wonder if they're still in print. I understand they came out in the 80s, long after O.W. retired.

    re: Mazda #75 - You mean one of these muthas? http://www.darklightimagery.net/mazda75.html

    And linking off from darklight, I found this pic that seems relevant: http://www.meggaflash.com/Sustut%20River%20Bridge%20photographed%20using%20meggaflash%20flashbulb2.htm

    O.W. would be proud!
  14. re: Mazda #75 - You mean one of these muthas? http://www.darklightimagery.net/ mazda75.html
    Yes, that's it. I am hoping to find time to use these bulbs.
  15. I believe his bulb of choice was the Wabash #0, which a guide number in the 300s. I don't think that he ever used the massive Mazda #75, which, as I recall, was more of a special use military bulb from WWII rather than one that would be available to the average photographer.

    By the way, several of the Applebee's restaurants around here have a poster-sized copy of Hot-shot Eastbound(the one at the movie theater) hanging up somewhere. Since I love trains, and O. Winston link is one of my favorite photographers, it's always a treat for me.
  16. Here's one of "OWL"'s favorite haunts with my nephew, visiting from London, sitting on the front porch:
    He has one of Link's photographs on his bedroom wall in London that was taken inside this building, so I had to take this shot of him or he'd have killed me.
    If you're anywhere near Roanoke, Virginia, there's an O. Winston Link Museum that sits right beside the Norfolk Southern (used to be Norfolk Western) railyard. Highly recommended if you're an "OWL" fan!
  17. D'oh! Sorry... I see that info about the museum was already supplied!

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