Tuesday, March 1, 2016

NOTROPHY - NoTrain Photography!

Morningstar Road, Trenton in August 2002, now overgrown
Yonder stands a telegraph pole,
Standing stately in the grass.
Its wood all weathered,
Its long arms outstretched
toward me, yon unsuccessful failfan.
Its wires insulated from cold and wet,
Shrouded in sun, mist and the gathering gloam.
Since there's no train in my path,
I snapped it, went home, and had a bath.

NoTrophy* (a short form of NOTRainphotOgraPHY) is a recognized trackside syndrome characterized by train photography completely unfettered by trains. Don't worry, it happens to everyone at some point. If it lasts more than four hours, don't consult your doctor. Just go home and come back tomorrow.

What NoTrophy is:
  • taking photos of everything in your trackside surroundings except trains
  • a product of a low level of distraction coupled with a high degree of boredom
  • successful continued operation of your camera in the complete absence of trains
  • experienced during a lull, unexpected event, derailment or simply stinking bad luck
What NoTrophy is not:
  • a substitute for train photography
  • something you should share online unless you're looking for empathy
  • art - though it is artful albeit in a trainless sort of way
  • something to be proud of - you got skunked!
I'd like to present some of my best NoTrophy (or if you prefer, my worst railfanning) photos along with some examples of NoTrophy poetry I came up with to describe the bleak and desperate futility of NoTrophy:

There once was a fan of NoTrophy
Whose railfanning was one big catastrophe
after another. Each day,
No trains got in the way
Of his cameras len's, (oops, wrong apostrophe)
No trains at Napanee West
See no train
On horizon either way
Home for good
Zero trains at Portage, 1985
Am I here
No trains to be seen
Point and shoot
Rail anchor at Belleville
Ballast is grey
Coal is black,
Shooting NoTrophy
Tomorrow come back!
Lull on CN's Rivers Sub west of Portage, 1984
I brought my camera, look at me,
While trackside, not a train I see.
Does that deter me? No, not I,
What's that, grey ballast that I spy?
A groundhog brown, geese flying by?
Images to my camera card now fly.
When I get home, downcast and sad,
My NoTrophy photos don't look half-bad!
No trains - mouse on a pile of cut up ties, 1979
There once was a railfan most daffy
Who dabbled in no-train photography
Every pastoral scene
Without trains to be seen
Hung in frames on his wall, kinda laughy.
No trains - beautifully bucolic barn, 2015
Sunrise, sunset's siren call,
Winter spring, summer, fall..
Every season gives me reason
To photograph no trains at all.
Notrophy supplies with silent scanner, 2015
Boxes of donuts, cups of coffee all past,
Book all read, magazines don't last.
Scanner's as quiet as a tomb,
Batteries charged, camera card still has room.
A foreman calls for track and time,
My fortunes spiral on a dime.
I snap a bush, a creek, a tree.
Hey, I'm engaging in NoTrophy!

If you know someone who may be experiencing NoTrophy, encourage them to seek help before it's too late. Consult a knowledgeable railfan source, become familiar with train times in your area, and learn when to cut your losses when nothing's rolling. NoTrophy can be eradicated. But it's up to all of us.
American NoTrophy in the Land of the Free and the Home of No Trains Virginia, 2015

Running extra...

Sharp-eyed Trackside Treasure reader Max Palinski found the two "400"s in the last, 400th post. Congratulations and enjoy your prize on its way to you. Honourable mentions to Malcolm Peakman , JP and phoenix'ed!

Check out Steve Boyko's "10 Questions" series on his Confessions of a Train Geek blog, to learn more about some of Canada's foremost railfans. Now there are way more than ten railfans in the list!

CN has now run two eastbound potash unit trains in the past week from Alwinsal SK to Saint John NB. On Saturday, February 27 I caught No 730 at 1630 hours as it ripped through Kingston with CN 2921-2809 on the head-end and DPU 3005 pushing on the tail end of 22,810 tons in 151 cars! All at over 50 mph. Youtube video here ends after 25 seconds when my camera battery dies. You didn't really want to see all 151 cars anyway...


Steve Boyko said...

I do like that signal bridge photo - it should win the trophy for best NoTrophy!

Thanks for the shout-out for the 10 Questions series... more to come!

Michael said...

It's a common affliction up here in Ottawa. I have more of these types of photos than I care to admit.

Eric said...

The best of NoTrophy is really the worst of railfanning. Pre-dawn NoTrophy at its finest, Steve!

Michael, I wish we could do something to help poor ol' Ottawa!

Thanks for your comments!