After unpacking most of the freight car fleet, I was passing by the yard and the above view caught my eye. I decided to snap a few photos as the set up reminded me of a prototype photo.
The freight cars sitting in my Wheeling Freight Terminal yard reminded me of a 1943 Bensenville, Illinois, Milwaukee Road yard photo by Jack Delano.
This is a photo I use for freight car weathering inspiration and to share with other modelers. It’s been cropped and lightened from the large TIF image I downloaded from the Library of Congress site. Of course, my yard doesn’t have as many tracks, nor could I capture as broad of a view with my iPhone.
I decided to play around with my image. I was lucky to have taken a few shots with extra lighting. I had also elevated the camera for the last couple of shots. My original view that leads this post was a similar angle as the Delano image, but I wanted to see more of the background freight cars.
The cardboard background obviously had to go. I dug through my photo archive and discovered a bunch of images I snapped along a back road near Fairchance, in southwestern Pennsylvania. I decided to use one of these images as the backdrop. After playing around with the digital files, I erased the cardboard and inserted a view of Chestnut Ridge. I also cropped the image closer to the front track, removing the fascia.
Here’s the result. It’s not perfect, but it’s a decent first try. I’ll do this again sometime with a different mix of freight cars. I’ll also try to get a broader view by adding more cardboard backdrop. The layout won’t have a backdrop at the yard as crews will be on both sides of this section for op sessions. I only wanted to see what I could do to blend a model image with a prototype image. And I wanted to tip my hat to Jack Delano.
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