Wednesday, February 03, 2016

10 Questions for Eric Geissinger

This series is modeled after the "Interesting Railfan" series in Railroad magazine from years ago. I'm asking each railfan 10 questions, some standard and some customized for the particular person. I hope you enjoy it. (See all in the series)

Eric Geissinger is a railfan / hobbyist photographer based in London, Ontario. I met him on Google+ where he often posts railway photos.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I live in London, Ontario, a city I've called home for the past 35 years. I work as a Systems Analyst, a job that I enjoy very much. Woodworking and photography are my two main hobbies these days, although most of my tools are in storage until I get a place to woodwork.

2. What got you into photographing trains?

When I joined Google+, one of my favourite communities was Railroad Photography. I wanted to participate more than just commenting and plussing others' work, so I decided to try taking a few photos. I had a small point and shoot camera and started taking photos of the trains in the CN and CP yards in London, Ontario. I quickly graduated to a better camera with a built-in telephoto lens and started to explore the area outside of London, looking for different spots to take photos. After a year of using that camera, I graduated to a Nikon D5200 DSLR. My current favourite lens for shooting trains is a Tamron 16-300.

3. Where’s your favourite place to railfan?

The Ingersoll and Woodstock area, which is about 30 minutes outside of London. CN and CP have lines that go through that area and my favourite shortline, the Ontario Southland Railway (OSR), operates there. They are also fairly rural so the scenery is nice and there are many places to get good photos.
Ontario Southland Railway #6508

4. If you could railfan anywhere, anytime, where and when would it be?

I think railfanning in the 1930s in St. Thomas, Ontario would have been really interesting. They had several large railway shops there where they serviced the steam locomotives travelling between Chicago and New York.

5. What’s your favourite railway?

I have a real soft spot for the Ontario Southland Railway. They are a short line railway headquartered in Salford, Ontario, about 30 minutes from London. They operate vintage locomotives built between 1947 and 1973 including three of my personal favourite diesels, the FP9u. They really keep their locomotives in good condition and are very friendly to railfans.

6. We've met virtually on Google Plus/G+. What do you like about G+?

I was originally attracted to G + because many of the people there are technology geeks and/or artists, and technology and art interest me. I like that people share their art, and their interests, and I like meeting new people. I find that people on G + seem to be more honest than on other social platforms and post their failures, fears, and failings as well as their triumphs.

7. A glance at your G+ profile shows you photograph a lot more than just trains. What other subjects do you like to photograph and why?

I like to photograph older buildings, bridges and machines, preferably in a state of decay. I've always been fascinated with how we construct things with great effort, and yet eventually nature tears them down. We're in a constant struggle against nature that we will never win.

8. Do you share your photos on other platforms other than G+?

No. Currently, I just share my photos on Google+. I have made half-hearted attempts at using other platforms, but I don't want to invest the time at the present.

9. Do you see yourself remaining on G+ or moving to other platform(s)?

I see myself remaining on G+ for now. It has a good mix of people and I find interesting and entertaining things to read there daily.

10. Can you tell me some tips on railfanning the Ontario Southland Railway? :)

Certainly! I have had the most success in photographing them around the Ingersoll and Woodstock area. Their main shop is located in Salford, Ontario which is just outside of Ingersoll. They have an assortment of retired locomotives parked outside the shop, and the working units are always coming and going.

They switch the autoracks at the CAMI auto manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, so you will often see a couple of the switchers there. They usually have a tandem of the larger locomotives take the autorack trains from the CAMI plant through Ingersoll to Woodstock where they get picked up by CP. Usually around 11 am you'll see the autorack trains in Ingersoll, and generally later in the afternoon (3 – 4 pm) you'll see them in Woodstock on the CP tracks.

The OSR employees have always been very friendly to railfans and are quite used to us taking photos of their locomotives.

See Eric on Google+

See all 10 Questions posts

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