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See all new photos from 01/11/2003 openhouse
Note: To preserve the quality of these digital photos, I left some of them rather large (up to 125K). Please be patient with the loading. I think it will be worth the wait. Do not hump!
On30 100k Photo 1 On Jan. 12, 2002 Steve Sherrill was gracious enough to hold an openhouse at his beautiful On30 layout. He also let me take a few photos. I won't comment much on the models because Steve's work speaks for itself. The layout looked as good in person as it does in the photos, even without the smoke and steam. So...let's take a look at the Shady Grove and Sherrill or SG&S for short. Shall we!?
On30 95K Photo 2 We'll follow number 22 around while we chat. Steve has been in On30 for about four years after abandoning Sn3. He has been in the hobby for 20 years and this is his third scale. The layout occupies its own building out back of his home. The measurements are 12' X 32' and the height is about 54" off the floor.
On30 98K Photo 3 The track plan for the layout was designed by Bill Miller. It is currently a single track, linear, point-to-point main. One reversing loop is included so you can run easily for open houses. You spend most of your time talking at your open house so the trains need to take care of themselves for the most part.
On30 95k Photo 4 The layout appears to be about half finished. The existing areas seem to be completed with structures and scenery. Steve is using Digitrax/Soundtraxx DCC for sound and power. The layout runs smoothly and the sound is GREAT!!
On30 108K Photo 5 When the layout is complete (whoever heard of a completed model railroad) there will be 125' of mainline track and 75' of sidings and yards. The track is Peco flex track and all the turnouts are manual throws using Caboose Hobbies ground throws and high level switch stands.
On30 99kPhoto 6 Most of the rolling stock is Bachmann's relatively new On30 stuff. Steve painted, lettered, and weathered it so it looks great on the layout. The railroad is suppose to be a West Virginia coal hauler with a logging operation. This is a believable scenerio when you see the layout.
GOn30 125K Photo 7 I guess the logging crew has called it quits for the day. So we won't get to watch them work. But anyway, the scenery conveys that W. Virginia, Appalachian Mountains feeling. There is a logging operation off-layout that is simulated with a steam donkey sound unit by Miller Models.
On30 95K Photo 8 Log cars are brought to an area where full ones are exchanged for empties. The full ones are taken to Horner Sawmill for processing. A sawmill sound unit is used to effectively create a saw mill atmosphere. Steve Fisher built the sawmill.
On30 98K Photo 9 You get a good feel for the scenery material in photo 7. Steve uses lots of tree covered mountains running up the backdrops to help divide the scenes and give that mountain feeling. Most of the trees are natural materials covered with ground foam.
On30 88k Photo 10 Speaking of backdrops, Steve used a continuous piece of linoleum so it is seamless. It is nicely painted so it adds to the scenes but is not distracting. I didn't have to fool with these pictures to get a nice background. Steve took care of that himself. Actually for photos the mountains take care of the background. If I didn't know better I would think I was in Cass.
On30 98K Photo 11 Most of the buildings are small and S scale is used where appropriate. Actually Steve uses different scale buildings (1/43, 1/48, and 1/64) for a forced perspective in some areas. It is done so well you don't notice you are being tricked. Everything looks RIGHT!
On30 98k Photo 12 Well I've run outa chatter but not photos. So, let's continue to follow Number 22 around the layout. Oh, that tunnel is the reversing loop.
On30 97K Photo 13 What would a narrow gauge layout be without a gas 'n electric?
GOn30 90K Photo 14 Nice detailing job here. The stuff also gives you a feel for the time period. I'd say the 30's by looking at the car and gas pump. Of course, in this part of W. Virginia it could be the 70's, ya know.
On30 95K Photo 15 22 is passing that same spot. You can see the little structure in the background. This blacksmith must be accustomed to the trains, he doesn't even lookup from his work.
On30 95k Photo 16 22 passed a passenger train lead by number 16. Passenger isn't that important here as far as schedule. In fact I think that train was scheduled for two days ago. No one is in a hurry here anyway. 16 will be getting underway shortly.
On30 98K Photo 17 Well, I think that wraps it up for our first visit to the SG&S. Hopefully Steve will let us come back for another visit and more photos when he is further along. Then I can redo the shots that I screwed up the first time. Wave good bye guys.

About the photos: Steve's lighting is a general lighting using fluorescent fixtures with some areas highlighted with incandescent spots. This mixed lighting can be a challenge for photos, but I think it worked out ok. I used an Olympus C-3040 digital camera set on aperature priority. The f-stop was f10 (max for this camera) and I let the camera choose the shutter speed. With Steve's lighting, exposer times ran as high as 4 seconds. This lead to some "stuck pixels" which is a typical problem with long exposers using a digital camera. This is not particular noticeable in these reduced size photos. The Olympus has five white balance settings including an auto setting (what I normally use) and a completely manual setting. I used one of the pre-sets (fluorescent) and adjusted it with the color balance to suit my eye. If you are considering a digital camera for model railroad photography, I suggest you consider one with the above mentioned features.
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Last Update: 01/27/2002