As I write this on the morning of January 1, 2022, I am conflicted about what to write.
It’s generally expected that one would reflect on the past year, celebrating triumphs and mourning losses, while sharing plans for the new year.
However, the way forward isn’t clear to me and I definitely look back on 2021 with mixed feelings. I’m normally an optimistic person, but I find it hard to get excited about the coming year.
I don’t really want to dwell on the continuing pandemic and its effect on society. I’m tired of that and I know we all are. I got my booster in December so I’m doing my part. Let’s hope we can get to a better place this year.
2021 was a good year for railfanning – maybe too good. I went out chasing trains quite a bit, as there wasn’t a lot else to do. I’m pretty happy with the photos and video I captured. I’m sharing some of my favourite 2021 photos here.
I left the province of Manitoba five times in 2021:
- July 2021, family trip to Banff-Lake Louise (Action at Castle Mountain, The Rocky Mountaineer resumes, etc.)
- August 2021, moving our daughter to Toronto (GO Transit and More series)
- September 2021, business trip to New Brunswick (McAdam Train Station at Night)
- October 2021, visiting our daughter in Toronto (no blog post yet)
- November-December 2021, trip to Germany to see Christmas markets (no blog posts yet)
You can see that I’m “behind” in writing about some of these trips. I’m choosing to frame it as “not shared yet” rather than being “behind”.
Notable railfan adventures included recording the Prairie Dog Central’s trips to and from downtown Winnipeg for a CBC miniseries (Prairie Dog Central, Movie Star), the CP business train passing through town, and several night train excursions (I Drove All Night, Trains at Night).
I ended the year a little burnt out, with a distinct lack of interest in railfanning. I did get trackside after Christmas once, with my good friend Jason Paul Sailer, and I’ll write about that soon.
I was pleased to have an article of mine about CN’s automated rail inspection portals published in CN Lines magazine, and one of my photos made the cover!
I also contributed some photos to an article on modern grain terminals, including a couple of drone shots.
2021 was a record year in terms of income from my rail photography. It’s certainly not enough to replace my full time “real job” income, but it’s nice to get some side income from my hobby. The most significant sources of income were from editing a book, photographing the Manitoba Marathon, stock photography sales, and advertisements on my web sites and my YouTube channel.
I changed advertisement providers on this site in late October and it’s resulted in a significant increase in ad income. I haven’t heard any complaints from readers, though maybe they are just staying away… if you have any comments on the change, please let me know.
In late 2021 I was diagnosed with celiac disease. That means no gluten for me, which has been quite an adjustment for this bread-loving guy. I’m coping and finding substitutes, but I have to say that I miss gluten a lot. Most gluten-free foods just aren’t as good. I’ve started reviewing gluten-free foods on a new site, Gluten Train. I chose the name because, well, trains, and also because I’m “getting off the gluten train”.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t have any firm plans for 2022. I wish I did, but it’s hard to plan for anything these days.
I do have some goals.
I also have a mantra for 2022 – “do it now, don’t wait”. I am inspired by my wife, who has always wanted to visit the German Christmas markets, and she made that happen late last year.
So… my goals, in no particular order:
- Ride the VIA Rail “Canadian”. I’ve photographed it so many times but I have never been on it.
- Photograph grain elevators in Saskatchewan. There are a few that I really want to photograph (hello Dankin, Brooking, Hagen, and more) and many that I haven’t seen.
- Visit Bayview Junction outside Hamilton, ON
I think these are are doable. Let’s see how many I can accomplish.
I received some good news yesterday. Two of my images will be appearing in the 2022 Canadian Trackside Guide! This was the first time I’ve submitted photos for consideration, so I consider myself fortunate to get some photos in it. I’ll leave which specific photos are in the CTG a secret for now, except to say that they are in this blog post.
Over to you – what are your plans and/or goals for 2022?