Producing Railroad Video
Steve Mitchell is a lifelong rail historian. He has been a photographer starting in his teens and a videographer for more than 25 years, with railroad subjects being a large part of his collection. He has also developed a passion and talent for video editing and creating railroad video DVD’s. What Steve has to say for himself…
“I’m old enough to remember Great Northern steam engines pass my boyhood home in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. As steam became more rare in the early 1950’s, my Dad would call out to me when he could hear one coming, and we’d run out to the front yard to watch it pass. (Mom wasn’t too happy when the soot fell on the clothes hanging on the backyard clothes line, though.) After steam disappeared, railroading was still interesting to me but something was missing. Finally, in the early 1990’s I found that Milwaukee Road 261 had been restored and its home base was just blocks from my home in Northeast Minneapolis! I became a member of the Friends of 261 and I was hooked. I have taken many rides behind her and followed trackside with video and still cameras. I also discovered a whole new world of traveling to record steam railroading from coast to coast and around the world. I am particularly fond of the Cumbres & Toltec in Colorado and New Mexico as an example of narrow gauge steam railroading in the 1950’s because of the organization’s commitment to keep things the same. The gritty Chama yard and the many trackside structures along the rugged right of way feels like you’ve just experienced time travel!”
Steve’s philosophy on railroad video
After viewing hundreds of railroad video programs, I have learned a great deal about what distinguishes the best from the rest. My programs have a short introduction, then I let the locomotives tell the story without constant narration. I seek out unique vantage points, preferably away from background noise, so you can see and hear the train passing through your living room. I use tripod-mounted HD cameras with professional microphones to record the real sounds. Music is used only occasionally, generally for transitions or during the introduction and credits. And I also don’t stretch the subject out to fill an entire DVD. This means many of our DVDs feature only the best action with shorter programs of different subjects.
Give us a try! You will not be disappointed with a railroad video DVD from Yard Goat Images!
Check Out Our Videos
These are just a few of the videos we have created. To view the collection, visit our Video Gallery page.
Arriving at ChamaDuring the production of the DVD, "The Cumbres & Toltec - With A Little Help From Its Friends", we recorded many scenes which did not make it into the final documentary. Here is one such scene, as we witness an afternoon arrival of the train at Chama, New Mexico from cameras on both sides of the tracks. The passengers have traveled 64 miles from Antonito, Colorado with a mid-day lunch stop. Take a look at the DVD Preview at yardgoatimages.com
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Jukes TreeThis pine tree was photographed so many times in the early 1900s by Rio Grande employee and early railfan Fred Jukes, that it is now known as the Jukes Tree. It’s one of many iconic spots on the Cumbres & Toltec to view the passing narrow gauge trains just outside of Chama, NM. We set up our cameras here on several occasions while documenting the railroad for our 140-minute Cumbres & Toltec DVD because it is a great morning spot! Here is one scene that did not make the cut for the DVD. The train is carrying a piece of equipment on a flatcar which was later set out at Cumbres Pass. See the DVD Preview - yardgoatimages.com
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Steam on the North Shore!Duluth & Northeastern #28 is a 2-8-0 built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in 1906 for the Duluth, Missabe, and Northern Railway as #332. It remained #332 after a merger changed the road name to the Duluth, Missabe, and Iron Range Railway (DM&IR) in 1937. The engine was sold to the Duluth & Northeastern (D&NE) in 1955 and renumbered 28, and it steamed on for another 10 years. Donated to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in 1974 and restored to operation in 2017, it occasionally runs on the Museum’s 28-mile North Shore Scenic Railroad on the former DM&IR line between Duluth and Two Harbors, MN.
On the two-day charter covered in this program, a few cosmetic alterations allowed the locomotive to appear in the livery of both D&NE 28 and DM&IR 332. We start with #28 pulling a mixed train with freight and passenger cars. The charter participants rode in the century-old coaches as we moved between various points along the rails featuring a mix of scenes.
The other day of the charter featured #332 hauling a string of ore empties and a caboose, and a separate train with two DM&IR diesels and the two coaches. The weather can change quickly along the shores of Lake Superior, and this day’s clouds and occasional rain provided a very real feeling of life for the Iron Range railroaders.
Photographer, author, and Trains Magazine correspondent Steve Glischinski organized and led the charter. We’re grateful to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and the volunteer rail crews for making this all possible.
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Whiskey River RailwayHere’s a summertime scene at the Whiskey River Railway in Marshall, Wisconsin, where lots of animal life can be enjoyed during the train ride! The Whiskey River is featured on two DVDs, “Grand Scale Steam” and “Wisconsin Steam Stories” from yardgoatimages.com
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SS BadgerBuilt for the C&O Railway in 1952, the SS Badger is the last coal-fired, steam-powered vessel operating on the US Great Lakes. The Badger is propelled by four Foster-Wheeler boilers providing steam-power to the two Skinner Unaflow steam engines, each rated at 3500 horsepower.
With the full cooperation of owner Michigan Carferry Service, we made the crossing from Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, WI for the onboard experience, including interviews with Senior Captain Dean Hobbs and Engineer Charles Cart. We had free access to most of the vessel including the pilot house during the 4-hour trip.
The footage for our documentary was captured during the 2010 season. Since creating this program, which was originally a chapter on the discontinued A Boatload of Steam! DVD, the Badger has been retrofitted for onboard storage of coal ash. In 2016 the United States Government designated the SS Badger a National Historic Landmark.
60 minutes - 26 minute SS Badger program + 34 minutes of scenes from our other DVDs - order at yardgoatimages.com
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