John L Mathis

Railroad Photography

Site Information


The internet browsers that I now use for testing are Internet Explorer 7, Firefox v2.0 (Linux), Netscape 8 (based on Firefox) and Internet Explorer 6.

2/10/2008: My recent emphasis with the site has been to add 3-4 new images each week. I have tried to add unique images rather than more than one from a series of shots. This is fine for a gallery approach where selling prints is a main objective. While I do sell my prints, the main goal of the site is to try and provide images which will interest not only serious railfans but also the casual viewer who also likes trains but doesn't really have an interest in viewing several similar photos in a series. I am altering this viewpoint somewhat in favor of posting more than one shot in a series where I feel that each image can stand on its own.

As far as prints go, until now I've tried to post mainly prints that are printable at any size, from 4"x6" up to at least 13"x19". The better images can make stunning canvas prints with widths up to 40" and lengths as long as needed. I'm changing this just a bit and will also post older images which, while being of sufficient quality for internet images may simply not be printable at large sizes. In this vein, I may set up a separate gallery with those images which I feel are my best ones.

The site is really a bit at odds with itself. On the one hand, I could post merely those images which make stunning prints and simply have a photo art gallery type of site. However, like most railfans, I do take a lot of pictures. Many images are made because the opportunity is there. A grungy day in 1991 photographing even grungier SP tunnel motors may not produce a great image, but, it does show a scene that cannot be reproduced today. So, even though such images may not make great prints, they are of interest to many railfans and I will be posting some of them. The main challenge with such images is getting a good slide scan.

Let me know via feedback what era or railroad interests you, and if I have relevant images, I'll post them. While I do have many older images, the bulk of my slides are from 1980 forward.


I started designing this site in February 2005 using DreamweaverMX 2004. Semantic content uses xhtml while page design is implemented with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). The CSS information is embedded in a style section at the top of each document, rather than on separate CSS "sheets". This was done to remedy delays in loading. All work on this site is done by me.

My goal for this site is to keep it simple without the latest trendy"whiz bangs" which hog bandwidth, slow down page loading and may have browser incompatabilities. Even though I attempt to make the site as browser friendly as possible,

To provide decent sized images I have designed this site for optimum viewing at a resolution of 1280x1024 pixels. I now size horizontal images to 1200 pixels wide to provide a larger, more detailed image than my earlier 1000 pixel wide images. Since each image is a fair amount of work, I will resize earlier images if and when I get the time to do so as this would interfere with processing and posting new images.

There is one irritating behavior with Internet Explorer where when scrolling a page, the text may get "crunched". This can be corrected by clicking on F5 or by selecting the "refresh" option from the view menu in the menu bar at the top of the IE page.

This site is commercial free. I don't want to irritate you with annoying ads and pop-ups. The idea is that income from print sales supports the site and keeps it commercial free. While I obviously make and sell fine archival prints, I hope you enjoy the images on this site regardless of whether or not you elect to purchase any of my prints.

A word about copyrights. All material on this site is copyrighted by me, John L. Mathis unless otherwise indicated, but is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. However, should I post any material on this site, which are works by other than myself, all of the rights to such work are retained by the works' author, and the license for my work does not apply to theirs.

If you use any work from this site on another site or publication, please attribute this author and site.

All images on this site are jpgs and while they look good on the screen, they will rapidly degrade if you attempt to print them. Usually my source images before jpeg compression range from 50-300 MB and are saved as TIFF files with no compression. While a 200KB jpg image looks good on the screen, a lot of information is lost in compression (up to 1500%). Comparing the original image to a compressed jpeg reveals detail that simply is lost in the smaller compressed image. If you really like an image, contact me using the Feedback page and order a print. You will find that my prints (even 4x6's) are excellent quality pigment prints, and when properly displayed or stored will last a lifetime. Your orders help keep this site going. Not only are the prints that I make archival, they will provide you with a much better image than you can create from the on screen image.

Since the images used on this site are jpgs I've tried to tread the line between long downloads and lousy images. If downloads take too long let me know, but I'd rather err on the side of quality. I save the images using ProJPEG, a plug-in which provides much better compression and a better quality image than Photoshop's native jpg compression. That being said, if you are considering a print please note that as I mentioned above the actual image has much more information (detail) than the internet image. The other important point is that my monitor is calibrated relative to my printer and Photoshop. The colors which reproduce correctly on my system may not look the same on another system where the monitor is not calibrated. It's like going to Best Buy or Circuit City and looking at a whole row of television sets showing the same program. Each set has a different color rendition of the same image. So, please keep this in mind when viewing these images. Even with such differences between monitors, the images for the most part should still be pretty well viewable.

last updated: 3/11/2009