Trains were one of the first forms of transportation that could easily transport many people from coast to coast in the United States and in this day and age are still the preferred form of transportation in many major cites. They are now faster, sleeker, have free wifi, and frankly, don’t look as cool as they use to. When you get the chance to see an old vintage train rolling down the tracks with a huge plum of smoke billowing from its smoke stack, it’s hard to not to take picture of it.
Matthew Malkiewicz, a self-taught photographer and engineer, has a love for vintage trains that started as a child. He had a vintage model train set up in his basement and when he received his first camera, he would point it at any train he saw. Fast forward to present day where Matthew now plans many of his vacations around photographing vintage trains.
“My passion gravitates to the machines of yesteryear, fire breathing monsters that seem to be alive whether you have your hand against the polished steel or you are two bluffs away looking across acres of prairie grass. I envision how it must have been back in the day and try to create photographs as timeless as possible to depict what I consider a vibrantly better and sadly vanished time.” -Matthew Malkiewicz
“Because of the dirty, greasy, smoky, and often times humid conditions I subject my gear to, as well as the weather’s harsh elements, I choose never to change a lens in the field. Having the 3 combos at arm’s reach gives me so much flexibility and functionality, as well as keeping the camera’s internals clean. I am an ambient and natural light shooter only – and do not own any flashes or strobes.”-Matthew Malkiewicz
- Canon 5D Mark III with Canon 70-200mm f/4.0
- Canon 5D Mark II with Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
- Canon EOS-1DS with Canon 50mm f/1.4
- Induro tripod and Monopod
What I love about Matthew’s images is that he not only captures the beauty and power of these trains of yesteryear, but incorporates people into his images from time to time. For me, the addition of people in the frame adds that little extra vintage flare that transports me to another time.
He also offers some sound advice for photographers:
Always push the outside of the envelope, challenging yourself every time out to do better than the last. Do not be afraid of failing.
Matthew does an amazing job capturing the power, and beauty of these vintage trains. It’s proof, that when you are passionate about a subject and focus in on it, the images are always well done and have a little piece of you in them.
CREDITS: Photographs by Matthew Malkiewicz have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.