Eric Hudson can’t explain why he’s so fascinated by trains.
Perhaps, there are several reasons, from his childhood playing with Thomas the Tank Engine toys to when his aunt, Marylynn Hardesty, took him to the Ferrona rail yard in Sharon, behind the former Westinghouse plant.
“We’d watch them there, a little bit,” said the Brookfield High School freshman. “We’d take a ride out to Alliance. There’s a cool area out there. We’d sit there and watch them come by.”
When he got a cellphone, Eric would photograph trains. He wanted to take better photos of trains, so his grandmother, Karen Bathory, presented him a camera for his birthday. That was two or three cameras ago, and he now shoots with a Nikon Z6.
“Trains have been the primary thing since 2016, because that’s the whole reason I got it (Z6),” Eric said.
Eric shoots the trains that come into Masury, Sharon and Hubbard – he has a source who helps him know when a train will be in town – but also takes field trips to see them. He’s been to the Strasburg (Pa.) Railroad and Colorado.
Last year, he won a scholarship to attend the Center for Railroad Photography and Art’s annual conference at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Ill. Of course, he went by train.
He shoots trains crossing city intersections, steaming through rural countrysides, entering and leaving industrial customers, and idling in the yard. He captures the engineers and others who work on the trains, and the yard men.
But, the 15-year-old feels like he’s pretty much done all he can photographing trains, and is looking to expand his subject base.
“Photographing trains is fun, but you can’t really make any money off it, and you don’t really interact with people as much as you do with portraits,” he said.
Eric would like to make a few bucks off his hobby. That’s why he wants to get more into portrait and landscape photography, and taking video. He’s shot weddings, senior pictures, family groupings and Brookfield’s seventh- and eighth-grade basketball teams last season. He said he likes the discussions that go on between photographer and subject, and aims to please.
“I want it to be the best it can, so that, hopefully, in the future, I can take more photos for them,” he said.
Eric has made friends with professional photographers who have offered tips on photo composition and equipment – and career advice. Professional photography is a waning occupation because of the continuing improvement of cell phone cameras, he said, which gives him pause about wanting to head in that direction.
“Right now, I’m just having fun, but I’m wanting to get into a career,” he said.
Eric posts his photos on Instagram and Facebook, and on his website, EhudsonPhotography.com