#186 – Photography & Train Tracks with Kat Forder

Kat Forder

Kat is a newborn and child photographer who also speaks for Operation Lifesaver sharing the dangers of photographing on train tracks.  In addition, she volunters for the charity “Now I lay Me Down to Sleep” and “Red Thread Sessions”.


Kat Forder

(go here for her About Me page,  selected info below.)

Kat is a both a storyteller and a child at heart. She tells stories of life, love and make believe which allows her to be a pirate one day and a princess the next. Sometimes she’ll work with a team, who also appreciate the finer things in life; like a well-stocked dress-up box, goldfish crackers and juice boxes.

Kat is a member of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and she graduated with a certificate from Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts. She volunteers her camera and skills with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and Red Thread Sessions.

She works primarily with newborns in the studio and children on location for our fantastical Make Believe child sessions.

Show Notes:

(paraphrased responses)

  • Intro Questions:

    • Tell us about your background
      • Studio photographer these days…children and babies.  Started as a photojournalist and wedding photographer.
    • Your Studio
      • Former B&O Railroad officer…historic location
    • Tell us about “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
      • Provides the gift of remembrance photography for parents suffering the loss of a baby
    • Tell us about “Red Thread Sessions
      • Celebration of adoption through photography


  • Interview

    • Tell us about Operation Lifesaver
      • Educating people on rail safety.  Signage, crossings ,etc.
      • Connected with every rail company US as well as International
      • Not currently a OLAV, Operation Lifesaver Authorized / Approved Volunteer…have applied but not yet certified
    • How did you get involved in Operation Lifesaver
      • Started with getting studio near the railroad tracks.  Clients wanted to take photos on the tracks and I needed to determine what I was allowed to do.  One of the top tracks in the country…Washington to New York.
      • Need a permit to photograph just about everywhere in Maryland…found out it is illegal to photograph on any tracks…especially an active track.  
    • How can someone possibly get run over by a train?  They are huge and loud!
      • Literally have no chance of outrunning a train…
      • Being at track level messes with depth perception
      • Sound waves of the train can’t be heard when train is moving
      • Slipstream of train can pull you back toward the train
    • Do people really get arrested for being on train tracks?  Do photographers and/or their clients?
      • Depending on the law enforcement…fines in my area are around $5,000
      • Railroad police are sworn law officers
    • If someone get hurt while I am on the train tracks taking photos, will my insurance cover it?
      • As business owners we wouldn’t be covered…it is illegal to be on the track
    • Can railroads force me to take down photos?
      • Yes…the photos were taken in an illegal area
    • How many people die on an annual basis from photography?
      • Hard to track…usually indicates someone was struck while on a track
    • Train tracks are so appealing for a photographer, do I have any options?
      • Rail museum
    • What if I believe the tracks are dormant?
      • Casual observer can not tell if a track is dormant
      • Only tracks that are not connected on either end
      • Rail museums have dormant tracks…maybe a caboose on the track
  • Wrap Up:

    • What’s in your bag?

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Discuss the show in our forums! – Forum Post


Kat Forder


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