East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

Backdrop-Planning Cove Quarry

My trackplan revision has given me a spur in the corner of my layout that I have decided to make a stone loading track. The quarry adjacent to the loading track is called Cove Quarry, because of the coved backdrop in the corner.

Coved corners have some unique characteristics that I keep in mind when I am planning the backdrop. Horizon lines should be long and nearly horizontal through the entire curve in order to minimize the apparent distortion. A soapstone quarry provides an interesting possiblity as a subject to render in a corner because the the way stone is cut and removed from the quarry creates long horizontal lines.

Soapstone is a relatively soft mineral. As the quarries would get deeper and deeper, the danger of the walls collapsing under their own weight increased. Bulkheads of stone were left in place to provide support for the quarry walls. These linear supports provide strong horizontal lines in a soapstone quarry composition.

I sketched a few orientations of a quarry in the cove of the backdrop

Rendering straight quarry walls on a curved surface could pose a problem. But I have learned from working on my backdrop that when I am out in the field observing a panaramic scene, my field of vision is curved, or "coved". Points equidistant from the viewer are on a curve. In fact, a scene on the flat section of the backdrop is in some ways more distorted than the scenes bending through the corners.

One of my goals in rendering Cove Quarry on the backdrop would be to create the illusion of space and distance where there isn't any. A good backdrop can really open up the layout space, but a bad backdrop is distracting. It would be better to just have a well executed line of trees at Cove Quarry than a poorly done, overly complex rendering of a quarry.