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Continuing my trip on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.  I’m thrilled that the rain has decided to hold off, and am praying for blue skies.  In the meantime, I’m trying to get shots of the train against a dark background so that the steam will stand out, instead of disappearing against a white sky.  This dark cliff was perfect.

The railroad runs through the Animas Canyon.  The Animas River is the river that Paul Newman and Robert Redford jumped into from the top of the canyon in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  I think that scene must have been filmed during the summer.

Due to several days of heavy rain right before my trip on the train, the river was very full for mid-October.  According to Conductor Frank, who had been working on the railroad for five years (and all the live-long day) he’s never seen this much water in the river this late in the year.  He said it was like Spring snowmelt.

In the image above you can see that the river is indeed quite full.  Never mind jumping into it from a cliff, I had no desire to enter the water from the boulder-strewn bank either.

Also in the above image you can see an open car like the one I rode in.  The fourth car behind the tender is where the die-hard train buffs, photographers, and their soon-to-be ex-spouses were riding.  I was in the open car closest to the end of the train, as that affords optimal views of the train as it rounds the bends in the track.

This is why I sit towards the back of the train.  When the geometry of the curve of the track is perfect, and there are no trees, poles, bushes, or other photographers’ arms between my camera and the locomotive, I can get the shots I came to get.  I’m going to overlook the bit of white sky in the upper right corner of the image, because the rest of it works.  And if I decide it’s truly offensive, there’s always photo-editing software that can fix it.

Or, one can take the lazy photographer’s approach to the white-sky problem, and simply crop it out of the image entirely.  Long trains lend themselves to a panoramic format anyway, don’t they?  It works for me….


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