Thursday, October 4, 2012

All photos (C) Steve Douglass

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Cumbres & Toltec scenic railway - photographed at Sublette, Colorado. Perfect timing on my brother Paul's part. We took a long slow tour through the mountains - jaw agape after photographing the aspen trees and thought we might have missed the train. Obviously we didn't. We hadn't been in Sublette ten minutes when this slice of the old west came chugging around the track. Standing next to this mechanical wonder was awesome. It breathes like a big beast -whuff -whuff - whuff and lets out clouds of smoke and steam. I'll never forget it.

"Hi - handsome - you want to take my picture?" the flirty pretty redhead said from the window of the train. 

I looked around - knowing I hadn't shaved in two days and must have looked like a railroad bum. 

"Who me?" I replied. 

She answered, "You're the one with the camera."

"All aboard!" the conductor said. The metal beast began to chug and chuff. I new I only had seconds to get the conductor's photo. I took two quick snaps and this was the best. I raced ahead to photograph the engineer.

Whuff - chug - woooo! The locomotive begins to lurch forward and lets out a blast of coal smoke. The ground rumbles as the entire train shudders. It begins to move faster and faster. I literally have to catch the train - but first I have to capture the engineer.

I fail to beat the train to get the shot I wanted. Still - it is exciting to have a living-breathing-snorting heavy-metal locomotive shaking my bones and rumbling by. The engineer gives us a final long high-pitched toot-toot as he leaves the watering station. It echoes through the countryside and instantly I'm transported to another time. My brother has a plan. It's a scenic railway - not a high speed railroad. We race ahead and meet it a mile out from the station. It comes out of the mountains and into the high desert - proud and strong - but an anachronism I photograph with a digital camera.

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TS) is a narrow gauge heritage railroad running between Chama, New Mexicoand Antonito, Colorado. It runs over the 10,015 ft (3,053 m) Cumbres Pass.
The track was originally laid in 1880 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. In 1970 the C&TS began to take tourists on six-hour trips between the two towns, using steam locomotives.
As Denver & Rio Grande Railroad San Juan Extension, the railway was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The boundaries of the NRHP listed area were increased in 2007.[1]

Mule Deer- South Fork, Colorado

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(C) Steve Douglass

I've seen lots of deer - and photographed quite a few. In Palo Duro Canyon they are so tame they eat out of your hand, but to photograph a pair of Mule Deer in the wilds of Colorado is a special thrill. Set against the autumn foliage this pair posed postcard perfect.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Town Dog

You never know when a good photo op will find you. I'm sitting in the truck at a store in Colorado when I spot this pooch in the truck next to me. I wanted him to look my way so I did my dog whistle - a trick I learned as a kid. I purse my lips real tight and can make a whistle only a dog can hear. It worked.

(C) Steve Douglass

Moonrise over the New Mexico desert

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(C) Steve Douglass

Aspens on the Rio Grande River in South Fork, Colorado

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The light in the fall in Colorado is amazing. The crispness at high altitude brings a quality of clarity that is simply crystalline in nature. Around every bend it was postcard perfect - stunningly beautiful. I could not shoot a bad photo. (C) Steve Douglass

Serendipity and a horse in Colorado

It's early morning in South Fork Colorado. I see some deer - and what looks like a potentially great shot. Unfortunately they see me too and leap a fence into a rancher's field and high-tail it into a dark wooded area where I cannot follow. I'm disappointed that I missed the shot. Then something happens - as it seems to happen often with me - a "conspiracy of nature" takes place where God or whate
ver (for you non-believers) gently nudges me to look in the other direction. I turn - and there's this beautiful horse out for a early morning stroll. He's outlined in light and stands out starkly against the dark woods beyond. I raise my camera - dial in the appropriate exposure setting - focus and wait. The horse begins to move with a flip of his magnificent tail. CLICK!

(C) Steve Douglass 

Cattle Drive among the Aspens - South Fork, Colorado

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(C) Steve Douglass 

Aspens - South Fork, Colorado

(C) Steve Douglass