Archive for September 2016

Opportunity and Loss on the St. Maries River Railroad

Why do some changes hurt more than others?

After receiving the latest issue of Railroad Heritage, with it’s wonderful photo feature on the St. Maries River Railroad (STMA) by Marc Entze, I was awestruck and a bit saddened by the images and accompanying story. I had visited the railroad twice in 2008 and immediately fell in love with the character of the railroad with its operations and soul seemingly frozen in the 1970’s. I never got to complete the photographic story I envisioned as the branch line that defined much of the railroad was abandoned the following year, and with it the character of the railroad changed forever.

The sign says it all.

Heritage

Trains Magazine 2016 Photo Competition Award

I was excited to learn that my image entitled Bear Mountain Passages was awarded 2nd Place in the 2016 Trains Magazine photo contest with the theme being “Water”.

This image was the result of one of my extended day hiking trips as I described in my last post, “Recharge”. I had planned this hike for late in the afternoon so that I could watch the sun set from my vantage point and take advantage of the backlit bridges and train that would be part of my composition. I got the photo that I wanted, but also had the thrill of walking down a long trail in total blackness with only a flashlight to find my way.

Recharge

I’m not alone in the occasional need to escape our busy, hectic lives and seek a way to take a break to recharge my mind and spirit. That desire is one of the appeals of fishing and hunting to me as both bring you into a new physical and mental place that requires one to slow down and allows rejuvenation as a result. For me, a needed break is taking a long solitary hike with the reward being an opportunity for some interesting photography, usually planned around a railroad related scene.

A hike gets me into nature and awakens my senses differently than when I’m in my normal work/life routine. I become more attuned to my own senses and thoughts when I’m away from all these distractions and also benefit from the physical exertion that is required of a lengthy hike. Since most of my hikes are planned to take in a vista of an active or abandoned railroad grade, there is usually a strenuous physical component involved which allows my body to develop a flow that just keeps me going at a stead rhythm while clearing my mind of clutter. The longer I hike, the more focused on my own thoughts and presence I become.