Hello friends - while 2022 was a banner year for travel it was not a particularly good year for my photography. I have gotten to the point in life where if I start reading a book and it doesn't grab me? I just put it down. In years gone by I would slog through but these days - hey life is too short. Same with my photography. Truth is I seldom go intentionally looking for photos - I try to let them come to me. Nevertheless - I DO travel often and I DO enjoy taking photographs - I think this will always be so - so, as long as I am upright, I'll keep 'em coming. These are my faves from this years batch in no particular order. I hope you enjoy them.
I'll start with a photo I made on a rainy winter day at an isolated and lonely spot on the Oregon Coast. Somehow, this photo resonates with me and my occasional dark moods. It is the only black and white of the bunch and I think 2023 may be the year of the black and white. I'd like to work at that.
Next up is a bright and hazy morning at my desert home away from home - Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
The following photo - taken out of the window of Amtrak's Empire Builder doesn't quite capture the stunning beauty of the Columbia River Gorge -it is a magnificent place - but it'll give you a taste.
The next photo is a photo that no one liked on social media so maybe you had to be there! Nevertheless the Hōlei Sea Arch in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is a sight to behold. I am told it may not be around much longer due to the relentless pounding of the surf - so - I was lucky to see it like this.
Speaking of luck - the Nahuku Lava Tube also in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park was closed a week or so after I made this photo (it has since re-opened).
More Island of Hawai'i here. This is famed 'Akaka Falls near Hilo. The green and the falls are cool but I love that ominous sliver of sky too.
Here's another photo I took from the train. This is the Rockies in Autumn and the Colorado River near Kremmling, CO from the California Zephyr headed west.
One last photo from the island of Hawai'i. This is the Waipiʻo Valley Lookout near Honokaa. Located on the Hāmākua Coast, the Waipiʻo Valley was the boyhood home of King Kamehameha I.
You didn't think I could go year without a photo of roads and telephone poles - did you? Here ya go... from the great Midwest.
In the years I have been doing these lists (is it SEVEN now?) I don't believe I ever included a photograph from my iPhone. That changes this year due to this image of the sunset while waiting for a train - the Southwest Chief - in Fullerton, CA last October.
And there it is - another year flown by. It was quite a year... I am not a big fan of self promotion but these photographs and more are available for purchase by clicking here. I am grateful to have sold several photographs in the last few years and for those of you who have purchased you are appreciated and help me keep traveling!
Speaking of the years flying by - I feel myself slowing down a bit. I have big plans for 2023 but not as big as 2022 and my hunch is 2024 will be a bit less than 2023. As my Pop told me, "The years have a way of catching up with you". Yes, sir... they do. I wrote these words to express my gratitude to you for following along with my adventures - my friends - new and old - you have enriched my life immeasurably - thank you and may good fortune smile upon each of you. We deserve it. Let's make 2023 a damn good year. Much, much love to all.
While she's circling through the canyons, can't you see that mountain stream?
It's the California Zephyr, the Union Pacific Queen
- Hank Williams
I took a cross country train trip last April (and, if you read through that entire blog post - bless you ). I rode all the major Amtrak routes in the west except the Sunset Limited (which I have taken 4 times before - it's wonderful) and, perhaps the most scenic and famous of them all, the California Zephyr. I knew I was missing out by not including the Zephyr but also figured I'd do it in 2023 or 2024 if I was still upright. But, hey, I had earned so many Amtrak reward Points that I qualified for the trip to be my favorite price - FREE and I could do it this year.
This was a short trip compared to my big trip in April. I would jump on the Southwest Chief and head to Chicago... walk over to my hotel and sleep - get up and jump on the Zephyr- sleep in Emeryville and come home on the Starlight. And that's just how it went down. The top photo is of the magnificent sunset on the night of October 13 at the Fullerton Station which I have grown quite fond of...it's a cool old place in a world that seems to value the old and rustic less and less (perhaps this has always been thus).
I got on the train at 6:30 PM and had dinner - it was dark and I went to bed...falling asleep to that gentle rocking and rhythmic "clack clack clack" of the train - I slept so tranquilly... and woke up to the Great American Southwest.
Then it was onward to Illinois. Here is the wide Missouri River with the reflection of the train trestle.
I arrived in chilly Chicago and walked over to my hotel - had a nice dinner and went to bed - thought about going out and listening to music and then I thought - nah - too cold (it was 39F). The next day I had a relaxing morning and walked back to Chicago Union Station - and boarded the Zephyr. The first day would be in the plains and I would wake up in Denver...headed over the Rocky Mountains - in autumn no less...what a dream come true...
Here are some photos from the first day...it was already scenic but I had no idea of the show that was to come.
We arrived in Denver at about 7:30 AM.
We started the long climb up the eastern slope of the Rockies and, man, I wished I could have washed the window. I did take several photos but many were marred by the filthy and spotted window. I really wish Amtrak would wash the windows more often (they're too high for passengers to reach) and certainly before the Zephyr goes over the mountains. I know, after discussions with several other passengers, that I am not the only one with this sentiment. Anyway...I will try to show you a bit of what I saw. I was on the "mountain" side of the train but ran over to the other side when I could. We also went through 29 tunnels and the famous 6.2 mile Moffat Tunnel...all of which were wild, fun and, at times, other worldly. The Moffat Tunnel is an engineering marvel and tragically took the lives of 26 workers while it was being built.
OK here we go...
Often, outside of my room - you could hear audible, "oohs and ahs" from my fellow passengers as we wound through the mountains. Soon we were near the headwaters of the Colorado River. Then we started the magnificent ride down the western slopes...
What an extraordinary day! After another relaxing evening and restful sleep I woke up in Winnemucca, NV.
The train rumbled into Reno and then up through Truckee and over the Sierra Nevada. The Zephyr kept on giving magnificent sights.
Now in California I saw sights I'd never seen before despite living here my entire life. Here is the Sacramento train station.
Soon the train made it's way to my hotel - right along the tracks - in Emeryville, CA.
Up early the next day to the jump on the Coast Starlight and come home. Lately, being the old fool I have become, I often tear up at extraordinary natural beauty. Let's just say it was a teary eyed journey. I sincerely hope I gave you a tiny idea of the wonders of train travel and, in particular, the famous California Zephyr.
See ya soon!
This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.