People keep writing me asking when the next photo essay will be posted. While I am flattered that you want to see more and I appreciate the eagerness of those who read them I must say that answering those emails can get to be a real pain and time drain. These essays are not a regularly scheduled event. There is no set time between essays. The essays are a result of my work as a locomotive engineer and the result of my seeing something unusual, informative, or a pretty scene. I cannot manufacture these things on demand.
I also have a life other than railroading. Admittedly at times it is somewhat limited but that only makes my time off the job even more precious. Creating these essays even after the photos have been taken usually requires two or more hours. Sometimes many hours. Thus they must wait until I have the time and am in the mood.
I have worked for the RR for over 30 years and consequently I now get 5 weeks vacation per year. Some years I take it all at once. Other years I break it up into two or more mini-vacatons. So there are times when I am not working on the RR for 2 to 5 weeks straight. Thus there are no opportunities for me to take photos of it thus there wil be large gaps between essays.
Some seasons of the year are better than others for this type of photo.
So with all these things considered I am lucky to get these esssays posted at all. As more and more essays get posted that leaves fewer and fewer subjects to cover. In the begining all things were new and whichever one occurred at the right time could be recorded. But as fewer and fewer new subjects remain, the coincidence of the occurrance and the daylight and the season and the time is harder to come by. But I'll keep trying.
- Early spring is often cloudy. Vegetation is still brown or grey from winter and days are still short. Often patches of old dirty snow is laying about. Late spring is best because things have greened up, leafed out, bloomed, and the dirty snow is gone. The days are long enough that the odds of my being on a train in daylight hours are good enough I stand a chance of getting some photos if something does come along.
- Summer is OK too. Again the days are long enough that I stand a good chance of being on trains in the daylight. But some summers in Wyoming and Montana are extremely dry and hot. Soon vegetation is fried and brown. So unless we have an unusually cool and wet summer, mid to late summer pics are not as appealing as spring and early summer pics so fewer get taken. Summer also means fine weather to do things outside like hiking or bike riding in the nearby Bighorn Mountains. I'd rather spend my off time outside than inside on a computer.
- Early fall photos are usually good with the trees and brush having turned colors. But the days are getting shorter fast and the chances of being on a train in the daylight are smaller. By mid to late fall the leaves have fallen or turned brown along with most everything else. Fall finds me with many household chores to perform before winter.
- Winter is a good time to take pictures only if there is fresh snow on the ground to cover everything including old snow. Waiting for snow and daylight and a suitable subject can take weeks and even months. Though we don't have endless periods of cloudy days like some places we do get more cloudy days in the winter months than summer.
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