Caboose View

In Skagway Alaska, we caught a sightseeing train from the sea up into White Pass. I took this just after we reversed directions to head back down.

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Caboose View
The view out the back of the White Pass Railroad in Skagway, Alaska

The whole trip I hung out between the cars where I could get pictures of the landscape. On the way up we were in the first car behind the engine. Then the train pulled into a siding and the locomotive connected to the other end and, as you can see, we were at the back.

more from Alaska in the gallery

It was pretty high up, and the weather dropped about forty-degrees. Skagway used to be a mining town, and in the Klondike days before the train, miners would traverse the pass on foot or mule. That would be a hard slog indeed, so I was glad to be on a train with its trusty breaks all the way back down.

Alaska Train

Here is a shot of the train we took from Seward to Anchorage a couple of years back. It was at the end of a cruise, and the only way back to the airport was a four-hour train ride through the mountains. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun.

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Alaska Train

I ended up roaming the train, back and forth through the cars like a kid in a candy shop. I would stop between the cars to take pictures of the scenery rushing by. This is how travel was meant to be.

more from Alaska

If you stayed in your seat, they would come around and take your order for food and drinks. Unlike an airplane, you have a lot of space to stretch out and enjoy the meal. But I was on my feet most of the time, quite often at the front near the engine snapping photos like this.

Choo Choo Station

Here’s a shot from inside the restored train station in downtown Chattanooga. The station isn’t operational; it’s now a historical spot for music and arts. There are a few old trains at the station converted to shops, restaurants, and a hotel.

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Choo Choo Station
Inside the restored train station of the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo

The Frothy Monkey that I posted about the other day is just to the right. We just finished lunch, and I was waiting for the valet to return the car when I took this photo. The little choo-choo motif on the right seals the deal for me.

a lot more pretty pictures

The whole time I was here, I couldn’t stop humming the old Andrews Sisters song (https://youtu.be/FdrYYUuT07Q). I wonder if you can still catch a train to Tennessee from Track 29 at Penn station. I doubt it, but it would be cool if you could.

Departure from Normal

Manipulating scenes like this is a departure from normal, it’s not real so our minds are free to play a little; we each read into it something different.

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Departure from Normal
This scene is a departure from normal, a thought experiment

When in Vancouver I will often pass through this station. I can never get enough photos in and around trains. Among other things they are studies in leading lines.
I sat at the end so I could look back as we pulled away.

I’ve created a mirror effect, which for me is a metaphor for a choice between two paths, one direction or the other. When we are children we have so much in common; as we mature we diverge in different ways depending on a million things.

We choose one path or another every single day, and often we spend time wondering if we made the right choice. Sometimes we make difficult choices and then wonder about them later. Life is setup in a way that forces us to make decisions; we have no choice but to make choices. Not choosing is still a choice. Maybe the lesson is not so much the decision but how we deal with it after the fact.

more abstract images from the gallery

This image brings all that to mind, probably because I spend more time than I should thinking about decisions I’ve made. This is my metaphor for rushing through life’s stations, making choices, looking back yet trying not to look back.

Train to Anchorage

I took this on a train to Anchorage Alaska as I stood on the platform of a rail car just behind the engine. It is fair to say I got a good dose of diesel fumes that day, especially in the tunnels. But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything, it was an awesome experience. 

The more I ride trains the more pictures I have of coming through tunnels. It invariable evokes the metaphors of pulling through and the light at the end. These are things we all experience and it’s natural to find corollaries in the world to represent our inner thoughts.

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Train to Anchorage
Train to Anchorage Alaska

As such I wax philosophical about images because sometimes I find it more interesting that what my camera settings were or what I was doing at the time. I’m interesting in interpretation and how we relate to images.

I prefer to find a hopeful meaning in an image. For me it’s important to be open to the possibility of good things. I think good things are not by chance, rather a state of mind; that’s what optimism is.

images with tracks

I am fortunate to have traveled the rails on a high mountain pass and experience re-emerging into the light from a tunnel. It is at once visceral and metaphorical. What more could I want?