Chugging through the clouds.

Sky train number two.

One of the benefits of staying in one place is that you get to see some of the same subjects in a different light. Yes. That means the physical and the metaphysical. The old Robert Capa saying, “if the picture isn’t good enough then you weren’t close enough,” really has two meanings. The first is obvious and I clung to that for years. Work closer. Make a better picture. The second isn’t so obvious. A good friend of mine mentioned it to me.¬† You have to be close to your subject in order to understand your subject. From that springs a better picture.

Think of it this way. Maybe you are one of my writer friends who reads Storyteller. You ask me to photograph your family because you think all you take is snapshots. While my pictures of your family might be better technically than anything you shot, I can pretty much assure you that your pictures will be better than mine from a content point of view. You know your family far better than I do.

The same thing happens with travel pictures. If you go on some sort of tour, whether it’s a cruise that stops in certain places, or a guided tour through some country, your pictures will be fairly common and will reflect the fact that you don’t know the location well.

I never take those kinds of tours. I learn as much as I can about a place and schedule enough time so that I can just hangout and learn the flow of it. I also don’t try to cover too much. I really and truly dislike packing and unpacking and packing… you get the idea. That’s for my photographic work. My other life is different. But, I’m not trying to learn about a place.

That said…

The same thing happens when you live in a place. You can return repeatedly to places you find interesting. In theory, your pictures should improve. I’m lucky (or not). I live in a very popular place that tourists and travelers just love. The best travel destination in the country. So the travel magazine and guidebooks say.

After all, how many of you can walk out the door around golden and blue hours and say, “I’ll be back. I’m going to the French Quarter to take pictures.” I may grumble about the city, but most of the time it’s giant set waiting to be photographed… and eaten. Yeah. Lots of world-class restaurants. Even on the greasy spoon end.

One more thing. No. Not every place is New Orleans. But every place has great pictures lurking in the corners. You just have to leave your Barcalounger and your 92 inch television and go outside and look for them. Do this for a couple of days in a row and the pictures will find you. I promise.

The picture. I photographed this bridge a few weeks ago in bright sunlight. I happened to be nearby yesterday so I had another look. The dark clouds were the remainders of a big northerly storm. No more 80 degree days. I awoke to 36 degrees today. The same people who were complaining about the heat are now complaining about the cold. I am not one of them. I like the cold. The dog who sees things loves the cold. For the past couple of days she’s come hauling ass out of the house and dancing around in the cold air.

Anyway.

I must feel like writing.

Back to the picture. Not only was there clouds in the sky, but there were diesel engines on the bridge. That bright orange is the BNSF paint scheme. It just jumped out of the overall darkness. I made some closer pictures too. You can see the graffiti covered billboard. I like it well enough, but this picture speaks to the long distance nature of rail travel. In music this might be called the high lonely. The train is eastbound. I don’t know where it originated. Many trains crossing here have traveled from the West Coast, usually Los Angeles. But, the hopper cars aren’t covered in graffiti. They didn’t start in LA. The other LA. Movie stars, palm trees, swimming pools.

Enjoy my tales. I’m finally enjoying writing them.

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