A friend and his wife approached me with an intriguing idea for a project. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train and Animas River represent important elements of the Durango landscape and their desire was to have a single composition of the train and river blended together in all four seasons.
We agreed upon a location that didn't have buildings in view, would be accessible in the winter, and had enough foliage to provide seasonal interest. There were three trains running at the height of the summer season, then reduced to one or two the rest of the year. All I had to do was show up shortly before the train was scheduled to depart the station in the morning. Seemed easy enough but more times than not I arrived at my spot expecting perfect light only to have the rising sun burn off the cloud cover revealing a glorious day, but too bright for the shot. People walking their dogs, rafters and kayakers who stopped paddling to watch the train, and other photographers would occasionally drift into my line of sight ruining that day's attempt. At this point I thought I was prepared for all possible obstacles when, after a large snowstorm, my careful measurements taken for the tripod setup were lost because of deep snow and ice. Despite the hiccup, it was the winter shot that kicked off the series.
Each season is a separate 18"x45" canvas-wrapped panel and the entire scene is now installed on a stone wall above their fireplace.