I highly recommend that any photographer who gets an opportunity to take one of the photography train trips offered by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to do so. I did my trip in May 2010. The September 29-30, 2012 23rd Annual Fall Photo Train event and registration information is found on the D&S Events Page. I suggest that you get your reservations in early because my trip was completely booked. I made the trip by myself, but had many friends by the end of the event. I was also lucky because there were a number of train “experts” in the carriage with me and provided me with a lot of background and history about the Durango & Silverton as well as other old trains in the southwest.
During my trip with the D & S, arrangements were made by the hosts to have a nighttime shoot the night before the train ride. Models and lights were provided and we were able to shoot for several hours. Releases were also provided for the models so you can use the photographs commercially. Since there were numerous photographers, the flashes were manually fired while we did our best to time our shots to the flash countdown which became quite interesting.
The highlight, of course, was the train trip the next day to Silverton. Both going and coming the train would stop and let all the photographers out and we would set up while the train backup to do a pass-by so we could photograph it as it chugged by. I suggest that you also take a video camera and extra tripod to capture the beauty of this steam beast as it passes by with smoke rolling out the stack and with the whistle blowing.
I went on my trip in the spring, but the late summer early fall is by far the best. I have made the trip in late summer (not one of the special photography trips) and the colors are better during that time of the year. Regardless, I do not think that you will be disappointed no matter the time of year you are able to make the trip. If you aren’t a train lover at the start of the 52-mile round trip, you will be by the time it is over. The one warning that I will give you is be ready to take a long hot shower and clean your gear after the trip. After all, it is a coal-burning steam engine and all that beautiful smoke coming out the stack has to settle somewhere.
You can see other photos from my trip in my Durango-Silverton Gallery on my website.
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