Columbia River Gorge steam engine

Enroute to Trout Lake, WA to preview an August wedding venue I opted for the Scenic Highway along the Columbia River from Troutdale to Multnomah Falls. I’ve always wanted a photo of the Gorge filled with fog and blue skies above. This came closer than I’ve been before. The gorge was filled with fog but high clouds to the east flattened the light and created a very different mood. I spent about an hour watching the fog drift in and around. The images are not terribly memorable but they do capture the mood of the day.

As I neared Multnomah Falls I saw a couple of guys parked on the side of the road with tripods, and long lenses pointed west along the Union Pacific rail tracks. The week before I’d seen a steam engine heading west toward Portland as I travelled to Walla Walla, Washington. I called my “I know trains” friend, Steve, to see what was going on and he confirmed that the steam engine should be going east on its return. I turned around and parked with the two others. Generously, they shared their experience shooting trains as they told me that they were going to chase the train to LaGrande and had several other points that they would use to capture images of the historic engine. Let’s just say that I learned a lot about shutter speeds, dynamic area focus and the need to be ready when the train shows up. The engine blasted by our position in about 10 seconds from the time we first saw it. Whistle blowing, steam flaring, tracks shaking. Serendipitous photography. Great fun.

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