I was able to take a train ride while attending the Durango Independent Film Festival in the beginning of March. Being winter, the line was only open for the bottom half, so it made a nice morning trip and something to do before attending my first screening at the festival.
While the scenery was nice, I was of course more interested in the steam locomotive itself.
It seems that each festival I go to is a better experience than the last, but I don’t know that Durango can be topped. They treated the filmmakers so nicely there, and it being 6 hours away from me, I decided to stay for the entire thing, which was definitely worth it. I stayed in the General Palmer Hotel (living in Colorado Springs for so long, I could stay nowhere else) which looked largely untouched by time. There were lots of activities I to do around town (like a trip on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad), plus a special filmmakers only-lounge in the basement of the local Irish pub…assuming you didn’t watch films, and I did try to catch as many programs as I could. The best part though, was that the entire festival took place in the space of two blocks in downtown Durango, making everything nice and easy to get to. I forged some great relationships with people and will definitely be going back in the future.
The main event. A much more joyous occasion than two years ago, we met in Manassas, VA for my cousin’s wedding. He’s the last cousin to get married, which probably means my brother’s and my days are numbered…
At least we’ll be able to put them through a long plane flight like the ones I’ve had to endure the last few years!
The trial and error continues. Since last spring I’ve made it a point to shoot and get the hang of Ektar 100…it still hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight that skews the color temperature, or the fact that with a manual camera I’m not getting a proper exposure, or that I didn’t perform a whole lot of color correction in post. Whatever the reason, the unsatisfying results are just one more reason that I’ll shoot keep shooting the consumer-variety films.
Well actually, my brother was the train buff when we were growing up, but my fascination with old technology has worked its way to these wonderful contraptions. Especially steam locomotives: properly maintained, they can work for centuries and besides that they look wonderful. Engine 169 from the Denver & Rio Grande railroad is a good candidate for restoration, and had been saved and preserved in Alamosa, CO.
William Jackson Palmer was born and raised a Quaker in Pennsylvania, went into the railroad business, but felt so strongly about the cause of Abolition that he joined the Union Army during the Civil War, and suffered consequences of that from his family and church. He served with distinction, rose to the rank of General, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Lincoln himself. After the war, he went back into railroads, came out West, and founded his own railroad running North-South. The D&RG intersected most other railroads there at the time, and connected many mining towns along the Front Range that had sprung up supplying miners going into the Rockies looking for gold. General Palmer founded the town of Colorado Springs and lived there the rest of his life. I was happy to see a Springs connection in Alamosa when I went there for the Southern Colorado Film Festival.
There was a railroad that I considered riding after the festival, but ended up not having time for unfortunately. I did go into their yard and take a few pics of some of their engines and cars; some are in better condition than others. What I didn’t see and wish I had was a mid-century diesel engine, though there were later electric engines, though perhaps they were in a different spot. Alamosa seems to be a repository of old train cars and I hope these will end up being preserved as well.
I’ve always been more a fan of Fuji when it comes to color, even with Ektar, which really, I’ve yet to get the hang of. However, I’ve seen so many good results for Kodak Gold 200, thanks to its popularity on the Pakon F135 users’ group on Facebook, and I decided to give it a go myself.
I have to say, I’m quite happy with what it can do so far. As a plus, it’s readily available at the grocery store near my mom’s house, at a price of $9.00 per 3-pack no less. I’ll definitely shoot more.
Down in the San Luis Valley on SR17 between Moffatt and Hooper, is a center for extraterrestrial enthusiasts, a place that has a reputation for being frequented by UFOs. People flock from all over America, perhaps the world, to sit on the observation deck at night looking for spacecraft.
According to the lady that runs it, Spanish conquistadors wrote in their diaries about witnessing UFOs landing on the plain when they were first traveling through this area in the 16th century. I have not corroborated this claim, but just pass it along. There is a garden that psychics say contains powerful energy spots, and it is traditional to leave something behind after visiting. Walking the garden is said to heal you of diseases.
I stopped there after attending the Southern Colorado Film Festival, as a good place to use up two rolls of Fuji Reala (expired 1993) that were kindly given to me by a lady in a thrift store in Alamosa, CO. I thought that in keeping with the always grainy, out of focus and generally crappy images of supposed flying saucers, 25-year-old film would be a good choice. The only saucers I saw though, were grounded.
Back in the Spring 2013 I had my album manufactured by the National Audio Company out of Missouri. They were supposed to be working on a customer example gallery, so I sent in a few promo shots…three years later the gallery is finally up and can be viewed here. I’m happy to see Lacrimosa among them.
I seem to be one of the only ones not using the standard white background. I can’t decide if that’s good because it will help pull people’s eyes toward it, or bad because it now seems less professional. Hmmm…
I posted this picture before, way back when. But this one is new: