Farewell you blessed train tracks

These train tracks are something special to me. We’re moving on Saturday to downtown Phoenix, which is around 27 miles from this spot in the photo above. I doubt I will be seeing them anytime soon unless next year’s monsoon chasing somehow leads me this way. Or maybe I’ll be on this side of town and swing by, but regardless, it’s no longer going to be a 5-minute drive from my house.

I took the above photo two nights ago as a way of saying farewell to them. I actually hadn’t been by this way in awhile and it felt only right that my last set of bracketing done on this side of town was on these tracks. Man was it a beautiful sunset…sadly the clouds on the horizon blocked a lot of the light and didn’t allow for a nice fiery red sky…but the clouds were unique and appeared to be coming directly from the same horizon as the train tracks. God blessed me that night with a little farewell of his own.

There are two huge reasons why this place is so important to me. Both of them have to do with the photo below.

I had done an HDR photo or two by this point last November, but I don’t think I had a real understanding of what it could do for me or what would look good.  I took a lunch break to drive around and just photograph stuff around my area as a way to learn to open my eyes a little more. I walked out onto these tracks, and for some reason decided to do an HDR of this scene. I believe the thought was that at least train tracks might look cool all HDR-ed up.

But this was shot in the middle of the day. The clouds were barely visible to me with the naked eye. Little did I realize how much the HDR process would showcase the amazing contrails from overhead airplanes that day. I consider this my very first real HDR photo. The few others prior were just practice.

I posted this on Wunderground.com later that day (a weather website where I post all my weather photos, here is my profile there), and the response was overwhelming (you can see all the comments here). It received an Approver’s Choice right away and I was kind of blown away by the love it got. I just hadn’t been expecting it.

I kind of see that moment as an awakening for me. I had photographed something that moved people to say amazing things. It opened my eyes to what was possible within myself to do.  Since then…the sky has been the limit.

The second reason this photo and this spot are so important…it was the first print I ever sold. A woman knew her grandfather would love it hanging in the same room with all his model railroad stuff.

I, of course, agreed *grin*

The cool thing is that no matter how much time goes by between now and when I walk this spot again…they will still be there and the memories always will be.

  • http://www.behindmyeyes.me Jim Denham

    Love both images Mike. Hope these places never become strangers to you!

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  • http://brianmatiash.com Brian Matiash

    Man, I can stare at this sunset shot of yours all day. Oh wait, I thought this was the sunset shot at Stuck in Customs. 🙂

    Nah, seriously, I love both of these shots. The epic skies that you manage to capture are fantastic.

  • http://heathofee.com Heath O’Fee

    First off, that’s hilarious, Brian!

    Secondly, both are great shots, my friend! And good luck with the move!

  • http://worldofhdr.com Tobias George

    Two amazing shots Mike! Hope the move goes smoothly.

  • jina

    Ahhh. I love nostalgia.

  • Isaac

    Where exactly was this beautiful shot taken? I’ve been looking for a nice railroad track like this! Any assistance would be great thanks!