San Dimas Rodeo 2015

The San Dimas Rodeo takes place every year 30-odd miles east of downtown Los Angeles, California.

It’s not exactly where you’d think there would be a rodeo.  Not that I understand why the National Finals Rodeo takes place in Las Vegas, but anyway…

San Dimas is perhaps most known for its’ role in the movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure“.  I would perhaps argue that it was a town on the Santa Fe Railroad mainline that is most relevant – it’s also the home of the Pacific Railroad Museum.  And, there are those who would postulate that it’s the Rodeo that makes San Dimas famous.

Regardless of your perspective, the Rodeo is a step back in time, perhaps to a simpler day, or is it a romanticized event that rekindles the Old West?  It’s a lot of things to a lot of people.  Regardless of the meanings and metaphors one can find in the event, it’s still men and women versus the animals and in conjunction with their animals.  Debates can take place of the virtues of talent and bravery – and which is really the most important factor, sanity versus insanity, and on and on.

For the spectators, it’s an event that evokes laughter, cheering, ooohs and ahhhs, gasps, and apprehension – and all of those can take place in the same minute.

For the photographers, the images evoke skill, concentration, trials and tribulation, pain and joy, strength and brawn, persistence and determination, and more.


A cowboy in the process of being tossed from a bull at the 2015 San Dimas Rodeo.

A cowboy in the process of being tossed from a bull at the 2015 San Dimas Rodeo. Click the photo to be taken to the gallery.


I’m fairly certain that perusing this gallery will be provocative.  Think about what you see here in the faces and the expressions and the images.

To learn more about the San Dimas Rodeo, just click here.

The San Dimas Rodeo is a PRCA sanctioned event.  Due to that, plus the fact that people’s faces are seen, and there are things like licensing and model releases and “stuff” to be dealt with, this is a view-only gallery.  None of these images will make it to anyone’s wall by my own, but they’re here for your viewing pleasure.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean is one of my favorite images.  It has a bit of an unlikely story behind it.

I was on a hiking photo tour of Kauai with Kauai Photo Tours.  It was a bit of a last minute thing that Mrs. Frog encouraged me to do, so while I had my basic photo gear that I travel with (Nikon D-7100 body and Tamron 18-270mm and 10-24mm lenses), I didn’t have what I would take on a planned landscape shoot.  (That’s another post and discussion!)

So, our group is hiking down to the mouth of Puukumu Stream. Puukumu Stream runs north from the mountains of Kauai between Kahiliwai and Kilauea carrying rainwater to the Pacific Ocean.

My gear is in my bag.  We’ve crossed the stream and are heading north northeast to a small waterfall where the stream empties into the ocean.  And the group is moving.  And my gear is in my bag.  And the group is moving.  I look to the left and think “hey, that’s a great shot…”  And my Icon is in my pocket.  So, I stop briefly, pull out the Icon and snap a few in automatic mode, and then keep moving.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean on the north side of Kauai, Hi.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean on the north side of Kauai, Hi.

I thought it might have been a good grab shot.  And the more I looked at it later in the day, the more I realized that it wasn’t just a good grab shot, but that it was in fact a great shot!

This image was taken in DNG format with a Nokia Icon in Auto mode, ISO 64, 1/1500 second.  Minor post-processing took place in Perfect Photo Suite 9.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean can be found in the coastal and beach scenes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

This image would be no ka ‘oi (“the best” in Hawaiian) as a metal print or on metallic paper in 1 high x 2 wide format (10″x20″, 12″x24″).

It will be a quiet week

It’s been busy lately, and it’s going to be a quiet week here at Laughing Frog Images.

One has to take care of the day job and the things that allow this blog, gallery and store to exist.

If you’ve never done so, you can check out the slide show on the Galleries page while things are quiet on the blog and site.

The slide show is a little bit of everything that’s in the Galleries.

Viewing the slide show can do any one of a number of things for you:

Pass time at work.

Pass time while you’re procrastinating about something else.

Help you make your holiday gift list.

Help you make your “hint” list for what you’d really like to get as a gift.

Help you cover that bad patch on the wall.

Dress up a bland wall.

Get yourself a really neat and unique water bottle or mug.

The possibilities are virtually endless.

I hope to get back to a couple of posts a week starting with the week of the 15th…

Until then, be well and take care of those around you as well.

Oh – one more thing, if you like the slide show, we’d appreciate “shares”, “likes”, “pins” and whatever other “stuff” is out there!

This is a very small business that exists on sharing and word of mouth, and we appreciate everything you to to help support Laughing Frog Images so we can keep offering you unique images and the ability to get the image you want on the medium that you want.




The Frog is back.

Well, we’re back!

The Frog took some time off from the blog to take care of some things around the house, and spend time with family, friends, and (of course) the cats. It was a nice way to end the year.  I hope you enjoyed your holidays as well.

In the midst of all that, I did some photography and I also scanned several hundred slides dating back to the late 1970’s.  Yes, I have a lot of processing to do!

So, what’s coming to Laughing Frog Images in 2016?


Wild horses.

Trains.  Contemporary and historical.

A National Monument or two.

The stories behind the pictures.

“How to” insights (or at least how I do/did, keeping in mind that I have no formal photography training!).

A new book on the final years of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad as I saw them through my lens.

A new book on steam operations from the 1970’s and 1980’s (and possibly more).  Think C&O 614, Reading 2102, N&W 611, N&W 1218 and maybe Nickel Plate 765 as well.

It’s going to be a busy year!

Thanks for your support as we grew throughout 2015.  Every “follow”, “like” and “share” is greatly appreciated.

Here’s to a great 2016 for all of us!

Merry Christmas, WNY&P Style

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Merry Christmas from Laughing Frog Images!

This year’s card takes us back to February of 2003, and the early days of the Western New York and Pennsylvania (WNY&P) Railroad.  The WNY&P is a part of the Livonia Avon and Lakeville (LA&L) family of railroads.

We’re at Niobe Junction, New York on this brisk February morning to see two LA&L Alco C424m’s heading west to Corry, PA on the former Norfolk Southern / Conrail / Erie Lackawanna / Erie Railroad mainline.

Niobe Junction is at the east end of what was a separated section of double track.  Typically, when railroads had a double track mainline, they kept the tracks parallel to each other.  I seem to recall having read somewhere (and I can’t find the source now) that the line separation was made due to issues with the eastbound (uphill) grade and the effect that it had on eastbound perishable (iced) food freight – something to do with the ice shifting in the cars.  It was one of those interesting railroad history stories.  Just wish I could find it instead of relying on a crowded memory…

Anyway, on this fine February morning, we see two spotless Alcos, each 35+ years young (and still around today!), heading west to Corry, PA.

They’re passing an unusual sign warning drivers of “increased train traffic”, as the WNY&P is about to resume through freight service on the line between Meadville, PA and Hornell, NY.

Why were they headed to Corry as light engines?

A customer in Corry had a slight problem.

A freight car was stuck – as in frozen stiff, and it needed to be moved.  The two Centuries headed west from the terminal in Falconer, NY, freed the car for the customer, and headed home.

That’s customer service by the WNY&P in the spirit of the Erie Lackawanna’s “Friendly Service Route”!

Peace. Love. Joy.

Well, here in the U.S., we’re in the middle of the Christmas rush – those that haven’t shopped are watching the clock tick, and those that are selling are trying to influence those who still have to shop.  And so it goes…

Around the world, millions are already traveling or preparing to travel.

There are a lot of things going on – and somewhere in the middle of it all, peace. love and joy are out there.

So why am I writing this in such broad terms?


Demographic reports tell me that Laughing Frog Images is currently followed beyond the U.S. in thirteen (13) countries around the world, plus one (1) U.S. Territory.  That’s just those who follow Laughing Frog Images’ Facebook page.  I can’t tell where those of you who follow Laughing Frog Images on Google+ or via our Blog are from, nor can I tell where every visitor to each medium is located.  Let’s just say that I’m amazed and humbled by it all, and encouraged to see that the following keeps growing.

Those demographics also tell me that there’s much more to this holiday season beyond wishing every one of you a simple “Merry Christmas”.

Among you who follow the Frog, there are a lot of people in a lot of places around the world celebrating their own religious, ethnic and cultural traditions, seasons and events.

I’m not even going to pretend that I know what all of them are, nor am I going to try and fake it by trying to wish everyone a happy this and merry that.  Odds are that I’d likely make a mistake or two (or more), and perhaps make a fool out myself in the process.

So, the Frog is simply going to wish everyone out there reading this three simple and universal things:

That there may be peace for your, your families, and friends.

That you take time to love yourself (not selfishly, but to take care of yourself), your family, your friends, your pets, and even those who aren’t your favorite folks.

That you take the time to find the joy in this season.

The Frog has been quiet lately – between the day job and family and friends, the Frog has been very, very busy.  He’s tired and looking forward to a little downtime.  You probably won’t see a new post until early in the New Year.  He’s also realized that churning out an informative, interesting, and entertaining blog and an interesting website and product selection is easier than it sounds when one already has a full-time job!


Don’t be this guy!

Look at this poor little thing.

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Worn out from holiday shopping – he just gave out on the wall.

Holiday shopping can do that to you!

We have a solution!

There’s one day left to take advantage of Laughing Frog Images’ 2015 holiday sale.

25% off everything on except our books (yeah, there’s always a catch!).

There’s still time to get what you want your way by Christmas if you find yourself in that situation….

Or, because you feel like this little guy, get yourself something!

Even if you don’t… safe and happy holidays to you and yours from Laughing Frog Images.

Reflections on the USS Arizona

I have been to Pearl Harbor once.

Coincidentally, it was ten years ago today – December 7, 2005.

That day, by virtue of being on the last boat out to the Arizona Memorial, I experienced something that most people don’t – the internment of a Pearl Harbor survivor’s ashes on the USS Arizona.

I saw the gathering of family, Honor Guard, and current military personnel for the ceremony.

While I wasn’t a part of the ceremony, I was certainly moved by it.

There were few words being spoken as people took their places at the Memorial as we were leaving (it was a private ceremony).

There didn’t need to be any words.

You felt the significance of what happened there in 1941, and was happening there that day.

The feelings were more than any words could say.

It still moves me today as I write this.

The Arizona was seeping fuel oil that day, and, to my knowledge, she still does.

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Perhaps it is her way of weeping for all who gave their lives that day.

Maybe she weeps as a symbol for all who have given their lives at war.

I don’t claim to have any answers about what happened at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 or why.

Nor can I really grasp man’s inhumanity to man throughout history.

Or today.

All I can do is sit here and be moved by a ten year old image and wonder “why?”

It’s a very broad “why” that’s not limited to Pearl Harbor.  Pearl Harbor is just one part of that “why?”

I wonder why about a lot of events that have cost mothers their sons and daughters, and children their mothers and fathers.

I wonder how people can kill other people because they (fill in the blank).

I wonder, and I just don’t understand.

I probably never will understand.

Maybe it’s because I’m a photographer that I see and feel things in pictures, and believe that a picture can carry and convey a meaning – no words necessary.

I think that the USS Arizona weeps for us all.

New images coming!

Well, it was a beautiful weekend.  If you weren’t sick, that is.  So, in order to maximize your shopping potential, I spent the weekend working on scanned slides so that I can post new images that will either interest you, hook you, speak to you, or give you an escape for a while.  This weekend’s focus was steam passenger excursion trains and other passenger and excursion trains of the 1980s.

A while back, you might remember that I said that scanning was the easy part and cleaning/adjusting/optimizing the images was the hard part.  It’s still true.

Prior to scanning, you use a very soft (and expensive) brush to do a rough cleaning of the slide, and then you blow the dust off with air.  You hope.  And then, you scan the slide at 5000 dpi (dots per inch).

And all that dust and all those specks and nasty ugly things you couldn’t see with the naked eye are jumping up and down saying “nya-nya you missed me!” when you pull the slide up on the monitor!  So, you clean the specks off one by one.  You remove the uglies carefully and patiently.

You adjust the colors to compensate for 30+ years of storage – but fortunately, not much shift, as for the most part you shot Kodachrome, which is one of the most stable films there ever was.

You wonder why it seemed that when you managed to get a day off to go photograph, the sun took the day off as well – and you stare at that gray sky…  And you wonder why you shot Kodachrome…  Seriously, it seems like special trains and steam engines were magnets for gray days in the 1980s.  I’ve been away for a while, so I wonder if it’s still like that, or if the decline of som many industries from Chicago on east has made any difference.

So, when you can’t get the colors quite right – or you can, but the sky starts to do strange things, you think “hey – that might make a great image in black and white…”  So, you take a trip to Perfect Photo Suite and pull up the profile that mimics Kodak’s Panatomic X black and white film, and you find that not only did you salvage the image, but that it looks pretty darned good in black and white.

And then, there was harsh lighting.  From the front.  From the side.  From the top.  From the back.  As if the gray skies weren’t bad enough, it also seemed like the trains ran contrary to good light quite often.  So, that bred many a trip to the black and white work space as well.

After all of this work, there are so far two galleries of new images on Laughing Frog Images, and I’ve added another main gallery.

More to follow…

Here’s a sneak peak at some of what’s coming:

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Heceta Head Lighthouse

On a long weekend on the Oregon coast, Mrs. Frog and I crossed one off the bucket list – we stayed in a Bed & Breakfast at the former Lightkeeper’s Quarters at Heceta Head Lighthouse.

(You don’t have to stay there to tour the Lightkeeper’s Quarters or see the lighthouse.)

You can learn more about the lighthouse itself by clicking here.

I don’t know what to say about it other than it’s one of those places that has a sense of place, and you should have it on your list, whether you stay in Florence or at the B&B.

The waves in Oregon are different from what I’m used to – and perhaps for you as well.  They’re constant – you can see that in some of the images in the gallery.

Swimming in many places along the Oregon coast can be hazardous to your health.

Don’t like the weather?  Wait five minutes – it may change!  Like the weather?  It could change in five minutes!

The wind only seems to blow about a quarter of the time.  From each of the four directions, that is.

If any of that sounds like a complaint – you’re absolutely wrong!

It’s beautiful.  It’s rugged.  It’s rainy.  It’s sunny.  It’s foggy.  It’s windy.  It’s breathtaking.

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Heceta Head Lighthouse is in the far left-center, the Lightkeeper’s Quarters are in the center, Devil’s Elbow is the rock formation in front of the Lightkeeper’s Quarters, and the waves. 

Just look at the waves.  This image was made just before the sun disappeared below the horizon, hence the “sweet” light.

Heceta Head Lighthouse is a delight for photographers of all levels and persuasions.

What I found wildly interesting was that over 90% of the people I saw photographing Heceta Head Lighthouse from along the Oregon Coast Highway were using their smartphone or their tablet.  From a snooty photographer’s perspective I was thinking to myself “why are they doing that?” and “where are their “real” cameras?”  And then, I took a breath, and realized that (1) it’s 2015, and (2) maybe they think I’m the crazy one.  Ultimately, images speak to each of us differently, and who I am to question what one sees and treasures in their images.

I made over 300 images of Heceta Head Lighthouse.  In the fog.  In the mist.  At dusk.  At night.  In the few minutes of sunshine that I had.  And then I previewed.  Then, I processed.  And I cropped.  All in, 95% of the images didn’t make the cut for one reason or another.  Mist or fog droplets on the lens.  Mist or fog that made the picture “bleah” as Snoopy would say.  Fuzzy due to the mist or fog.

Seventeen images made the cut, and they are presented for you in the Heceta Head Lighthouse gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Perhaps the most amazing thing to me was that you could stand at the base of the lighthouse and see eight beams of light emerging from the Fresnel lens.  Yes, eight!  I didn’t know that was possible.  I know that when I was south of the lighthouse, I could only see one light every ten seconds – the pattern for Heceta Head Lighthouse.  I know that I could see two main beams at night from the Lightkeeper’s Quarters.  And I saw eight when standing at the base of the lighthouse.  I don’t understand it.  I can’t explain it.  I don’t know if that happens at all lighthouses.  I haven’t researched it.

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I included an image of this in the gallery and noted in the caption to order this at your own risk.  Due to the fog and mist that night, I don’t expect it to reproduce well.

I simply know one thing about the eight beams of light I saw: it’s absolutely fascinating, no, mesmerizing, no, spectacular.  Yes, spectacular.

And that make me want to go back.

And that makes me tell you that Heceta Head Lighthouse is one for your Bucket List.

I hope you enjoy this gallery as much as we did in making it!