Sunshine and Snow at Salt Lick Curve

Just over 28 years ago – 2/21/1988 to be exact, there was sunshine and snow at Salt Lick Curve.  Oh yeah, there was a train there too!

Sunshine, snow, and Chessie 4162 at Salt Lick Curve west of Terra Alta, West Virginia.
Sunshine, snow, and Chessie 4162 at Salt Lick Curve west of Terra Alta, West Virginia.  Click on the image to be taken to the Trains Gallery.

Chessie System (B&O) GP40-2 4162 leads a train of coal cars east from the bituminous of West Virginia.  She’s been climbing Cranberry Grade out of the Cheat River Valley in Rowlesburg towards the summit at Terra Alta at speeds in the high teens. Cranberry Grade is part of the storied West End of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (now part of CSX).

It’s a battle of machine versus nature on this beautiful February day.

Sunshine and snow at Salt Lick Curve happened more often than sunshine, snow and a train came together at Salt Lick Curve, so I’m glad I was able to capture this.

Even more amazing is that the 4162 is reasonably clean, allowing her dress of Enchantment Blue, Vermillion Red and Federal Yellow to pop out from the snow and bare trees (Mrs. Frog would call them “naked” trees, but I digress.)

There are three SD-50 locomotives with their collective 10,500 horsepower pushing on the rear of the train.  Hard to believe that the 13,500 horsepower on the front of the train needed assistance, but that’s the West End for you.

This area of West Virginia and neighboring western Maryland can have absolutely brutal weather in winter.  If you’ve ever heard Oakland, MD mentioned during a weather report, this train is on its’ way there.  It was gray and cloudy at the bottom of the hill in Rowlesburg.  The weather at Terra Alta was like it was at the bottom, just maybe a little brighter.  I don’t have any notes as to the temperature that day, but I do have pictures of the MK Helpers (the SD50s) east of Amblersburg and the train cresting the hill at Terra Alta that might make it here to complete the story.

I do seem to remember getting a flat tire on the wooded bridge over the yard as I was leaving Rowlesburg.  I think it was this day.  Whatever day it was, driving home with my summer spare on the right rear was no fun…

Fortunately, the trains don’t move all that fast uphill, and I didn’t miss the chase.

This image is not yet on Laughing Frog Images.  It will make it to what will probably be a gallery devoted to the West End.

It’s 80-something degrees as I write this, and when I came across the image and saw the date, well, it just called to me to be shared.

Scanned from a Kodachrome 64 slide using a HP S-20i scanner at 2400 dpi.


Rock Art Ranch

Rock Art Canyon is located on Rock Art Ranch in St. Joseph, AZ.  The Canyon is home to a large collection of petroglyphs dating back thousands of years.

It’s an incredible place, and if you find yourself on I-40 heading through northern Arizona, it should be on your bucket list.

Rock Art Ranch is between the Petrified Forest / Painted Desert and Standin’ on the Corner, La Posada and the Turquoise Room in Winslow.  It’s about 3 hours from the Grand Canyon, and and 2 hours from Flagstaff.  I had read about it some time ago, and researched it before a trip to Winslow.

Petroglyphs photographed in Rock Art Canyon outside of St. Joseph, AZ. Rock Art Ranch should be on your list of places to see near the Painted Desert and Grand Canyon.
Happy dancer or surrender?  Click on the image to be taken to the Rock Art Canyon Gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Petroglyphs are fascinating because we all see something different in them, and we can only guess as to what the creator was trying to convey.

Some are kind of obvious, and some aren’t.  At least to me, anyway…

You could have an interesting party with a few friends and your beverage of choice as you sat around looking at these and contemplating their meaning.

You can also spend some time contemplating their purpose.  Was it to tell of current news?  Past events?  Family history?  Was it the graffiti of the time?

The ranch is operated by the Baird Family. Tours are available and must be scheduled in advance by calling ahead. There’s a fee, and it’s worth every penny. And then, there’s Mr. Baird himself!

You can learn more about Rock Art Ranch from Trip Advisor and Arizona Central.

As these images were made on private land, they are not available for sale. They are posted in the Rock Art Canyon Gallery for your education and enjoyment.

I’ll be adding more to this gallery over time – I made several hundred images, and it’s going to take a while to get through them all!

Sometimes, your lens is too short

We’ve probably all been there before – you think you’re prepared for what you’re going to be shooting, and then reality decides to toss you a curve – and, sometimes, your lens is too short.

It seems that when this happens, it simply doesn’t matter which lens you have with you.  I’ve had this happen on days when I’ve had a 500mm lens and a 2X teleconverter with me.  It’s just the way things go sometimes.

In this case, I was on the north shore of Kauai, and there was what we think was a juvenile Humpback heading east and breaching several times.  Why, we’ll never know – but you can learn more about humpbacks breaching here.  Those of us that were there would prefer to believe that this was happy breaching on a beautiful day.

So, while us humans were there taking in the spectacle, jaws agape, I decided to pick up my camera a snag a shot.  And I did.  With an 18-270mm fully zoomed out.  Which was fine for the scenic images that I had planned to be shooting.  To say that the lens was grossly inadequate for breaching whales is a minor understatement.

Without cropping, the whale looked like a black dot on a blue rippled background.  So I cropped the image.  A lot.  Just to prove that I got a shot.  Notice I did not say “THE” shot, I said “a” (note the lower case) shot.

Is it a killer shot that’s going to grace my wall?  Nope, not even close.

Is it going to be my conversation-inspiring screensaver on my computer or phone?  Nope, not even that good.

So, why did I keep it?

Easy answer.

Because sometimes, it’s not about THE shot, or the quality of a shot that matters.

Sometimes, all that matters is that you got A shot that makes you smile and think back to what was happening at that moment in time.

And, sometimes, that’s all that really matters.

Sometimes, your lens is too short. A Pacific Humpback whale breeches near Kilauea Point. Kauai, HI.
Sometimes, your lens is too short. A Pacific Humpback whale breeches near Kilauea Point. Kauai, HI.

You can check out more whale shots here on Laughing Frog Images.

Thanks for looking!

Snow, Palm Trees, and the Local

Snow, palm trees and a train are not three things you would expect to see in the same picture – but they’re here in Snow, Palm Trees and the Local.

I don’t know how many places that it is possible to capture such an image.

There are certain days that it is possible in La Verne, California – it just takes the convergence of Mother Nature and BNSF to make it happen, as the palm trees are there every day.

The snow is on the peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains north of La Verne and San Dimas in the background.

The palm trees are in a yard and on the grounds of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

The train is the BNSF Pasadena Subdivision Local – it covers the Pasadena Subdivision as far west as Irwindale these days.  (From Azusa into Los Angeles Union Station, it’s now the Gold Line light rail passenger line.)

The Local is shoving a tank car of chlorine north on the MWD spur that leads to the F. E. Weymouth Treatment Plant.  This movement happens roughly once a week.

If you consider that there isn’t snow on the mountains on a regular basis and that the train can typically be seen here just once a week, you come to realize that this is a rare shot indeed.

All that said, I really wish that this consist was reversed and the 151, still sporting her red and silver warbonnet paint, was in the lead instead of against the train.

Realizing that there were only 63 GP60M locomotives built, I also think that I should quit my whining and be happy that I got the shot…

Snow, palm trees, and the BNSF Pasadena Subdivision Local in La Verne, CA.
Snow, palm trees, and the BNSF Pasadena Subdivision Local in La Verne, CA.


Snow, Palm Trees and the Local can be found in the BNSF ex- Santa Fe Pasadena Subdivision gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

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.