Night Photo Session featuring DRGW 315

Way back (or at least it seems that way) in August of 2019, there was a night photo session featuring DRGW 315 in Chama, NM.   The 315 pulled a photo freight charter from Antonito, CO from Chama, NM earlier in the day.

DRGW 315 Night Photo Session, C&TSRR Yard, Chama NM. August 2019.
DRGW 315 Night Photo Session, C&TSRR Yard, Chama NM. August 2019.

The 315 was restored by the Durango Railway Historical Society (  DRHS is raising funds to build a structure to protect their historic rolling stock.  Half of the profits from the D&RGW 315 Night Session, Chama, 2019 Gallery will be donated to the DRHS to help them attain their goal.  If you don’t need or want a print, but still interested in helping preserve history?  Contact the DRHS to make a donation through their website or Facebook page.

DRGW 315 Night Photo Session, C&TSRR Yard, Chama NM. August 2019.
DRGW 315 Night Photo Session, C&TSRR Yard, Chama NM. August 2019.

The following history is adapted from the Rio Grande 315 page on Wikipedia:

Denver and Rio Grande Western 315 is a Class C-18 2-8-0 Consolidation type, narrow gauge steam railway locomotive.  315 was built as Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad No. 3 by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1895.  After the demise of the F&CC in 1915, the Denver and Rio Grande purchased it and four of its sisters in 1917 to help with World War I traffic. 

It became DRG 425, then DRGW 315 when the D&RG became the Denver and Rio Grande Western in the reorganization of 1924.  D&RGW service began at Alamosa, Colorado. The 315 spent most of the next decade on the Gunnison Division in Salida, Colorado on the line to Montrose and on the branch to Ouray.

DRGW 315 Night Photo Session, C&TSRR Yard, Chama NM. August 2019.
DRGW 315 Night Photo Session, C&TSRR Yard, Chama NM. August 2019.

As larger locomotives, notably the K-27, K-36 and K-37 Mikados came on line, smaller engines like 315 were used as switchers or scrapped. The 315 appeared in the movie Colorado Territory in 1948.  Taken out of service in 1949, it returned to the silver screen in Around the World in 80 Days in 1956, albeit pushed by a diesel locomotive disguised as a baggage car for the movie.

The 315 was leased to the City of Durango from 1950 and donated to the Chamber of Commerce in 1968.  It was transferred to the City in December, 2000.  Restoration work by the Durango Railroad Historical Society began in 2001.  315 moved under its own power for the first time in 57 years in August, 2007.  The City of Durango transferred ownership of the locomotive to the Durango Railroad Historical Society in 2014.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Locomotive No. 315 in 2008.

DRGW 315 Night Photo Session, C&TSRR Yard, Chama NM. August 2019.
DRGW 315 Night Photo Session, C&TSRR Yard, Chama NM. August 2019.

Time for a Sale!

These days, many of us are spending more time at home for a multitude of reasons.  Recognizing that, it’s a good time for a sale. 

Whether you want to accent a room or a wall, change what’s on your wall, indulge yourself, or spoil someone else, you can save 50% off of almost everything (books and shipping are excluded) through May 31, 2020 by simply using the code 2020 at checkout.

Holiday Greetings from Laughing Frog Images


I hope this finds you and yours well this holiday season.

I remain humbled by having social media followers and people on the mailing list from all over the world, thus I could never cover all of the “right” greetings for everyone, so I’ll just say “Happy Holidays.”

2019 was a busy year making images, but not necessarily processing and posting them. I seem to say that every year at this time, but that thing called the Day Job has a way of interfering with my plans.

I did publish my third book “Seven Days in September 1994” this year. It was a massive undertaking among the demands of work and “normal” life events.  I thought it was important to complete the book on the 25th anniversary of a trip that with few exceptions cannot be repeated in terms of what I saw and photographed.

Here’s what I hope to accomplish in 2020 on the website and in books:

New Galleries:

  • D&RGW 315 Photo Freight on the Cumbres and Toltec
  • D&RGW 315 Night Photo Session in Chama, NM
  • Nevada Northern 2019 Winter Photographers Weekend (NN 40, NN 83 and snow!)
  • posting select images from Seven Days in September 1994 (not sure if I will post by railroad or in a book gallery)
  • reprocessing and completing the processing of images of C&O 614 in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia from the early 1980s.


  • Publish the Second Edition of the “Port Huron & Detroit Railroad in Color, 1982-1984” (a little new content, reprocessed images set to full bleed, new commentary and corrections).
  • I hope to finish “New England Nights” that will contain my night photography from when I was living in Massachusetts. The images have been scanned – now the work begins!
  • The Rio Grande and Steam! books are still in the queue, but I don’t have a target date for them.

If you’ve read this far, you deserve something for your time.  Here’s a perpetual gift – use the code Friends&Family50 for 50% off of paper, metal and canvas prints and frames any time you order.  The only catch is this code doesn’t apply to books. 

May you and yours have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

Keep in mind the words attributed to the late Swiss Philosopher Henri Frederic Amiel:

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”

Kurt Stetzer
Laughing Frog Images

2019 Holiday Sale Schedule

Laughing Frog Images’ 2019 holiday sale schedule is out! 

Save 40% or more on selected days through December 25th.

Click here for days and details.

As a (very) small business, we invite you to browse our image galleries and the 2019 holiday sale schedule.  You can get someone special something special without dealing with traffic and crowds.  Or you could just treat yourself…!

We feature paper, canvas and metal prints.  We’re different from many online galleries.  We let you choose the medium,  We let you choose the size you want.  In most instances, that allows for the crop you want as well.  You can also make a color image into a black and white image with a click of your mouse! 

Frames are also available if you’d like your product to arrive ready to hang.  And yes, frames are included in the sale events.   

Note that there are variations in brightness and color calibration on devices folks use to view our galleries.  We recommend choosing auto-correction where that’s available for the most accurate print.

We also have three books currently in print for that train enthusiast you know. 

  • The Port Huron and Detroit Railroad in Color, 1982-1984 covering the last two years of the PH&D in color. 
  • The Port Huron and Detroit Railroad in Black and White, 1984 covering the last year of the PH&D in black and white.
  • Seven Days in September 1994 chronicles a seven day road trip in pursuit of trains in ME, NH, VT, PQ and NB.  Railroads include GRS (MEC), SLR, NHVT, LVR, CP, CN and VIA.  Over 2000 miles of driving and 26 rolls of film are memorialized in a book best described as things you can’t see anymore.

Click here to be taken to Laughing Frog Images and shop stress-free this holiday season.

Regardless of where you shop, we wish a safe, joyous and happy holiday season to you and yours from Laughing Frog Images.

New Book! Seven Days in September 1994

Seven Days in September 1994

The new book from Laughing Frog Images chronicles seven days of train photographs in New England and New Brunswick as well as a few shots from Quebec.  

Seven Days in September 1994 – the back story.

At the time, I was working on the Boston Harbor Project and my project was nearing completion.  As often as possible, I was in Maine photographing the Canadian Atlantic (Canadian Pacific), VIA Rail Canada, and Guilford’s former Maine Central operations.  Something I hadn’t done was to explore Canadian National’s former Intercolonial and National Transcontinental Railway lines in New Brunswick.  It was time to do so.

I planned a circle tour that would begin and end in Danville Junction, ME.  Four days in New Brunswick were the bulk of the trip.  Besides my time coming to an end, the era of Montreal Locomotive Works and Bombardier locomotives on the Canadian National was also coming to an end.  As a fan of MLW power, the Maritimes were a prime  place to see them in 1994.  Gordon Yard Diesel Shop was the maintenance base for a good deal of CN’s fleet.

The book.

Seven Days in September 1994 is perhaps a different sort of railroad book, a snapshot in time that will appeal to railfans and modelers alike.  You’re coming along for the trip as I relive it 25 years later. 

If you’re a fan of blue skies and sunshine, and like your books the same way, well, you get what I saw.  The weather in those parts can change in five minutes.  I saw blue skies, I had rain, and I saw clouds.  And I shot every train that I possibly could!

Seven Days in September 1994 doesn’t attempt to provide a comprehensive history of the lines and locations photographed, but I do try to give context and a little contemporary (to 1994, anyway) history for your journey.  For those of you interested in the history, the bibliography and references will be worthy of follow-up.  Through freight schedules from 1994 and 2019 for the CN lines in New Brunswick offer a different understanding of the changes over time.

Highlights from the book.

  • Guilford Rail System on the former Maine Central at Danville Junction, ME
  • St. Lawrence and Atlantic trains 393 and 394 on the former Grand Trunk
  • New Hampshire and Vermont on the Connecticut River Bridge
  • Canadian Pacific’s Newport – Richford VT Wayfreight and Newport-Montreal freight 917
  • Lamoille Valley 3612 on a Passenger Extra
  • Canadian National’s Pelletier, Napadogan, Newcastle and Dalhousie Subdivisions, including the Little Salmon River Viaduct and Foley Brook Trestle
  • Interior and exterior images from CN’s Gordon Yard Diesel Shop
  • One-third of CN’s Bombardier HR-616 fleet and more GMD-1s than I remembered
  • Canadian Atlantic Railway (CP Rail) train 284 at the Section House in Bodfish, ME

Seven days of train photographs in New England and New Brunswick required over 2000 miles of driving and consumed 26 rolls of film. The days are memorialized in 138 pages and 163 color and black and white images.

Seven Days in September can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.  You can also click here to see other books by Laughing Frog Images.



Yes, the Blog has been quiet…

Yes, it’s been quiet here.  As usual, the day job has a way of getting in the way.  That said, I can’t complain, as it makes this site possible.

I’ve been working on a new book called “Seven Days in September, 1994.”  It’s about a railroad photography expedition through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Quebec and New Brunswick.  It’s not your normal book – I’ll be taking readers with me as I experienced things that week.  It wasn’t all blue skies and sunshine, but you’d be hard pressed to replicate any photo that will be in the book today.  The Lamoille Valley Railroad is no more, and the tracks are gone,  The Canadian Pacific no longer operates in Vermont.  The Canadian Atlantic Railway disappeared in 1994.  The Canadian National is still there, but there are fewer trains and the Montreal Locomotive Works power is long gone.  Gordon Yard Diesel Shop on the CN closed a few years after I visited.  So, it’s not just a nostalgic but, but also a history book in its own way.

I’m quite behind in processing photos and posting new galleries.  “On the list” are this year’s Nevada Northern Winter Photo Shoot, and day and night images from a DRGW 315 photo freight on the Cumbres and Toltec.

The photos are being processed and culled for the Rio Grande and Steam books, but I think the next book may end up being “New England Nights”, a review of my night work in New England from 1992-1994.  That may stretch a bit to include some images from New York in the late 1980s as they need a book home.

Just thought I’d drop a note to let everyone know what’s going on…

Be well.

It’s Summer Sale Time!

It’s the middle of the year, and it’s summer, so it’s a good time for a summer sale!

Use code 19summer40 to save 40% on paper prints, frames, mounting, canvas prints and metal prints.

There is no minimum order, and there’s no limit to what you can save or how many times you can use the code.

Click here to go to the site and shop now!  Don’t forget, you can create and account and save your favorites if you’re not ready to order.

If you’re looking for trains, save a step and click here.

If you’d like to wander through the blog, click here.

Thanks for following the Frog!


Costa Rica

I’d always heard that Costa Rica was a wonderful place to visit – and everyone was right. We saw so much, and yet we saw so little. We experienced friendly people who are very proud of their Country.

I’d never done much in the way of bird photography, let alone rain forest photography.  For better or worse, I didn’t take the time to do a lot of research, and came back humbled in some respects.  Lessons learned and thoughts on the experience will be a blog post – if I can help someone to make their memories better, it’s the least I can do.

We had a fantastic guide for our group whose knowledge and enthusiasm for his Country and the birds was infectious. I have a new interest and perspective in bird photography as a result of this trip.

Click here to view the gallery.

Fly me to the moon.  Scarlet Macaws, Jaco, CR
Fly me to the moon. Scarlet Macaws, Jaco, CR


A limb is a pillow. White-faced Capuchin Monkey. Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

As many of these images are crops from full zoom images, they’re not going to make huge prints. I envision these images in small prints in a group on a wall – hence, they’ve all be cropped to square format.

Blue iguana. Manuel Antonio National Park, CR

With the exception of a few images from an iPhone 7+, all images used a Tamron 18-400mm all-in-one zoom. The driving force behind this lens was to not be in a rain forest or on a boat changing lenses, or to be caught with the wrong lens on the camera. I purchased my 18-400 from Powell Camera after extensive research and deliberation (the lens and the process will be the subject of another blog post).

Dentist’s delight? American crocodile. Tarcoles River, Tarcoles, Costa Rica.

Identifying the birds and captioning the images took quite a while (bits of time over two-plus months to be exact). I used the following resources to assist: Bird Guide provided for our great excursion on the Tarcoles River by Jungle Crocodile Safari, Costa Rica Birding Tours, All About Birds, and Audobon. Where I wasn’t sure about the identification, there’s a question mark in the caption. Comments and corrections are welcome.

Wood stork in flight. Tarcoles River. Tarcoles, Costa Rica.

Contact Misty Travel if you’re intersted in a Costa Rica experience of your own.


Of a new look and broken links…

A new look and broken links – what’s this all about?

Well, the Day Job has been something else for the past couple of years. (as in very, very busy)  You can see that in how much I’ve not been posting.  I can’t complain much, as the Day Job is good to me.  It’s just not so good to Laughing Frog Images.  I’ve managed to get in some time behind the camera here and there – it’s the sorting, processing and captioning that’s not keeping up.  In the grand scheme, I guess there are worse problems I could have.

In the “big news” category, I gave the Blog a new, cleaner look – mainly for the benefit of those using a smartphone to keep up with things.  The old color scheme worked well with the website theme and LFI logo, but it wasn’t great for every reader on every platform.  After searching new themes for a while, I found one that’s crisp and clean, and looks good on a desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone.  I have to admit, I was quite proud of myself when I got it up and running smoothly! 

Or so I thought. 

I started to figure out that a lot of the links were broken or lost for some reason.  I’m sure there’s a perfectly sound technical explanation for what happened and why – I just don’t know what that is.  I’ve started to fix the links, however, I sense that it’s going to take a while to finish (as in someday).  If you find a link that’s broken, and you can’t get to something you want to see, please let me know and I’ll fix it as soon as I can.

I also moved the videos out of the site gallery and on to the Laughing Frog Images YouTube Page. It didn’t make much sense (to me, anyway) to have videos in both places.  That YouTube is optimized for viewing on all platforms reinforced that thought process.  I’ve got clips from 1994 that I’ve not finished editing yet.  They’re nowhere near the quality of today’s smartphones, and my video skills weren’t great – but you can’t see those trains anymore, so they’re on the list.  I’ll use the Blog to let folks know when there are significant uploads.

What’s (eventually) coming to Laughing Frog Images?

  • Scenes from and animals of Costa Rica
  • Nevada Northern Railway’s 2019 Winter Photo Shoot (first weekend)
  • My thoughts on Tamron’s 18-400mm all-in-one super zoom lens
  • My thoughts on Nikon’s AF-S DX 16-85mm VR lens
  • Railgiant’s 2018 Night Session


Cumbres and Toltec Gallery and Video

The Cumbres and Toltec gallery and video are the result of a fantastic afternoon and morning spent on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad this fall.

The weather was nothing short of perfect.  There had to be one pesky cloud, and it compromised the shot at Tanglefoot Curve on Friday afternoon.  To go with the blue sky, there was snow at the top of Cumbres Pass and at Coxo.  Yes, that’s a teaser – you’ll have to go to the gallery to see the images!  Surprisingly, Mrs. Frog and I were the only ones there as the train dropped out of Windy Pass and Coxo.  Not complaining, mind you…

I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Chama engine house.  When the sun finally set, I called it a day and met Mrs. Frog at Foster’s for a chile-laden dinner.

Saturday morning broke clear and crisp, and made for an excellent shot at First Crossing.  We caught the train at a few more locations.  We had to turn back because reality in the form of the flight home was looming over us.

For those of you curious about the video, here’s the story.  I looked over at Mrs. Frog, handed her my iPhone and asked her to shoot some videos.  For a first effort, and without a tripod, I believe she did a great job!  One of the things about the video is the sound.  The sound on this is quite good, even capturing the echos in the valleys.  It’s great just to listen to as well!

Cumbres and Toltec doubleheader at First Crossing
Cumbres and Toltec doubleheader at First Crossing

If you want to see narrow gauge steam running much as it was until it was abandoned, it’s hard beat the Cumbres and Toltec.  Yes, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge is a few hours away.  It’s a great ride as well – it’s just a little harder to view and photograph.  If you haven’t done either, put them on your list to ride and photograph.

Here are some helpful links for your visit to Chama:

Foster’s Hotel and Restaurant

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad

Encanto B&B, Chama

Be sure to check out the Cumbres and Toltec gallery and video, and also our 2018 Holiday Sales!


Thanks for visiting!