Wow! Amtrak’s Zephyr train is such a great setup. It’s over 2 days from Chicago to Emeryville (across the Bay from San Francisco) and the schedule, whether you are traveling East to West, or back, is set so that you pass through the Rockies and the Sierras in daylight. We have been into the Sierras lots of times, and knew some of what to expect there, but it was the first time for both of us in the Rockies. For most of the day the train follows the early stages of the Colorado River through, and past, canyon after canyon. The strata of the rocks, how the earth was built up, the folds as the plates push against each other, are clear to see, and again, the snow is helping to emphasize and clarify. The river is frequently covered in snow and ice, and yet peeks through every so often, to hint at the pace and power it’s already accumulating. We were lucky that when we passed through the Rockies, the sky was overcast, so there was not too much glare and reflection in the train’s viewing lounge, and yet at the same time, it was quite bright, so that exposures could be made at a speed which offered some hope of making an image that would be sharp enough to tell what it was. Well, with the ISO pushed up to 800 or even 1600. And even then, not only do you have to contend with the muck that has dried on the outside of the windows, you still have to contend with reflections and try and remember to watch out what is on the “inside” of the photograph at the same time as trying to make a composition of the outside; all in the blink of an eye, when you’ve seen something interesting approaching, before it is past already. We were enjoying breakfast in the dining car as we ascended the Eastern side of the Rockies out of Denver, through the most amazing switchbacks and horseshoes, so no photographs from there. Probably just as well, as I still made well over 300 exposures before the sun set as we emerged on the Western side and headed for Salt Lake City (which we missed as we were asleep by then). Just how many of those exposures will have any real value is hard to tell until I get home. As well as the reflections, anything close up to the train is invariably a blur. In most, the train is moving, sometimes slowly which helps, but typically still with some speed, adding shake and more blur. And that’s all before you get to work to organize what is in the viewfinder into a meaningful composition. Neither of the photographs here is meant to claim success; the first looks like it is almost clear of reflections and blur with the gift of such a bright building to make a composition, while the second shows how vertical images were even more likely to suffer from reflections. Still, the photographs I have, already serve one important aspect, providing a memory of a wonderful train ride.