Nevada Northern Railway 2021 – The Prequel

Recall that a year ago, I ventured to Ely NV to participate in a photography workshop at the Nevada Northern Railway. I had a wonderful weekend with lots of great photography, so I returned for this year’s workshop. There was quite a difference in the shooting this year versus last. We had two running locomotives last year and only one this year. The attendees were different this year – an older group and not as mobile in some ways, limiting certain locations. And then there was the weather! Last year we had some older snow on the ground, but mostly just cooler temperatures. This year we got snowed on all day Saturday! You will see the snow in a future post. Shooting in snow has special challenges, but I’ll save that discussion. For now, the drive to Ely and the day before the workshop started.

The drive across U.S 50, The Loneliest Highway, was uneventful. I did, however, come across the best sky and light at Sand Mountain that I’ve ever seen.

Situated between Fallon and Middlegate, Sand Mountain is a popular recreation area. I took this photo from US 50.

The workshop didn’t start until 3 p.m., so I had some free time to fill. I had grand plans – a drive to Hamilton, a mining camp active from about 1868 for a couple decades, now a ghost town. Located 36 miles west of Ely and about 10 more miles off US 50, I headed out with high hopes. After five miles of interesting dirt road, I abandoned this quest and headed back to Ely. I caught this gorgeous view of the Diamond Mountains across the Newark Valley.

When the Nevada skies have character, they really have character! A great view from the Mokomoke Mountains in the White Pine Range.

I decided to see what was new in the East Ely Yard, so I grabbed cameras and tripod, checked in at the Museum Store, and headed into the Yard.

This sign is on the East Ely Depot. The information is correct, as those offices still exist on the second floor.

In the Yard, I found these cars. The NNRY is a time capsule as many of these cars were parked and haven’t moved in 30-40 years.

Heading into the Machine Shop and the Engine House, I found a couple surprises!

Locomotive 40 is sitting in the Engine House, waiting for its turn in the Machine Shop for boiler maintenance. My lovely bride and I were in Ely last October for its last weekend of operation.

Great light on the front of Locomotive 40.

I had the 100 mm Macro lens on the 6D II, so I shot some close ups and played with a little focus stacking. This image was made from multiple exposures and three focal planes.

Locomotive 81 is in the Machine Shop, nearing completion of its overhaul and coming back into service. The crew at the NNRY is painting the boiler jacket green, as it was in the 1950’s.

Stay tuned! There’s lots more coming – three more days of photography at the NNRY and then the drive home! Until next time – enjoy! PHOTOROGR

6 thoughts on “Nevada Northern Railway 2021 – The Prequel

  1. Wow! Wow! Wow! I can tell you have put in so much work learning your craft. I have always enjoyed your pictures but these look like expensive paintings. Great job and keep up the good work!



  2. Just found the blog about the workshop. I am heading there for the 2023 workshop in a week. It will be my first visit to Ely and the Nevada Northern Railway. I am taking a 28-105 and a 17-35. Wondering what lenses that you took with you. I also received an email from Steve Crise, suggesting bringing my flash and an extension cable to hold the flash off camera. Not sure what he has planned for that but sound like fun. Enjoying the images from your visits there. Take care.


    • Howdy Scott! Thanks for the kind words and the outreach! First visit to Ely and the NNRY, eh? Good for you. When I’m at one of their workshops, I carry 2 camera bodies – one on tripod and one on a strap. That allows me to get those low shots and any brackets on the tripod but gives the flexibility for the quick candid shots. Your 28-105 is perfect for most of the action. I had a wide angle in the truck but didn’t use it in the field. There are shots around the yard where it would be useful. Look around when you get there. Tripod is critical! Also knee pads if you have them. Kneeling in a hundred years of cinders can get to ya! Steve told me he was wanting to help people get comfortable with their flash systems. You will be shooting at night – sometimes with his big strobes and sometimes with your flash unit. Have a wonderful time! Oh, dress warm. We were shooting in a snowstorm a couple years ago. Photorogr


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