Redwood Railway

A Visit to the California Western

On May 9, 2008, I took a trip on the California Western from Fort Bragg to North Spur as part of research for my book Railroads of California, published by Voyageur Press in 2009.

The attraction of California Western is the gargantuan trees along the line. The railway winds along the Noyo River passing trees reaching hundreds of feet into the sky.

I exposed this image with my Canon EOS 3 using a 20mm wide angle lens and Fujichrome film. The challenge was selecting the appropriate exposure. What is the primary subject of this photograph? Is it the GP9 situated at center? Or the ominous silhouettes of the massive trees at the right?
I exposed this image with my Canon EOS 3 using a 20mm wide angle lens and Fujichrome film. The challenge was selecting the appropriate exposure: the shafts of bright noon-time sun making for extreme contrasts with the shadowy tree trunks. What is the primary subject of this photograph? Is it the GP9 situated at center? Or the ominous silhouettes of the massive trees at the right?

One of the spooky parts of this experience is the realization that these massive trees are second growth. The much larger original redwoods were cut down a century ago. All that remains of those leviathans is the occasional stump, some of which are more than a dozen feet in diameter.

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