Union Pacific in the Smoke Creek Desert—Sand Pass, Nevada.

On the edge of dry sea.

 Exposed on Fujichrome slide film using a Canon EOS 3 fitted with an f 1.4 50mm lens, set at  f8 1/500th of  second.

Exposed on Fujichrome slide film using a Canon EOS 3 fitted with an f 1.4 50mm lens, set at f8 1/500th of second.

At 9:49am on July 29, 2009, I exposed this image of Union Pacific 5526 leading an eastward double stack train on the former Western Pacific at Sand Pass, Nevada. At the back of the train, another General Electric diesel is working as a ‘distributed power unit’ (a radio controlled remotely operated locomotive).

Phil Brahms and I were exploring the former Western Pacific route across one of the most remote and lightly inhabited regions of the continental United States. This is lonely, barren, wind-swept and wide-open country where you can see for great distances.

Rail traffic was sparse, but we found about four to five freights per day in daylight.

The desert gets much bigger after sunset; the haunting sounds of the wind blowing across the desert floor in the dead of night and the radiant sky with stars blazing above cannot be captured on film. Yet these things stay with you.

That morning, I wrote in my notebook, ‘at dawn, before sunrise, I climbed a hill—coyotes were howling to the east (of me).’

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