What is it about a steam locomotives that attract generations? Like the Saturn V rockets of their time, steam locomotives represent the pinnacle of engineering in an era long since passed. Their ability to use simple components, coal or oil with water, to produce power sometimes only inhibited by the hand of the engineer is nothing short of profound. For some, it is their design that attracts, sleek and low versus strong and stout. For others, it is the coordination of well-timed, machined moving parts akin to a symphony. Regardless, the steam locomotive is America, a direct extension of its industrial might.
Like most railfans and railroad photographers, I was introduced to trains at an early age. As part of a family with strong railroad heritage, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe and Pennsylvania Railroad to be specific, my love for capturing the steam locomotive is certainly genetic. My passion for steam locomotives entered a new artistic dimension with my introduction to railroad photography and the work of giants such as O. Winston Link. There is something truly magical about capturing a steam locomotive — which some would consider grotesque — and turning it into a work of art. Whether against vast mountain ranges or within deep gorges and canyons, the steam locomotive belongs as the workhorse it is. Each photo works to capture something that may seem commonplace and turn it into a happening.