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Monte Vista Train Yard

My mentor, Paul Moloney, grew up in Monte Vista, a small town in Colorado's San Luis Valley, and returned to photograph its people and places until his health prevented him from doing so.

Shortly after I graduated from college, I lined up an interview with the Valley Courier. Paul didn't wait long to offer to drive me. I knew he was excited at the prospect of me working around his hometown and it was a convenient excuse for him to make another trip.

Somewhere on the four-hour drive from Denver, Paul told me about one of his favorite memories in the Valley, driving out to the railroad crossing with his father where the two could pick up the baseball games on the radio.

Along those tracks, not too far from where Paul and his father rooted for their team, was a small rail yard, a place I returned to often with my camera. It wasn't a busy yard and its loneliness attracted me.

There's something about trains I've always found calming. It seems we're always dreaming about "somewhere else," and seeing a pair of steel rails disappearing into the horizon makes my mind churn with notions of new places, new adventures.

It's been more than 15 years since I lived in the San Luis Valley, but it's one of the places I know I'll return to when I'm visiting the States again. There's a magic to the light that makes photography a joy, and the scenery is some of Colorado's finest.


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