Honestly, I've been meaning to do this for over a month. The original plan was to do it January 1. Now I'm just happy to get it done in January! Last year I posted a "Rogue's Gallery" of my favorite photos from 2007, so I thought it would be interesting to see what images topped the list for 2008. Dave Styffe did a top 10 post last December that features some outstanding photos; unlike me, he had the presence of mind to do it before the year ended!
2008 was a watershed year, to say the least, with the completion and release of Route 66 Railway. Ironically, between the book launch events and private sales, I had less time to get out and do much shooting during the final 3 months of the year. So I went through the digital files with a little uncertainty, wondering if there would be enough good material to fill 10 slots.
To my surprise, I ended up with 16. Don't panic -- I'm not including them all! I edited the list down to 11, mostly railroad-related stuff. I may post a follow-up later on (hmm, with my track record that should appear around Memorial Day). :-)
One trend that was immediately obvious was that I'd shot far more steam than usual this past year, more than the past several years combined. Between Santa Fe #3751's LA-San Diego trips, Southern Pacific #2472's Niles Canyon excursions, and the Sierra Railroad's Winterail fantrip with McCloud River #18, it was an amazing year for California steam fans. The SP 2472 images benefit from the all-access pass I enjoyed while working on a Classic Trains article about the Niles Canyon Railway (shameless plug: it's arriving now in the Spring 2009 issue).
But these aren't limited to steam, as you'll see below. With that said, let's get on with the show (click to enlarge):
UP 6936 leads a northbound special up the Coast Line at Harlem, Cal.
the Oakland business car at NCRY's Brightside yard.