The Polar Express.

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009. All Rights Reserved.

What a better way to enjoy the spirit of the season than by boarding Durango’s historic railroad on a wintry trip themed after the iconic children’s story, The Polar Express. I was invited by good friends to share in this event – giving me the opportunity to try and create an image of youthful wonder with a heavy stamp of nostalgia.

I have ridden the train as a photographer enough in the last couple of years to where most of these images were already planned out in my mind as I boarded the Polar Express. I can be almost certain that Rachel and I were the minority, as the small train cars began to fill up with eager children clad in full pajamas, bearing story books and hot chocolate with them.

While children are basically predictable, their immediate actions are spontaneous and subject to immediate change, therefor a seemingly simple photograph became a product of trial and error. I had a feeling the night would be cold enough to fog the windows and I wanted that portrait of wonderment for what might be on the other side of the glass- the one I already had envisioned in my head. Lining up the elements of light, angle and emotion became the focus of my train ride into the winter wonderland north of Durango.

As a photojournalist, trying to tell the story with pictures, I find myself creating a mental outline of images that will tie the essay together, and often times to very specific levels. Do you find yourself often approaching a subject, assignment with the preconceived notion of what you would like to come out with, hoping for the best and expecting the worst -or do you simply dive in and photograph as the situation unfolds?

Hope you enjoy the ones that made the final cut….. and Here’s to the Season!

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009. All Rights Reserved.