Engineer Matt Istre (pronounced “East”) takes a smoke break, while awaiting the repair of another train along the same track.
My wife and I were driving northward to Florien, Louisiana on Highway 171, when I spotted Matt puffing a cigarette on the front rail of his KCS locomotive. By the time I circled back for the photo op, he’d already slipped back into the cabin. Feeling a bit dejected for missing the man behind (or in front of) the machine, I began shooting the locomotive from various angles, trying my best to contrive a new idea. Train pics are of course common, but those with a driver/engineer puffing tobacco atop the front locomotive’s railings are presumably scarce. I direly needed the human element to make this one work.
After a few minutes, Matt was apparently curious about the strange dude snapping pics of his train, because he poked his head out from a side window. I explained my business there and asked if he was ready for another smoke break. He very kindly obliged, so we chit-chatted about our respective family’s roots, as he puffed his cig and I snapped away.
On our departing pass back toward the train, I lowered the car window to give Matt a big wave of thanks. At the same time, I heard the shrill of the train’s whistle. It made me smile like my son does when he sees Santa Claus riding a fire truck. Very cool!
I hope Matt makes his way to RB one day to check out the pic.
Please view large.
Nikkor 18 – 105mm zoom (at 22mm)
Processed in Adobe Lightroom