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It's April 12th again, and that means Party Favors!

Once again, it's time for some party favors, and for yet another year, I have my ducks in a row, so get them while they're hot! It's not like I didn't have about year to plan ahead for this.

Photo of the Year 2010-2011:

Party Favors 2011 - Volume 1 of 1

This year's railfan trip was something old and something new, and an overall success since it yielded 31 of the 36 photos featured. Historically, the better trips involve visits with relatives, and this was no exception. Rather than meet my sister Maria at her place in Virgina Beach for her birthday, she few out to Kalispel, MT and met us in Essex, MT. I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I love my sister!

Mom, Dad and I drove from Texas to Montana for the event, passing through Curtis Hill in Oklahoma and the Sand Hills in Nebraska before an overnight stay at the Ponderosa Ranch at Crawford Hill, Nebraska. I could write quite an essay on the Ponderosa Ranch experience, but in a nutshell, I intend to go back. It was my most productive 24 hours of railroad photography ever, as that 24 hours accounts 17 of the year's 36 best pix.

I had grand hopes for 4 full days in Marias Pass, since 2010 was the Centennial of Glacier National Park. Unfortunately my fears that our visit was too early in the season were valid, as I failed to capture the classic Summit view on this trip. There was one opportunity, but I played my cards wrong and was not in a position to hear or see an approaching BNSF westbound as Amtrak's eastbound Empire Builder approached the summit. So if you like to actually see mountains and not clouds, learn from my mistake. Don't go to Glacier National Park in June. Wait for July or August.

Photo of the year was a tough decision this year. That's a good problem to have. This matched pair of SD70ACE's on Crawford Hill is really more my style, but that scene would be far easier to repeat. This "Photo of the Year" pretty well sums up the battle with the elements I faced in Montana. Sometimes rain and clouds can enhance a scene. Plus my sister Maria was not just along for the ride, she drove me there, getting up before 4am to get to that spot by sunrise. And she got a nice pic of the scene too, just in case I blew it. She loves me too.

In case you missed the parties in years past, you may also want to check out the 2010 Party, 2009 Party, 2008 Party, 2007 Party, 2005 Party, 2004 Party, 2003 Party, 2002 Party, 2001 Party, 2000 Party, or the first Party in 1999.

Last updated: 4/12/2011

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