Train photography exhibit featured during First Friday Artwalk |

Train photography exhibit featured during First Friday Artwalk

Luke Graham
Al Reiner is reflected in one of the photographs he currently has on display at the Steamboat Springs Center for Visual Arts in downtown Steamboat Springs. Reiner's most recent work focuses on trains.
John F. Russell

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See complete First Friday Artwalk listings here.

— Local photographer Al Reiner has had a kinship with trains from the time he was born to the time he walked into the Steamboat Springs Center For Visual Arts to set up his newest show.

Reiner grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Jersey Central Railroad. He often laid in bed and listened to the trains go by.

Now retired and 72, Reiner lives near the train tracks in Steamboat, often times hearing the trains reverberate through the Yampa Valley.

“I grew up on both ends of my life around trains,” he said. “The distance from New Jersey Central and from this railroad are almost the same.”

It’s also been the inspiration for his latest project, set to debut Friday as part of November’s First Friday Artwalk.

“You see a train, but the craft of it is the smoke and feeling you get,” he said.

Reiner’s art specifically focuses on a pair of trains he shot in the past two years.

The first one, done in 2012, was shot in South Park City Museum where a 1902 train sits. The train still is intact and at one point was used to carry bananas in Guatemala.

The other photos are from late September when Reiner took a photo trip on a train from Durango to Silverton. On the trip, photographers worked from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. to capture the train moving. At the end of the day, the train was set up on a turntable and slowly rotated.

In this instance, Reiner set his exposure for 90 seconds to three minutes and took more than 350 negatives of the train, finding multiple shots that worked.

The end result is something to behold. The texture of the trains is enhanced, but it doesn’t detract from the images. The images are crisp and clean, and the texture inside makes them pop.

The real joy, though, is in the smoke and clouds that are perfectly framed and give the pictures depth and a sense of uneasiness.

The photos are a hat tip to a bygone era when trains dominated.

“You can get creative and not lose the fact it’s a landscape shot,” he said.

Reiner used to work at the New York Daily News and was part owner of a ski newspaper called The Weekly Ski Companion.

He moved to the area 12 years ago and continued his love for photography. He is constantly trying to learn more, pointing to recent workshops with Karen Schulman as a big part of his wanting to do the latest project.

“It’s that feeling you get looking at a train,” he said. “It’s the shape and form. It’s the lines and light, and yet it’s still a train.”

See complete First Friday Artwalk listings here.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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