Chugging on the Candy Cane Express…

The last time I visited Santa’s Workshop in the Adirondacks was maybe as a kid. I don’t remember very much about it, maybe I fed a reindeer, maybe I told Santa what I wanted for Christmas, I don’t remember.

But upon scouting some images and ideas for future photographic endeavors…

I came across this.

Santa’s Workshop, in North Pole, New York (it’s somewhere near Lake Placid, has a steam locomotive. And the steam locomotive passes through a covered bridge.

Wait. Steam locomotive? Covered bridge? Christmastime?

Ho-ho-holy cow, Batman…

This could actually tick off all the boxes for a fantastic photographic endeavor.

But I have to make sure of everything.

Because of COVID-19 protocols, Santa’s Workshop won’t officially open until November, and even then, only on the weekends.

And it’s wintertime. Not exactly the best moment to be scootching around the Adirondacks. Not unless I’m a bear.

But if I can get in that specific spot where the covered bridge exists on Santa’s Workshop’s grounds … and if I can get a fantastic Christmas photograph …

This could be super-swank.

Okay. Let me figure out the specs.

Santa’s Workshop has something called the Candy Cane Express, a little kiddie train that travels out and back through the park. The train – a steam-powered locomotive – crosses a covered bridge that spans a stream.

Now here’s the thing. Steam locomotives belch out more visible puffs of white steam in wintertime. And if I can get that steam locomotive AS it passes through the covered bridge, with its puffy smoke floating to the skies…

That would be a serious Competition Season photo for future consideration.

Okay. I need to make sure that the “steam-powered locomotive” is really belching out smoke and steam. I found two YouTube videos – one had the smokestack spitting smoke, the other had no smoke out of the smokestack. My mileage may vary. I’ve got a coinflip’s chance of getting this right.

Also … I need to visit the park when snow is on the ground. Even before then, I have to make arrangements with the park itself, in that I’m just photographing the train and its journey, and not using my camera for any nefarious purposes. Some people get very freaked out about someone shooting photos in a public place, no matter what the reason.

So I made a call up to the amusement park. They were very nice, but they told me that I had to put my request in writing and send it on their website.

That’s right, I’m 58 years old, and I’m once again writing a letter to Santa Claus.

Okay. Did it. Sent it.

And waited. Waited. Waited.

Christmas is getting closer.

Better give them a call.

It was only then that I found out that … well … someone was supposed to contact me back, but didn’t. That, and because of limited hours and staff and COVID and all that, Santa’s Workshop would only have one more weekend of operation, this upcoming weekend.

Well, if I can move a few things around, maybe there’s a chance …

Then they told me that, unfortunately, the Candy Cane Express ride derailed last week, and there are no plans to repair it in time for the park’s final weekend of operation. So any plans to photograph the train … just went away.

Nuts. Nuts nuts nuts nuts nuts.

First the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, and now this.

Thanks, Santa. The one time I send you a letter for Christmas and it isn’t a request for Lynda Carter under the Christmas tree, and you do me like this? Ugh.

Folks, this is part of the preparation for photography. You can game-plan for 15 different variables and barriers … and somehow, there’s a 16th variable that you never expected, that completely derails everything.

Well, I suppose there’s always Christmas 2022.

Or I could just try another photography project. Which, at this point, is more likely.

Yep, time to work on the variables for another adventure.