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Eruption at Tunnel 3

Two QJs storm out of Tunnel 3 on the climb from Jingpeng to Shandian over the famous Jingpeng pass in inner Mongolia. Its just after first light on a January m...
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Two QJs storm out of Tunnel 3 on the climb from Jingpeng to Shandian over the famous Jingpeng pass in inner Mongolia. Its just after first light on a January morning in 2001 and the temperature is between 20 and 40 degrees below zero. However the sight and sound is ample reward for the climb up to this location.
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1 Comment | Report
eelcovanroden PRO+
eelcovanroden August 10, 2019
Congratulations on your Challenge Award!
ChasingTheLight PRO+
ChasingTheLight August 10, 2019
Many thanks

Behind The Lens

The 945 km long railway line between Tongliao and Jinining in Inner Mongolia, China was opened in 1995. It was a provincial railway and operated with over 100 steam engines until 2005. The section between Jingpeng and Reshui was known as the Jingpeng pass and climbed to the 1300m summit at Shangian in the Da Xing Gan mountains. From Jingpeng to Reshui there were 6 tunnels, bridges and a horseshoe viaduct. When the line first opened there were 2-3 trains in daylight over this section each day generally with 1 engine. However traffic quickly increased and 2 engines became the norm with up to 6 trains a day. A trip in December to February could bring snow. This picture was taken from tunnel 4 looking back on tunnel 3 as a heav train erupts out of the tunnel. The image gives no indication of the battles with temperatures down to 40 below zero, blackened and frozen fingers from holding onto metal cameras, bitting winds, and the long hike to climb up to this location from the nearest road. When everything worked as it did with this shot nobody cared.
This was taken in January at around 0900 as the sun just crept high enough to touch the track so this train was perfectly timed taking just long enough to get here for the light to get on the track. The location was chosen so that the wind was blowing the smoke and steam away from the train.
The low back lighting spotlights the locomotives and steam in front of the still dark snoiw covered mountain.
Nikon F100, Nikkor 80-200 AFS, Fuji Velvia film scanned on Nikon Collscan 4000 slide scanner
Ths line was a mecca for photographers of steam locomotives. We spent all day outside at temperatures down to minus 40 degrees centigrade hiking across the hills finding changing locations to match the time of the day and rough schedule of trains we received each morning from the station at Jingpeng
Minimal processing
In my camera bag
At that time D90X, 80-200 AFS, 35-70 . This area could be exceedingly windy so keeping sand out of the camera was a major issue. So was the cold with the film sometimes becoming so brittle that it snapped. These days D800, D810, AFS 80-200 and 28-70
Sadly these are images which can no longer be repeated since the steam engines were replaced with diesals in 2005. What you can do is find steam operated preserved lines which operate in winter time, this gives the opportunity for snow and great steam effects. Look for a back lit location where preferably there is no wind or if there is any it is blowing the smoke and steam away from the train.

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