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In January 1997 traffic over the Jingpeng pass was still reasonably light. A railway worker watches a single QJ 2-10-2 struggle at walking pace with a huge plum...
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In January 1997 traffic over the Jingpeng pass was still reasonably light. A railway worker watches a single QJ 2-10-2 struggle at walking pace with a huge plume of steam and smoke to bring its load over the icy rails up the final straight to the summit at Shandian. In later years it was rare to see a freight with less than two QJ 2-10-2
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6 Comments | Report
keepclicking
 
keepclicking December 15, 2018
Amazing photograph
ChasingTheLight PRO+
ChasingTheLight December 15, 2018
Many thanks Phil much appreciated
HeatherElizaPhotos
 
HeatherElizaPhotos December 18, 2018
this would make a fantastic holiday card! fantastic composition. nice lines, and good color, Nice work!
ChasingTheLight PRO+
ChasingTheLight December 22, 2018
Thanks again Heather, its an encouragement to go through and scan more of the slide collection
adfather PRO
 
adfather December 19, 2018
beautifully done... my compliments.
ChasingTheLight PRO+
ChasingTheLight December 22, 2018
Many thanks really enjoyed your own compositions keep submitting
bobbytaylor71 PRO
 
bobbytaylor71 December 24, 2018
Awesome POV ... An incredibly beautiful shot ...
ChasingTheLight PRO+
ChasingTheLight December 24, 2018
Thanks Robert, it made the pain of it being 30 to 40 below zero worthwhile
lindapersson
 
lindapersson January 06, 2019
Congrats, that's a very nice photo! Well done.
ChasingTheLight PRO+
ChasingTheLight January 08, 2019
Thanks Linda your encouragement to keep persevering was key
JayneBug PRO+
 
JayneBug February 10, 2019
Outstanding image and capture. The plume of steam is absolutely captivating. Picture perfect!
ChasingTheLight PRO+
ChasingTheLight February 10, 2019
Thanks Jayne, a spectacular location and everything came together for once

Behind The Lens

Location
This photograph was taken in 1997 of a steam-hauled freight train climbing up to Shandian the highest point on the 945 km Jitong line between Jining Nan and Tongliao in the Inner Mongolia region of China. The railway only started operating in 1995, and while it was built to modern standards it initially started operating with second-hand steam locomotives bought from China National railways. At one time the railway owned more than 100 steam locomotives and it was the last significant railway in China to operate steam locomotives. The section of line between Reshui and Jingpeng, which was named by Western enthusiasts the JingPeng pass climbed from Reshuit to the summit at Shandian and then down to Jingpeng passing through seven tunnels and numerous bridges. It was a mecca for photographers especially in winter where there could be heavy snowfalls and temperatures. Due to the height of the mountains in this area temperatures of minus 20 were common with the strong winds lowering the temperature even further. Temperatures of minus 40 were experienced on occasion, in these temperatures reliable operation of cameras was an issue
Time
This was taken early morning in January, in bitterly cold temperatures, the sun had just reached the trackside as the train came into view.
Lighting
Early morning in mid-winter meant gorgeous low lighting creating interesting shadow effects
Equipment
This was shot on Fuji Velvia slide film, Nikon F100 70-200 f2.8 lens handheld.
Inspiration
I was actually setup to take a broadside picture of the train rounding the bend directly below where I was standing. However seeing the train coming up the straight I could see that using full 200 mm zoom this was a stunning image shooting through the cutting.
Editing
This image had minimal processing. Nothing has been removed
In my camera bag
In those days I carried two F100 bodies and an F90X. In these temperatures, you did not want to be taking off your gloves to change lenses. Changing film was an ordeal and there was a risk as happened several times that the leader of the film could snap off, scratches were a perennial problem.
Feedback
Images with plumes of steam from steam locomotives can be captured on preserved railways. In the United Kingdom there are groups of photographers who band together and charter a steam locomotive and train. Doing this they can run the train through the optimum locations at the best time of day for the light. Similar possibilities of hiring trains are possible in the USA, Roumania. Regular timetabled steam locomotives still operate in winter on scenic mountain lines such as the Harz railways in Germany

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