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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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Awards

Contender in the Photography Awards
Chatter Award
People's Choice in Train Spotting Photo Contest
Zenith Award
Runner Up in Capture Trains Photo Contest
Legendary Award
Top Shot Award
Contest Finalist in My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 6
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Peer Award
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Top Ranks

Train Spotting Photo ContestTop 10 rank
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The Wonders of the World Photo ContestTop 10 rank week 1
ViewBug Photography Awards 2018Top 10 rank
ViewBug Photography Awards 2018Top 10 rank week 2
ViewBug Photography Awards 2018Top 10 rank week 1
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 6Top 10 rank
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 6Top 10 rank week 1

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30 Comments |
keepclicking
 
keepclicking December 15, 2018
Amazing photograph
ChasingTheLight Platinum
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 Platinum
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 Platinum
ChasingTheLight December 22, 2018
Many thanks really enjoyed your own compositions keep submitting
lindapersson
 
lindapersson January 06, 2019
Congrats, that's a very nice photo! Well done.
ChasingTheLight Platinum
ChasingTheLight January 08, 2019
Thanks Linda your encouragement to keep persevering was key
JayneBug Platinum
 
JayneBug February 10, 2019
Outstanding image and capture. The plume of steam is absolutely captivating. Picture perfect!
ChasingTheLight Platinum
ChasingTheLight February 10, 2019
Thanks Jayne, a spectacular location and everything came together for once
Jdean80 Platinum
 
Jdean80 January 08, 2022
Congratulations on winning runner-up in the capture trains photo contest! Amazing image! Great job!
DAsEye Platinum
 
DAsEye January 08, 2022
Nice
dayrancher PRO+
 
dayrancher January 16, 2022
Congratulations
kevinmason_6070
 
kevinmason_6070 January 18, 2022
I love what you've done with the composition!
BrunoHeeb PRO
 
BrunoHeeb January 18, 2022
The perfect shot, stay in touch, got my vote,looove your style
PicMoments
 
PicMoments January 20, 2022
Congratulations fab capture!
Stormy18
 
Stormy18 January 31, 2022
Awesome capture!
DebbieKMiller81 Platinum
 
DebbieKMiller81 February 03, 2022
This is an amazing photo
StephenClarke_1000 Platinum
 
StephenClarke_1000 February 25, 2022
Love it!
andriuskv
 
andriuskv March 21, 2022
Magnificent!
tinmanintherain
 
tinmanintherain March 26, 2022
Nice shot
paultownley_9706
 
paultownley_9706 July 06, 2022
Brilliant capture,excellent composition.
texaaronpueschel Platinum
 
texaaronpueschel July 20, 2022
Very good shot. I wish I could buy my ticket and ride along.
LindieK PRO
 
LindieK July 25, 2022
Awesomeness
dianaeselin_5241
 
dianaeselin_5241 August 04, 2022
Amazing Shot
LaMowgli
 
LaMowgli November 17, 2022
really nice!! 🙌
kallurisubramanyam
 
kallurisubramanyam January 28, 2023
Exelance
kallurisubramanyam
 
kallurisubramanyam January 28, 2023
excellence
kallurisubramanyam
 
kallurisubramanyam January 28, 2023
Excellence
deekaycee Ultimate
 
deekaycee February 13, 2023
Well composed! Cheers to receiving people’s choice photo contest honors!
Sandypartlow4
 
Sandypartlow4 February 13, 2023
Congratulations on your win
Tinystuff50
 
Tinystuff50 February 14, 2023
Breathtaking!!
Rmay1
 
Rmay1 February 14, 2023
Congratulations on people's choice for Train contest. An amazing photo.
wendydenison
 
wendydenison February 26, 2023
Love this shot, winner winner chicken dinner😎
DanRT Platinum
 
DanRT November 30, 2023
Love it. Congrats!
See all

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 very low 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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