Remember the time you walked behind a train, ran and followed it all the way till it left you behind. Remember that zeal of running faster than you possibly can. I do, and the best part of it all is to still be excited and run and chase the trains. This time however, I was running with an injured left knee, (yes my broken ligament isn’t healing as fast as I thought it would). And the train was not an ordinary train, it was the Alaskan wheels on some of the most scenic routes I have ever visited. The Seward- Anchorage-Girdwood highway is one of the most scenic highways in Alaska with train route running parallel almost throughout the drive.
A shot of Alaskan Train with the scenic highway background was something that I had thought about even before the Alaskan trip started. Although 4 days into a 5 day trip, we still didn’t see any train on the tracks. Largely because we were driving at over speed limits and were too far into the Alaskan wilderness. I did get one shot of the train when we were on our way to Whittier to catch the glacier cruise tour. I took this from the car itself, so it wasn’t as good.
However I had to wait till day 5 to get a good view and shot of the train.
So the story goes: we were driving on our way back to Anchorage from Homer. On the way we also had to cross Seward where the railroads starts…at least they start running parallel to the highway. A little while into the drive I noticed a train at a far distance. I brought it to everyone’s attention and all of us decided to drive a little bit forward and get to a point where we can stop and capture a train shot. So we drove another 3 miles and stopped at a point where one could see some reflection. Apparently, we were not the only ones waiting for the train. There was an old couple waiting just like us for the train to arrive. The old guy was well prepared, with a Nikon D600 and wide angle lens, the old lady decided to offer a smile and just stayed back in the car for her husband to be back.
Just a few mins later, we heard a big noise of the train whistling and walking fast towards us, we got ready to take the shot. I noticed a small pond next to rail tracks and thought a reflection shot of the train could come out good. I took a couple of shots in continuous shutter mode and here is one of the shot as taken at that point.
Most of us were happy with the shots we got, but we all felt, the train was in a different direction from the real scenic background. On the other side lay a landscape filled with blue waters and snowcapped mountains. And we all felt, we needed that in the background along with the train. I think it was Shantanu or Aditi who suggested we should go to Beluga point, a point we had earlier been to while driving to Seward to try this same shot again. Reason was that the rail tracks would be on the other side and we would get a much better shot of the landscape. I instantly agreed. Beluga point seemed like a great choice for this shot. I had taken a shot of beluga point earlier in the trip from the west which looked like this.
But for the train shot, I stayed closed to the parking lot and framed the mountain and the sea on the other side. Train took a long time to come, but when it came, it was travelling at a much higher speed than I anticipated. Quick last minute settings to adjust my shutter speed and I took a bunch of shots. I wasn’t done there, I ran across to another point to get the trailing compartments of the train before the train disappeared into a bypass. I however, got some pretty interesting shots with the one below being my favorite train click from the trip.