Capture the Colour: Colors of the Trans Siberian Railway

Capture the Colour: Colors of the Trans Siberian Railway

Capture the Colour: Colors of the Trans Siberian Railway

Capture the Colour: Colors of the Trans Siberian Railway

I found this “Capture the Colour” contest on Adventurous Kate’s blog (who I’ve been following for a while, and am continually inspired by!) As soon as I read about it I thought, “I HAVE to do this.” Here’s the deal: you dig through your travel photos in search of color. Specifically blues, greens, yellows, whites and reds. Pick your best photos and submit them to the contest by posting about it to your blog.

The prizes are pretty great (iPads and cash), but what’s even better is how the contest has the potential to connect travel bloggers all over the world. My photos have had an online presence for a while through facebook and flickr, but I’ve only recently begun posting about my travels. I’m excited about the idea of sharing these photos with fellow bloggers and maybe finding some new reads and travel inspiration along the way.

From the abundantly green rice paddies in Bali, Indonesia, to the crystal blue waters of Koh Phi Phi, Thailand, I have lots of photos just oozing color. But I thought it’d be interesting to have all the photos share the same theme. And of all the trips I’ve done none have been more epic than the Trans Siberian Railroad (which I’ve already blogged about here).

Anyway, here’s my submission:


Lake Baikal


Listvyanka, Russia (pronounced “list-vee-yanka”)

Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world by volume. Walking along it’s massive coastline can be an isolating experience any time of year, but it was particularly so on this especially cold and quiet late-fall night. There is a certain beauty to Siberia this time of year – tourism’s dropped off and the air is crisp, clear, and refreshing as winter begins to take hold.

Walking back after a meal of smoked Omul (salmon-like fish specific to Lake Baikal), this scene presented itself. I used a wide angle lens to capture the sky, and I put my camera on a deserted picnic table to keep it still.



Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (pronounced “oooh-lawn-batar”)

I still can’t decide what I liked most about the Trans Siberian Railroad – the experiences I had in each place, or the feeling of anticipation and wonderment at what the next destination might be like. My anticipation was particularly heightened on this night – leaving Mongolia meant entering Russia for the first time, where my travel buddy Danielle and I would spend our remaining two weeks traveling across the country toward Moscow.

I took a few photos at the station while waiting for the Russia-bound train. It wasn’t an opportune time to bust out my tripod, so I placed the camera against a light pole to keep it still. The station lights were an odd fluorescent green color, accented by the green train. You can almost see how cold it was that night. (tip: if you travel to Siberia, bring a jacket!)


Shanghai, China


Shanghai, China

I started the Trans Siberian Railroad in Shanghai, where I arrived from Chicago after the 15hr flight. My middle seat in coach was enough to ensure a thoroughly jetlagged and disoriented arrival. But I’ve learned to make peace with my jetlag tendencies and even use them to my advantage. Let’s face it, it’s pretty miserable being awake at 3am, desperately tired but with no chance of falling back asleep. I NEVER wake up early on my own, so jetlag is just about my only chance to photograph the sunrise.

Sure enough, I woke up nice and early. I grabbed my camera, headed out from the hostel and walked along The Bund. It was sheer luck when I saw this man doing Tai Chi. Taking the photo was a no-brainer, although I was careful not to disturb him as he danced around the sun.


Irkutsk, Russia


Irkutsk, Russia (pronounced “ear-coots”)

Russia can take itself a bit seriously at times, and there’s nothing that lightens the mood quite like chasing pigeons down the street on a chilly Siberian morning.

For this shot, I set up my camera for high speed shooting with continuous autofocus. I held the camera low along the pavement and chased pigeons with the morning sunlight in the background. The shot was already pretty white, but editing as a black and white really emphasized the color (or lack thereof) in the final image.


Xitang, China


Xitang, China (pronounced “she-tong”)

Okay, full disclosure: I didn’t go to Xitang as part of my Trans Siberian trip. I returned to China several months later to explore more of Shanghai and it’s outlying areas. But it’s easily possible to include Xitang as part of the Trans Siberian – it’s just a quick and easy side trip outside of Shanghai, and it’s entirely worth seeing. Xitang is small, it’s walkable, and it’s filled with eye candy scenes like these. The lanterns come on as the day fades to night, and the town looks really special for those few minutes when there’s still light in the sky.

For this scene I placed the camera on the edge of a bridge. I framed the shot such that the reflections on the right would be balanced by the lanterns on the left. The red lanterns were particularly vibrant against the overcast sky and greyscale architecture.





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