- March 15, 2013
- 13 comments
- Posted by EdGraham
- Asia Travel, Destinations, Estonia, Europe Travel, Russia, Russia, Trans Siberian Railroad
A Winter’s Month in Unedited Black and White Photographs
I haven’t traveled at all since I went to Iceland in September and as fellow addicts can understand, staying put is about the worst thing a travel junkie like me can do. For one, I start to suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms that make me genuinely un-fun to be around, not to mention how unsurprisingly difficult it is to run a travel photography website when you aren’t actively traveling. Today I can happily say my travel hiatus is finally over. I’ve just returned from more than a month abroad on what was perhaps my most epic trip yet – a wintertime Trans Siberian Railway journey that took me all the way across Russia and then some. That’s right folks, I spent the majority of mid February to mid March in Siberia. I can count on one hand how many times the mercury rose above freezing, and every single day in Russia was spent slowly and deliberately navigating obscene amounts of slippery black ice and snow.
Starting in a beautiful and cold Tallinn, Estonia, I traveled by long distance bus to St. Petersburg, Russia. From there I took the train nearly 10,000km to Vladivostok with stops in Tyumen, Tomsk, Irkutsk, Listvyanka and Lake Baikal, and Khabarovsk. Direct from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok takes 7 days, but what’s the fun in spending a week straight on a train? Better to stop off and see the real Russia along the way – the raw, unadulterated Russia that’s home to 142 million people who not just survive, but live their lives in some of the harshest climates on our amazing planet.
I could just as easily have spent my last month on a beach somewhere in Thailand, and you know what? It would have been relaxing, easy, comfortable, and I’d have loved it. So why spend a teeth chattering month in some of the coldest inhabited places on Earth? Curiosity. I’ve been to Thailand and it’s amazing, but for me travel is as much an education as it is an experience. Sure, I love warm smiles and warm weather (who doesn’t?), and Siberia tends to be lacking both, but Siberia offers an education that you just can’t get sipping mai tais on the beach day after day after day. A wintertime visit to Siberia offers insight into the lives of the hardy few who live in such places that make the “harsh” winters of the US and Europe look downright tropical; places that for the most part give even Canada’s worst a run for it’s money.
I took thousands of pictures in the last month and I can’t wait to tell you all about it – from from the unbelievably hospitable fellow train car passengers to the unbelievably inhospitable weather (wind chills got down to -28F). I have a lot of photo editing and writing ahead of me, but I just can’t wait to share. For now here are some non-photoshopped black and whites converted in-camera. The only adjustments made during the conversion were brightness/contrast with an added red filter on some images. I hope you enjoy this sneak preview of what’s to come. As always, if you’d like a friendly email when I post more about Siberia, Russia, Estonia, and Hong Kong, just subscribe to my newsletter at the upper right corner of your screen. Thanks and enjoy!
St. Petersburg, Russia
I just had a short stop here on the train, but I managed to grab a few shots of the station at sunrise.
Listvyanka and Lake Baikal
I hope you enjoyed these pictures! There’s plenty more where these came from…