Harz Mountains, Germany by Trevor Duncan

Picture Story

This image was actually shot from the foot plate between two carriages of the train en route to the summit of the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains in Northern Germany.

Together with my family, I had traveled to Germany from Tropical Australia in an attempt to experience our first white Christmas. While it did not snow on Christmas Day, we got more than we bargained for on Boxing Day when we booked a trip on the historic steam train which travels up the mountain. A heavy snow storm, together with near cyclonic winds made for pretty uncomfortable conditions to temperatures in the 30s and humidity in the 90s at this time of year.

While I certainly didn't get the shots I had anticipated, the conditions made for some images which I had never envisaged previously, and probably never will again. Unfortunately, to get the cleanest shots I had to spend much of the trip on the footplate open to the the weather with frequent trips into the heated carriage to thaw out frozen fingers and change over camera batteries which handled the conditions even worse than I did.

At the end of the day, it became one of the highlights of our trip which I'm sure will be talked and laughed about at family gatherings for a long time into the future.

If there was one lesson I took away from this trip, it would be that the capacity of camera batteries is drastically reduced in near freezing conditions and you always need to carry a couple of spares in an inside pocket to keep them warm.

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