Sunday, May 29, 2016

Summit Tunnel in Truckee, CA (Part 7) - Truckee/Tahoe February 2016

Back in February 2016, I took at trip to Truckee, CA and Lake Tahoe (both California and Nevada side). Most of the photos are of snowy winter scenery. I visited places such as Donner Lake, Tahoe City, Kings Beach, Abandoned Historical Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) Tunnels, and more. I took many photos and are here to share with you. The photos will be split over several blog posts. If you have been following me on here, you'd know there has been a ton of stuff happening in my life such as my old computer breaking down and health issues I've had to deal with. This delayed my photo processing by a very long time which is why I am only posting them now. I also did vlogs on this trip. If you are interested in viewing them, you can do so here.

Full Resolution Photos: If you want to see full resolution photos of any of the photos you see here, use the following links. If you wish to purchase prints of any of the photos, please contact me here. To view my best Lake Tahoe and Truckee photos for 2012 and 2015, use this link. To see my best monochrome and abstract photos for 2016, use this link. To see all of my photos from this trip, use this link.

Parts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

The photos for today are from day 3 of my trip and were taken on 2/21/2016. The photos for today are from the Abandoned Historical Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) Tunnel #6, also known as Summit Tunnel. It is located at Donner Pass in Truckee, CA. This and the rest of the blog posts will feature photos from these abandoned railroad tunnels.

There won't be any GPS location data for these photos as I was underground. Also, almost all of the photos shot inside the tunnels were long exposures done with a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT and a Nitecore TM16 Flashlight. There is little light inside the tunnels. If you plan on visiting, please make sure you bring a good flashlight. You will also see later in the blog post that during winter, the ground is covered in ice and there are icicles on the ceiling of the tunnels. The ice is very slippery. Expect to slip, fall, and take a very long time to navigate the tunnel. It took me 1.5 hours to navigate through tunnel #6 (including time spent taking photos). I almost slipped and fell many times, but my camera tripod has spiked feet which dug into the ice to break my fall. My mom also helped with navigating through the tunnels. I recommend you bring a friend in case of falls and injuries. There is no cellphone service in the tunnels. Even with the help of my camera tripod and my mom, I still fell on my butt once. Now that I've covered the ice on the ground during winter, lets move onto icicle safety during winter. The icicles will fall from the ceiling (and you will get to see this in my blog post later). To help prevent this, please don't shout in the tunnels and don't talk too loud. If you are navigating the tunnels during winter, use your flashlight to check for icicles above your head. Don't walk under them unless you absolutely have to. It can potentially kill you. Again, as I have recommended earlier, bring a friend, especially when visiting during the winter.

Message From the Photographer: Above I have mentioned to you that I have used the help of my trusty Nitecore TM16 Flashlight in some of these tunnel photos I have done. The flashlight is a 4000 lumen flashlight is is very very bright. If you are a night photographer, cave photographer, or a photographer that does any photography in low light situations, I highly recommend you get one of these flashlights. It is very strong and puts out a great amount of light. In my own opinion, it practically turns night into day. It is great for night time exploration, cave exploration, and also great for low light photography and light painting. If you want to see a demo, you can watch my railroad tunnel vlog from this trip here or my flashlight demo here.

A photo of the entrance into Central Pacific Railroad Tunnel #6 (aka Summit Tunnel). The entrance is right across the street from Donner Ski Ranch. As you can see, there are massive icicles in the cave. That is why I was warning you in the intro about the potential dangers of traveling in the tunnels during winter. Being a photographer, I wanted to take photos of the giant icicles, so I decided to take the risk. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 39 18 60 N 120 19 47 W 

Black and white process of the photo above. 

Here is a photo shot from inside the tunnel facing the entrance. The first thing I thought was it looked like an entrance into a snow monster lair. I felt it made a pretty cool composition with the icicles and the contrast between light and dark. See how big the icicles were compared to the people at the entrance? The icicles at the entrance were huge! 

 Black and white process of the photo above.


A long exposure from inside the railroad tunnel. This was still pretty close to the entrance so the ground was still covered with plenty of snow that was probably blown in by wind. This area was not too hard to walk on, but still had quite some slippery parts covered in ice. Please be careful if you visit during winter. Also, the biggest icicles were at the entrance, but there were still quite some big icicles in the cave itself. Don't let the size in the photo fool you. If they fall on your head, you will be killed. 

Black and white process of the photo above. 

Here is a close up shot of a fallen icicle inside the tunnel. It was huge. I know it might seem small on the photo, but it really wasn't. I attempted to push it over and move it but ended up failing. It is a huge chunk of ice and is very heavy. I'm guessing something about a quarter size of this block falling on you would be enough to knock you out. If you were under this icicle when it fell down, it would have crushed you to death. 

 Black and white process of the photo above. 


 Here is a long exposure further into the railroad tunnel. As you can see, the ground here is now covered entirely by ice. Those chunks of ice you see on the ground are fallen icicles. They were very big. Even walking through the tunnel, I still heard icicles falling now and then. It was scary as the icicles falling made a pretty loud boom every time, but I enjoy taking some risks for photography. As long as you are frequently checking for icicles on the ceiling with a flashlight as you navigate through, you should be relatively safe. 

 Black and white process of the photo above. 


At the other end of the tunnel is the main attraction for Summit Tunnel. At the end of tunnel #6 is a bunch of street art on the walls. Tourists come into the tunnel to look at the street art on the walls. They were quite interesting. The ground here was still covered in a layer of ice and was very difficult to walk on. 

Black and white process of the photo above.  

A photo of the street art on the walls in Summit Tunnel. 

A photo of the street art on the walls in Summit Tunnel. 


A photo of the street art on the walls in Summit Tunnel. 

Black and white process of the photo above.  

One more photo of the street art on the walls and the railroad tunnel. 

Black and white process of the photo above. 

This is all the photos for today! I hope you have enjoyed the photos! In the next blog post I will continue with more photos from another few tunnels and scenery from Donner Pass. Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

Parts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
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