Backstory - Train to the Clouds, Argentina

Filming a train journey is always tough because you cannot get long-shots of a moving train if you are on it. From onboard, the best aspect is out of the window when the railway track bends sharply. That way, you can see the back or the front of the train curving around the bend. The worry is getting the back of your head thumped by a signal post.

The train stopped at the mid-point Polvorilla Viaduct for only a few minutes and it was a minor panic getting my piece-to-camera. The tourists who piled off the train seemed more interested in asking me about what I was filming than the spectacular view. I find it hard to cut off anyone who shows an interest in this work.

After my ‘Train to the Clouds’ journey, I had some days in hand so I waited until the end of the week when the same train was scheduled to pull out of Salta station again. That gave me the opportunity to shoot some footage of the train’s departure from the platform.

I had studied the map and found a point where the train crossed a road a couple hours away. I jumped into my hire-car and drove like the wind. I made it to the level-crossing with a quarter of an hour to spare.

I set up and waited. As I heard the train’s whistle, I knew I would not have the chance of a second take. As the front engine and first carriages rounded the corner, I realized the train’s front-on view was taking up far more of the frame than I had expected. I zoomed out and re-focused, and caught my last key moment of the story.