A photograph of the setting sun over train tracks by amateur photographer Lee Yi-cheng (李翊誠), which became a hit on Instagram, might have come at the price of contravening the Railway Act (鐵路法).
Lee on Monday said he had spent seven months preparing for the photograph, which he took on Saturday last week and has since gone viral.
To take it, he specifically downloaded a cellphone app to help measure the time and location of the setting sun, Lee said.
Photo courtesy of Lee Yi-cheng
Most of the railroad tracks in Taiwan are north-south oriented and it is difficult to gauge when the sun will set exactly in line with them, he said.
After observing the sun’s movements from April to November last year, Lee said he was certain that it would set over the west side of the railroad between Yunlin County’s Douliou City (斗六) and Jiouan Township (久安) between about 4:45pm and 5:10pm.
Even after working out when to take the picture, he spent a considerable amount of time adjusting his camera’s focus due to the speed of the passing train, Lee said, adding that the pictures posted on his Instagram account were from two of six decent attempts, not counting the 20 failed attempts made that same day.
“It was the happiest moment of my life,” Lee said, adding that he would remember it forever.
However, the result of Lee’s actions, while admired by some, have also been met with criticism from train conductors, who said that taking photographs on the tracks threatens safety.
Standing between the tracks or snapping a picture from the side of the railroad crossing after the safety barriers have lowered are all in contravention of Article 57 of the act and punishable by fines of between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000, Taiwan Railway Administration staff said.
However one staff member said that judging by the photograph, Lee seemed to be positioned on the pedestrian crossing spanning the width of the railway crossing area, so it does not appear as if he breached the law.
The Railway Police Bureau’s Douliou branch of Taichung Precinct said it has summoned Lee to the station to make a statement.
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