March 4, 2014

Breaking the Ice

Photograph by Wesley Thomas Wong, National Geographic Your Shot

“I was looking for people pulling ice out of the frozen Songhua River, and I walked for about five miles alone on the river before I spotted this team working the ice,” says Your Shot contributor Wesley Thomas Wong, who has been working on a project about ice workers in Harbin, China, for four years.

“I made several trips to various ice festival sites under construction in and around Harbin. I wanted to find out where these guys were getting these huge blocks of ice for construction material, and I learned that all of it came from one place—the river.”

This photo was submitted to Your Shot. Check out the new and improved website, where you can share photos, take part in assignments, lend your voice to stories, and connect with fellow photographers from around the globe.

Browse more picks from Your Shot's Daily Dozen »

40 comments
Lord Spark
Lord Spark

It's like the opening scene of the film Frozen.

Shannon T
Shannon T

I love how the city is just barely visible in the background. It makes the shot slightly haunting.

Joy Saldanha
Joy Saldanha

Knowing nothing about ice breaking, but indeed knowing about how much I like photography,are different things. Well I do like this one of men at work, that must be very hard on them.With those tools that look and are dangerous, I do not envy them this job.  Outstanding shot.  j.e.s.   

Janice H.
Janice H.

Fascinating.        Such hard work I would imagine!         So many interesting things to learn from the Nat. Geographic photos.

heather levingstone
heather levingstone

Woo hooo.....Photo of the Day......well done Wesley!  Your 5 mile trek really paid off!  Bet you enjoyed your dinner that evening :)

William Henry
William Henry

We in the US actually use something like that in construction to pound in concrete stakes and steel fence. You get a steel pipe 1/2 to 1 inch larger than object to be pounded in cut to length that is comfortable for you, thread the end, weld on handles and put a cap on it. Look at the first person his has a cap on it. All you would have to do is thread the bottom and add another device. There not as heavy as a sledgehammer  and no misses. 

Rajesh Pathak
Rajesh Pathak

So much of manual labour in tough weather, I wish they better come up with some workable machinery. Good luck to them.

Sandra Hickman
Sandra Hickman

Its always a blessing to learn something new about other countries. I have lived in the snow in North Dakota but here in SA our lives are a lot more "sunny". Great photo... "but they had better mind their toes because those tools look real sharp".

Bev Hennager
Bev Hennager

What a feat of strength that must take - and ALL those blocks!  I would have thought they would just freeze water into the right shapes.

qing li
qing li

I've stayed such a long time in Harbin but I did not know a tool like that.

Denis C.
Denis C.

I personally salute the ingenuity of the tool (almost fashioned as a sword). I live in a winter country (Canada/Québec) where the idea has not come out yet.


Ivan Lesica
Ivan Lesica

Congrats for making the photo of the day dear friend !! Such a wonderfully composed image and so deserving of the honor...

Lokesh Gautam
Lokesh Gautam

well dats a amazzing photo.......:D:D:D:D:D:D:D


Sue Lee
Sue Lee

This photo reminds me of the movie <Frozen> haha

..................

Wesley Thomas Wong
Wesley Thomas Wong

@heather levingstone  Woo Hoo.....Nope I was staying alone in my in-laws home by myself all Christmas while I was up there shooting. No T.V., No people...just me and my cameras.......pretty sad huh..... 

Wesley Thomas Wong
Wesley Thomas Wong

@William Henry  Hey thanks William, yeah I'm sure they probably got the idea to do this from construction workers seeing as how most of these guys are construction workers themselves, but I appreciate your info cause most of the time I just take the photos and never really delve into specifics...

Wesley Thomas Wong
Wesley Thomas Wong

@Rajesh Pathak  Rajesh.....actually the photo information they had up there was incomplete. The ice is actually first broken by huge saws they drag across the ice. The big spikes there using are only used to break the ice apart.......

Wesley Thomas Wong
Wesley Thomas Wong

@Bev Hennager  No Bev....but then you might have an idea you can market to the Chinese and you could make a lot of money.....hahaha

Wesley Thomas Wong
Wesley Thomas Wong

@qing li  Qing Li, That's because you were probably smart enough to stay inside where it's warm.....hee hee ........thanks

Wesley Thomas Wong
Wesley Thomas Wong

@Denis C.  Wow Denis, thanks for the informative comment....I always wonder whether this huge saw is something unique to China or whether it's used in other places. There's actually another shot on my gallery somewhere where you can actually see the thing  more clearly.......but thanks much for you comment again.....

Wesley Thomas Wong
Wesley Thomas Wong

@Ivan Lesica  Ahhhhhh UUUUU again. God Ivan your everywhere.....hahaha......Thanks so much friend and hope all is well in New York these days.......

Shop National Geographic