Train Trip – Photography

Here’s a selection of images during the first quarter of the trip.  I was very pleasantly surprised with the images one can get from the train.  I had grabbed the camera to take along with to sit in the lounge car, but hadn’t really thought much about making the trip as photography journey.  The fog and low overcast clouds added a great moodiness to the scene.

It took a bit to a sense of rhythm to the technique of taking photo’s out of the trains windows.  Reflections are constantly playing around the windows as the train winds south with the sun first on one side, then the other.  For a lot of the way, trees are close to the tracks, so they present a screen to shoot through.  And the biggest challenge was timing.  You have a few seconds at best to notice that there might be something to shoot, and to actually capture it.  Yesterdays tree post was at the end of the trip and it was great to see I almost nailed the line of trees dead on while shooting through the window at 60 mph.

The Nikon D700 was perfect for this trip.  As the fog and low clouds required ISO 1600 at times.  Down in Portland the sun came out briefly and it was down to ISO 200.  I kept my 24-70mm f2.8 lens on the whole time as the focal length and aperture were perfect for the train. Longer focal length was just too hard to hold a constant focus point, and as you can see, the part of the image closest to the train blurred.

I ended up with at least 40 images worth printing, which really surprised me.  Sitting up high while you travel through the small towns at slow speeds gives you great opportunities to take images straight down the streets that you could never get without blocking traffic and using a lift.

I took a few where I used the motion of the train with slow shutter speeds to make the blurs you see.  On the way back next week, I’m considering putting the camera on a tripod to get the blur better defined.


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