I got this shot of the Hamilton Fish Newburgh-Beacon Bridge through the window of the Amtrak train on my way home. I love taking the train but sometimes the trips can be long. This one bordered on 10 hours. There are lots of ways to pass the time – read a book, play a game on your iPad or phone, listen to music or sleep. I’ve done all of those and even they get a little old after a while – well except sleeping. Sleep is always good. BUT, there’s one way to spend time that you just don’t see a lot of people do these days with all our gadgets to keep us busy. You can look out the window and see all the great scenery go by. And if you have your camera and the window isn’t too dusty, dirty or wet, you can even get a few pretty cool photos. I like to use my little Canon G1x point and shoot on sport mode. It usually will give fairly sharp pictures although if the train is really chugging along the foreground can get pretty blurry. I’ve gotten some great urban decay, graffiti under bridges and on buildings, and some early morning misty fog pictures. Here’s a nice shot of the Newburgh-Beacon bridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newburgh%E2%80%93Beacon_Bridge) at sunset. The train runs right along the Hudson River with a great view of the bridge. The train was moving pretty fast and the ISO was cranked up pretty high to get the shot as sharp as it is but it’s a great example of what you can do with a small camera.
I took about 150 pictures and got a few keepers as my travel souvenirs. A few suggestions if you want to try this out:
- use sport mode on your point and shoot – this will help minimize blur
- use auto ISO or set it high enough that your shutter speed is fairly fast
- try to sit next to a window with as few spots or cracks as you can to minimize blemishes in your pictures
- hold the camera right up to the window to minimize reflections or hold you had over the top of the camera if it’s at an angle to the window
- try to look as far ahead as you can and hold the camera up to the window all the time – the train passes cool things way faster than you can lift up the camera and snap the photo
- remember to turn off the flash!
- remember to turn off or mute the camera sounds – nothing like loud beeping and clicking to annoy your fellow travelers
- press the shutter multiple times as you move through a shot – most keeps are just good luck and the more shots you have the luckier you’ll get
- check out the train route ahead of time – sometimes it helps to know if the good view is on the left or right side of the train car
Give it a try. Sure, some folks will look at you funny, but then they won’t have this cool picture to show people from their ride on the train!
Have you ever tried taking pictures from the train? Leave me a comment and let me know where the great views are!