Let me share with you a revelation I had today when taking a train ride to Kutina, Croatia. Due to the fact that recently we have sold our car, we took a train to go and visit our family in Kutina. It turns out that while traveling, I have caught myself constantly reaching for my digital camera, and long lens (Sigma 70-300mm) and rushing towards windows to take photos.
I was amazed by the wealth of fantastic landscape photo opportunities that were passing by me. I thougt to myself: Are we missing out by taking a car ? If you think about it, there are many upsides to train travel if you are a photographer:
- Elevated platform – In the train, you usually stand much higher than a car or a bus, and in addition, railway tracks are more often than not elevated themselves. This alone gives a potential photographer a higher perspective, which is more than welcome in landscape photography as it allows you to cover more ground.
- Landscape selection – Railway tracks usually travel different routes than common roads, and especially if you are traveling along a historic route (while the railway tracks were still hugging the landscape as opposed to taking a tunnel), you are in for a treat.
- Easy to avoid camera shake – A good rule of thumb is, the more mountainous the landscape, the slower train needs to travel through it, giving you plenty of headroom for taking great shots. We recommend that you set Shutter Priority mode, set shutter speed faster than your lens’ focal length and enjoy the show.
- Predictability – As opposed to the bus or a car, that can turn pretty much anywhere, and the fact that they are dependent on the layout of the road, the train usually follows a more-less straight path giving you plenty of time to look ahead and plan your shot. Imagine the church in Voloder (the photo above). I have seen the church coming along, and that we will pass not so far from it. The train stopped at the station, which gave me some time to check out and notice a nearby bush I decided to use as foreground to emphasize depth. The train slowly started to move, and when the bush aligned in the frame with the church I took the shot.
- No dirty windows in front – On some older trains (not air-conditioned ones) you can open a window, and help avoid dust specs and train interior reflections that usually plague this type of photo. Just slide the window open, and fire away.
As you see here are 5 good reasons to check our tip:
If you are out of landscape photo ideas, take a train ride !
You never know what beautiful sights you might have been missing. Happy shooting