If you're in a sleeper you can generally go wherever you want so long as you're not trying to enter crew areas. Duration of station stops is sometimes announced and sometimes not. You can ask your sleeper attendant as well if they're present. I've seen them be spot-on, I've seen them be completely off, and I've seen them refuse to even give any answer at all. It all depends on who you get. So far as I am aware the conductor will generally do their best to leave as close to the published departure time as possible. If the website and pre-printed paperwork ever conflict, go by the website's times.
I'll be in a sleeper for sure. So even if my sleeper is not at the rear of the train, I should be fine to head back there to take a few shots? Thanks for the advice, everyone. I also plan to get many shots of the various stations during stops (is it announced how long each stop is for, or is there a standard time?). EDIT - Also, I didn't see the photography section, I'm sorry about that (thanks for the link though). I'll report this to be moved, if possible.
Replying to Photography on long-distance trips (good quality possible from inside
Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:13 PM
Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:12 PM
Given the tips (particularly the postprocessing), you should be able to get some high quality results.
The pool of photos that I selected for the book are available in this Flickr collection:
Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:05 PM
If your window is clean, then that's a big help. If you have a polarizing filter to reduce glare and reflection, then that will help too. Shooting out the back is great, if available! Using the sightseer lounge is also good (sometimes), provided the windows are clean and the reflections aren't too apparent. Getting out and shooting during stops can give nice 'train at the station' shots.
You can always use the windows to 'effect,' as the tinting can assist in darkening the sky, for instance, and several times photos have come out with pleasantly unexpected results.
Best wishes on your journey and happy shooting!
Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:00 PM
Thanks for the advice, everyone. I also plan to get many shots of the various stations during stops (is it announced how long each stop is for, or is there a standard time?).
EDIT - Also, I didn't see the photography section, I'm sorry about that (thanks for the link though). I'll report this to be moved, if possible.
Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:56 AM
Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:55 AM
1. Use screw-in rubber lens hoods on all lenses, and clap the hoods firmly against the windows. This insures no reflections from the other side of the car, and the close proximity to the glass helps cut through the dust on the outside of the glass.
2. Use a high ISO (1600 works for me with my Pentax K-5) and a moderate aperture (such as f8) so that you get a 1/1000 sec or better shutter speed.
3. If the sun is out, shoot from the shady side of the train. Sunlight striking the windows will cause terrible haze in your photographs.
4. Use post processing software (such as Lightroom or Photoshop Elements or iPhoto) to increase brightness and/or contrast. This helps cut the outside dust problem.
For an example of results, see http://trainweb.org/.../LincolnService
Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:54 AM
I would not expect to be able to blow up and print out anything of serious quality. With a professional grade SLR the speed won't be much of an issue, but windows are old, dirty, tinted, and sometimes made out of plastic. There are a couple windows on the bottom of Superliner cars that can be opened and thus used for professional quality shots, but Amtrak staff will not take kindly to any such attempts. There's no automated system to alert them to this, but the wind and noise are enough to serve the purpose. However, you can get great photos of the track side facades of various train stations when the train is stopped. Just don't dawdle or go around any corners or the train may end up leaving without you.
So with my planned trip this summer (either Starlight from Vancouver-LA or CZ from Chicago-Sacramento) I am planning to obviously take a few pictures along the way! I have professional-grade SLR equipment, but I am wondering about the photo opportunities along the way. Do photos from the train end up turning out okay, or does the speed/window factor end up making it not worth the effort? I may be travelling on my own for the trip, so I thought some decent pictures of scenery along the trip would be a good way to spend some of the trip, since I'd be appreciating the scenery anyway. Any thoughts from regular travellers? Mostly I'd hope that it would be possible to take good quality photos to blow up and print out.
Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:41 AM
Photography tips on trains
Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:27 AM
Any thoughts from regular travellers? Mostly I'd hope that it would be possible to take good quality photos to blow up and print out.