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One problem…


…one solution (and one additional problem).

As I’ve kvetched about before, there are challenges to taking photos on the train. There’s motion: swaying like a ship in 15-foot seas; vibration like a hideously unbalanced clothes dryer. Lighting: cars with zero interior lighting; cars with bland fluorescent lighting. People: passengers thinking anyone with a camera is a terrorist; terrorists thinking anyone with a camera is a fellow terrorist—it’s a real problem.

But, here’s one of the most annoying obstacles to on-board photography: glass. Specifically, windows.

While the windows do a great job of keeping out heat, cold, moisture, wind, noise and debris, and an equally great job of keeping in heat, cold, tickets, newspapers, food and passengers, they’re a pain when you want to photograph something through them. On the outside, the windows pick up and show with brilliant clarity all manner of dust, scratches, water spots, bird droppings, and glare. On the inside, the windows pick up reflections.

I’ve finally figured out a solution to the reflections: use a hood. At least, I think you would call it a hood. It’s not a lens hood, and it’s not a display hood, it’s a… a train window hood.

Basically, I do the following. I aim my camera out the window at whatever astounding memory I’m try to capture. I grab my (usually dark-colored) jacket and press it up against the window, trying as much as possible to form a pocket around the camera while not blocking the lens. I snap a photo, pull the camera out of my makeshift hood, inspect the results, then try again.

If that made no sense, don’t worry. The key idea to take away from all this is that there’s a way to block reflections when you’re trying to take a picture through a window—you just can’t see through the camera while you’re taking the picture. Shooting in the blind, I got results like the photo above—motion blur, crazy angle, but no reflections.

Hey, maybe the jacket-thing should be called a blind.

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