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Photographic tiger huntPhotographs captured from moving vehicles make an effective way of recording the nature of a journey, and linking the various destinations of an itinerary. Photography from aircraft is discussed under “Aerial photography” but images obtained from moving cars, boats and trains require somewhat different techniques.

Clearly it is difficult to control composition from moving vehicles, but in the case of buses and cars the problems are perhaps at their worst. The phenomenon of movement parallax means that objects close to the camera appear to move much more rapidly than those further away. It is impossible to render the foreground sharp so it may be best to make a feature of the blur to emphasize movement. A wide-angle lens is easier to hold reasonably steady, and allows part of the interior of the vehicle to be incorporated in the composition. This helps to give the image context. The windows in some vehicles are also tinted and will inevitable alter the colour of film-based images. Digital cameras using automatic white balance are better equipped to correct this problem.

The vehicle in which you travel is a significant part of your journey and in that sense deserves being incorporated into some of the images. Key points in an itinerary provide opportunities for wide-angle shots incorporating the faithful but travel-weary vehicle. It is also a good idea to include your travelling companions unloading baggage or preparing a roadside meal.

Boats of a reasonable size make somewhat more sedate photographic platforms, and it is often possible to stand on an outside deck with an unobstructed view. However, compositions including only the water and a distant coastline are unlikely to be worthwhile, so be sure to include part of the superstructure, the boat’s wake or a flag fluttering at the stern. It may also be possible to incorporate a couple of passengers leaning on a rail or drinking cocktails at sunset.

Trains are interesting subjects in their own right. They may be pulled by famous engines, painted in attractive colours or just belching lots of smoke and sparks. Try shooting from an open carriage window, without leaning out too far, while the engine and leading carriages are rounding a bend and hence more visible. The curve of the track and train make an attractive element of such compositions.


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