Riding the rails

The tracks (rails of the Denver metro light rail system) glide by as we head home…

Riding the rails.jpg

I’d seen images like this before — but via film. I wanted to see what it took to make an image like this with my digital gear. After some fiddling, I found that an exposure of 1/30 second or longer works just fine — so long as the train is up to full speed (about 60 miles/hour, or about 95 kilometers/hour).

If you look very closely, you can see some subtle reflections from the inside of the train (since there’s no way to get my camera outside the window for this image). I’ll have to spend a little more time in Photoshop cleaning them up. Still, I like how this turned out. The rail tops are nice and sharp, and the rail ties are blurred out, but don’t overlap.

I’ve noticed one odd thing, though — because the rails are at an angle to the image’s edges, the image always looks crooked to me. I *know* it’s rectangular, but it always looks skewed. This must be some sort of illusion, I’ll have to look it up…

Originally posted to the old blog on June 25, 2008; on Flickr over here.