Photo of the week – week five


I have this fascination with the London Underground. Any underground rail network actually but I get to see this one most often. And I just adore the map but that’s another story.

I took this photo last weekend when I was visiting a friend. Taking photos down in the depths is going to be a challenge. Poor light and artificial light being the two bad boys. I was using my new lens which was even more of a challenge as the lowest aperture is f4 that means less light.

Here’s the shot I got.


Canon 550D, lens 17-40mm, aperture f4, exposure 1/10, ISO 100, auto white balance.

I knew that to get any kind of decent photo I needed a slow shutter speed (exposure time) to let in as much light as possible so I rested the camera on the seat next to me to keep the camera steady for a longer exposure. I wanted the train to be still and I wanted to get the headlights of the train in the shot and a good look at the station behind the train. What I didn’t want was a person to come and stand in the way. But I couldn’t do anything about that and took the photo anyway.

What I got was totally different from what I tried to capture. The train is burred, not frozen because I have a slow shutter speed that is automatically going to create blur. I forgot about that! But if I had changed the shutter speed to say 1/500 it would have been too dark.

And those headlights are missing from the picture. The reason I missed the headlights is because the shutter speed was so slow I couldn’t take as many pictures in succession as with a faster shutter speed. It takes time for the shutter to open and close. A faster exposure would be click, click, click for my one click on the 1/10 shutter speed. So I learned that in low light I need to adjust for that and not expect to take as many photos per few seconds.

As it turned out though I think the combination of the stray pedestrian and the blurred train make a better photo. It might have looked odd if the train had been still, like I’d just snapped the stationary train. So accidents are okay!

The other thing I could have done differently was to have increased the ISO and therefore increased the shutter speed. The increased ISO would have made the shot lighter so it would allow for a faster exposure. That might have frozen the train. I really should have sat there longer and tried again.

But tube stations after the train has gone are, if only for a few seconds, very eerie……..