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Phil Douglis | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Fifty Six: The bus-bound travel image tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Gallery Fifty Six: The bus-bound travel image

Those who travel with escorted tours as I often do must be able to make use of tour bus windows and doors as photographic vantage points. Although most tours make photo-stops, there are also many wonderful opportunities to make expressive photographs from a moving or stationary bus itself. There are three kinds of vantage points from a tour bus. The most common is through a side window. However it is very difficult to frame and focus on a side-window subject because it appears so suddenly. By the time you see it, the moment may be gone forever. The only way to get effective shots from a side window is to angle the camera slightly forward and use a wideangle focal length for deep focusing, as well as multiple exposure burst shooting. Avoid shooting through windows that reflect things on the inside of the bus. If such reflections are present, try to find a seat on the other side of the bus. When you see something coming that may be worth shooting, press the shutter button and hold it down, and the camera will begin to make pictures. By the time your burst fires its second or third shot, the subject will be closer. Because you are using a wideangle focal length, your image will probably be in focus. If you use either shutter priority or manual shooting mode, you can choose a shutter speed that will compensate for the speed of the moving bus and thereby avoid blurred pictures due to camera shake. You can get faster shutter speeds, as well as choose smaller f/stops for greater depth of focus, by using higher ISO sensor settings. Expect a high failure rate – if you shoot 100 pictures out of a side window of a moving bus, you might get a couple that will work for you. Digital imaging is essentially free –you can shoot as many pictures as you need in order to get what you want. You can always delete the failures to make room on the memory card.

The second vantage point from a tour bus is through its front window. Try to choose a front seat if you can. Or if that is unavailable, ask if you can sit up front next to the bus driver. With a huge picture to shoot through, you can see what is coming from a long way off. You don’t have to use as fast a shutter speed because the subject is moving towards the camera instead of horizontally.

The third bus-bound vantage point is a rarity --- getting to shoot through an open bus door. The bus must be stopped for a few minutes – in a traffic jam, or during a brief stop while tolls are being paid, at borders or check points, or during supply stops. The open bus door offers reflection-free shooting and a high platform. Because the bus is always standing still whenever its doors are open, we can avoid focusing, framing, or camera shake problems. In this gallery, I offer examples of all three kinds of bus-bound shooting.

I present this gallery, as usual, in "blog" style. A large thumbnail is displayed for each image, along with a caption explaining how I intended to express my ideas. If you click on the large thumbnail, you can see it in its full size, as well as leave comments and read the comments of others. I hope you will be able to participate in the dialogue. I welcome your comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions, and will be delighted to respond.