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Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Take Care Where You Get Your Camera Out

For many years I’ve wanted to take a long exposure photograph of a railway platform at rush hour. The idea of using a long exposure is to blur all the train passengers, but keep the train, platform and other object in focus. This gives a great sense of movement.

The problem has been to find the right location to allow me to look down on the platform to maximise the effect. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Railway Signalling engineer and at present I’m working at London Bridge signal box. Last week I found the perfect location to give me the required angle and on Monday I set off for work armed with a large rucksack full of tools, my packed lunch and camera gear.

At precisely 9:15am I had positioned myself on the over bridge above platforms 9 and 10, just as hundreds of commuters were de-training. I took four photos and was almost instantly mugged by a member of Network Rail staff. It transpired that I needed permission from the station manager to take photos of the station as I might be a terrorist. A far point I suppose and at least it shows that Network Rail is taking the travelling publics safety seriously. However, if I had been a terrorist surely I would be taking photos covertly with a small discreet compact camera. Not, as I was, using a bloody great Digital SLR in a very public and non-discreet manner.

Not wanting to be arrested on the spot, I clearly explained who I was and what I was doing on the station in the first place. I even showed him my Network Rail approved photo ID to prove that I was allowed to be there, but he was having none of it. I just packed up my gear and went on my way with a flea in my ear.

Next time I’ll get permission first and make a meal of photographing the station.

The photos I did get were OK at best, but I will try again soon. Here is the best one.

It's not brillient, but I think it shows the effect I'm after.


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