Rain, Trains & Automobiles

The Shot:
Light trails from multiple trains lead in towards a motorway bridge with light trails from road traffic. Cloud drifts through the sky above.

Light trails lead into and across the image from assorted traffic

Rain, Trains & Automobiles

The Story:
The sky was a lucky break in this image but having hours earlier crossed the motorway bridge shown, I knew there was a shot there for the taking. The hardest part was finding and accessing the location. I snapped a phone image on my earlier journey then used the geotag to get me in close on Google Maps.

Heading back I felt I’d missed the best of the late afternoon twilight (it was December) but the rising moon backlighting the clouds did a far more dramatic job than dusk could have managed. What Google Maps didn’t show me was how to reach my chosen vantage point from where I’d been able to park the car- sometimes it’s just a case of following your nose and on this occasion that paid off. Setting up quickly I noticed the gaps between the clouds getting smaller and with rain forecast I didn’t want to hang around. I timed shots to capture train trails on each of the four sets of tracks and made sure I had workable frames for traffic trails and cloud movement. I made it back to the car just before the rain started.

The Tip:
When shooting traffic trails, the traffic itself can be a burden as it trundles past and shakes your surroundings. Take a test shot and compare straightness/ sharpness of the light trails to check it matches the profile of the surrounding area. Repositioning your tripod by a small amount can sometimes make a big difference.

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