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Tribute to Toni | by jonmartin ()
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Tribute to Toni

The last passenger off a train takes the escalator up from Nationaltheatret train station in Oslo. These shots (a couple more in the comments) are heavily inspired by Toni V's work. My good friend Tor tipped me about his photostream and this guy is a constant source of creative masterpieces; I highly recommend you check out his work.


In the course of a two hour photosession riding these and the Nydalen subway station stairs (see previous post) I got more keepers than I can remember in such a short time, had lots of fun trying to sneak up behind people to get them in the shots and found that moving stairs have tremendous potential for different angles and exposures. While it helps to have colorful lights like in this one, take a look at this shot by Morten Prom as well; great work.


Some learning points and challenges:


- Escalators shake. Even the metal plate before you step onto the stairs has notable vibrations. If you view these photos at max resolution you can easily see that they are not super sharp. Using Image Stabilisation (IS) is not recommended while having the camera on a tripod, and I am not sure if IS would be able to offset (minor) vibrations for several seconds, but it will have to be tested.


- Autofocusing on moving, reflecting and pattern-rich objects is tricky, and escalators are all of these. I found that my lens kept hunting quite a few times which forced me to abort as other people (gasp) wanted to use the stairs for practical purposes (rather rude). For some shots I reverted to manual focus, set it at around 1.5 m and worked mostly at f/9.0 (thanks again Toni) to keep a healthy focus depth.


- Ah, these other people... At first I merely found them to be annoyances but the blurred sillhouettes work well in many of the shots. Try some shots first to get the wanted framing and angle on the tripod (the Gorillapod SLR Zoom is highly recommended for low shots like these), then try to sneak up behind some people. It is a lot easier to capture disembarking passengers as they usually exit in bulks, rather than passengers going down to the platform and hence arriving more or less all the time. In this photo, I wish the person was a bit closer, but just placing the camare correctly takes a few seconds. Combine that with a slightly bouncy gorilla and vibrating floor... I used mirror lockup and 2 second shutter delay, so by the time I had set down the rig and pressed the remote people were usually gone.


- This is wide-angle territory. 24mm (Full Frame) was barely wide enough. I keep repeating this so that I can justify to my already broken-back bank account that I need another lens...

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Taken on March 27, 2009