Trains in Japan: Hustle, Bustle and Motion Blur

Train at Crossing - Yokohama, Japan

Train at Crossing – Yokohama, Japan

With some 37 million people in metro Tokyo, you need a fast and efficient public transportation system. I was endlessly fascinated by the dynamic trains that shuttle the millions throughout the area. Nothing like a little motion blur to give the impression of movement.

Rushing off the Train - Tokyo, Japan
High Speed Exit - Tokyo, Japan
Rushing through the Station - Tokyo, Japan

Of course, people stream out of the trains and through the stations with equal break neck speed. Luckily I was only stuck in the super packed trains a couple of times. For the most part, the transportation was manageable and very efficient. I easily got to my destinations in and around Tokyo and Yokohama with trains and the occasional bus. A wonderful change from the modest public transportation we have in Austin.

The View up Front - Tokyo, Japan
A train enters Ueno Station - Tokyo, Japan
Bustle at Ueno Station - Tokyo, Japan

Photography on the trains and stations was enjoyable and a constant source of interest. I found that even when I was tired after an entire day of shooting, I would still try my hand at street shooting during the ride home.

Smooth Exit - Tokyo, Japan
Subway Blur - Tokyo, Japan

The Pentax Q7, being so small and unobtrusive, was the perfect companion. I found that a shutter speed of 1/10 to 1/15 of a second generally worked well for producing the optimal amount of motion blur. This isn’t too difficult with these modern cameras, no tripods required. Use a moderately wide lens and in-body image stabilization makes it easy.

I find that you need a good balance of motion and stable anchor points for the best effect. If everything is moving, then it just looks like a mistake. You need to have sharp focus on key parts of the frame, like turnstiles or station platforms, and have blurred elements like people and trains that convey movement.

Smooth Exit - Tokyo, Japan
Escalator Blur - Tokyo, Japan
Waiting for it to stop - Tokyo, Japan

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