Wednesday, 7 December 2011

PnP Ex 20: Busy Traffic

Euston - 4:00 pm  Euston station - 16:01

These first two shots were taken at Euston, right back as I was just starting this course – although they were taken with this exercise in mind. they were shot from the balcony of the ‘pub’ at one end of the concourse. There is a sense of movement caused by the relatively long exposure but overall I think they lack a real sense of business. The likely reasons are:

  • vantage point too distant and elevated – I was not even close to being comfortable shooting people at close quarters at this point in the course and the height emphasises the spaces;
  • insufficient people – an hour later might have been different – but trains times are what they are;
  • the people are too static – tis is down to the location. Most people are standing and waiting for their platform to be announced – a site near the entrance would likely be more effective.

I repeated this exercise a couple of weeks back at Newcastle station after visiting the Turner Prize exhibition at the Baltic, with the following results:

Newcastle Station - 1  Newcastle Station - 2

Newcastle Station - 3  Newcastle Station - 4

These seem to me to be considerably better. There is more of a sense of being amongst the action, the people are sufficiently well defined to emphasise the contrast between the static and moving subjects and I am close to the entrance to the platform so there is actually more movement. I think the second and third are the most effective because they both contain a very static figure to contrast with the bustle around them. The shots were taken by resting the camera on a table in this coffee shop:

Newcastle Station - 6

This comparison shot immediately shows the effect I noted in the Euston shots – the distance and elevation reduce the overall busy feel.


In the case of crowd scenes at least, motion blur gives a better impression of business when you are in amongst it – or at least quite close. Elevation reduces the effect further by emphasising floor space.

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