The great Ontario to Quebec VIA Rail 2012 biking adventure – Day Seven

[If you missed any of the previous or subsequent articles in this series, there’s a list of all the articles with hyperlinks here at the end of Day Ten.]

After a quick, one-night stay in Jonquiere, I’m back on the morning train for Montreal. Sun is shining and the plan is to get some great scenic shots of the central Quebec landscape.

Shooting from the train

After yesterday’s post, I got a couple readers who questioned the ability to actually get usable shots from a train rolling along at 40-50 mph. The answer is – it’s all about speed, both the speed of the camera and the speed of the photographer.

Watching as far ahead as possible, the photographer needs to have a sense of when something worthwhile is about to whiz by the window. At these speeds, if you look perpendicular to the tracks, unless the scene is far off in the distance, chances are you’ll pass it before you ever raise your camera.

Quebec River

Whitewater rivers parallel the tracks for quite some time.

The next trick is to set your shutter speed as high as possible. In my case, my shutter speed was usually 1/1500th of a second or faster. At that speed, the vibration of the train tracks will be basically counteracted and with just a slight panning of the camera, you should be able to get a nice sharp photo of anything 100 ft. away or more.

Couple more tricks…take off your lens shade and press your lens up tight to the glass. This prevents reflections from the glass showing up in your photos. Set your shooting frame speed as high as possible and don’t be afraid to rip off a dozen shots in a row if the scene is spectacular. You can delete the duds later, but you can’t go back and reshoot unless you come again.

Take a look at these first images I’ve edited from this trip and see if you think they are sharp enough? Granted, I utilized a lot of the Adobe tools available, but I think they’ll work for a number of background purposes. Let me know what you think in the comment area below.

Miles from civilization train station

The Montreal to Jonquiere train travels through 100 kilometers or so of forest, much of the time far from any major roads. One of the amazing things about VIA Rail however is that they will pick you up or let you off at any milepost in that remote part of the journey.

That means that if you’ve got a favorite fishing hole miles from nowhere, and if you know the mile marker, the VIA Rail train will stop and let you off there. You need to make reservations 48 hours ahead of time and give them the information, but heck, it’s like they built a station just for you.

Both on our trip north and now on our trip south, we stopped at some beautifully remote locations. In one case, we got to wave to his buddies who brought him to the train on their 4-wheelers. Another time we stopped right in front of this tiny fishing cabin on an inviting river. Service like that is hard to beat.

Tomorrow it’s time to explore the many river bike paths in Ottawa and Gatineau. Stop back to continue this  journey on Day 8.

Did you miss any of the other days of this Canadian VIA Rail bike adventure?  The links are here if you did…

Day One – Windsor, Ontario

Day Two – Toronto, Ontario

Day Three – Ottawa, Ontario

Day Four – Ottawa, Ontario

Day Five – Montreal, Quebec

Day Six – Jonquiere, Quebec