Taking Photos from a Bus

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Check out the full 10,000 MILE Route Milo took across the continent!

The best thing about traveling on a bus is the massive windows that expose you to some of the most breathtaking scenery you will ever see. It unfolds before you in a seemingly never ending carpet of beautiful textured nature with the occasional animal sighting, and night and day fade in and out in spectacular shows of light and color.

Unfortunately, this scenery is some of the most difficult to capture. It passes by you at dizzying speeds and, unless you’ve driven a stretch before, is completely unpredictable. In addition, the windows are great for viewing, but try using a camera and you’re dealing with reflections, flash accidents, and a second layer of splattered bugs and road grime. Not to mention the musical chairs you play with everyone when something incredible happens.

However, not being able to take a photo sometimes lets you just enjoy these views. I’ve developed an instinct to reach for my lens pockets in anticipation of taking that elusive shot. My mind races to figure out whether or not to use a tripod and making calculations for aperture, ISO, and framing the image. So, it is a strange but genuinely welcome moment to just let go and let my eyes do the capturing.

Still, I’m admittedly an addict. And of course I’ve got a little list of tips for you to be at the ready.

  • Turn up your ISO: Because no road is perfectly smooth, everything is shaking – you’ll pay in grain, but you can fix that in post
  • Have your flash OFF: I have never taken a flash photo inside a vehicle with good results, please prove me wrong
  • Cup your hand around the lens front and press against the glass: This will minimize reflections and help you steady that shot if the bus is cooperating with the road
  • Ask permission and be a photographer: I have my camera strapped to me all the time and I shoot all the time. So, when something cool happens, people actually allow me to get position and priority. I usually show them photos and, of course ASK PERMISSION, but you have to be proactive – unless you’re on a bus full of photographers.
  • Shoot, shoot again, shoot another one: You’re looking at an LCD and probably don’t see the microblur, take another shot to be sure – SD data is free and you can always delete
  • Incorporate the bus: Believe it or not, it actually turns out interesting and just admit that you’re on a bus sometimes

Enjoy, and remember, your camera is supposed to be used.