Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Mon September 14 2015

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  • Susan Seubert | September 14, 2015 2:30 PM ET

    5 Pro Tips on How to Make Great Photographs on the Rocky Mountaineer

    5 Pro Tips on How to Make Great Photographs on the Rocky Mountaineer

    PHOTO: Onboard the Rocky Mountaineer. (courtesy Rocky Mountaineer)

    Photographing from any moving vehicle is difficult for even the most experienced of shooters. Usually, a train is moving at a good clip, so motion can be your worst enemy or your best friend. Also, sometimes photo ops go by too fast to capture.  Here are five ways to approach making successful pictures on board the train.

    Research: Before leaving on your trip, try doing a Google image search to see what images are inspiring. I use these visual ideas as a starting point. Use the satellite setting in Google Maps to plot your route. This way, you can see in advance where the great photo ops will be and prepare for the moment to get the perfect shot.

    Shutter Speed: On most cameras, there is either a shutter priority setting or a “running man/sports” setting that can help keep your images sharp. By making sure your shutter speed is high, your images will be sharp. On the opposite end of that spectrum, motion blur can also be a great way to add interest to a picture as well as be descriptive of the journey.  

    People: Don’t be afraid to approach your fellow passengers. One of the best things about traveling on the Rocky Mountaineer is the other people on board. Engaging with others is a key part of any journey. Another wonderful part of the Rocky Mountaineer experience is the on-­-board service, so engage with the people who work on the train. They are wonderful people who will often share their stories. I always photograph the people I meet so that I have a memory of them.

    Sense of Place: One of the wonderful things about train travel is that you are off the freeway and often in areas where the scenery is spectacular. The route from Vancouver to Banff has amazing landscapes regardless of the weather. The clouds surrounding the mountains, the glacial fed rivers, the sunny area in central British Columbia: all of these are descriptive of the journey and including these images will improve the quality of your photographic story. Be sure to turn off your flash. Not only does the flash slow down the camera, it can make for terrible reflections in the glass.

    Food: One of the best parts of traveling is eating. I always recommend taking photos of dining experiences. These kinds of pictures are often eclipsed by more traditional travel images, but are a key part of any trip. The best way to photograph food is to use a close up lens or macro setting, which can help separate the dish from the background. On modern cameras, there is often a setting just for food. On board the train, one of my favorite dishes was the burger. It sounds like it would be a rather common image, but it makes my mouth water every time I look at it! 


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Susan Seubert Susan Seubert Travel

Susan Seubert Award-winning travel and editorial photographer Susan Seubert has photographed more than 25 feature stories for National Geographic Traveler since joining the magazine as a contributor in 2004. Her subjects range from Canada to the Caribbean and Texas to Thailand. Her work has been recognized by the department of journalism at Columbia University with an Alfred Eisenstadt Award and most recently was awarded Gold by the North American Travel Journalists Association for her story about preserving architecture in the old city of Bangkok for NGT. In addition to being widely published and exhibited, she also lectures regularly about her work at such institutions as Harvard University and the Portland Art Museum. Based in Portland, Ore. and Maui, Hawaii, Susan travels throughout the world shooting a variety of subjects and specializes in capturing a sense of place through her wide-ranging imagery. Susan's in-depth knowledge of digital technologies and her multimedia skills keep her at the cutting edge of visual storytelling. Born and raised in Indiana, she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and hasn't set down her camera since.
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