In April 1997, I traveled with my father to Japan for an intensive few days of photography and railway exploration. In that time I managed to expose 85 rolls of film. (Not all of railways).To my shock, it turned out that bringing Fujichrome to Japan, was akin to bringing ‘coal to Newcastle’. Not only was slide film plentiful, but it was substantially cheaper than in the USA. However, just to make my mark, I also brought some Kodachrome.
This has been among my father’s favorite railway trips and he’s always asking me to post the Japanese photographs on Tracking the Light.
Happy Father’s Day Pop!
Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.
Working with a Nikon N90S with 80-200 zoom lens and Fujichrome Provia 100 I made this zoom-pan of a Series 100 train blitzing the station at Shizuoka, Japan.
The trick to making a zoom-pan is use a relatively low shutter speed (1/15 to 1/30th of a second) and use the zoom to keep pace with the train’s motion. This is actually easier to do with a fast moving train. In this case the Series 100 train was traveling at more than 130mph.
This technique takes a bit of practice, so it helps to experiment on a really busy high-speed railway line such as the New Tokaido line. When I made this photo in April 1997, there were about 10-11 trains in each direction every hour over the line.
I made several of these ‘zoom-pans’ on color slide film. I didn’t know how well I’d succeeded until weeks later when I reviewed my slides.
This photo appeared as the title-page spread of my 2001 book Bullet Trains published by MBI. The book took a look at high-speed railway networks around the world.