PhotoZAP 34: Stranger in the Night

Our critics praise and pan your pictures


"I can’t see, from a technical perspective, how the photographer pulled this off as a single shot." —Mason Resnick


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© Peter W. Marks, Edwardsvsille, IL. Gear: Canon 20D, Canon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom lens at 85mm. Exposure: f/8 at 1/100 sec, ISO 800, aperture priority.

Photographer’s Statement: “I was sitting on the platform at Reading, UK railway station and this train was pulling away from the platform opposite. The young lady moved to the window and stared across at me. It so reminded me of a movie scene that even while fumbling in my bag for the camera I was composing a title "Night train to London"; "Passing Strangers'; or taking me back 50 years  to a real life experience "The Parting." And we never did meet again.”



Our critics say…   

Jack Howard: This shot puzzles me. I see a story in this. The expression is great and the moment speaks volumes. It is a very intriguing image. But I've looked at this shot up-close and dug deep into the pixels and simply cannot figure out how this is a single-shot image: If the subject is moving along with the train, she, too, should show some motion blur, shouldn't she? The only way I can reckon this is a single frame involves participation of the subject with a remotely triggered strobe inside the train with a very short flash duration. I'm puzzled. I like the shot, and I'm OK with it as a potential composite...but just puzzled.

Mason Resnick: I’m with Jack: This is a wonderful, intriguing, mysterious image and a great moment…but I can’t see, from a technical perspective, how the photographer pulled this off as a single shot. It appears as if the girl in the train was “flown” in via Photoshop, or the overall image was sharp and the train was deliberately selectively blurred in post-processing to give the appearance of motion. Perhaps Mr. Marks will enlighten us in the comments.

Monica Cipnic: I agree with Jack and Mason: Technically, there are questions if this is a single shot, and how is the woman sharp while everything else is blurred with movement? Perhaps the photographer had the good luck to have a large reflective surface/object in the station—a metallic post, glass reflecting the sun, or such--so that the woman's face is so well lit. There is much to like about this particularly cinematic and memorable image. I would think about cropping it, either some off the top and bottom. or even more off the bottom so that the woman's face and enigmatic expression is more prominent in the frame.


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