Denali Drive-By

Denali National Park, Alaska

Trying to shoot images from a moving bus or car can be quite a challenge. This is especially true when you are on a tour and can't control when and where you stop. This was true when I shot this image from a bus tour of Denali National Park in Alaska. It was a dreary day when we ventured into the park. After spending a good part of the day there, we headed back to the hotel when the weather started to clear. I wanted to get at least a little blue sky and sunlight before we left.

The challenges of doing this from a moving vehicle are three-fold. First, the landscape is moving quickly by and I can't tell you how many shots I took that had either blurry trees or one big tree right in a particularly bad place. Second, shooting through a vehicle's window invariably adds reflections of the inside of the vehicle to the image. Lastly, when there is a good shot on the other side of the vehicle there always seems to be someone in the way.   

There are some techniques that help minimize these challenges. Shoot in burst mode holding the shutter button down. Yes that will result in a ton of bad images, but there will be a small number (like this one) that come out good. Yes, you will be deleting a ton of bad images but at least you got one. Second, to reduce reflections, hold the lens so that it is flush with the window, which eliminates the reflection. This sometimes works but it may not result in a great composition. The alternative is to watch for the reflections in the viewfinder to minimize them enough that you can fix in post-production. A great solution is to use a product that I use, Lens Skirt (unfortunately I didn't have this when I shot this image) that is perfect for eliminating reflections. Finally, when the subject is on the other side of the vehicle and there is no way to shoot it, relax because getting frustrated is not going to get you the shot (easier said than done).

If you have any other advice for shooting from moving vehicles, post them in the comments.