Taking pictures through bus, train, office, and hotel windows, I explained to
Alvarez, is not that big a deal and that I had been doing it for years. I told
him that, generally, the main thing to do is to look through the camera's
viewfinder as you look at your subject through the window. If you don't
see any reflections, any ghost-like images anywhere in the viewfinder, the odds
are that you won't find any in your photographs.
wait for local bus. Acapulco, Mexico.
If there is a smudge on the window, wipe it away, but even if you can't,
you'll generally be okay if it's not there in globs. Open the window
when you can; sit in the rear of the bus. If it's okay with your fellow
riders, open the window.
If you're in a glass and steel skyscraper and you're waiting for
the elevator and looking through a window at a spectacular scene, put your camera
lens directly on the windowpane and fire away. The pictures will look just as
if you were standing outside.
There's another way of photographing through windows, though it sounds
a bit weird. Weird it may be, but many pros have employed the technique for
years. It's simple and it doesn't cost much. Buy a toilet plunger
and cut away as much of it that will allow you to fit your camera's lens
into it, and you will never have any problems with reflections while shooting
through windows and glass surfaces. If the diameter of the lens you are using
is small enough, you may be able to get a rubberized lens hood that will turn
the same trick. Using either of these two methods totally avoids any chance
of scratching the window or glass.
And what do you do when you want to photograph a fabulous twilight or nighttime
skyline and the windows in the hotel or office building don't open and
the hotel/office manager won't let you use a room with an accessible balcony?
It's simple enough. Put your camera on a tripod. Set it on Manual and
set the exposure. Then set the self-timer to go off at about 10 seconds after
you press the shutter release button. Doing that will give you enough time to
walk over to the main light switch to turn off all the lights and walk back
to your camera. Use your shutter speed controls to bracket exposures.
Tarahumara indians live in caves or shelters such as these. Chihuahua,
The same basic technique can be used if you want to take pictures of a museum
treasure that's tucked under a glass case. The simple trick here is simply
putting your camera's lens directly on the case. The not so simple trick
about this is getting museum permission. But it never hurts to ask.
For me, shooting through a museum case or the window of a high hotel room isn't
that big a deal. The bigger deal, for me, is riding a bus, scanning the changing
landscape, observing the passing scene, absorbing the exhilarating freshness
of new environments, and sometimes being almost close enough to reach out and
shake a hand. You might just be pleasantly surprised and satisfied at how photographing
through windows can help you open new vistas in your photography.
John Neubauer's photography has been published in books, magazines, and
corporate publications all over the world. He is a winner of the coveted Lente
de Plata, Mexico's highest award for photography. He can be reached via
e-mail at NeubauerPhoto@aol.com.
His website is firstname.lastname@example.org.