Videos out the window, advice needed

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I am preparing to take a train trip with my grandson on the California Zephyr. I am asking for advice on the best way, while taking videos out of the train window, to avoid reflections. I have been viewing numerous videos on YouTube and many of them have horrendous reflections. Is there any sort of filter that could help this? Thanks a lot!
 

cirdan

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or otherwise use a rubber lens hood to avoid lateral entry of light. Probably wouldn't work on a smartphone but more up market cameras have a screw thread or similar on the front of the lens that you can attach a filter to, or in this case, a hood. As long as the hood is pressed against the glass you can move the camera to and fro a little and are thus not limited to the rigid sideways view.
 

HenryK

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If you hava a zoom lens, use a wide-angle rubber lens hood. That will avoid unwanted vignetting.
 
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This may be overkill and it's not cheap, but it completely blocks reflection and gives you more room to change your angle than a rubber lens hood:


Another thing that can help is to use a circular polarizing filter. They are wonderful at cutting reflections in glass.
 

chickpea

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I have great video of the Zephyr from the window... I held it right up to the glass if there was any reflection, but if I kept my corridor curtains shut and lights off I often didn't need to. My Rockies and Sierra footage turned out GREAT! :) And not even with a super fancy smartphone. I also recorded commentary as I went.
 

Cal

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I have great video of the Zephyr from the window... I held it right up to the glass if there was any reflection, but if I kept my corridor curtains shut and lights off I often didn't need to. My Rockies and Sierra footage turned out GREAT! :) And not even with a super fancy smartphone. I also recorded commentary as I went.
Is it uploaded anywhere?
 

Devil's Advocate

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I used an iphone for my pictures last year and all the pictures from my roomette window had an orange hue to them. And yet the pictures taken from the rear door window came out just fine.
Most Amtrak windows have a limo style tint that darkens and filters outside colors but in-door windows are clear glass and do not suffer from this problem.
 
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I am preparing to take a train trip with my grandson on the California Zephyr. I am asking for advice on the best way, while taking videos out of the train window, to avoid reflections. I have been viewing numerous videos on YouTube and many of them have horrendous reflections. Is there any sort of filter that could help this? Thanks a lot!

Wear black. Sometimes the reflections are you! :cool:
 
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I used an iphone for my pictures last year and all the pictures from my roomette window had an orange hue to them. And yet the pictures taken from the rear door window came out just fine.

View attachment 27773

I get this orangey tint too, but I like it. It imparts a nostalgic or distant sense of being on a train. It can always be corrected later in any image-editing program if you don't want that.
 

UserNameRequired

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Would a cool down blue filter help with the orange? (off to look for a way to adjust white balance on my older Pixel...)
Edit I see Google removed white balance manual settings in the Phone app for their phones a couple years ago. 🙁
 
Last edited:
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I correct the white balance later while processing my images with Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop.
Photograph a gray card (or something neutral) in the tinted sunlight coming through the glass. That light is the same as if you were looking out the window. The software can return the scene to "neutral" (cancel the color shif) and that correction can be applied to all images that exhibit the same color shift. In effect, you are creating a "filter pack" but, its applied later, not at the time of shooting.

Note, this is after-the-fact and with still images. You can also play with adjustments in your phone's image adjustments if it can't wait until later..
Gray card photographed in "tinted" sunlight coming through train window showing the warm tint caused by the glass.
 

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caravanman

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If you are in a low level room, or a low level coach seat, it may be possible to clean the outside of your window from the platform. I have done this before. If in the sightseer lounge, try putting your coat over your head and hold the camera close up against the glass. Funny enough, this also tends to mean the seats either side of you remain vacant for some reason too. ;)
 
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I second the suggestion of using a circular polarizing filter if you're shooting with an SLR or mirrorless camera (i.e. not a smart phone). I'm looking forward to trying it out on my new Nikon Z50 during my upcoming circle trip. I'll shoot photos and videos and hope to post the results. I might even try "before and after" shots with the filter to demonstrate the results of shooting through the windows.
 
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I second the suggestion of using a circular polarizing filter if you're shooting with an SLR or mirrorless camera (i.e. not a smart phone). I'm looking forward to trying it out on my new Nikon Z50 during my upcoming circle trip. I'll shoot photos and videos and hope to post the results. I might even try "before and after" shots with the filter to demonstrate the results of shooting through the windows.
Polarizing filters (whether circular or linear) are pretty tricky in this application. The angle of your camera lens to the glass and the angle of incidence of the reflection are critical.
At the very least, they have an exposure factor of -2.5X which is a bit more than one f/stop loss of light. I rarely use a polarizer in general photography.
A lot of info out there and as you mentioned, do some expirementation. Good luck!
 
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There is no "filter" that will remedy this. When I take videos with my smartphone, I place it right on the glass to nothing (bright objects) behind me appears. I rarely shoot trying to look "ahead"...that almost guarantees picking up reflections in the glass.

That really limits what you can shoot. My feeling is, if you want your pictures to look like you're not on a train, don't shoot from a train. Seriously, some of the best trip pictures place you in the train asa passenger. Some reflection is part of that viewing experience.
Polarizing filters (whether circular or linear) are pretty tricky in this application. The angle of your camera lens to the glass and the angle of incidence of the reflection are critical.
At the very least, they have an exposure factor of -2.5X which is a bit more than one f/stop loss of light. I rarely use a polarizer in general photography.
A lot of info out there and as you mentioned, do some expirementation. Good luck!

Agree that a polarizer may be problematic. I stopped using them 30 years ago. Occasionally useful for shooting through water, though.
 
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A good example of making use of reflections instead of letting them be a problem.

Thanks. Also I often include the window frame, and interiors. (1) SWC Westbound crossing the Mississippi (2) Cardinal Eastbound to the Gorge
 

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