Window clarity for photos

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Apr 20, 2024
I am somewhat of a photographer (hobbyist) and I want to take photos out the window on my upcoming trip on the California Zephyr in June. How are you all finding the window clarity? I have read some complaints about windows being dirty. Are your window shots turning out ok?
You no doubt are using methods to avoid reflection and back lighting in your photos -
If not try to hold the camera (cell phone) as close to the window and flat as possible.
Beware of bright lights (SUN) which maybe unavoidable to deal with.

The speed of digital cameras can take care of most blurring of photos.

As for the cleanliness of the windows - inside you can deal with it - toilet tissue - paper
towels - as for the exterior this is a job for that mission impossible character played
by Tom Cruise. Amtrak doesn't send their equipment thru a car wash too often.
If free to move about the car seek another view point.
Sadly shots from an open vestible are verboten if even you could find one.

Amtrak Photo Shop version 1.0 LOL !
As often mentioned in other threads, if you are in a lower level seat or sleeper, during longer station stops, if the platform is on your side of the train, you may be able to clean the outside of your window…
I find that holding the camera very close to the window glass helps by putting any dust out-of-focus (the camera will focus on the distance). If you are in a roomette, turn off your lights and close the curtains. It helps if the sun is not directly shining on your window. You don't have to hold the camera flat to the window, in fact I often take a photo through the window at an angle because it minimizes the effect of train movement if you are going towards or away from the subject.

Here are some photos I took through the windows on my winter trip across the northern tier. You can see in the photo at the Glasgow MT station that I was in the diner, and was unable to control the interior lighting, so there is a worse reflection. I don't actually consider this to be detrimental to the message of the photo. For the photo of the Columbia River at Pasco, I had the luck to be on the shady side of the train (which was just late enough for beautiful morning light).

You win a few, you lose a few, but I am sure your photos will tell a story that you want to remember.


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This "yellowish" tint is not uncommon. I usually Photoshop the image to restore somewhat correct color.
Here are a couple pictures I took out dirty windows. One the first, there is a noticeable spot on the window, which was actually mostly fairly clean. The second is through a very dirty window at the end of the train, and not much dirt is visible.

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