Extreme wide-angle lens gives a different perspective of the dining car.

Extreme wide-angle lens gives a different perspective of the dining car.

Cross-Canada rail trip an inspiration for writer

A cross-Canada rail trip an inspiration for resident photo aficionado Norman Silverstone.

We decided to go to Montreal to visit my sisters, one of whom I had not seen in 50 years. The question was how to get there, since we both hate to fly.

We were going to hitch up our little trailer to the Ford Explorer, take the dog and travel across Canada, yet again. I was not that interested in driving miles and miles, especially across the prairies, when abracadabra! I received an e-mail that Via Rail was having a sale for one week only, 60 per cent off regular fares.

The regular fare would have been $6,000 return for Les and I, however with 60 per cent off and a seniors’ discount and so on the fare was $3,100 return.

We jumped on it, booked through Sears to get spread out payments, and got ready.

One of the problems that presented itself was what camera gear to take. I wanted to travel light, yet I wanted the versatility of various lenses, so I decided on one body, my 18–70-millimetre all-around lens, the 10–20 mm extreme wide-angle lens, and to finish it off the 2X tele-converter, which would convert the 70mm part of the all-around lens to a 140mm lens.

(Of course, I would have to pay the price for using a tele-converter; the f4.5 (f-stop) lens would lose two stops because of light loss and become an f8 lens.

You cannot use a tele-converter on a wide-angle lens because of distortion and anyway what would be the use? You would cancel out the wide-angle effect.)

Hauling our suitcases, overnight bags and backpacks, we took the Tofino Bus to the ferry, the Horseshoe Bus to Georgia and Burrard, a taxi to the train station—whew.

We had a Last Supper with family and friends in Gastown and then boarded the train.

I quickly found out that I had the perfect lenses with me.

Continued / 29

From / 19

Almost all of my shots on the train were taken in the wide-angle mode.

I noticed people shooting out of the train windows with their flashes firing and glaring off the glass, trying to shoot through the window with the inside of the train car reflected in the glass, not panning with the action even though the train was travelling about 80kms per hour. It made me wonder what their images looked like.

I saw every type of digital camera, from DSLRs to point and shoot as well as iPhones and iPads. The DSLR people had the camera slung over their shoulder with the long lenses pointing out and I wondered how many times their lenses hit the doors or walls.

When we finally got to Montreal I drove to Simon Cameras on Craig Street and using my saved up money I purchased my wife’s birthday present, a new Nikon Coolpix P7100. Wow, what a camera: full manual, viewfinder, full auto. I loved it and could easily see myself using it.

Les loves her birthday present and used it in old Montreal. Check out the camera at Nikon.ca.

Any questions?  E-mail me at nsilverstone@telus.net or see me online at www.silverstonephotos.com.

 

Norman Silverstone teaches photography through North Island College and Eldercollege in Port

Alberni.

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