Union Station


One of the places we went as a class while studying with Sam Abell last weekend was the train station in Los Angeles.

It is a remarkable building with many beautiful details and on a quiet day I expect I would be in my element there, taking photos of a lot of architectural details.

But it wasn’t quiet and I really did not enjoy photographing in or near the station.

There were too many people, waves and waves of them breaking on the shores of the building and its platforms.

And I could not figure out how to resolve some clarity out of the chaos.

Until, that is, the end of the day when I was about to join fellow students for a drink and this woman walked by surprisingly well separated from everyone else.

I had not formally composed this shot, though I had looked quite carefully at the scene while I talked to some people, just not through the view finder.

Sam teaches that one should not chase the rabbit, but let it come to your shot.

In this case I did not follow that suggestion and tracked her across the floor, taking three pictures before this one resolved itself.

Had the shot been more carefully composed I might have timed the shutter release with the glass framed in the dark square a half step further along.

Probably the woman’s legs would have been in a more interesting pose too and that likely would have been a better shot, but I can live with this one!

I am not sure what all the lessons are, since this is my best shot from the several hours in the station and is the last one I took before sitting down and turning the camera off.



Click the photograph for a larger version.





7 thoughts on “Union Station

  1. Pingback: After Class | burnt embers

  2. I love this one, but as much for the light and color as the passerby. Still, even without that golden light, there’s a lot of nice “story” here, with her tray and balanced wineglass, the Information sign and the dark doorway on the right. I’m glad you were watching, and thanks for sharing the second thoughts, too.


    • Thank you David. i never answered that question either – it is certainly the central question to the photograph, perhaps best left unanswered, but I do have a guess.

      I was standing next to the bar, so I know where she was coming from, and there are several food vendors in the direction she was heading, so perhaps it is a service provided to the eateries.


  3. I think you are being too hard on yourself…the more I look at this photo the more I see…..she is carrying a drink on a tray! I did not see that at first. And I like the movement of her legs…and those swooping chains behind her. I am imagining the story of that drink and her ultimate destination!


    • Thanks Sherry, you are right, I am being a bit hard on myself. But there are a few details that might work better – though if she moved a foot or so along the way, the swooping chains might not have worked so well with the post showing right behind her. That was the main detail I saw when rapidly composing this shot.
      The drink and tray are for me the whole photo – without it there is very little to make this an interesting shot and I would not have raised my camera. It seems completely out of place. Now that I think about it, it probably would have been even more unexpected if there were a crowd around her pulling suitcases and some way of isolating her in the picture.


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