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Missing from the Exif: Express on the Caufield Line

I should have titled this… how to take photos in places your not allowed to.  See the whole City Loop system is under the control of private enterprise and like every other railway station you are not allowed to take photos of trains from the platform in Melbourne.  You can apply to get a permit to do some of the stations, but the underground is very frown upon.  <rant>See terrorists only use high res DSLR’s to take photos… never do they just use a camera phone or a hidden camera.  So if you have a DSLR you are obviously a terrorist. </rant>

This was taken at Melbourne Central one evening heading home after a few drinks. If you are going to shoot in places like this, never have a tripod that will get attention drawn to you very quickly.  But it is possible to get a shot like this (1.3 seconds exposure) hand held if you brace the camera, and always hold your breath, for that extra bit of stabilising.  In this case it was resting against the wall.

I shot this with my Tokina 11-16mm lens to get the whole tunnel in the wide shot.  This helped to get the sense of claustrophobia that is in the tunnel as well.

The next thing is to wait for the right moment.  You can feel a train coming a minute before hand and I managed to squeeze of a few shots just to get my levels about right before the train came. The start of this exposure can be seen just before the Caulfield Loop sign (click through to see the bigger version).  During the exposure the first carriage of the train moved completely out of shot.  This gave me the lines of movement that go right to the edge of the frame.

This is one of those one shot wonders. To get these lines that I have you can only do on the first shot from the headlights of the train.  That is why you should always try and get your levels right before hand for the background, remembering to compensate for the light that the moving object will create as well.

Turns out this is currently my most favoured and commented on shot both on Fickr and Redbubble. Hope you enjoy it as well

Express on the Caufield Line

Camera: Nikon D90
Exposure: 1.3s
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal Length: 12 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: No Flash
Exposure Program: Manual
Date and Time (Original): 2009:09:14 21:27:22.00+10:00

And you can buy this print here at Redbubble


Details re Photography from Metro Melbourne.

To obtain a permit and see all the t&c go to

Point 18: This permit is NOT valid for photography at the City Loop Stations (Parliament, Flagstaff and Melbourne
Central). Photography is NOT permitted at these stations.

The real reason I'm not Flashing Froyo on my Desire

As a rule I tend to break things.  Not break in the bad way, but break things so they work.  Now that can be from region freeing my dvd player to mashing the hell out of my computer to get software on it.

But I’m not going to flash my HTC Desire and put Froyo on it.  And I think at least some of you need not to as well.  Most of my friends with iPhones just go out and jailbreak them.  Why, so they can make the phone work.  But the jailbreak is very like the flashing of an Android Phone, it gives the power user a whole lot more.

And this is the problem all the “experts” have.  They are power users.  They could hack batch files, create yahoo pipes feeds to pull custom RSS and break their phone to sideload apps.  All great things, and things that I often do myself.  But this is not the general audience, yet we are the ones that build for that audience. (Like the Rubiks cube… most people didn’t complete it)

One rule of thumb I have always had when developing software is.. “If I use the shortcuts that I know all the time to get something done, I’ve done it wrong”.  The audience won’t know the shortcuts.  Some may over time learn them and good for those users.  But the average user will never take the time to learn your shortcuts.  Either it will be intuitive for them or chances are they will go elsewhere.

Now I only have one Android phone and I use it all the time to me it is a computer in my hand and not a phone.  Still to most phone users they are buying a phone first and it does some other stuff a very distant second.  I can still heavily tweak my phone (which I’ve done), but at the end of the day the user experience is the same as anyone else who buys one from the store.

This means I can show people things that don’t require them to void the warranty for example, or risk turning the $800 device into a light weight paper holder.

It pays to remember if you are developing Apps for these phones that the chances are your audience is not as smart as you. So always test and retest on their platform, not yours.  Like with browsers, IE still has market share.  Yes make all singing all dancing HTML 5 Canvas apps with only OGG video if you want, but if you want to reach a wider audience stop and think about IE7.

When Froyo comes as on OTA update I will be installing it that day for sure, but until then I will be using my phone for testing and evaluating software the same as everyone else who has it.

Sometimes keeping your tech dumb does make you smarter.