Just a Routine Subway Delay


When riding the NYC subways, I usually keep a low profile, read a paper, or listen to music.  Yet, during a recent delay due to a sick passenger, I found myself standing still with nothing but time. I looked down the car and there's the usual scene with some people sleeping, others annoyed and sweating, and then something caught my eye in the depths of the subway tracks. My thought process went something like this:

Oh my god there's a baby.....oh...wait, it's a doll, phew! No need to alert the authorities as I'm pretty sure this doesn't fall into the homeland security campaign "If you see something say something".  I look down the car again, and no one is paying any attention to me.  The conductor says we'll be held a bit longer, so I break out my DSLR. 

First thing I realize is how dark it actually is in these subways.  ISO 800, f4, and 1/20th handheld...yikes!  This was going to be tough to do at 1/20th while avoiding camera shake.  Plus, the doll was in this super dark area making it difficult, if not impossible to focus on.  I throw the camera into manual focus mode, and then into "Live View".  Let me pause here just to mention, if you haven't used Live View on your camera yet, you are missing one of the best features of your DSLR.  It has all kinds of creative uses with macro and landscape photography, and comes in really handy when focusing is an issue.  Here though, I had to break another one of my guidelines and hand hold the camera while using Live View.  Normally, it's something I only recommend with a tripod. 

Time was of the essence as the doors could be closing at any moment, and I didn't want to draw attention to myself or raise suspicion.  I mean, a guy holding a DSLR into the space between the tracks is definitely not something you see every day, even here.  I carefully turn the focus ring while viewing the doll at 10x magnification and take two shots.  A few seconds later the overhead chime sounds, and the doors abruptly shutter closed and we're on our way. 

Had I not captured the photo, it would have only been a story, or a distant memory. 

Chris Corradino