There’s an art to long exposures that goes beyond getting the right settings. Sure, tinkering with shutter speeds and focal lengths makes a big difference to the final result, but it’s arguably the patience – waiting in the bone-chilling misty drizzle just before midnight – that makes the picture.
There’s a fair bit of luck, too, especially when you’re waiting for a passing train to complete your capture. Hit the shutter a few seconds earlier or later and you’ll record an entirely different light, while framing without a constant reference point calls for good guesswork and plenty of chance.
All of which means that, when that endurance pays off and the shot comes together just perfectly, there’s an elation as much in the effort as in the finished thing.
Yes, bright reflections in an ice-like surface made solid by blowing winds, capped off by the lights of a passing train which tucks itself neatly into the top of the frame, make for a fine picture worthy of any wall.
But it’s the story of the snap – of standing in the night, wiping moisture from my lens and listening intently for when the next train would rush down the rails – that makes it.