Architecture, Photography

Playing with Escalators

The other day when I went into Southern Cross Train Station to take photos I knew that I would play around a lot more with some of the images.  The images I showed you were just single images with a bit of quick editing done through Camera Raw.  There was so much contrast in the images that it was hard to show the station to its best potential.

After watching how Trey Ratcliff does his HDR images on KelbyOne I decided that I would have to apply some of what he does to his images and see what I could come up with.

I did start by doing a HDR, but it isn’t all the HDR image, and have done many other things to it as well.  It is my first attempt at doing something like this, and I’m not disappointed.  I think if you go back to the original image that I showed you on Sunday, I think I have improved it.  The question is have I done that much to it?

One of the biggest obstacles I had was that because I really didn’t want to use my tripod too much there, I had to hand hold.  It is quite a dark space, which then meant I had to turn up the ISO, so in the dark areas there is noise.  So it meant that I couldn’t do much with those.  I think I need to suck it up and just use the tripod.  Or go somewhere like that and take photos like scouting a place, then plan on going back to get shots that you think will really work, use the tripod to get the possible exposure.

The other problem I had on Sunday was that we did leave the station and went out and took some photos, but I completely forgot about my ISO.  Now those images are going to be grainy as well.  I need to get myself a little checklist.  I am always forgetting things like that.



  1. Love Trey R. Nice shot. I hate when I am out and about and not only do I not have my tripod I don’t have my camera and trying to capture something on my phone has for the most part been v disappointing. I keep talking about working more with HDR and I will…someday when I am organized enough to have TP and C with me when the stars align for a fab shot–which should be just about every day at sunset where I live! LOL Thank you for sharing your experience. M

    • I hate that too Mardi, it is so annoying, I tend to make mental notes, must come back here. I had that experience this morning when I went out for my walk, the light from the sunrise was golden orange, gorgeous, and then on top of the hill it was like a scene from Tuscany, and where was my camera, not with me, and neither was my phone. I hate that. Thank you Mardi.

  2. Oh wow! You’ve really made this image wonderful Leanne. I love LOVE the saturation and how the light is. Wonderful!!

  3. A great snapshot! There was so much momentum and excitement in the picture is to feel, and the absence of people generates the exact opposite. Class captured (as always). Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Thank you, it is almost spooky I find when escalators have no one on them, though there are people on these, they are just at the top. You are welcome.

  4. I finally made my way to Southern Cross Station when I passed through the station during my year-long worldwide walkabout. You’re correct there are lots of interesting things to photograph there, but the light contrast can be extreme to say the least, providing a different set of challenges. I like escalators, too, especially steep escalators. Some of my favourites are at Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station) and any one of Prague’s subway stations, but especially at Namesti Miru (Peace Square) for the sheer steepness.

    • The escalators are Parliament Station are like that too, very very steep and long, took a bit of getting used to the first time I went on them. It is unfortunate that you aren’t allowed to go and take photos of them. The contrast is shocking, which is probably where doing some HDR would be perfect. Thanks Fotoeins.

      • I forget: are photos not allowed at Parliament Station because of security concerns and proximity to the State of Victoria Parliament House?

      • I have no idea, but you aren’t allowed to take photos in any of the stations in the loop. Perhaps because you might be a terrorist, I have no idea what the problem is.

  5. Love this picture and the depth of it. Very inspiring.
    I must ask, at what time were you there in order to manage to not have any people in your photograph? ;)

    • Thank you.
      We were there around 8am on Sunday morning, it was dead, almost too dead, I wanted trains but there were hardly any.

  6. lightaustralisphoto says

    Hi, nice shot, love the light focus on the escalator. I think Trey has toned down his over the top HDR-ness more recently. If you look at his latest tutorial on it is a great way of combining dark and light detail in one photo, quite challenging for a PS beginner like me.
    When I was younger and living in London, the long escalators on the underground were great for running down, these days long ones make my knees weak, haha.

    • Thank you. I don’t know if Trey has, I will have to take your word for that, but you might be right, I think he combines lots of things now.
      Scary stuff running done those massive escalators, don’t think I could ever have done it, haha.

  7. I like this image and the way the light focuses on the escalator. Makes you want to go up it.

  8. Great results, as always, Leanne! It seems like a castle, and not a train station! Your hard work paid off! Thanks much!!! :)

  9. Whew. Now I don’t feel so bad. I get so caught up in the moment, I forget to change settings as well. I am laughing as I write this. Even the best of them does that. Now I really won’t kick myself too hard the next time I do it. And yes, I know myself enough to know there will be a next time. LOL (((HUGS))) Amy

    • I forget things all the time, I need to start a little checklist thing. haha. So feel bad, I think most of us do it, we just hate admitting it.

  10. That’s funny: I also did made an HDR photo of an escalator here the other day. I haven’t published it yet, but I’ll do it tomorrow (I just posted a new post today and two posts per day is too much). I like the HDR touch you did on this elevator.

  11. I feel that with this picture the metal part of the escalators, the escalators, stand out much more. The photo also looks rotated and cropped slightly. You took this in the morning but looking at this edited photo, the photo looks like it was taken on a rainy day or close to night time. Don’t know why but I feel that zombies might jump out from behind the escalators at any time :)

    Hope you had a good day. I went out today trying to find an SD card case but it seems that all the electronic stores don’t sell them :/

    • I tried to make them stand out Mabel, so that is good that you noticed that. It was cropped slightly, but not rotated, I did try and get rid of the orange strip across the bottom which I didn’t like. I don’t have a problem with you thinking of zombies, haha. :)

      Vanbars in Fitzroy or Collingwood, Gore Street sell those cases, I saw them there recently. Thanks Mabel

      • This photos looks rather abandoned, a similar feel to your previous photos that you played with. I think coupled with the greys in this photo, I think that’s why zombies come to my mind when I see it!

        Thanks, Leanne, so helpful as always :) I saw some cheap (small) $2.80 ones at Daiso. Might get that since I am really on a budget at the moment.

      • I think the theme of abandon is something you will see a lot in my images, I have been working on that theme for a very long time now. So I completely understand.

        You are welcome Mabel. I got mine for free at the digital show last year, Sandisk were giving them away when you purchased a memory card from them.

  12. The way you’ve captured the escalator made it looked so mysterious and regal. Awesome!

  13. Good work Leanne – regardless of how long we are at photography – there is always more to learn and experiment with.

  14. Leanne, quick thought your your future endeavors in this area. If you use Adobe Photoshop, you can solve the noise problem relatively easily by aligning the photos as separate layers, combining them into a single “Smart Object”, then setting the smart object’s layer stacking mode to “median”. This will average out the noise. The amount of noise reduction is directly proportional to the number of frames you take, but at a moderately high ISO it shouldn’t take all that many to produce a surprisingly clean result. The alignment, especially of hand-held images, will result in some nasty junk around the edges…and all you have to do is crop that out.

    Regarding forgetting your settings and leaving ISO high the rest of the night. I am not sure what brand of camera you use. If you use a higher end Canon DSLR, you should look into the Custom User Dial Mode settings. On a camera like the 7D or 5D III, there are three custom dial modes. The nice thing about these is, when the camera “sleeps”, when you turn it back on, all of the settings you saved to the custom user mode are restored. That won’t help you if your constantly actively shooting, and the camera is never turned off or sleeps, but for your average casual photography, you always end up reset back to a standard base point, which kind of forces you to learn to reevaluate your exposure settings each time you take a photo.

    • I have heard of all those things, but never used them like that, that is great suggestion, thank you Jon. Most of it was hand held, it wasn’t really possible to use the tripod, unfortunately. Cropping, well I did that anyone.

      I use a Nikon, the D800, I haven’t heard of that, not sure the Nikon does it, but am willing to check it out and see. Thank you so much, some great tips there.

Comments are closed.