Skytrain Panoramas


Originally uploaded by Ian Fuller

I have not seen anyone else doing this. I cannot believe I am original though.

Every Bangkok BTS Skytrain is painted in advertising colours for some company or organization. Rarely you’ll see one between advertisers in standard blue livery. Some keep the same colours for many months. Others keep the same advertiser but update the livery from time to time. The minimum time for an ad to appear seems to be 30 days but most contracts seem to last three months.

The trick for the best panorama is to stand near the centre of the train on the opposite platform. You have to be ready to shoot as soon as the train comes to a halt. It does not dwell in the station very long. Sometimes trains will arrive in the station from both directions simulteneously, but most of the time there’s only one train at a time in the station.

You can do this at any station except Siam (Central): (the layout is bad for photography) and Saphan Taksin (only one platform for both directions). The new stations in Thonburi (the Silom Line extension) are sub-optimal. That’s because the platforms are completely covered and the light is not good.

I usually take five images of a train overlapping them by 30 – 40%. The panorama software takes care of the rest.

The only other requirement is to keep the camera level. I find it is best to swivel from the hips rather than turning my body.

I have kept records of the colours of the 35 train Skytrain fleet since I moved here in 2006. I have panoramas of most of them. Many are in the Bangkok BTS group in Flickr.


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