Getting Creative Photographing Trams in Manchester

Ok let’s get this out of the way, I love trams. No, I can’t explain why, I just do. They can also be fun to photograph but since none of the cities local us has them I don’t get to geek out as much as I’d like.

So when we visit somewhere with them it’s practically a given that I’m going to want to film and photograph them and a recent visit to Manchester was no exception.

Greater Manchester Tram in St Peters Square. ISO100 f29 0.8 sec

St Peters Square is a pedestrian zone where the tram lines are laid into the paving slabs making it perfect for wandering around to find the angle you want. Naturally, I took the ‘standard’ type shot but I also wanted to try some long exposures.

Greater Manchester Tram in St Peters Square. Fleet Number 3008b heading towards Piccadilly. ISO100 f29 6 sec

A long-exposure is when you keep the camera shutter open longer than normal with the aim of creating a special effect. You’ve probably most commonly seen it used to create those silky smooth water effects in landscape photography, but it can be used on other subjects other than the sea or a waterfall.

Greater Manchester Tram in St Peters Square. ISO100 f29 0.4 sec

It’s not something you can do just holding your camera in your hand (it’s just not possible to hold a camera perfectly still that way) so you’ll need a tripod and if it’s a sunny day a filter to prevent overexposure. The most common filter used for this is called a Neutral Density (ND) filter and you can think of it like putting sunglasses on your camera because it’s too bright.

Greater Manchester Tram in St Peters Square. ISO100 f25 10sec

These were my first experiments with long exposures using this camera and I thought the camera coped quite well. The particular filter I was using (bought for this lens so it was also being tested for the first time) didn’t come up to standard though and will be replaced as a result.

All in all, I enjoyed taking my long exposures with the trams and I hope you enjoy some of the results.

Take care till next week



You can find videos from our trip as well as vlogs over on The Transport Lens YouTube Channel.