One of the exercises I do whenever I land in a new place is to head to the biggest train station to warm up. Train stations are easy. Lots of people too busy to be bothered with you getting in their faces, a good mix of different types of people, usually good light and cavernous spaces, and lots of graphic elements and compositions to use.
Granted, I am repeating some shots that I’ve taken in trains stations everywhere, but it is still a great first day exercise, a way to stretch those visual muscles.
I love trains and trains stations. I cannot stop shooting the same shots again and again in different stations, the shots down the length of the station, the strong diagonals converging on the vanishing point, the structural web of girders and beams above and the strong directional light. Just simply love it.
Ramses station in Cairo is currently under construction and is a mess. If it wasn’t for a helpful local, I never would have found the ticket office nor my platform, there being no signs even in arabic and the office was in a temporary spot. Misr station in Alexandria is a great open air space with a couple of cafes. I could have spend a day there comfortably.
I took the train from Cairo to Alexandria and back again. One of the rides was on a pretty clean train with good air conditioning which would be a vital modcon in the summer months. The other train was a relic from the British Colonial period and had a good amount of the Egyptian desert within its walls. I’m sure that train travel in general in Egypt has not changed much since T.E. Lawrence’s time.
You cannot smoke on these trains. That just means that you can open up the doors while the train is moving to smoke.
This is the Ramses station, the less charming chaotic stop on the line.
The beautiful Misr station with its clean classic lines.
Egyptian men are of average height, but when they big, they are hulks. This guy that I met on the train was one such giant, gentle and well over six feet.
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