Railfan photography

Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.

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Re: Railfan photography

Postby mxdata » Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:12 am

When you travel and photograph in the west you soon find out how many "famous" photographs were taken in locations right next to a public highway in the only spot where there is room to stop the car and open the door to get out. It is one of the little secrets of the hobby. :wink:

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Re: Railfan photography

Postby mxdata » Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:13 am

When you travel in the west you discover how many "famous" photographs were taken from a public highway in the only spot where there is room to stop the car and open the door to get out. It is one of the little "secrets" of the hobby. :wink:

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Re: Railfan photography

Postby railfan365 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:51 pm

Great sohts can be found almost anywhere.

subway.jpg
subway.jpg (129.96 KiB) Viewed 5867 times
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Re: Railfan photography

Postby TREnecNYP » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:40 pm

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Re: Railfan photography

Postby Montrealrail » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:50 pm

I seen we have a insucces try at railpictures.net..

I can recommand one thing on that,they need the perfect picture,so you have to get a very good shot to get one there...

More easy thing is to open a photobucket account..

But if you want to inscrease your skill on photography,it's the good thing..

first,You must be on your picture spot,and visualise the pic,the best distance performance from the track is around 25 to 30 feet away from the track,you can spot a bridge,a tunnel a crossing,even a farm..
You have to imagine your picture,before you whill click on the button..
While waiting,try some angle and adjust you camera in consequence,always the sun on your back,if you'r against the sun,they have some possybilitys,but it's another technic..
keep the sun behind you is the best way to start..

Pay an attention to the 2/3 rule,never put the subject in the midle of the pic,you need to include an environment to the pic..

Take more than only one shot,more sur to get the right one..
most of the time,try to get a very sharp and clear picture,always remember that you can improve it with photoshop..

that's the best tips I can give...
If you go on Railpicture database,you will be able to find ideas to get some great pics..

here's some examples of mine..
on a crossing
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 581&nseq=0

on a bridge
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 526&nseq=1

and 3 more ones from other photographs..
clouds and sky can be good
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 58&nseq=30

compression shot
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 52&nseq=54

and a farm.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 55&nseq=72

but remember,Always keep on a safe place to take you pictures..
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Re: Railfan photography

Postby SEPTAR3kid » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:20 pm

Can anyone give me some tips on how I can improve these shots? I know they're not railpictures.net quality and I used auto and not manual. From the distance i'm at in the pictures, what manual settings would most likely work? I use a kodak z1285 camera.

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2132823

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2141336

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2149495
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Re: Railfan photography

Postby Finch » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:59 pm

From the looks of these shots, the sun must have been pretty high overhead. For better or for worse, sometimes the time of day makes a huge difference in a photo. Low morning or evening sun tends to make for dramatic lighting and rich colors (if you can find a spot where the train is not obscured by the shadows of the trees, of course). So these photos already had that going against them. Railpictures actually rejects photos for the reason of "high sun." It happened to me with one or two of the photos I have tried to submit.

You'll want to frame shots carefully as well. Random bits of transmission line poles and little yellow flags will likely make your photos less appealing to Railpictures.

The second photo is underexposed (too dim), and the third one might be as well depending on who you ask.

As for general camera settings, make sure you use a fast enough shutter speed to eliminate blur, either from the speed of the train or from your hands shaking. I prefer a smaller aperture (higher F number), though I couldn't tell you why except that it just seems to "look better" to me. It also prevents bright train headlights from getting cloudy and blown-out. Remember you'll have to adjust the shutter speed though. Also, keep the ISO low so there is less "noise" in the image.
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Re: Railfan photography

Postby Travelsonic » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:12 am

Always remember this, even if the railroad you are railfanning at/around has policies that say that non-commercial photography is allowed without permits/whatever, that does not mean that everybody who works for it will be aware of such policies nor understanding of the hobby.

Had an engineer threaten to call DHS on me yesterday at Mamaroneck [NY].
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Re: Railfan photography

Postby MR77100 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:57 am

I have a Canon Rebel XTi and would like more advice on how to take night shots. What setting should I use? manual or auto? How do I adjust the shutter speed?
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Re: Railfan photography

Postby Finch » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:54 pm

MR77100 wrote:I have a Canon Rebel XTi and would like more advice on how to take night shots. What setting should I use? manual or auto? How do I adjust the shutter speed?

Take a look through your camera's manual to find all the controls. I'm sure the shutter speed can be changed by spinning a dial on the grip. There are many other settings at your disposal besides shutter speed, and some of them have big effects on your photos. Aperture would be one. ISO is another. Both affect the camera's sensitivity to light.

You probably won't want to use auto for night shots, though if you turned off the flash the camera MIGHT pull off an OK shot. If you leave the flash on it's going to try to light up the night like it's a dark room, which is not often the effect that railfans go for in night photography. AND...the flash could distract or harm the vision of the engineer.

Do you want to freeze the motion of the train, or have a cool blurred shot where the lights are streaming by? These types of shots require entirely different settings.

Hope this helps a little. Give us some more details and we can point you in the right direction.
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Re: Railfan photography

Postby MR77100 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:09 pm

Finch wrote:
MR77100 wrote:I have a Canon Rebel XTi and would like more advice on how to take night shots. What setting should I use? manual or auto? How do I adjust the shutter speed?

Take a look through your camera's manual to find all the controls. I'm sure the shutter speed can be changed by spinning a dial on the grip. There are many other settings at your disposal besides shutter speed, and some of them have big effects on your photos. Aperture would be one. ISO is another. Both affect the camera's sensitivity to light.

You probably won't want to use auto for night shots, though if you turned off the flash the camera MIGHT pull off an OK shot. If you leave the flash on it's going to try to light up the night like it's a dark room, which is not often the effect that railfans go for in night photography. AND...the flash could distract or harm the vision of the engineer.

Do you want to freeze the motion of the train, or have a cool blurred shot where the lights are streaming by? These types of shots require entirely different settings.

Hope this helps a little. Give us some more details and we can point you in the right direction.


Hello! Thanks for the info. Once I download the manual, (it never came with it), I will be able to find out more of these tools. I am trying to take those night shots of the streaming headlights and signals.
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Re: Railfan photography

Postby Finch » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:47 pm

MR77100 wrote:Hello! Thanks for the info. Once I download the manual, (it never came with it), I will be able to find out more of these tools. I am trying to take those night shots of the streaming headlights and signals.

No problem. When I've taken those kinds of shots, I've typically used a shutter speed at least 5 or 6 seconds long, sometimes longer like 15 seconds. Once I experiment and find the shutter speed that gives the "right" amount of streaming lights that I want, I adjust aperture up or down to make the shot brighter or dimmer. I keep the ISO lowish, say 200 or below, because it reduces "grain" that is sometimes visible in long-exposure shots. Make sure you use a tripod or prop the camera on a railing or something. Lastly, use a delay on the shutter (your camera probably has a 2 second option) so it takes the photo AFTER you take your finger off the shutter. This way, the movement of your hand doesn't jostle the camera and blur the shot. I usually hit the shutter and then completely let go of the camera, assuming it is on a sturdy enough surface.

But it all depends on how fast the train is moving and what you want the shot to look like. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping the train's headlights from being too bright if my camera is pointing right at them, so I more often shoot at an angle to the tracks, even 90 degrees across them. Or I point the camera in the same direction the train is traveling, so it is going away from me when I click the shutter. The headlights light up the surrounding area that way, which is kind of cool.

These are just some things I do. You'll have to figure out what works for you. Remember, the great thing about art is that there are no rules. Hehe. :)
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Re: Railfan photography

Postby Montrealrail » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:49 pm

I use to take night shots sometime,to do it,I bring a 4 flashes set,wireless trigger and I wait for the train..
and I can get moving train at ISO 800,1/125 second and F 3,5
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=384174&


and the other way I use to do is a long exposure at !SO 200, F/5,6 and 15 seconds,manualy,I do some flashes to spot over the train,like this one
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=359067&

here's some great shots I did with my flash kit,all moving trains
Image

Image

Image

I get that kit for less than 100$ and I just had to do modification on my transmitter to shoot with a more distant flash,I can go up to 200 feets to get a shot from far,but in that game,it's a one shot time,you have to get it at the first time..

for sure,I have to let the train crew the chance to expecting the flashes,so I press the button as soon he can see me,so the crew can be ready for a flash picture
like this one,we can see inside the locomotive
Image
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