Thread: Front Coupled
View Single Post
Old 12-15-2011, 09:03 PM   #23
Senior Member
KevinM's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,020

Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
While I understand and appreciate what you are trying to explain to us ignorant few, I really don't see a difference, physically, between rods-up or rods-down, other than essentially a mirror image. However, there is a huge physical difference between a photo of a runner with his legs fully spread in stride as opposed to passing each other.

To me, the sight of "rods-up" gives a charging forward feeling to the locomotive.

Is a photo like this "tainted" to a steamhead because of the placement of the rods?
Image © Jim Thias
PhotoID: 347001
Photograph © Jim Thias
Hi Jim,

I personally am not a complete nazi with respect to steam engine shots not being rods-down. Rods-up is OK too. Both are middle of the power stroke. It is only shots that have the rods in the center that just look odd. Also, the more one gets away from a "locomotive shot" or a "train shot" and into the realm of a landscape shot that includes a steam engine, the position of the rods becomes less obvious and less important. The color shot you reference is a very nice shot. Who cares about the rods at that range?

Exhaust plume is another effect that steam people care about. One could have perfect light, great scenery and a beautiful train, but if the engine is not producing at least some visible plume, you can forget selling that shot to a calendar buyer. It doesn't matter that a properly fired steam engine doesn't smoke much. What matters is that the photo critics who select calendar images (who often aren't steam experts) want the shot to convey the impression of power and speed and a grey haze doesn't do it. They also figure their customers expect a steam engine to blacken the sky.

This photo was always a disappointment to me:

Image © Kevin Madore
PhotoID: 301969
Photograph © Kevin Madore

Without a nice plume to lead your eye, the train sort of disappears into the landscape. Interestingly, the railroad later contacted me and wanted to use the shot for a report to a Government agency for precisely that reason!!!

I don't think that steam-heads are that different from diesel-shooters. I've seen folks here rant about how a perfect shot was KILLED by a door being open, or a "pole growing out of the locomotive" or some other minor issue.

We all strive for perfection and have to learn to live with whatever we actually get.

My RP stuff is here.

Link to my Flickr Albums. Lots of Steam Railroad stuff there from all over the US.

Last edited by KevinM; 12-16-2011 at 01:02 AM.
KevinM is offline   Reply With Quote