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Old 09-24-2011, 07:19 AM   #1
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Location: Nitro, WV
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Default Your "Style" of Photography?

I started taking railroad photos roughly five years ago this fall, using a small, limited Kodak point and shoot camera. At the time, I took these images only to document trains, something I had expressed an interest in shortly before. I really didn't read into why or how to take these images, I just simply took them.

Throughout 2007, I found myself still neglecting to follow what I later found out as the photograpgher's "rule of thirds". I had no real artistic value to any of my images, I simply took them to document. It was not until the middle of 2008 that I became interested more so in the photography aspect of the hobby than the actual documentation part.

Joining Railpictures.Net in that time frame, but not submitting consistently until late 2008, I began to give myself a line of standards. I started observing sun angles, composition, and tried to make some effort to avoid cluttered scenes. I enjoyed these challenges and later enjoyed having my images accepted to Railpictures, even if those accepted images were few and far between. Continuing to follow's photo stream, meeting folks in my region with more experience, and slowly familiarizing myself more and more with photography guidelines and standards, I found myself really intrigued by the hobby and continued to remain very active in photographing and learning.

Purchasing a DSLR in December of 2008 and Adobe Photoshop software, I started a whole new learning curve. Understanding RAW and the capabilities of Photoshop and DSLR's in general, I felt like my last six months of acquiring information and putting it to use was very minimal compared to what I was getting myself into. Spending much of 2009 reading online tutorials, getting a feel for my camera and software, and continuing to communicate with various photographers, I eventually had the basics accomplished. I knew how to compose a photo, I knew the proper settings to document it as my eye saw it, and I knew how to process it.

Giving myself more and more challenges over time, I began to find myself wanting to capture things in a different way. I'm the type of person to become very tired and uninterested in the same pattern. I found my entire photo stream consisting of the same images, in terms of composure and even geographical location. I wasn't satisfied..

To keep my interest, I began giving myself personal challenges to think outside of the box and attempt something that at the time, I considered "creative". With very little success at first, over time I found myself being able to use available light, artificial light, and various elements to my advantage. In the process, I unintentionally started to develop my own style. A style that once again motivated me and gave me the desire to be trackside trying new things. I found this side of me to develop while photographing at night. Not only did I enjoy capturing the photos and the results from various climates, I found myself appreciating my region, the culture I live in, and essentially the railroad that operates through it.

These realizations influenced how I captured a photo and to this day, I like to think that perhaps that stands out among this competitive digital hobby. Railpictures.Net is a prime example of how difficult it is to stand out with easy access to equipment and software, particularly when such a large following are photographing the same subjects.

I also believe that it's a lot easier to stand out in this era when you live in a location that is poorly documented. From an standpoint, when you think of particular locations, certain photographers immediately come to mind. For an example, when someone mentions railroads in Alaska, I automatically think of Dave Blazejewski. When I think of Northeast Pennsylvania and New Jersey, I think of Andrew Blaszczyk or Mitch Goldman. Dave Honan comes to mind when I think of railroad photography in the Pacific Northwest or John Benner in the Southwest.

Each of these mentioned photographers have a unique style to themselves, evident through their photo streams. Sure, there are some similarities within all of us, but those are simply the guidelines set by Railpictures and your general photography guidelines, however, it's neat to see how others see a scene and the way they like to capture it.

That brings me to the conclusion of this post and ultimately the intent of it.. What is your style of photography and why? What type of mood do you associate with your images, if any?

Why do you shoot them and what makes you stand out? I'm really interested in seeing your replies.

Chase Gunnoe
Chase Gunnoe
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