Old 07-29-2008, 05:31 AM   #1
Diamond D
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Default Taking a picture of a train you can't see

AKA Why a step ladder should be in a railfan's trunk

I had a very specific shot in mind on a recent trip, based on a trail I had seen on google maps. I found the trail, got excited for what would surely be a great view, and promptly found myself on the set of "Field of Dreams" expecting to hear voices at any moment telling me to build a ball field... or maybe a turn table? This view was not exactly showcasing the trestle the way I imagined



Anyway, after mentally evaluating my other options for well-lit shots in the area, I came to the conclusion that there were no other spots that suited my taste, so I had to do something here. So, I made the 10 minute walk back to my car, grabbed my monopod, and ventured back into the field to "problem solve".

Putting the camera on the fully-extended monopod, then holding it as high up in the air as I could, I realized I could just clear the tops of the corn (this farmer should be very proud of his crop). And putting the camera on self-timer, I was able to get a decent shot after some aiming practice.



But the problem remained, I couldn't actually SEE the train, or the bridge - at all. Getting one shot on the self-timer and leaving it all to chance seemed like a huge gamble. But then I remembered a often-neglected tool in my bag, the remote shutter release! Leaning back, balancing the monopod on my collarbone with one hand steadying it, extending my other arm out in front of me like a lunatic to properly aim the weak remote beam, I was able to fire off about a dozen shots based on the rumbling of the locos crossing the bridge, and managed to keep it level and fill the frame. Next time, I'll just go to Home Depot!

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Old 07-29-2008, 07:08 AM   #2
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Wow, if that's not ingenuity, I don't know what is! And, to top it off, you got the shot. Great job and story!
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:30 AM   #3
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*applause*
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:06 PM   #4
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It worked, but a cable release and live view is the kicker. Came out well with some luck. A monopod is a old trick for news photographer's and sports.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:56 PM   #5
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Great job, Nick.
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Old 07-29-2008, 02:59 PM   #6
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10 out of 10 for ingenuity
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diamond D
Leaning back, balancing the monopod on my collarbone with one hand steadying it, extending my other arm out in front of me like a lunatic to properly aim the weak remote beam, I was able to fire off about a dozen shots based on the rumbling of the locos crossing the bridge, and managed to keep it level and fill the frame.
Nice story, and shot. Good thing it wasn't alongside a road..........the looks you would have got doing that would have been priceless
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:38 PM   #8
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Nicely done. You managed to do a better job leveling the camera like that than I do looking through the viewfinder!
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:19 PM   #9
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A+ all around! Now if someone got a picture of you in the act, then that would be another layer of icing on the cake!
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:27 AM   #10
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Its always cool to hear the stories behind the shots. Good catch.
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:11 AM   #11
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I can't remember where I saw it but there is a product of a similar nature that has a monopod style build with a belt notch bottom tip that fits across your belt to hold it in place comfortably. It also featured a cable release built into the lower grip. I'm sure one could be rigged up out of an inexpensive monopod and some wiring added on to a cable release.
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:24 PM   #12
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Amazing story Nick! Amazing not just because you tried it, but because it actually WORKED! People here talk about "pulling off a shot". This puts that saying in an entirely new light.

Personally though, I'm still seeking a source for the step ladder that Walter uses:

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Old 07-30-2008, 11:25 PM   #13
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No I took that with a 50 foot long monopod Man that was sweet being able to use that man lift! I was looking at prices the other day and you can rent a towable manlift for about $450 a week, I am going to keep that in mind if there is ever a special occasion that it would work well at.



Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM
Amazing story Nick! Amazing not just because you tried it, but because it actually WORKED! People here talk about "pulling off a shot". This puts that saying in an entirely new light.

Personally though, I'm still seeking a source for the step ladder that Walter uses:

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Old 08-01-2008, 06:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter S
I was looking at prices the other day and you can rent a towable manlift for about $450 a week,
I had to rent one of those (not for railfanning) and it cost $625 for the week and that was $25 dollars cheaper than the next cheapest company. You should count your blessings that they are that cheap where you live.
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Old 08-02-2008, 03:15 AM   #15
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The phone, electric and cable companies often have bucket trucks in the local auto auction near here, and I've been tempted on more than one occasion to pick one up just for this reason. I've even daydreamed about a paint scheme that would visually answer everyone's questions as to why this nut is 20 feet in the air with a camera.
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