Old 05-01-2012, 12:37 AM   #1
Greg P
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Default Salvaging Ruined Trips

I am on my way back from a very expensive day in MA that yielded jack-squat in terms of photos. Weather stations all predicted beautiful sunshine so I hopped a train to get a spring shot at Miller's Falls.

Woke up at 9am to bright sun. By noon, cloud cover, by 3pm, solid cloud cover.

So I know I'm not the only one this has happened to, what are your tips for salvaging trips, since weather people can't seen to get sunny days right?
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:08 AM   #2
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I honestly never really concern myself with the weather. Trains run regardless of conditions, and I will be there to photograph them. I have never subscribed to the sunny day style of shooting. The majority of what I consider my better works have been captured during cloudy, rainy, snowy, foggy conditions.

The best advice I can give, is to find a good friend, or group of friends to go on trips with. The memories and stories created by a group of idiots standing trackside will almost always exceed the joy of capturing a good photo.

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Old 05-01-2012, 02:22 AM   #3
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The memories and stories created by a group of idiots standing trackside will almost always exceed the joy of capturing a good photo.
I agree, the images captured are great, and certainly a source of bragging rights, but what it really comes down to, is running around with a bunch of your friends many times out in the middle of no where looking at the choo choos.

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:23 AM   #4
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Loyd, which one are you?
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:05 AM   #5
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Loyd, which one are you?
The tallest, ugliest one right in the middle.

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Old 05-01-2012, 12:15 PM   #6
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The tallest, ugliest one right in the middle.
Sorry for your extreme disability.

At least you have your hair!
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
The tallest, ugliest one right in the middle.

Loyd L.
The one with the little lens??

I'm still new at this, but if it is cloudy when I am out shooting trains, I just try different angles and compositions to see how they look, and if I hit something that looks good I'll write it down for next time I'm there. Still makes for an enjoyable day, with no pressure to produce anything.

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Old 05-01-2012, 07:50 PM   #8
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The one with the little lens??
Good one! Then again as we all know it is the photographer, not the camera that makes the picture. Lloyd is a superb photographer and here is my favorite of his shots.

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It was taken with Canon's most affordable DSLR, the Rebel XS proving yet again that you only need a good camera to take great pictures.

(I am more like the guy in the group shot with equipment dripping off him. And I come back with...not much.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:53 PM   #9
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My last three trips out have been a mixed bag. But I had a lot of fun with the adventure/serendipity of travel, and the camaraderie.

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While I would like sun and puffy clouds, rain is better than high overcast. Some of my best shots were found later on the computer and were shot in lousy weather.

But in the end, I really go because of Weegee's admonition "F/8 and be there." To me he is saying "Go out there because you will never get anything sitting at home."

My version that I tell myself is:

"The image now in my camera is better than the one I only dream of and never try for."
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:57 AM   #10
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I just like the thrill of catching an image I can put on Railpictures, stuff that can hang out on the same stage as the best of the best.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:11 AM   #11
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So I know I'm not the only one this has happened to, what are your tips for salvaging trips, since weather people can't seen to get sunny days right?
No Greg, you're not alone. We've all had our share of trips that went bust. Hell, I went out to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum 2 years in a row to shoot steam. Both trips cost at least $1,500.
  • First Year: Museum brings in a locomotive inspector the day the shoot was supposed to begin. He condemns the only working steam engine they had. No steam at all that year...not even the steam crane.
  • Second Year: Get there early, see one light steam run to Keystone and the locomotive comes back with one crown brass very hot. They ran her in the yard the next morning, but that was it. Most of the weekend was diesel only.

I have been to Cass many times. I don't think I've ever seen more than a few minutes of sun there. I've actually come to accept that Cass is better in the rain.

Want me to go on? I could.

Stuff happens. It's not the end of the world. A lady with whom I work has been recently diagnosd with lung cancer, which has spread to her brain. Whenever I think I'm having a bad day, I think of her. She has real problems. I am incredibly fortunate to have the problems that I have.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:58 AM   #12
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I was hoping for a hard rain; that would have looked really good.

I do keep in mind it's not the end of the world, but I'm just wondering what you guys do in those situations?
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:02 AM   #13
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I am disappointed, but not so much that I have a bad time. I still shoot the pictures I wanted... I go to back up shot ideas if there are no trains... I simply make the most of it.

I can't do what Loyd does because no one likes me.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:47 PM   #14
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I am disappointed, but not so much that I have a bad time. I still shoot the pictures I wanted... I go to back up shot ideas if there are no trains... I simply make the most of it.
Same here, Charles. There's one particular spot in Illinois where I've wanted a sunny shot for the past couple of years, and unfortunately I can only manage to get there once a year if I'm lucky (it's about 4 hour drive from me). The last time was two weeks ago, and wouldn't you know it, it turned out to be cloudy after several prior days of sunshine. And not only was it cloudy, but it started to rain shortly after I arrived. However, all was not lost as the rain soaked the rocky bluff (sandstone?) at the location, bringing out a lot of color and somewhat "saving" this scene on a cloudy day.



I'd still prefer to have sun for that shot, but that's just going to have to wait for another day (or year).

Ron Flanary should be able to appreciate that location.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:07 AM   #15
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Having trains and tons of clouds is better than having sun and no trains. Last Saturday I planned on chasing the Southwest Explorer excursion (High Iron Travel) out of St. Louis. The train was originally going to be powered by Iowa Pacific's black widow E unit #6070, but someone decided to repaint the engine (they couldn't have waited) and Amtrak 145 was on instead.

For a whole week, including the Friday immediately before, clouds were predicted. On the day of the excursion, the sun came out in force, but the train was no where to be found. A group of about 15 other fans and I waited for 45 minutes for a sight of the train, but it never came. Apparently a road bridge demolition project caused the train to leave about an hour early, so everyone missed it.

It wasn't all bad. I wound up seeing some other cool things and shooting a wedgie of 3 NS Dash 9s(!!!). But even still, I would much prefer clouds and abundant train action.

If no good shots can be had, then sit back and watch the drama of railroading. Sometimes we get caught up in all of the photography that we don't pay as much attention to the little details that make railroading so interesting.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:34 AM   #16
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Sometimes you just have to take a gamble if its something really good, it can pay off, or fail miserably. On one of my attempts to get a rare shortline coal train that runs only once or twice a month I drove some 500 miles (round trip) with a mostly sunny forecast only to end up having clouds seemingly follow the train and only coming away with one shot in sun.
Another time with another shortline I finally had some good intel that they would be running in good light with a pair of home road units (most of the time either one or both of the units are some very ratty leased geeps) but the forecast was calling for partly sunny, which normally means the weather is going to suck. We had full sun all day and got some awesome shots.

Of course if its something completely repeatable like just going out to shoot the run of the mill class 1 stuff, save your time and money for when you know the weather is good.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:41 PM   #17
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Thank you for the kind word Dennis! The body has served me well over the last 110,000 shutter clicks. It'll be retired shortly though. I will admit that I have suffered alot of ribbing by my friends for having cheap equipment, so the therapy has been expensive..


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Old 05-02-2012, 03:35 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
Good one! Then again as we all know it is the photographer, not the camera that makes the picture. Lloyd is a superb photographer and here is my favorite of his shots.

Image © Loyd Lowry
PhotoID: 385886
Photograph © Loyd Lowry


It was taken with Canon's most affordable DSLR, the Rebel XS proving yet again that you only need a good camera to take great pictures.

(I am more like the guy in the group shot with equipment dripping off him. And I come back with...not much.
Dennis, indeed Loyd is an excellent photographer, and I have been through his entire catalog here on RP trying to learn from him - and have learned much. He has a gift for seeing light and uses it well in his night photos. My favorite of his is this one, which still amazes me when I see it:

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The picture of Loyd and the guys just struck me as funny - the biggest guy is holding a little camera, and the littler guys are loaded for bear!


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Thank you for the kind word Dennis! The body has served me well over the last 110,000 shutter clicks. It'll be retired shortly though. I will admit that I have suffered alot of ribbing by my friends for having cheap equipment, so the therapy has been expensive..


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I'm glad to hear you got that many shutter clicks out of your XS. Canon says 100,000 for a life cycle and I always wondered how realistic that was. At the rate I'm piling clicks on my 60D it won't be that long until it gets there as well.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:02 PM   #19
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I'm glad to hear you got that many shutter clicks out of your XS. Canon says 100,000 for a life cycle and I always wondered how realistic that was. At the rate I'm piling clicks on my 60D it won't be that long until it gets there as well.
I got my 60D last August and I'm already up over 50K shutter clicks on it. If the average life is 100K, it'll be dead by the fall.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:35 PM   #20
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I got my 60D last August and I'm already up over 50K shutter clicks on it. If the average life is 100K, it'll be dead by the fall.
Just float some of that huge cash stream you're bringing in off railroad photography into a new equipment fund and you'll have enough for two 7Ds in a month or two.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:33 PM   #21
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I got my 60D last August and I'm already up over 50K shutter clicks on it. If the average life is 100K, it'll be dead by the fall.
You either shoot too much or I don't shoot enough. I just went over 10K on my 60D and I've had it since January, 2011.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:29 AM   #22
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I'm glad to hear you got that many shutter clicks out of your XS. Canon says 100,000 for a life cycle and I always wondered how realistic that was. At the rate I'm piling clicks on my 60D it won't be that long until it gets there as well.
If Canon sez 100k, plan on replacing a shutter at 100,001. I have gone through 2 shutters in one of my IIns. Running about 2 1/2 to 3 years between them, right around the 100k mark each time.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:59 AM   #23
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If Canon sez 100k, plan on replacing a shutter at 100,001. I have gone through 2 shutters in one of my IIns. Running about 2 1/2 to 3 years between them, right around the 100k mark each time.
what does that cost you?
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:43 PM   #24
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Jim, are you no longer a 5D owner? What made you decide to go crop sensor?
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:14 AM   #25
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Just float some of that huge cash stream you're bringing in off railroad photography into a new equipment fund and you'll have enough for two 7Ds in a month or two.
I wish!! I'd have a 7D right now if I hadn't gotten back together with my gf last year, so now I have have other, more important plans for that money...

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You either shoot too much or I don't shoot enough. I just went over 10K on my 60D and I've had it since January, 2011.
Yes, I shoot way too much, but it's for a good reason. Probably on the average of 300-500 photos a day.

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Jim, are you no longer a 5D owner? What made you decide to go crop sensor?
Oh, I still have my 5D, I just don't use it much any more. My boss bought the 60D for me last summer because I needed a DSLR with a flip screen for my job. He's been taking $50 out of every paycheck and this last check was my final payment. At least I'll have it paid off for a little bit before it dies.

I love my 5D and the full frame, but the faster frame rate on the 60D has me using it about 1% of the time now.
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