Old 09-18-2008, 12:38 AM   #1
NYC Nick
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Default Photographing the Shadows

Let me start off by saying that I know that it is encouraged to take pictures of your subject in direct sunlight. However, the tracks near Kent State (which is where I will be taking pictures for a good portion of the next couple years) runs north-south. The CSX main is in a river valley (and against a wall) on the east side of the river. (For those of you who are confused, I hav posted links to pictures of the area I am talking about) The only time the train is in direct sunlight is in the afternoon. I was wondering if pictures with the entire train in shadow are exceptable or if I should concentrate on going in the afternoons.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=244871
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=243589
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:50 AM   #2
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Full shadows probably will not get you on, but you can work at night photoraphy or rain photogrpahy, as they are both certainly very present on the database.

Truth of the matter though is, you can never say never... if you are creative enough, you may find a way to make full shadow work. I wouldn't encourage spending much time on it, but you never know.
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:49 PM   #3
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The second shot is the strongest. I like the curving line in the center--it's a strong element. For that shot a 2-stop ND grad (hard edged) would really help it too. Judging from the shadows a polarizer might also work. All in all the second photo is the stronger of the two.

The first photo really isn't very dynamic and there's lots of stray bits there to distract. There are no strong lines to it and it's basically just a "flat" wedgie. I wouldn't even have put the camera on the tripod.

I'm never afraid to take shots in deep shade, as long as the entire subject is in the same light. I love soft, directionless light. Over the past year I've been experimenting with using fill flash, only on a massive scale using high powered studio monolights. It actually works, but is time consuming to set up. As Freericks mentioned above, there almost always is a way to do something if you are creative enough.


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Old 09-21-2008, 03:31 PM   #4
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With this thread in mind, I was out taking photos last week in an area that is difficult. I took advantage of what available light there was to highlight the important parts of the photo and let the shadows fall where they may, so to speak. I mentioned this to the screener in my submittal, but it was rejected anyway. I like the way this turned out, but am I alone in that opinion?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...key=1144295899

BTW, I used the rapid fire feature of my digital camera to catch the exact moment the crew came into the light. The photo immediately prior and after this one in the series did not have the locomotive cab in the light. There was plenty of "nose light", but the crew was in the shadows.
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:09 PM   #5
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Having the full blown flu, for some reason I feel like being of extra help tonight. Let me start with the original poster, Nick.

Nick, you should be encouraged to take photo's at any time, any where (without trespassing or if you have to step in the ROW for one shot, make it quick), in any weather. Now, for RP acceptable photo's, light is the key. Now-a-days at least. With technology on the rise it seems our expectations are rising too. But anyways, if I were screening, and there was no evidence of a blown sky or a dark photo, then MAYBE it could get in. But you still run the risk of the cloudy rejection. If you were to submit a photo where the scene looks sunny but if you have the train in shadow, I wouldn't see the appeal in the photo at all, but that's RP standards, don't trash the photo, keep it for yourself. But like I've said in the past, go wide or do whatever it takes to get the focus off of the bad part(s) of the photo, whether it be shadows or something blown out. Make it interesting, a shot calls to mind, one of my fiances:

Image © Jennifer Hickman
PhotoID: 231249
Photograph © Jennifer Hickman

See how she zoomed in on the nose to take attention off of the shadows everywhere else? So to answer the question, you're going to have to make it look interesting. If the scene is sunny but that 5% of the scene where the train is in shadow, eh. I'd wait for better conditions to be honest.


Rob, the location and the time there just do not add up. Way too much shadow, even still on the nose for my tastes. Try to avoid this.

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