Old 03-13-2008, 01:29 AM   #1
KevinM
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Unhappy Bad Angle??

Folks,

Is a shot from slightly behind the 3-9 line always a death sentence here? Take a look at this one:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=495584&key=0

Lighting is about as good as you can ever get on this RR. Focus and composition aren't terrible....it's just that you can't get a shot from ahead of the loco at this location. There is a canyon just ahead of the engine. In fact, this is one of the few locations on this RR where you can get a clear shot at the locomotive with any kind of decent light.....folks who have been there know what I mean.

Is this one worth an appeal?

Thanks!

Kevin
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Old 03-13-2008, 04:12 AM   #2
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If by the "3 to 9 line," you mean side view shots, they are accepted here. (I call 'em "wide and to the side.") Like any other shot, they are judged on their own merits. Your shot, to borrow a phrase from an old boss, doesn't blow my skirt up. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's a little too tight for my tastes. I'm also not sold on the front of the engine. It kinda disappears behind the green post thing. I'm not saying a shot from this location couldn't make it here, but this shot probably won't.

I fully expect others to start posting links to their own side view shots here shortly.




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Old 03-13-2008, 04:32 AM   #3
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I like that skirt phrase joe.......




But back to the pic, I like it, yes. I think why i like it is because of the action and its not really a straight line side shot, ya know what i mean? You're really not perpendicular to what you are shooting here. You're off to the back some and shooting towards the front. I think, but you state can't be possible, that if you were in fact shooting the other way (shooting the front) while he was stepping down that would have been great......a wedgie with ACTION lololol. But not so much a wedgie im talking about here. But do what you did here except reverse it. Step to the left a bit and shoot at angle towards the rear of the train. You get what i mean? lol.

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Old 03-13-2008, 12:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
If by the "3 to 9 line," you mean side view shots, they are accepted here. (I call 'em "wide and to the side.") Like any other shot, they are judged on their own merits. Your shot, to borrow a phrase from an old boss, doesn't blow my skirt up.
Joe

LOL!, I get what you mean Joe. And yes, the 3-9 line is a line from the subject's 9 o'clock through 3 o'clock. The term is probably used more in aviation than in railroading.

I really like this railroad and have been there many times. It's a great operation. Unfortunately, from a photography standpoint, it's a real challenge. The line runs north-south and the locomotives face north. There are relatively few curves and the route is pretty much a ride through the woods. There are all of about 2 spots on the railroad where you can get a shot at the locomotive with decent light on it.....the one we are considering and this one:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...221397&nseq=21

Everytime they talk about doing a photo charter on this line, the first question is: will they turn a locomotive? So far, the answer has been no.

In the case of the shot we are talking about now, the angle I got was about the only decent angle there is. Directly ahead of the engine by about 10 yards is a cut through a rocky hill. Even stepping to my left more than a few steps would cause terrain features to begin taking away the view of the front of the locomotive.

I guess this is one for the personal collection....cuz I still like it.
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:53 PM   #5
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Kevin, does the time of year make any difference to the locomotive being front lit? For example, in Queensland, up trains are front lit in Summer and down trains are front lit in Winter.
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:00 PM   #6
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It most certainly does at any latitude...it's more exxagerated the further north you go, however.
Image © Matthew Hicks
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This shot was taken just before sunset (obviously) a week after the longest day of the year. The train is coming around a curve that brings it to face directly west, but it's not around it yet and the sun is coming from far north of west!
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJ
For example, in Queensland, up trains are front lit in Summer and down trains are front lit in Winter.
Does every railway line up north face in the same direction or something?
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:19 PM   #8
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Well, the North Coast Line does ... :P
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:38 PM   #9
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The problem with this line is getting a clean shot with ANY direct sunlight on it. The line is pretty much a straight shot and is mostly in the woods. Their first run of the day is around noon, which pretty much precludes any shots from the east, even at the few open spots. The only good opportunities are in the late afternoon...and fall is best if you want to avoid the dreaded "high sun" and "haze" problems. This shot was taken in late November, a couple of hours before sunset. The camera is facing northeast.

For those steam railroads that do not have facilities to turn their locomotives easily (wye, turntable etc), I have no idea how they make the decision which way to run their engines. I suspect that photography doesn't enter into it though. Some, like the NH&I and the Strasburg are very photogenic. Some others such as this one......
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Old 03-13-2008, 04:00 PM   #10
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Kevin,

I've only been to that line once, way back in 1979... and looking through the slides that my dad and I took that day, I've always been upset out how between the two of us we couldn't get one decent shot. Now I understand why. Even the display engine they had out front was facing the wrong way.

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Old 03-13-2008, 04:31 PM   #11
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To answer the question about which way to face a locomotive on a tourist line without a turning facility, I believe it is always decided by the ruling grade on the line. I think it also has to do with which part of the ride they need to be the fastest and safest, or maybe it is just luck of the draw how engines are brought to the property.

As for why the engine(s) are never turned it is because it is expensive to use the wye with Amtrak.

I haven't been there since the summer of '04 but can remember the light being absolutely awful. I took a look at the schedule and noticed that early fall when the sun was in the northwest and they run in the evening would be the best time to visit.

As for the shot in question, when shooting steam engines going away it is important to be at an angle in which you can see the front of the engine (could be read as broadside". One suggestion would be to go in tighter with this shot and concentrate on the action of the crew.

Also remember that just because there is light on the side and not the nose, taking a shot of the front isn't out of the question.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:09 PM   #12
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Andrew Blaszczyk said:
Quote:
Also remember that just because there is light on the side and not the nose, taking a shot of the front isn't out of the question.
Andrew, Understanding that qualifies you for honorary Brit status! The Brit's have been taking photos for years with no light on the nose, because the back light makes the scenery much better and in many cases makes the side of the train more interesting. It's all in the highlights and shadows. And of course, it's simply the best light for dramatic steam and smoke effects with steam engines. RP doesn't really understand this style of photography, especially with diesels, but every once in awhile they let one in!

Here's an example from one of the Brit masters!
Image © Alan-Crotty
PhotoID: 226866
Photograph © Alan-Crotty

Here's a shot I took while on a British tour!
Image © Michael F. Allen
PhotoID: 190484
Photograph © Michael F. Allen

Michael Allen

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Old 03-13-2008, 06:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a231pacific
Andrew, Understanding that qualifies you for honorary Brit status!
It's in my blood! (My mom was born in England) Hmm, it all makes sense now!
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
To answer the question about which way to face a locomotive on a tourist line without a turning facility, I believe it is always decided by the ruling grade on the line.
Interesting. That would make sense in this case, because the northbound run is uphill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
As for why the engine(s) are never turned it is because it is expensive to use the wye with Amtrak.
I have definitely heard that argument from a railroad employee that I correspond with occasionally. Apparently Amtrak has all manner of rules that require one of their locomotives to be there to shepherd the whole process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
I haven't been there since the summer of '04 but can remember the light being absolutely awful. I took a look at the schedule and noticed that early fall when the sun was in the northwest and they run in the evening would be the best time to visit.
The VRR has cut back a lot on their schedules in the past year or so. I think they've had too many nearly empty trains during the early and late departures and have decided to just keep the ones that draw well. You are right on target that the fall is the best time to shoot there. Not only is the light better, but the cold weather produces nice white steam clouds. The VRR fires so well, that the locos produce very little coal smoke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
As for the shot in question, when shooting steam engines going away it is important to be at an angle in which you can see the front of the engine (could be read as broadside". One suggestion would be to go in tighter with this shot and concentrate on the action of the crew.
Good suggestion....I'm an Engineer, not an Artist, so I've tended not to think about the human aspects of railroading.....until I started looking around here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
Also remember that just because there is light on the side and not the nose, taking a shot of the front isn't out of the question.
Thanks. I had thought that a lack of nose light was a killer too....but I have seen some steam shots in the last few days here that left me scratching my head. This is good to know because I do have some shots with good side light and somewhat dimmer nose lighting. Maybe those could be players.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
To answer the question about which way to face a locomotive on a tourist line without a turning facility, I believe it is always decided by the ruling grade on the line. I think it also has to do with which part of the ride they need to be the fastest and safest, or maybe it is just luck of the draw how engines are brought to the property.
You are probably right. On my local (narrow gauge) tourist line, every single steam loco faces the same way, even the ones that are only occasionally used. Added to this limitation is the fact that they do not operate much over the winter period and not before 1000 in the morning, however they are very good at advertising anything unusual and have an annual photographers evening.
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:31 AM   #16
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Talking Honorary Brit Awards

Hi Michael,

I know you have your Honorary Brit Award already, but be careful, there are strict rules, a points system and a waiting list, and only Brits can make the award!

Of course as an Honorary Brit you can make recommendations to the committee.

Wear your award with pride.

Back Light Rules OK!

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Old 03-15-2008, 03:50 PM   #17
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Hi Alan,

Note that I said "qualifies" , but I think Andrew's work should get him in!

In looking over my photos on RP, I'm amazed at just how many are shot with back light! Thanks Obie-Wan, for all the guidance on those South Africa trips!

Cheers,

Michael
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:42 PM   #18
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Talking HonBrit

OK Michael,

I'll endorse and forward the nomination to the committee, may be a while for the results though, the wheels grind slooowly.

May the force be with you

Alan
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
The Brit's have been taking photos for years with no light on the nose, because the back light makes the scenery much better and in many cases makes the side of the train more interesting. It's all in the highlights and shadows. And of course, it's simply the best light for dramatic steam and smoke effects with steam engines. RP doesn't really understand this style of photography, especially with diesels, but every once in awhile they let one in!
This is very true. I've been taking backlit shots for donkey's years. I prefer the challenge and it gives a much more interesting light. RP doesn't approve/understand so I don't normally submit them. But, as you say, occasionally one gets in.
Image © Graham Williams
PhotoID: 210906
Photograph © Graham Williams


If you look at UK rail mags, they're full of backlit shots. Whilst many of them could be improved by front lighting, lots of them are better for being backlit.
I don't think this one would have the same impact if I had been behind the sun.
Image © Graham Williams
PhotoID: 226249
Photograph © Graham Williams


Whilst talking about behind the 3 to 9 line, as has been said, it depends on what is forward of the train. I think this shot draws the eyes to the tunnel and signals, plus it's at night, which probably adds some atmosphere.
Image © Graham Williams
PhotoID: 204209
Photograph © Graham Williams

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Old 03-18-2008, 02:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a231pacific
And of course, it's simply the best light for dramatic steam and smoke effects with steam engines.
I was really happy with the way this one came out

Image © Stephen Dance
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