Old 01-22-2010, 07:54 PM   #1
Dennis A. Livesey
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Cool Looking professional?

On another thread Nick postualted:

"Another reason...is that you'll come across as more professional. If people think you're a professional photographer, or with the paper, or whatever, you'll be able to get away with all sorts of things that you wouldn't normally be able to do..."

I find looking professional can work both ways. Often what Nick says happens. People see the big black camera and lens and think, "Oooo, he is a pro and has permission to be here" and leave you alone.

Other times, while people around you with P&S's are being ignored, security guards go ape if you pull out that big black camera.

Grey hair once and awhile has it's advantages. Young fans right next to me have been hassled by security while we were shooting the same thing.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:10 PM   #2
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I have noticed that people tend to move out of my way more often. But then you have the disadvantages, people always wanting you to take their photo (like when I am using my 500mm) , can you see the moon with that (I have the 10-22 on), personally I can see the moon without my camera, guess I am special haha.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:17 PM   #3
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Interesting thread, Dennis. I've definitely received a few comments from railfans and the public in general thinking I am a "professional" simply because of the big black camera. In many cases, as far as the railroad, law enforcement, etc. they think of the big black camera of costing a lot of money, thus, not considering me a threat, but instead, a serious photog.

I get some odd looks too, since I am pretty young to have such expensive camera gear.

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Old 01-22-2010, 08:21 PM   #4
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I went to the Ice Drags in Merrill, Wi. last year, a week after Car Craft magazine was there. They all thought I was a pro from another magazine, and I was allowed to wander anywhere I wanted. But then in summer at the dragstrip, they won't let me get anywhere close, because the track photographer also sells his shots to racers, and my insistence that I'm just shooting for myself doesn't seem to help. He doesn't want any competition.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:59 PM   #5
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Yep, looking the part helps me quite often (and like Dennis, the grey hair also helps at times) - even with my few dealings with the Law (from local to FBI). I've found that at the very least, looking the part has gotten me the benefit of the doubt with onlookers, including LEO's.

I usually carry two bodies, and at times wear a vest holding my other lenses if I need something beyond my 70-200 and 18-50 (I hate shoulder bags). I usually get people moving aside, letting me get the shot - although, I usually get that anyways at 6' 2"-ish and about 250lbs . The most common question I get is "which paper are you with?" My reply is usually "none, I do freelance work for various magazines" which usually satisfies their curiosity, then they leave me alone. I have had the odd person ask me to take their picture with their camera (which I have no problem doing so long as I'm not in the middle of something). The weirdest looks I get is when I'm at the beach with my kids and are taking pictures of them - I usually use the 70-200. They can't understand why I'm using such a "huge" lens to shoot the kids right in front of me. I don't even bother to explain...they'll never understand bokeh...
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:09 PM   #6
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Shave, wear khakis, carry a big tripod and decent sized bag, and you're all set, in situations where other people will be around anyways.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:40 PM   #7
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The number 1 rule of looking professional as a railfan photographer:

No mustard-stained train T-shirts that barely cover your stomach.

The end.

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Old 01-22-2010, 09:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cblaz View Post
The number 1 rule of looking professional as a railfan photographer:

No mustard-stained train T-shirts that barely cover your stomach.

The end.

- Chris


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Old 01-22-2010, 09:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cblaz View Post
The number 1 rule of looking professional as a railfan photographer:

No mustard-stained train T-shirts that barely cover your stomach.
Also, no matter how great the SD40-2, Milwaukee Road, or any other bit of railroad lore might have been, you don't need to commemorate it with a hat or t-shirt.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:22 PM   #10
Dennis A. Livesey
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Originally Posted by ottergoose View Post
Also, no matter how great the SD40-2, Milwaukee Road, or any other bit of railroad lore might have been, you don't need to commemorate it with a hat or t-shirt.
Geez, what's the fun in that? You'll give all us foamers a bad reputation.


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Old 01-22-2010, 10:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
Geez, what's the fun in that? You'll give all us foamers a bad reputation.


Yeah, I typically wear a ball cap for sun/rain protection, so it might just as well be railroad-related. I tried slogging through mud and crud and cornfields wearing a three-piecer like Oliver Wendell Douglas on Green Acres, but found that boots, jeans and an old Nomex flying jacket cleaned up easier.

Instead of the professional "look" I go for the professional demeanor.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:59 PM   #12
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I'm with Dennis on this... it works both ways. I often have two bodies on me, one digital, one slide... and along with a camera bag, I almost look the part of a pro (to people not in the know... a real pro would immediately know I'm not).

I have had folks clear away for me, not bother me, and assume I have permission.

I have had folks come up to me and ask me who gave me permission.

And, in the case of this shot on a movie set, I was kept far away with a telephoto by some 18-year-old PAs, while folks with I-Phones and PNS cameras got to walk right up to it. Actually having been in the biz for twenty years, I should have known better, but to be honest, I drove down there with no idea what to expect, and it wasn't until I got to the location that it suddenly became evident that a PNS was the way to go.

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When I went to India, I was told to bring a PNS because the DSLR is way to obvious. This is good advice for locations where train photography is iffy, as you can pull the camera out and put it away quickly, and frankly, if you really do look like a tourist, it seems more like you are doing what you are really doing (taking train pictures for your own enjoyment). But, it really was only usefull when a train was at a complete stop.

I also had the DSLR and used that when I went to a location that was actually railfan friendly (well, railfan tolerant).
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:17 AM   #13
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None of this applies to me as I'm 13, so people don't quite to know what they think of me when they see me with such pricey equipment. This can be annoying, as one of my most frequented railfan spots, Main St. in Churchville ny, is right next to an antique shop, where I railfan with the owner and his son. Anyway, everyone that goes in and out of there (especially in the cold) asks me what the heck I'm doing! I give about 5 "website cards" a day this way.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Yeah, I typically wear a ball cap for sun/rain protection, so it might just as well be railroad-related. I tried slogging through mud and crud and cornfields wearing a three-piecer like Oliver Wendell Douglas on Green Acres, but found that boots, jeans and an old Nomex flying jacket cleaned up easier.

Instead of the professional "look" I go for the professional demeanor.
I'll have to go against the school counselor here and right out say that I apologize for my feelings or else there will be a massacre. I find that the best way to appear semi-professional from a railroader's perspective (and the general public) is to not wear railroad apparel. It is nice for train shows, or railfests, but it makes you look like a real Archie Bunker "dingbat" to any non-railfans.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:53 AM   #15
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I agree with no mustard stained BNSF GEVO shirts, but i dont think theres anything wrong with wearing railfan apparel in moderation. Usually when im railfanning I wear my Hartwell Railroad hat, i dont see anything wrong with it, or wearing a hat with a CSX,NS, BNSF, UP logo whatever on it, many train crews wear the same thing.
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
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I'll have to go against the school counselor here and right out say that I apologize for my feelings or else there will be a massacre. I find that the best way to appear semi-professional from a railroader's perspective (and the general public) is to not wear railroad apparel. It is nice for train shows, or railfests, but it makes you look like a real Archie Bunker "dingbat" to any non-railfans.

With a few exceptions, I shoot mostly steam engines. Typically, the crews on those aren't doing the job because of the great pay or benefits. They do it because they love steam engines. When you get to talking to them, they are pretty much all railfans themselves.
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:24 AM   #17
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I'll have to go against the school counselor here and right out say that I apologize for my feelings or else there will be a massacre. I find that the best way to appear semi-professional from a railroader's perspective (and the general public) is to not wear railroad apparel. It is nice for train shows, or railfests, but it makes you look like a real Archie Bunker "dingbat" to any non-railfans.
Archie Bunker was not a "dingbat".....
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:35 AM   #18
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I was hassled by the owner of a trucking company as I took photos of his trucks. He wanted to know why I was "sneaking" around his trucks. I pointed out that I was on a public sidewalk, at 10AM on Saturday, with a big black camera, and I'm 300 pounds wearing a pink tee shirt. He agreed that if I was sneaking I was doing a poor job of it. And most truck owners know about Hanks Truck Pictures, that usually calms them down.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:52 AM   #19
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i haven't had this problem yet and i've been on station plat forms and in various other places, but since i only have my learners permit for driving my dad is always with me and i think that probally solves any wondering. I get the simple questions like what kind of camera do i have and that stuff. This summer i'll have my license and i'll have too see what kind of issues i run into.
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Old 01-23-2010, 06:29 AM   #20
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Well, I typically try to avoid the public while railfanning. But that is just me.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:07 AM   #21
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Well, I typically try to avoid the public while railfanning. But that is just me.

Same here.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:10 AM   #22
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Well, I typically try to avoid the public while railfanning. But that is just me.
Ahhh, rural railfans. How naive.

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Old 01-23-2010, 01:01 PM   #23
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The number 1 rule of looking professional as a railfan photographer:

No mustard-stained train T-shirts that barely cover your stomach.

The end.

- Chris


Also don't wear your favorite railroad foamer tshirt. "I survived Train Festival 2009" t shirts are never a replacement for a tie.
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:55 PM   #24
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Archie Bunker was not a "dingbat".....
He referred to people as dingbats frequently though, such as his wife Edith. On another note, like the post above me says, don't wear anything ridiculous or silly. (Unless you're on a tourist railroad). A hat with a railroad logo I guess is okay though.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:16 PM   #25
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Quote:
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He referred to people as dingbats frequently though, such as his wife Edith. On another note, like the post above me says, don't wear anything ridiculous or silly. (Unless you're on a tourist railroad). A hat with a railroad logo I guess is okay though.
Noted. However, I drive a Lincoln so I don't think that what a person wears is important. Everyone is an individual and I don't judge based on apperance.
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