Old 09-13-2010, 04:52 PM   #1
baldwin8
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Default Question about rail photography

I've been enjoying the railpictures.net site for a little while now and have managed to get out few times. I pick times when I know a commuter will pass.

I would like to know what some of you do to get your photo ops. Is there certain days when you assume there will be more traffic? Is the weekday heavier traffic than a weekend? Are Monday mornings busier? Since freight has no public schedules, I am thinking a lot of you guys spend a lot of time just waiting and hoping something shows up.

I would like to hear from anyone's experiences.

Yesterday I waited almost an hour only to find the train I expected, came in the opposite direction and so I was on the wrong side lighting wise.

Thank you for reading.
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:05 PM   #2
Joe the Photog
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I'm a hit and run railfan. TTry to catch something when I can. But most peopl hear use scanners, learn train symbols and know when something is coming. E-mails, phone calls from friends (or sometimes friendly people in the know) and YahooGroups can also help. When Amtrak ran a special private passenger car train through South Carolina last November, I was paying close attention to the Carolina Rails and SERails YahooGroups as well as a post here and there on Facebook. As the train got closer and I knew the time of day it would come through, we started trading phone calls with peopl down the line, etc. all. Because of that, I was able to not only catch it, but also catch it in the best spot asthetically and sunlight-wise.
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:19 PM   #3
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Thank you Joe.

I see I will have to do more investigating to make the best use of my time.

Yesterday I was in Sherbrooke and caught this MMA pushing the Orford Express cars.

Click image for larger version

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Click image for larger version

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Views:	58
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ID:	5772

The first is my edited version and second unedited.
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:39 AM   #4
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I like the first one. It is a location with some interest.
The picture is washed out though (overexposed? cloudy day?)
Also, watch out for foreground clutter. The fence may be an issue here, but I really don't know. What would be an issue for me is the leaves/branches in the bottom right. Don't be afraid to do a little weed wacking ahead of time to clear the line of view.
Not an issue here, but for future reference, litter is something else to pick up beforehand.
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:48 AM   #5
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Hi,

As it was stated before, most of us uses scanners. If you don't have one, I would definatly suggest the investment of getting one. Yahoo Groups are a GREAT resource. If you don'y want to be flooded with Emails, I would create a seperate Email just for the yahoo groups.

Anywhos, me, for example, I only go out on Sunny days, unless I know something neat (i.e. Steam engine) is coming. There are some of us that either work for the RR or know RR employees and are able to get information on things such as when a train goes on duty. Once I know when a train goes on duty, I can kinda guess as about the time this train might be going through my area.

But nothing really beats sitting trackside waiting for anything to come. Mondays & Sundays are the slowest days, generally.






Quote:
Originally Posted by baldwin8 View Post
I've been enjoying the railpictures.net site for a little while now and have managed to get out few times. I pick times when I know a commuter will pass.

I would like to know what some of you do to get your photo ops. Is there certain days when you assume there will be more traffic? Is the weekday heavier traffic than a weekend? Are Monday mornings busier? Since freight has no public schedules, I am thinking a lot of you guys spend a lot of time just waiting and hoping something shows up.

I would like to hear from anyone's experiences.

Yesterday I waited almost an hour only to find the train I expected, came in the opposite direction and so I was on the wrong side lighting wise.

Thank you for reading.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:00 AM   #6
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Check out ATCS Monitor if you want to get a heads up on where the trains are in your area, if you live in an area covered by ATCS anyway.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog View Post
I was paying close attention to the Carolina Rails YahooGroups
Shameless plug, lol!

Is the group still on moderation or did everyone cool down?
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:16 AM   #8
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For me, I drive an 18 wheeler for a living, and I drive all over the country, so I can only get shots when they present themselves, I can't really plan on where to get shots, I pretty much have to be lucky most of the time, thats why I don't have many shots on RP, less than desireable conditions alot of times, I bought a scanner, best thing since sliced bread, and I just ordered a traintenna from DPD Productions so I can hear farther with the handheld scanner (on my big truck). When I get back to the house for "home time" I go scouting around in my pickup for trains, I don't wait for them to come to me.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:31 AM   #9
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How do you use ACTS? It looks like some really cool software.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:32 AM   #10
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I use it a little bit, but I'll let someone else explain it better than I can.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:44 AM   #11
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In a few words, ATCS is a very informative, but very hard-to-learn way to follow trains. I once saw where a kid had thrown a computer monitor at a train and someone joked it was another ATCS newbie. Anyhow, first find out if there even is ATCS in your area before you go to the pain of joining the Yahoo group (the wait is forever) and what not. I didn't and found out after a bunch of time already into it that there was no ATCS on my home line.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo 6060 View Post
Anywhos, me, for example, I only go out on Sunny days
Daniel, you really need to read Ben Bachman's piece in the October Trains. Perfect sunlight is absolutely not a prerequisite for capturing alluring photos:

Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 310408
Photograph © David Honan

Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 311945
Photograph © David Honan

Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 269350
Photograph © David Honan


Quote:
Originally Posted by crazytiger View Post
In a few words, ATCS is a very informative, but very hard-to-learn way to follow trains. I once saw where a kid had thrown a computer monitor at a train and someone joked it was another ATCS newbie. Anyhow, first find out if there even is ATCS in your area before you go to the pain of joining the Yahoo group (the wait is forever) and what not. I didn't and found out after a bunch of time already into it that there was no ATCS on my home line.
ATCSMon is difficult only if one doesn't take the time to figure it out; if you just try to jump in and do stuff, you're going to run into a wall. The program isn't intended to be user-friendly; it's designed to be functional, and it is assumed that users possess a certain level of competence in computer skills. Apply to join the group, fill out the questionnaire, wait for the application to be approved (Peter, it's one guy who has a life handling the administrative tasks, and oh by the way, he's also authored an incredible piece of software that is distributed for free for our enjoyment -- give him a break), and then read through the Wiki in detail at the link provided -- everything a new user needs to know is explained there.
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:41 PM   #13
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Well thanks to everyone who took the time answer my questions. I now have a lot of good information to follow up on.

I was thinking about the scanner, but worried that I wouldn't be able to decipher the what I heard on air. Living here near Montreal, I am not sure atcs monitor will work. So the yahoo groups may be my best alternative.

As to my two images posted, the first was not full sun so I tried to lighten up the shot with my computer software, maybe too much. For many years I photographed mostly static aircraft which allowed me time to set up my shots, so rail shooting is a new challenge for me.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:44 PM   #14
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If your situation permits, another thing to do is just go trackside on a day for railfanning and just work that particular line. Stick around even when the sun angle gets too high and simply take note of train times and directions. If it is any kind of a mainline the trains will have schedules and they won't vary that much from day to day.

During the periods of high sun - take a drive (or bicycle) and a road map and check out every grade crossing on a particular line - note the interesting ones on your map and think about things like sun angle/ime of day/time of year at those places that you find visually interesting.

I've done this with the two major roads in my area (CSX and NS) and armed with just the above mentioned information it is fairly easy to schedule future times at your locations of choice and not wait too long for a train to fill your viewfinder.

If you do this you also save yourself a lot of time waiting for trains that will never come. In my case there are two very photogenic places within a 20 minute drive that would make for fantastic sunrise/sunset shots but on that stretch of track and that road those hours are dead - no traffic at all.
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Yahoo Groups are a GREAT resource. If you don'y want to be flooded with Emails, I would create a seperate Email just for the yahoo groups.
Or, go into the Edit Membership page, and select "web only" to not get any emails. Much simpler solution than setting up a new email and having to check both emails.

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