Old 02-12-2006, 06:26 AM   #1
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Default Not related to rejections... I want to learn how to make a pacing shot..!

I have a question about a method of photography....I have seen these awesome shots like this one from Chris Kilroy

Image © Chris Kilroy
PhotoID: 133505
Photograph © Chris Kilroy

And was wondering...how does one get a shot like that? Do you find a strectch of road and actually pace the train with your car? I tried to do a pacing shot on my dad's model railroad...by moving the camera along with the model train, and having a slightly slower shutter speed, so that the train is in focus but everything else is blurry, like motion....here is what I got...


So, if I wnated to acheive this with a real train...would I have to have my dad pace a train with the car, and I would take pictures as we are along side of it.???? If so, any tips on what camera mode or shutter speed to use?

Ohh, and I have alo heard of PANNING? What is that...?

Thank you very much! Thats all for now!
Chris G

My photos at RailPictures.Net

Last edited by Chris Kilroy; 02-12-2006 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 02-12-2006, 07:35 AM   #2
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I've done it with a tripod. i set my camera to 1/30 second. I then fallow the trian in the view finder while roataing the camera. Press the shutter realease and keep rotating at the rate i was going before. I've actualy made some good shots like this, nothing great enough to put up here, but i've gotten very sharp trains, and very nicely blured background and foreground. this is something i really want to play with more, but honesly in San Luis Obispo we have very little flat land to try it with. We have hills and city. (the places i've tryed it were in the hills and i ended up with wired in the way of the train) But one of these days i'll get a chance. I know that it can be done from a car, but since i dont have easy acess to one i've never tryed it. What ever you try good luck with it, and have fun =)
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:03 PM   #3
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Pacing would be when both you and the train are moving, and the relative blur would be as a result of the speed you and the train are going (faster, more blur).

Panning is when you are not moving, but are moving the camera in relation to the train.The slower the shutter speed, the more blurred is the background, but the harder it is to keep the camera moving at the same speed as the train.
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CG_F45
So, if I wnated to acheive this with a real train...would I have to have my dad pace a train with the car, and I would take pictures as we are along side of it.????
Yeh, pretty much. Attached is a pacing shot I took at Strasburg. With my wife at the wheel, pacing the train along the parallel roadway, I leaned out and snapped a few shots. This was the best of the bunch. As for shutter speed, it should be fast enough to freeze the train but slow enough to blur the ground, trees, etc. I think I used 1/180 as a shutter speed for that shot.

Image © Charlie O
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Old 02-12-2006, 06:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the comment on my shot!

I happened to be passing through Kingman, AZ on my way from Phoenix to Las Vegas last evening, and one of my buddies wanted to see the Kingman Airport where a bunch of older airliners are stored.

The light was good after we visited, and I could see a train waaay down the hill heading from Hackberry into Kingman, so I had my buddy take over driving, and we headed as far north along route 66 as we could before we intercepted the train, turned around, and paced him for probably about 4 miles, just as the sun was setting.

The tracks are probably 1/4 mile or more away from route 66, so I didn't need to use a super low shutter speed; I believe I used 1/125 second to blur the foreground, and with the bumpiness of the road, only 2-3 shots (out of about 100 frames taken) came out sharp.
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Old 02-12-2006, 07:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris Kilroy
...only 2-3 shots (out of about 100 frames taken) came out sharp.
Isn't digital great! That's a beauty!

Here's the only pacer I ever did that worked out.

Image © Richard Hart
PhotoID: 76740
Photograph © Richard Hart

Just luck-I was alongside the train, me driving, and I just shot. Wasn't planned. I think the only thing I had to do was level it in Photoshop. Here in the east where I live there aren't really any wide open spaces to pace in. This was along a very short stretch along Rt. 97 along the Southern Tier line. Don't think much runs there now.

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Old 02-12-2006, 10:32 PM   #7
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Like stated before, it can be done in those two fashions. I have done both, but if you are driving by your self, while pacing the train its a bit harder to do and i wouldnt recomend it unless you have someone else driving. The easyest way is to pan the shot like mr_mathyou was talking about. These are great shot. I really like pacing trains. We do it along the Sunset Route all the time with a video camera. You get excellent truck detail and action.
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