Old 08-20-2006, 07:32 PM   #1
ottergoose
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Default Newbie Question - Soft/Blurry Result

Quick easy question for those of you who know what you're doing...

I took this photo this morning, 1/500, F5.6, ISO 100. Before the train entered the frame I "primed" the shot (pressed the shutter button down half ways), and focused on the railhead.

Asides from the loco getting cut off, my other problem was how soft/blurry it was. I would think that 1/500 is fast enough to eliminate any motion blur and/or unsteady aiming of the camera. With auto-focusing on the railhead and the higher f-stop, I would think that it would be in focus.

Link to the picture (4 MB)

Thanks.
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Old 08-20-2006, 08:12 PM   #2
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Not fast enough when you're less than 20' from the train and it's probably going 50+mph? I get that quite often if I'm not paying attention on faster moving trains. Look at this shot I did yesterday, probably the same distance from the train, early afternoon. 1/125th, 100iso, f11. the photo is in focus, but somewhere near me it transitions and the ground and overpass get blurry, but the train and the background stayed in focus. One of my weirder photos for sure!
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Old 08-20-2006, 08:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socalrailfan
Not fast enough when you're less than 20' from the train and it's probably going 50+mph?
Will have to try it some other time w/ 1/1000. Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-20-2006, 08:40 PM   #4
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Nick, at 60 mph, a train will move 2" in 1/500 of a second. That's plenty of visible blur if taken up close.

Dave, that's not focus, you just took a pan shot! You were following the train with your camera and that caused the stationary bridge to blur but the moving train stayed sharp. The further to the right you get, the further away everything is, so the motion of your camera isn't noticeable. Makes for a nice picture.

BTW, I'd submit that shot. Its good.

Michael Allen

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Old 08-20-2006, 10:16 PM   #5
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Nick;

Instead of a faster shutter speed, how about moving away from the track some? Or in the shot above, it looks like you may not have been totally sure what you wanted to do. Did ytou decide to take more of a broadside at the last minute after setting up for a wedgie? Or did you gtet surprised by a train moving faster than you thought it would be? Easing away from the tracks a bit may have helped both causes.


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Old 08-20-2006, 10:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
Nick;

Instead of a faster shutter speed, how about moving away from the track some? Or in the shot above, it looks like you may not have been totally sure what you wanted to do. Did ytou decide to take more of a broadside at the last minute after setting up for a wedgie? Or did you gtet surprised by a train moving faster than you thought it would be? Easing away from the tracks a bit may have helped both causes.


Joe
Clearly I need some more practice...

What you see is pretty much what I was going for in that shot, I just didn't hit the shutter in time.

I'm still trying to get the hang of doing daytime shooting. I've been playing around with the burst mode on my camera, and to get that shot I pretty much got in position, framed/composed before the train entered, hit the shutter release and let the camera take 3 quick pictures. The train was too far back in the first 2, and the last frame is what I linked to above. It sounds like I need to follow the train in the viewfinder and try for one shot when it's in the right spot, as opposed to keeping the camera still, hitting the button, and hoping for the best (which has worked pretty well for me with night shots).

Again, thanks all for the input.
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Old 08-21-2006, 04:14 AM   #7
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Nick,

When I was routinely on the Northeast Corridor, shooting trains doing 120mph, I often had to set my shutter to 1/1600 or above for the closer, "fly-by" shots. I had many a cut-off nose and blurred images before I realized just how fast I needed to set things. Even now with 50-70mph trains here in Illinois, I'm not used to using anything below 1/1000. Trial and learning is the name of the game.
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Old 08-21-2006, 04:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
With auto-focusing on the railhead and the higher f-stop, I would think that it would be in focus.
The softness is defiantly motion blur, but i think the timing is all auto focus, which on a digital camera and even digital SLR, has a delay. Even if you set it up ahead of time and press the shutter half way, it can still shoot slower then if you shoot on manual. I take a good number of my shots on a tripod, so I have time to set up the shot and compose it before the train gets there.

If you intend to stay still, try using the auto focus by pressing the shutter half way, then let go and switch to manual if available. That way perfect focus is locked in (unless you move the focus manually) and there will be no delay between shooting. Also don't use a remote or cable as they have delays as well and with 1/1000 + you don't really need one anyway. Good luck, timing is tricky but when you get it its worth it.

Oh yeah also, with fast moving trains, I find burst mode even to be too much of a delay between shots and have had better luck with just timing and nerves.

Good Luck,
Brian
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