Old 03-14-2007, 09:00 PM   #1
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Default Can't catch the building right.

The attached are two recent efforts to incorporate an unusual trackside building (not RR related) into a shot. Suggestions on how to proceed the next time I go to that spot?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreject.php?id=349066
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreject.php?id=349044

Note that on the red-nose shot I think I can crop wider and get the entire train, but then there is a lot of dead space added bottom and/or top.

J
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:19 PM   #2
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First of all, kudos to you for trying to work in interesting surrounding buildings. It 's a favorite tactic of mine to not only show the train, but where the train is as opposed to the "random wedgies in nameless locations" I'm not as good at it as I'd like to be, but I'm improving! I wish I were blessed to have buildings like that to photo too.

That's a pretty cool building, but too bad those trees are there. They take away quite a bit in my opinion. The second shot is definitely the best...and don't worry about showing the rest of the train. See if there is a way to move to a spot where a good portion of the building is unobstructed and take the shot again.

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Originally Posted by JRMDC
The attached are two recent efforts to incorporate an unusual trackside building (not RR related) into a shot. Suggestions on how to proceed the next time I go to that spot?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreject.php?id=349066
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreject.php?id=349044

Note that on the red-nose shot I think I can crop wider and get the entire train, but then there is a lot of dead space added bottom and/or top.

J
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:52 AM   #3
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Two very interesting pictures J

Is there any chance that you can get to a slightly higher position to take the photo from? Both photos have the leaning building syndrome by this I mean the effect you get when you point a wide angle lens upwards when photographing buildings. It's not to bad in your photos but it was just enough to make them look a little strange to my ageing eye balls a higher position would help reduce this effect.

With the second reject I found by rotating the image 3/4 of a degree clockwise it helped to balanced the wide angle distortion and by cropping a little of the bottom and the left side of the image improved the balance between the locomotive and building.

As Ken45 said, Kudos for thinking beyond the train.

Just my 2.56754467890 cents, I hope it is of some help

Cheers,

Christine
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Old 03-15-2007, 01:38 AM   #4
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I can't get higher because I am unwilling to take along a step ladder (I know railfans who sometimes do)! One one of the shots I had done some perspective control but not properly. Maybe the one you rotated as I had done perspective control and rotation at the same time on one, and it makes sense that I might have gotten one dimension wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Switched out
Two very interesting pictures J

Is there any chance that you can get to a slightly higher position to take the photo from? Both photos have the leaning building syndrome by this I mean the effect you get when you point a wide angle lens upwards when photographing buildings. It's not to bad in your photos but it was just enough to make them look a little strange to my ageing eye balls a higher position would help reduce this effect.

With the second reject I found by rotating the image 3/4 of a degree clockwise it helped to balanced the wide angle distortion and by cropping a little of the bottom and the left side of the image improved the balance between the locomotive and building.

As Ken45 said, Kudos for thinking beyond the train.

Just my 2.56754467890 cents, I hope it is of some help

Cheers,

Christine
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:13 AM   #5
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It seems to me you just need to be a bit further down the tracks then zoom in a bit more. Something where you can draw the two objects closer together.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:22 AM   #6
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J,

Nice work trying to incorporate something other than the train into the photo!

As for "catching it right," there are a few tips or tricks I keep in my mind while I'm out trackside and want to get something in my shot. There's no doubt everyone has seen a shot in their head and they overlook the fact that it won't look the same through the viewfinder for one reason or another.

Anyway here are the tips to go over and see what can be changed (I know some of these do not apply here but this is for future reference by ANYONE):

1) I have found that it is easier to work something in to a photo by standing on the same side of the buidling, stopped train, etc.

2) Grow taller! or more realistically find some height! I have just recently found what a huge difference an increase in height makes in photographs. A) Getting high enough allows room for the train to be UNDER the building or object you want in the shot. B) You can get above some of that trackside clutter that gathers on the RoW. C) It's more pleasing to the eye. I have stood on my truck, stepladders, trees, hills, walls, fences, guardrails, and so on to get just a few feet or inches taller.

3) Telephoto. Zooming in on multiple objects such as the train and building in this case smooshes them together for lack of wanting to use a different word. IF you can move back a few yards and zoom in there won't be as much space between the train and the building. Or at least there won't appear to be. A telephoto would also allow you to shoot more head-on and put the building on the left side and the train on the right.

4) Different angle. In the photos in question the angle that was used was the standard 3/4 to the train which in this case is more awkward than helpful. There are a few flaws with this angle such as trees appearing to be closer together in front of the building wanting to be photgraphed. Another would be that the train looks too far away, needs to be cut off, etc. A broadside with just the engine is sometimes the most effective way to go.

5) When all else fails, go artistic! I have a habit of wanting to "try something new" when my original idea fails or I am not pleased with it. I usually get into a different "mood" every month or so. One way to have the train not block the building and still have it in front of it is to blur the train. I have just started using this very useful trick when the opportunity comes along. Personally, I would combine #4&5 if this is a route you would want to explore. I would shoot the building broadside fitting the frame and leave my shutter open as train blurs in front of it becoming semi-transparentoss

6) Move the building! Okay, this is rarely a realistic option, but hey, you never know!

Hope this sparks some sort of inspiration.

Good luck and keep coming up with these interesting compositions!
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:24 AM   #7
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Ken, unfortunately the trees are right in front of the side of the building. There is a morning angle for trains in the opposite direction, but then the crossing gate obscures and anyway the most intersesting part of the "castle" motif is the part at the other end that you can see here.

Dave, I went as far back as I could, agree on the general strategy.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:38 AM   #8
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Andrew, good thoughts, good general guidance. Specifics to these photos:

- same side doesn't work well here in my opinion
- height would help, can't do a ladder when small children are in tow, don't have one anyway
- tele: went back as far as I could
- broadside is a good idea with this one - I have one broadside grabshot, an EB empty passenger train heading back down to Union Station for another run surprised me (never trust the scanner!) so I was unable to set up for a decent shot, won't be submitting it
- I'm not a fan of blur stuff, generally
- what would be nicer than moving the building is cutting down all the trees, but I love trees, so they stay

I'm still pondering whether I've done all I can or want to at this site or not. Might go back one more time.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:43 AM   #9
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Yes, higher is a good idea, maybe a step ladder is finally in order for me.

I like your redo on the second one. I think the issue was just that I really wanted to keep the entirety of the building including its left side, but that brings in some bad limbs to the upper left corner. By sacrificing part of the building, you get rid of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Switched out
Two very interesting pictures J

Is there any chance that you can get to a slightly higher position to take the photo from? Both photos have the leaning building syndrome by this I mean the effect you get when you point a wide angle lens upwards when photographing buildings. It's not to bad in your photos but it was just enough to make them look a little strange to my ageing eye balls a higher position would help reduce this effect.

With the second reject I found by rotating the image 3/4 of a degree clockwise it helped to balanced the wide angle distortion and by cropping a little of the bottom and the left side of the image improved the balance between the locomotive and building.

As Ken45 said, Kudos for thinking beyond the train.

Just my 2.56754467890 cents, I hope it is of some help

Cheers,

Christine
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:44 AM   #10
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I personally like them both. My suggestion for a crop is the same as Christine...lose about an inch from the left in both images, eliminating the side of the castle.

Good luck.
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:40 AM   #11
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A nice spot to catch MARC and other action, that's for sure.

For the sake of another set of eyes looking at it, I would have:

Used a telephoto (200+mm) and stood further west of the building. I would have also LOWERED my POV in order to create a long depth of field from your shooting location down the rails from the train and the building. I'm not sure what the trees will do to you, or if this is even a reachable location.

Unless you want to go very wide, being close to the castle I don't believe will work. You can telemash the train and the background ROW into the shot, along with the castle (more as a ornament to the shot), and still come out with a nice shot.

That said, I'd also go for later afternoon/evening (especially now that the days are longer and the sun is more "true west" at set), when you can get that warmer light on the stone, and keep the ballast from washing out your colors.
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Old 03-15-2007, 06:28 AM   #12
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Thanks, Matt.

While I do look for opportunties to elevate myself while trackside, albeit sans ladder, all too often I forget about getting in the dirt and lowering my view.

There is a problem at this location later in the day, lots of tree branch shadows across the tracks, some rejections from a week or two ago, shot later in the day in nice light, were due to limb shadows on the trains. In one shot I missed timing the gap in the shadows by only a couple of feet. I will try those again some day.
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:17 AM   #13
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Okay, taking all the information posted above this is how you tackle the shot next time around

  1. Grab kid.
  2. Give kid camera.
  3. Hoist kid with camera onto shoulders.
  4. Point kid with camera in general direction of intended photograph.
  5. Yell at kid when time is right to take photo.
  6. Hope like hell kid does not drop camera when being yelled at.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 as required.
  8. Submit resulting image to RP
  9. Collect Picture of the week, Screener's choice and People's Choice awards.
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:17 PM   #14
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Maybe this will help - I've been thinking about trying it, but it's a bit pricey for a toy:
http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-K...3957327&sr=8-1
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:30 PM   #15
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...or one of these, only $2,500.

http://www.propole.com/
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Old 03-15-2007, 06:45 PM   #16
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As for the second one, I followed the example of Christine and here it is - so thanks!
Image © Janusz Mrozek
PhotoID: 179548
Photograph © Janusz Mrozek


As for the first one, I messed around with it again, and decided it just wasn't worth it, nothing there I liked, I might as well spend my time getting a better shot. But then since it was night and I was home, I had a banana and worked on deleting bad shots from my HD!
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Old 03-16-2007, 11:46 AM   #17
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Good to see it made it in J,

Another method you could try is the Remote Control Helicopter you could pass it off as a gift to the kids and when they tire of it you can put it to use for some interesting views. Check this thread out at DPreview.

Or could always buy a bucket truck such as this well known railfan as done.
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Switched out
Or could always buy a bucket truck such as this well known railfan as done.
Hmmm. I wonder how much one of those things would cost!
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:20 PM   #19
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you could always become a volunteer firefighter.

maybe you could borrow the ladder truck when it's not being used.

too bad i'm afraid of heights.
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Old 03-16-2007, 02:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Or could always buy a bucket truck such as this well known railfan as done.
WOW! That's intense!
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Old 03-17-2007, 08:50 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Switched out
Or could always buy a bucket truck such as this well known railfan as done.
Thats what I keep telling my parents I want as my first car. They are building a wall along my favorite place to railfan, now its blocked on both sides.
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