Old 10-06-2010, 03:40 AM   #1
Chris Z
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Default Portable lighting for night shots

What would someone suggest for portable lighting that's practical? I've seen guys with a lot of flash equipment and generators and flood lights with generators, but that just seems too much. Is there something small and compact that can be used?

The attached shot could have been real cool if the lighting was proper. So I'm looking for a solution.

Chris Z
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Old 10-06-2010, 04:33 AM   #2
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1,000,000 candlepower spot light. Will run you 20-30 bucks.
Image © Max Medlin
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I personally have had a problem with those trying to tell us to turn railroad photography into an "art form." It's fine for them to do so, I welcome it in fact, but what I do have a problem with is that the practitioners of the more "arty" shots, I have found, tend to look down their nose's at others who are shooting more "mundane" shots.
Railroad photography is what you make of it, but one way is not "better" than another, IMHO. Unless you have a pole right thought the nose of the engine! -SG
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Old 10-06-2010, 04:52 AM   #3
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There is a thread started by Chase on night photography that is quite helpful. I would recommend a spotlight with a rechargeable battery, 1-2 million candlepower. Costs about $25. Do a long exposure while painting the subject with the light and you will get great results for low cost.

Here is the thread:

http://forums.railpictures.net/showt...ight+spotlight
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:04 PM   #4
troy12n
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This is what every true night railfan should own:
http://www.musco.com/temporary/muscolight.html
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:17 PM   #5
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That would be a great railfan vehicle. Imagine rolling onto Sherman Hill or Horseshoe curve with that.

Chris Z
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:58 PM   #6
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All my night flash gear fits into a suitcase.

Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 329855
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Image © John Ryan
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:25 AM   #7
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I've got TTL flash units, but I figured with a spot light I can highlight certain areas for a more softer look. I noticed that flash sometimes leave overexposed areas, such is in the Conrail shot. The ballast got burned.

I tried car lights in the B&LE shot, but also ended up with overexposed areas. But somehow with the raw image there was enough room to play with that I was almost able to even it out.

A funny thing happened when I was shooting the B&LE units. The local police showed up and asked what the heck are we doing? We said we were just taking pictures. He asked us if we were stealing anything? We said no, only taking pictures. He said, alright then I guess that's okay, and he left. Didn't even ask for ID. I thought I was busted.

I'll try the spotlights and see how it works out.

Chris Z
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:22 AM   #8
Dennis A. Livesey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Z View Post
... We said no, only taking pictures. He said, alright then I guess that's okay, and he left. Didn't even ask for ID. I thought I was busted.
Chris Z
I were the cop I would have busted you if I saw the young man in the Conrail conductor seat. I would highly doubt that he is an employee.

Without official permission, you are on thin ice with the railroad as well as the cops as I'm sure you know.
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
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All my night flash gear fits into a suitcase.

Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 329855
Photograph © John Ryan


Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 322215
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I like the suitcase idea, I suspect my light stands will fit nicely in one.
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:41 AM   #10
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You mean conductors don't wear Conrail t-shirts and look 14?

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Old 10-08-2010, 03:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
I were the cop I would have busted you if I saw the young man in the Conrail conductor seat. I would highly doubt that he is an employee.

Without official permission, you are on thin ice with the railroad as well as the cops as I'm sure you know.
Hopefully he had permission from the RR as that looks like a young kid.
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
I were the cop I would have busted you if I saw the young man in the Conrail conductor seat. I would highly doubt that he is an employee.

Without official permission, you are on thin ice with the railroad as well as the cops as I'm sure you know.
Dennis, I went to the PC and Conrail convention. We had permission from the NS. Everything was locked down by the NS. I went into places I wouldn't have dreamed of going into. See pictures below.

Man you've got good eyes if you can make out that kid.

Chris Z
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Z View Post
Dennis, I went to the PC and Conrail convention. We had permission from the NS. Everything was locked down by the NS. I went into places I wouldn't have dreamed of going into. See pictures below.

Man you've got good eyes if you can make out that kid.

Chris Z
Copy that. That's great. Nice inside photos.

Thanks for the compliment. I'm glad someone thinks they are still good.

I just wish they could do what they did 30 years ago!
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lerro984 View Post
Speed lights:
Image © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com
PhotoID: 326694
Photograph © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com

Image © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com
PhotoID: 237978
Photograph © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com

Image © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com
PhotoID: 333619
Photograph © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com

Image © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com
PhotoID: 333612
Photograph © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com

Image © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com
PhotoID: 327333
Photograph © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com

Image © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com
PhotoID: 237977
Photograph © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com

Image © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com
PhotoID: 237104
Photograph © Pete Lerro - www.Lerroproductions.com
Do you use multiple speedlights remotely set up, that are radio activated? You shoot some great pictures. It seems kind of awkward to set up all that stuff. Maybe cause I'm not used to setting it up.

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Old 10-11-2010, 04:32 AM   #16
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Thanks for the kinds words. The two New Hope shots were shot with flashes wired to the camera but all of the others were rigged with radio receivers to the flashes.
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
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I were the cop I would have busted you if I saw the young man in the Conrail conductor seat. I would highly doubt that he is an employee.
I thought that was Steve Welch....


/Mitch
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:39 PM   #18
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I've used the 2 million candlepower light before - effective, and pretty easy to control the light. Only catch is to make sure you paint evenly, or you'll get a "tiger-stripe" look to it, where some spots don't get enough light. Now I typically use a single Lumedyne 400 watt/second flash (purchased on eBay - much cheaper than buying new). Fits in my camera backpack with both camera bodies & lenses. Light stand & tripod strap to the bag as well, making it a one bag kit. Here's a few examples:

Action:
Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 340397
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com

Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 322620
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com

Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 303595
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com


Static:
Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 326902
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com

Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 291313
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com

Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 290994
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com


Sometimes I'll add a second Norman 200 w/s studio flash on a battery/inverter for action shots. Not as portable as the Lumedyne, but works well.

Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 326640
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com

Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 317171
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
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