Old 07-27-2009, 10:43 PM   #1
Don Sharer
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I took this in a serious mountian thunderstrom so I am concerned the screeners won't like the lighting. But I like how the smoke and steam (blowing out at the time) fill the air.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

Don
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:53 PM   #2
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I like the shot Don, but I agree, I think the screeners won't get past the cloudy conditions. Maybe try a B&W conversion?

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Old 07-27-2009, 11:03 PM   #3
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I'd lighten the shot a bit and do what Darryl said -- try B&W.
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:24 PM   #4
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I think it looks fine as a cloudy shot. No need to bother with B&W either, but you might want to try it just in case. My only suggestion is to trim some off the right side to bring the image into a 3:2 ratio.
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:34 PM   #5
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WOW, that's a neat shot. I'll be going out there the middle of September. Can't wait to see that stuff again. I played around with your shot, and thought you might need to brighten it up something like this. You also need some more height to closer around 700 pixels.

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Old 07-28-2009, 12:05 AM   #6
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You have a winer if you get the LOOK right.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:12 AM   #7
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I like the B&W one i made and the color one to.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:28 AM   #8
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I think this is a good example from a previous thread about why B&W. I think after looking at the B&W conversion above, this one just looks better.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Rule View Post
I think this is a good example from a previous thread about why B&W. I think after looking at the B&W conversion above, this one just looks better.
Yeah.. it kinda has that old school, haunted house/thunderstorm thing going on.... I like it!
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:15 AM   #10
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Here's my quick take. Channel mixer for the BW at 136/-66/30 on the RGB, then messing around with raising shadows just a bit, increase in brightness, increase in contrast. Rotate 1 degree CW, crop, compared to other crops keeping a bit more in front of the engine, a little less on top. Definitely cutting on the right. And sharpening, for sure.

Result: OK, improved, I think - but the steam looks a little too white. I presume the diagonal streaks on the engine is due to now visible rain.

2nd version, more cropped on the right, maybe better, balanced, engine not so far left.

Lots of alternatives.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Here's my quick take.
Rotate 1 degree CW,

Lots of alternatives.
How do we know its not going down hill? as it's blowing down the boiler something there not going to do going up hill, but down or level.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:37 AM   #12
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The B&W shots look real nice, especially Janusz' second version. Personally, I prefer color because it's living.

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Old 07-28-2009, 01:51 AM   #13
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How do we know its not going down hill? as it's blowing down the boiler something there not going to do going up hill, but down or level.
The short answer is, we don't know! The tree on the left nearest the steam looks tilted, still does even after rotation. On the other hand, the trees in the upper right in the original look vertical - they are cropped out of the revised shot. Up to the photog to determine what is right, I was just putting my version out there.

I don't know what you mean by "blowing down the boiler." Does that mean a release of excess steam, hence the big blows out the lower sides? Yup call me ignorant about steam. Equal opportunity, though, don't know much about diesels either. All I know is that if there are flames out the top of a diesel, that is a) a bad thing, and b) they run them anyway, since one sees shots of them.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:09 AM   #14
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It is going downhill, the grade on Cumbres Pass is 4%. I think the shot is about level with the terrain. The rain was really coming down which allows for the image, the cold water and the steam mixing. This scene is nice on a sunny day but against the light without some serious tresspassing. The cold air and cold rain brought out the steam and the smoke to a different level.

I will be posting other images that would not stand a chance on RP.net on the Railroad Picture Archive site
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:06 AM   #15
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I don't know what you mean by "blowing down the boiler." Does that mean a release of excess steam, hence the big blows out the lower sides? Yup call me ignorant about steam. Equal opportunity, though, don't know much about diesels either. All I know is that if there are flames out the top of a diesel, that is a) a bad thing, and b) they run them anyway, since one sees shots of them.
In the shot folks are discussing here, the locomotive crew has opened the blow-down valve. This valve is typically located near the bottom of the firebox portion of the boiler...just above what's called the "mudring". When the valve is opened, superheated water under pressure is expelled and flashes immediately to steam. The purpose of the operation is to clear the mudring area of accumulated sediment, which can cause a number of different problems if allowed to build up and remain there.

Most steam operations blow down at least once a day, usually in the morning before operations start. Here's one up-close in bright sun:

Image © Kevin Madore
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As seen in the C&TS shot, they also sometimes blow down while out on the road.....usually when far from civilization.
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:20 AM   #16
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Thanks, Kevin. Is this another example? It was going uphill at the time (or was it about to go uphill? Can't remember for sure.).

Image © Janusz Mrozek
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:37 AM   #17
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Either of Janusz' versions work for me. Good shot all the way around. It doesn't help, but if I were a screener.....
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:03 AM   #18
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Thanks, Kevin. Is this another example? It was going uphill at the time (or was it about to go uphill? Can't remember for sure.).
No as they start out they have hot steam and cold cylinders, Steam condenses to water and bends the piston rod or blows head. The cylinder cocks are open to let water out till they heat up then shut off with normal venting out the stack
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:42 AM   #19
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The answer is no. I do not think it is blurry, the 488 is crisp. The screener has clearly mistaken the heavy rain for blurry.

Should I work on the contrast and try again? Maybe a little lighter?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=792060021
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:34 AM   #20
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The answer is no. I do not think it is blurry, the 488 is crisp. The screener has clearly mistaken the heavy rain for blurry.

Should I work on the contrast and try again? Maybe a little lighter?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=792060021
I agree with the contrast rejection. It just looks too washed out...needs much more seperation of the blacks and whites. It looks like you did a simple desaturation and left it at that. It needs some tweaking with the channel mixer in photoshop. Also, it can be sharpened a bit more.
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:57 AM   #21
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In the B&W I did of your fine photo I had to add back contrast after lighting shadows up, the trick is not to lighten to much and add contrast to your taste, it is your photo and if you want color do it in color.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:16 PM   #22
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No as they start out they have hot steam and cold cylinders, Steam condenses to water and bends the piston rod or blows head. The cylinder cocks are open to let water out till they heat up then shut off with normal venting out the stack
To elaborate on what Richard said, the steam show that you typically see every time a steam engine begins to move is coming from the cylinders, not the boiler. As he noted in his post, the cylinders cool down rapidly as an engine sits motionless. Any steam left in the lines or the cylinders themselves can condense to liquid and accumulate in the bottom of the cylinder. When the throttle is opened, hot steam entering the cylinder can also condense. Since water is incompressible, if enough were to accumulate ahead of a moving piston, some serious damage could occur. For this reason, the cylinders are equipped with valves fore and aft at the bottom. These are called cylinder cocks. As part of the starting procedure, the Engineer will typically open these to allow the first few piston strokes to expel any water....while that water has someplace to go. Even after the water is gone, the cocks are typically left open for a short time to allow heat transfer from the incoming steam to heat everything up and prevent further condensation. They are then closed, because they obviously reduce steam pressure in the cylinders and kill the efficiency of the engine.

This shot illustrates the same phenomenon in your Strasburg shot:

Image © Kevin Madore
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Incidentally, the blow-down valves on all Strasburg engines except "Thomas" are directed downward as opposed to out to the side. While I've never specifically asked the crews why this is, my speculation is that it allows them to blow down without having to be terribly concerned about hitting someone or something with the plume. If you watch the engines being hostled in the morning, you'll see them back up to a spot near the car shop where they have a big steel plate set between the rails. They blow down at least three times over about a 5 minute period with the plume directed straight down at the plate. Stop by and watch sometime. The folks there are very nice and really good about answering technical questions.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:21 PM   #23
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The folks there are very nice and really good about answering technical questions.
As are you! Thanks.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:07 PM   #24
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The latest reject is more grey than black and white. Go back to the conversions done by others here. Open it side by side to you processing software if you need to. There's a big difference. Also, make sure to mention to them in the Comments to Screeners section that it was raining really hard at the time.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:21 PM   #25
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In the shot folks are discussing here, the locomotive crew has opened the blow-down valve. This valve is typically located near the bottom of the firebox portion of the boiler...just above what's called the "mudring". When the valve is opened, superheated water under pressure is expelled and flashes immediately to steam. The purpose of the operation is to clear the mudring area of accumulated sediment, which can cause a number of different problems if allowed to build up and remain there . . .

Incidentally, the blow-down valves on all Strasburg engines except "Thomas" are directed downward as opposed to out to the side. While I've never specifically asked the crews why this is, my speculation is that it allows them to blow down without having to be terribly concerned about hitting someone or something with the plume. If you watch the engines being hostled in the morning, you'll see them back up to a spot near the car shop where they have a big steel plate set between the rails.
This is a minor point, but there are two reasons to blow down a boiler. The first, as you say, is to clear the mud ring, and on most locomotives there's a valve on each side for this purpose. If you're operating your locomotive properly, this is a rare occurrence - quite frankly, you're doing something wrong if you're producing that much scale between washes. I've helped out on a few boiler washes in my younger days, and there is usually next to nothing collected in the mudring.

The main reason to blow down is to control the boiler chemistry. Feedwater isn't pure, and as water goes in and steam goes out, all the stuff that's typically in drinking water - chlorine, flouride, iron, aluminum, silica etc. - increases in concentration in the boiler water. Water treatment can be used to deoxygenate the water, and keep the "dissolved solids" from precipitating out of the water and onto the metal surfaces, as long as the total dissolved solids (TDS) are kept within a certain range.

So, in addition to clearing the mud ring, the operators using a water treatment program (i.e. the smart ones) blow down on a schedule based on gallons used, to keep the TDS in the right range. Many locomotives have a third blowdown valve under the cab for this purpose, or have piped the engineer's blowdown under the cab, through a muffler. That's what you're seeing at Strasburg.

PM 1225 has a 'continuous blowdown' valve on top of the firebox near the cab. A continuous blowdown draws from the water surface instead of at the bottom. It took me a minute to figure out what was going on the first time I saw it in use. Oh, and try not to be downwind when it's in use - it would make a great sprinkler system for a lawn.

EDIT: after looking at this image http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=212157 it looks like 1225's fireman's blowdown is piped to the top of the boiler. What I took for a continuous blowdown is apparently a characteristic of the muffler.

JAC

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