Old 01-04-2006, 08:35 PM   #1
Slopes09
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Default Chicago Union Station

I'm getting desperate to go take some good train pictures. The problem is the clouds and rain. Here in Chicago, we haven't seen the sun for days, and today, it was dark most of the day the clouds were so thick and dark. So far, the best solution to me seems to me to be shoot indoors. So my question is: Anyone know how they are at Union Station and the Oglivie Transportation Center with photographers? Do they care if you're hanging around with a camera?
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:02 PM   #2
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Union Station has been a problem for some. They usually frown against photography. I would be careful as security didn't like me taking pictures at La Salle Street. I'd imagine they would be worse at CUS. I'm not sure about Oglivie.

The clouds around Mike and I (we live pretty close to each other) are getting very tiring. The last time we had sunlight (at least we did in Mundelein where I was) was Tuesday December 27th. Other than that, it's been all clouds. Tomorrow and Friday, it's supposed to be partly cloudy. As soon as school ends, I'll definately have to train watch.

Edit: Saturday is also supposed to be party cloudy. Now school wont get in the way.
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicTrain35
Edit: Saturday is also supposed to be party cloudy. Now school wont get in the way.
Unless you're me and you have multiple projects to finish.
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicTrain35
Union Station has been a problem for some. They usually frown against photography.
Bah! What station doesn't?
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:19 AM   #5
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There hasn't been sunshine here for 2 weeks... And when we finally do get it on the 9th and 10th of this month, clouds will move back in.
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by bnsf sammy
Bah! What station doesn't?
The ones I've been to.
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Old 01-05-2006, 02:04 PM   #7
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Well, it really just depends on the secerity gaurd that is on duty. One had no problem with me taking pictures, antoher said to leave the station.
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Old 01-05-2006, 02:23 PM   #8
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Default A little pre-coordination goes along way.

Call and make an appointment with the station security chief. Sit down with them and tell them what you're looking to do. Tell them you want human interest photos as much as you do train photos (trust me you do).

If you're so inclined look up the works of Mr. Mel Patrick, he and an accomplice did a gorgeous photo-slideshow production of Chicago Union in the 60's and 70's.

Try and acquire yourself a copy of the slideshow and study it, have a plan on what sort of things you want to shoot.

You might also coordinate with the station media affairs staff.

You can call on the phone, but you're much more likely to get a receptive reaction if you go in person.

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Old 01-05-2006, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slopes09
I'm getting desperate to go take some good train pictures. The problem is the clouds and rain. Here in Chicago, we haven't seen the sun for days, and today, it was dark most of the day the clouds were so thick and dark.
I am in the mood to whine. According to the weather guys here, Dec 19th was the last day of sun lasting more than 5 minutes.
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Old 01-05-2006, 03:16 PM   #10
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Default Good Thinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoydie17
Call and make an appointment with the station security chief. Sit down with them and tell them what you're looking to do. Tell them you want human interest photos as much as you do train photos (trust me you do).

If you're so inclined look up the works of Mr. Mel Patrick, he and an accomplice did a gorgeous photo-slideshow production of Chicago Union in the 60's and 70's.

Try and acquire yourself a copy of the slideshow and study it, have a plan on what sort of things you want to shoot.

You might also coordinate with the station media affairs staff.

You can call on the phone, but you're much more likely to get a receptive reaction if you go in person.

Sean
I like the way you think, and what could it hurt, I always ask first IF possible.
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Old 01-05-2006, 03:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busyEMT
I am in the mood to whine. According to the weather guys here, Dec 19th was the last day of sun lasting more than 5 minutes.
Just because there is no sun doesn't mean you can't take train photos.
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Old 01-05-2006, 07:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slopes09
I'm getting desperate to go take some good train pictures. The problem is the clouds and rain. Here in Chicago, we haven't seen the sun for days, and today, it was dark most of the day the clouds were so thick and dark. So far, the best solution to me seems to me to be shoot indoors. So my question is: Anyone know how they are at Union Station and the Oglivie Transportation Center with photographers? Do they care if you're hanging around with a camera?
My fellow Chicagoan friends!!! I know how ya feel! That is why for the past week I have locked myself in my basement and worked on my model trains. I did go rialfanning last friday, which was fun....
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Old 01-05-2006, 08:13 PM   #13
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When it's cloudy, take night shots.
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Old 01-05-2006, 08:55 PM   #14
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When it's cloudy, take night shots.
Or just go out anyway. Who said you had to take pictures when you go out? I personally find it relaxing sometimes to just sit back and watch.
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Or just go out anyway. Who said you had to take pictures when you go out? I personally find it relaxing sometimes to just sit back and watch.
Yes, that too. Many times when it is cloudy I just sit in my friend's backyard and watch the trains go by. A camera is a great distraction from catching the whole experience.
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:19 PM   #16
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I almost always have my camera, so I am not caught off gaurd when something rare rolls through.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4kV
A camera is a great distraction from catching the whole experience.
I agree, normally when I am taking a picture, that whole experience of watching the train go by and seeing how big it is is all captured by the small LCD screen of my camera. I rarely even get to see what engine number it was until after I take the picture!
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:41 PM   #18
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When it's cloudy, I like to film the trains with my camcorder. I'll set the camcorder on something sturdy and record. That way, I have full view of the train. It's always nice to wave to the crew as they honk and roll by. As Caleb said, it's relaxing to just sit back and watch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4kV
A camera is a great distraction from catching the whole experience.
I also agree. I usually photograph the trains while my dad films them with the camcorder. My dad enjoys filming them. I also film them sometimes. This way, I can photograph the trains and watch everything I saw at home on TV.

Taking night shots on cloudy days, like Pat suggested, is also a good idea. I enjoy night shots a lot. I've gotten better at them since I first started. I've been practicing a lot. I just received my new 350D yesterday. I'm going to be trying it out tomorrow. We're supposed to get sun tomorrow, which is excellent, since I wanted to try manually setting my exposure in sunlight, which I am still learning. This weekend will be sunny too. I'm heading out to try and see the CNW's, since they will be in my area! I can't wait to try out my new camera.

Take care everyone.

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Old 01-06-2006, 05:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busyEMT
I am in the mood to whine. According to the weather guys here, Dec 19th was the last day of sun lasting more than 5 minutes.
That's not a whine, that's the truth. Minnesota sucks this winter!
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Old 01-06-2006, 07:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Muller
That's not a whine, that's the truth. Minnesota sucks this winter!
So does ND, for sun anyway. It's been a warm one though...
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Old 01-06-2006, 10:29 PM   #21
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Well, I now realized the quote I used to base my statement on, was misleading. I was merely empathizing with hoydie17 about taking good railroad pictures.

Sure, my personal site is chocked full of cloudy day shots... clouds haven't stopped my from sitting trackside in the past. It is more satisfying to bag a nicely exposed, full sun shot - photographically speaking. I think it would be analogous to a railfan stuck on a single railline, only able to catch NS catfish Dash-9s day in/day out.
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Old 01-07-2006, 11:33 PM   #22
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Default Well . . .

Guys,

I'm not trying to put anyone here nor the website down, so please don't take it this way, simply stating my opinion.

Having sun in a photo doesn't necessarily make a good shot, IMHO, at least from a "photographer's" perspective overcast, cloudy days have a great way of making light distribution much more uniform, reducing glare and glint and allowing for a greater look at the detail of a train or any subject. The downside is you will lose the vibrance and brightness of the subject's natural color.

RP.net however has sort of groomed this "accepted standard" for rail photography which quite frankly is mis-leading. I know they do accept some pictures of cloudy, nasty weather shots, but if you really take the time to look through the database, those shots are few and far between. I know I've gotten 2 or 3 in.

Many of the flame-wars that break out over RP.net in other forums are because of this policy. However that is RP.net's policy to make, so why argue with it?

There is far more to a "good" picture than brilliant sunshine, one must also consider composition, angle, and good use of available light. Anyone can put the sun at their back and take a photo of a train, the concept is simple and straightforward. A railfan with a camera does just that, a photographer of railroads looks at as many possibilities and dimensions as possible to their photo, or as I like to think, "What is the message I'm trying to get across to the viewer?".

I try to look at it like this, the RR moves whether it's sunny, dark, rainy, icy, cold, or hot. In my opinion that eliminates about 260 days a year that you miss of railroad action. It would certainly be nice to think that everyday guys are out busting their chops it was 70 degrees and pleasant and clear skies, it's anything but.

Bottom Line: If you want to confine yourself to "fair weather foamin'" by all means do so, but railroaders don't have that luxury. Personally I truly want to capture the grit and the glory (as rare as said glory may be) of the trade. That means regardless of weather, if the light is useable, then I intend to be out looking for another "good" photo. The photo is as much about the "human interest" factor as it is the train.

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Old 01-08-2006, 01:45 AM   #23
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AMEN!!!!, alot of us that are on this site don't have the luxury of being able to go out on only the perfect days. I personally have no photos on this site, but I still enjoy viewing the pics that are here,BUT, not having perfect lighting or WX will not stop me from taking the pics that I want for myself. I take the pics for myself and not for anyone else. If I like the shot, I take it. It goes back to the old saying" ya do the best with what ya got"
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Old 01-08-2006, 03:12 AM   #24
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OK, I'll whine too!

Here is typical central Pa. weather. No sun since middle December and it's extra serious since I have seasonal depression... a couple cloudy days and I'm in the dumper.

Sometimes it's a bad pic or none at all-since I'm a moody SOB anyway I like shots that match that... or it seems that I wind up on the railroad during lousy weather.

Or sometimes I prefer the even lighting of cloudy days without having to fight the sun.

The rest of this would mirror what Sean said so I'l let it go at that.

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Old 01-08-2006, 04:48 AM   #25
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Hey guess what?! We got sun this morning for several hours! Too bad I had to work on my d@mn physics project!
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