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-   -   Grade X-ing Wedgie haters... (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=5439)

Ween 06-25-2007 11:45 PM

Grade X-ing Wedgie haters...
 
I saw this photo and it stood out to me:
[photoid=191415]

And lo and behold, it's an anti-"real"-rail-photographer, anti-good, no-thought-involved grade crossing wedgie.

But it's so much more. It's a 37 year old time capsule. It's a showcase of a fallen flag. It's a mark of what things looked like so long ago, the train, the cars, etc. It can never, ever be repeated. It's.........great.

And there's my dig for folks who look down on those boring, amateur-ish grade crossing wedgies!

JRMDC 06-26-2007 01:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween
And there's my dig for folks who look down on those boring, amateur-ish grade crossing wedgies!

Sorry, Chris, you set up a pointless strawman. Your conflate a) making a shot vs. making no shot at all, and b) making a grade crossing wedgie vs. making a different sort of shot. Oh, and you conflate c) making a shot and striving for art, and d) making a shot and striving for historical documentation.

Plenty of room for everybody in this hobby. :)

JRMDC 06-26-2007 01:58 AM

1 Attachment(s)
BTW, with full apologies to George, don't cha thunk he shuud hav uzd the rule o' 3 way back in the day? And dumped the dead space? Huh? Huh?

Just kidding; if inappropriate I will delete the post and my revisions to George's shot. George is a great photographer today and his historical stuff is tremendous also.

bigbassloyd 06-26-2007 02:53 AM

Here's my take on it..

30 years from now... if this site is still around, or if other(s) takes its place.. all my common power, cloudy day, wedgie photos will be just as golden as F units, alcos, and steam are today.. :)

Loyd L.

Mike B. 06-26-2007 03:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd
Here's my take on it..

30 years from now... if this site is still around, or if other(s) takes its place.. all my common power, cloudy day, wedgie photos will be just as golden as F units, alcos, and steam are today.. :)

Loyd L.

Sorry, but that's not true. It's as simple as supply and demand.

bigbassloyd 06-26-2007 04:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike B.
Sorry, but that's not true. It's as simple as supply and demand.

oh yes, its 100% supply and demand

and like everything else that is valuable from the past, the supply shrank as time marched on, and demand shot through the roof...

there's rarely any value on present day features, because they are common..

"gee, its just a model T"
"gee, its just another steam locomotive"
"gee, its just another F A-B-B-A set"

is it realistic to believe all these photographs on all the websites will survive in some form for the next 3-5 decades? doubtful.. but maybe I'm just a pessimist. Post back in 30 years and we'll see ;) :D

Loyd L.

Mike B. 06-26-2007 04:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd
oh yes, its 100% supply and demand

and like everything else that is valuable from the past, the supply shrank as time marched on, and demand shot through the roof...

there's rarely any value on present day features, because they are common..

"gee, its just a model T"
"gee, its just another steam locomotive"
"gee, its just another F A-B-B-A set"

is it realistic to believe all these photographs on all the websites will survive in some form for the next 3-5 decades? doubtful.. but maybe I'm just a pessimist. Post back in 30 years and we'll see ;) :D

Loyd L.

Of course not every photograph on this website and others will remain, but just look at the technology we're using. Back in the days of steam, F-units, and even when SD40-2s were king, the easiest way to share your photos was to show them to friends or go to a meet. Now, all you have to do is make a few clicks and the entire world can see your photos. Yes, the supply of todays photos will go down with time, but it will never get as low as it is for steam, F-units, etc.

Ween 06-26-2007 09:19 AM

First off, I've never heard of the word 'conflate' in my life and I'm too lazy to head to a dictionary to see what it means!

Quote:

Plenty of room for everybody in this hobby. :)
This is exactly my point. I've come across folks who tend to look down their noses at the grade crossing wedgie because it's not an 'artistic' shot. To me though, this shot is art.

As for the supply and demand, no one can say for sure what the future holds. All I can say is that 1999 wasn't that far in the past, and shots of Conrail are a nice treat to see. What's around today that won't be around tomorrow? No one knows, but shoot what you can! In 30 years, you'll be glad you did...

JRMDC 06-26-2007 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween
First off, I've never heard of the word 'conflate' in my life and I'm too lazy to head to a dictionary to see what it means!

Geesh, Chris, you are sitting at a browser! Do a search and look at the very first result!!! :) [George Costanza: "rain, hail, sl... It's the first one!"]

My point is that just because a representation is old, documents something important, etc., doesn't make it art, or good art. For those less interested in the non-artistic dimensions, their view is valid. Lots of room for disagreement on the definition of art, for sure.

Quote:

This is exactly my point. I've come across folks who tend to look down their noses at the grade crossing wedgie because it's not an 'artistic' shot. To me though, this shot is art.

As for the supply and demand, no one can say for sure what the future holds. All I can say is that 1999 wasn't that far in the past, and shots of Conrail are a nice treat to see. What's around today that won't be around tomorrow? No one knows, but shoot what you can! In 30 years, you'll be glad you did...
Two things about supply an demand. First of all, there are a LOT more people around today with money and leisure time to shoot trains. So supply has greatly expanded. Second, perhaps offsetting this down the road is whether formats become obsolete. Certainly an issue with manufacturer-specific RAW files; I suspect less so with jpgs. I believe one can still open Lotus 1-2-3 v1.0 spreadsheet made in the 1980s. Slides, on the other hand, are fine, although negatives not so great in terms of color shfts sometimes.

jdirelan87 06-26-2007 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC
Two things about supply an demand. First of all, there are a LOT more people around today with money and leisure time to shoot trains. So supply has greatly expanded.


Hmmm... can't say I argee with that statement, seeing how membership in every major railroad related club or organization has been decreasing for the last couple decades. I think almost all of us can agree that "railroads" as a hobby, either than be modeling or railfanning, is past its prime.

JRMDC 06-26-2007 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdirelan87
Hmmm... can say I argee with that statement, seeing how membership in every major railroad related club or organization has been decreasing for the last couple decades. I think almost all of us can agree that "railroads" as a hobby, either than be modeling or railfanning, is past its prime.

John, in what year do you think the most decent RR shots were taken? I believe it was 2006, and will be 2007 when it is over. I think there is a reason why there are more photo freights these days than 20 years ago; more people with money to pay for them and leisure time to enjoy them. I think this is a booming period for railroad photography and current RR operations are much more extensively documented than those of any other period.

Also, I think that club membership is not a great measure, because club membership is not as important anymore. Admittedly, my view may be biased because I am quite interested in the industry yet I have never belonged to a club! The question is whether online forums are sufficient to sustain a community of railfans; we shall see.

jdirelan87 06-26-2007 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC
John, in what year do you think the most decent RR shots were taken? I believe it was 2006, and will be 2007 when it is over. I think there is a reason why there are more photo freights these days than 20 years ago; more people with money to pay for them and leisure time to enjoy them. I think this is a booming period for railroad photography and current RR operations are much more extensively documented than those of any other period.

Well, here is another possible take on it that has already been mentioned. Perhaps 2006 was the best year for railroad photography that you have ever seen, thanks to the RP.net. Think about, assuming you checked RP everyday day or so last year you saw something like 50,000 pictures from 2006.

How many pictures have you seen from say, I don't know, 1960? Over a lifetime of reading railroad books and what not, perhaps on the high side 5,000. Now that doesn't mean that 50,000 railroad photos weren't taken in 1960, it just means there was no medium like RP.net to share them. Also, perhaps those 45,000 slides sitting in personal collections around the country are the most mind blowing railroad pictures ever taken.

I think RP.net gives us false sense of security about the popularity of our hobby. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that its a dying hobby by any means. But, at the same time subscriptions to the leading magazines are down, membership in NRHS is down. There was a point in history (more so British, but also American) when “trains” was considered a main stream hobby. No one can deny that today it is far from it.

JRMDC 06-26-2007 04:32 PM

I (stubbornly!) hold to my belief that there is just no way there were as many photogs trackside in 1960 as in 2007, due to leisure time and income increases - not to mention that the US population is way higher now, 302 million, only 179 million back then - in the absence of a compelling argument otherwise. !!! :) I'm not thinking about what I have seen or what have been published or internetted (!?), just trying to count clicks.

Hey, I'm stubborn!

But I don't disagree about the long-term status of our hobby, I can't see how it can do anything but inevitably decline. But, while there may be few around to enjoy them, there will nonetheless be plenty of shots of ES44DCs from the CSX Metropolitan sub, I can assure you. :) Probably too many to justify the resources put into hard disks and DVDs.

Andrew Blaszczyk (2) 06-26-2007 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdirelan87
Well, here is another possible take on it that has already been mentioned. Perhaps 2006 was the best year for railroad photography that you have ever seen, thanks to the RP.net. Think about, assuming you checked RP everyday day or so last year you saw something like 50,000 pictures from 2006.

How many pictures have you seen from say, I don't know, 1960? Over a lifetime of reading railroad books and what not, perhaps on the high side 5,000. Now that doesn't mean that 50,000 railroad photos weren't taken in 1960, it just means there was no medium like RP.net to share them. Also, perhaps those 45,000 slides sitting in personal collections around the country are the most mind blowing railroad pictures ever taken.

I think RP.net gives us false sense of security about the popularity of our hobby. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that its a dying hobby by any means. But, at the same time subscriptions to the leading magazines are down, membership in NRHS is down. There was a point in history (more so British, but also American) when “trains” was considered a main stream hobby. No one can deny that today it is far from it.

Very well said.

Things change fast. Like Ween said seeing a Conrail-era photo or even blue locos nowadays is a real treat and it hasn't even been 10 years since the take over. My main concern as a railfan right now is take photos of what I think may disappear first and all the rare, first and last runs that occur. Sure there will be 200,000 photos of BNSF 'pumpkins' in personal collections all over, but who will have the last locomotive painted in that scheme IF they merge with another RR or the change the paint scheme in 10 years.

Now so my post is actually on-topic, George's shot while is classified as a grade-crossing wedgie, is much more not just because of the power. George was wise enough to actually include the crossing lights as well the building in the background. There is more than just the train in the photo so there is still that little sense of "location".

JimThias 06-26-2007 05:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween
I saw this photo and it stood out to me:
[photoid=191415]

And lo and behold,it's an anti-"real"-rail-photographer, anti-good, no-thought-involved grade crossing wedgie.

I don't know who George is, so could you elaborate on something? George is an "anti-real-rail-photographer"? What does that mean?

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC
I (stubbornly!) hold to my belief that there is just no way there were as many photogs trackside in 1960 as in 2007, due to leisure time and income increases - not to mention that the US population is way higher now, 302 million, only 179 million back then - in the absence of a compelling argument otherwise. !!! :) I'm not thinking about what I have seen or what have been published or internetted (!?), just trying to count clicks.

Hey, I'm stubborn!

But I don't disagree about the long-term status of our hobby, I can't see how it can do anything but inevitably decline. But, while there may be few around to enjoy them, there will nonetheless be plenty of shots of ES44DCs from the CSX Metropolitan sub, I can assure you. :) Probably too many to justify the resources put into hard disks and DVDs.

Consider this for a moment...just take a look in your area at how many rails are GONE that were there just 40-50 years ago. Think about how many different opportunities for creative photography there were. You could go up on a bridge and shoot a train and no one cared. Now you get chased off by the police (happened to me recently) or put your life in danger by cars speeding by at 70 mph (on country roads). Think of all those old trestles that have been abandoned or torn down. Think about how much foliage growth there has been, thus eliminating the possiblity for shots on branch lines or spurs that are less traveled and less trimmed (like main lines). Think about all those fallen flags on those torn up railroads that no longer exist. The odds for creatives shots in exclusive areas have VASTLY diminished over the years, IMO.

Yes, I suppose I could agree with you on the number of pictures being taken being greater than 40-50 years ago. But what percentage of that greater number is on the MAIN lines of any of the Class 1 railroads? I'd say that number is VERY high. Compares that with the HUGE variety of railroads 40-50 years ago, and I think you can argue that railroad photography back then was probably much more....hmmm..well, compelling. ;-)

Yeah, I love shooting today's GEVOs and mile-long coal trains, but I'd do ANYTHING to be able to catch a steam train from the 50's going over this trestle:

http://s2.photobucket.com/albums/y17...estle-0549.jpg

JRMDC 06-27-2007 12:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias
Yes, I suppose I could agree with you on the number of pictures being taken being greater than 40-50 years ago. But what percentage of that greater number is on the MAIN lines of any of the Class 1 railroads? I'd say that number is VERY high. Compares that with the HUGE variety of railroads 40-50 years ago, and I think you can argue that railroad photography back then was probably much more....hmmm..well, compelling. ;-)

What I am saying is that I feel today's railroading will be better documented that the railroading of, say, 1960, because of the greater number of railfans out there shooting lots and lots of shots. As for the Class 1s, they and their mainlines are the dominant dimension of railroading today, so of course they will get the attention, and as a result the relative level of documentation of class 1 mainline railroading and other parts of railroading will about match the economic reality.

Does this mean less compelling photographs? Well, I can see the argument as to variety. Surely there will be fewer photographs showing single carload-based railroading, less switching, etc. So the variety in documentation will fall, matching the decline in variety in the industry's operations.

But will the artistry in photographs decrease? I think no way. Let me pick on one photographer who I believe is deceased (so he can't defend himself! :) ). Don Ball Jr. Extremely well known, a great documenter of his time. I'm looking at his book "America's Colorful Railroads" as I type. Nice stuff. But do you know what? KING OF THE WEDGIE. Well, exaggeration, only in that most of his era did a lot of wedgies. So he was no "worse" than most others. We value those shots for the documentary content, the transition from steam to diesel. Not for the artistic content. Not for composition, not for lines, not for form, etc. With 30 seconds thought I can think of 6 Andrew Blaszczyk shots that blow the shots in his book away in terms of artisitic value, in terms of interesting compositions, etc. Just one name; I could have used any of a number of participants in these very forums! Ball is not much of an artist, which does not detract away from what he accomplished in terms of documenting a fascinating period in RR history.

Now, there are exceptions, such as O Winston Link. But I argue that, due to the sheer numbers of photographers, due to the greater leisure time they have, time to push the artistry, due to the time and money available to go to interesting locations, etc., there are more artistic RR shots being made than at any time in the past. It doesn't matter that the hobby is in slow decline relative to the expanse of the population.

Yes, these are the glory days of RR photography.

Ween 06-27-2007 01:47 AM

Quote:

I don't know who George is, so could you elaborate on something? George is an "anti-real-rail-photographer"? What does that mean?
I never meant to imply anything negative about George. I thought that was clear. If you haven't been following along to my point, it's aimed at those who hold the belief that grade crossing wedgies are the product of the unimaginative photographer. In other words, those who look down their collective noses at wedgie-takers.

My whole point was to illustrate that George's photo is anything but a slam on him. I guess something was lost in the translation from my keyboard to your brain!

JimThias 06-27-2007 06:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween
I never meant to imply anything negative about George. I thought that was clear. If you haven't been following along to my point, it's aimed at those who hold the belief that grade crossing wedgies are the product of the unimaginative photographer. In other words, those who look down their collective noses at wedgie-takers.

Sorry, I wasn't aware of this mentality regarding wedgies. I must have missed those threads. :razz:

Can you send me in the direction of a thread where such an anti-wedgie attitude exists? I haven't been around this forum as long as you have, so I'm sure there's much I have missed.

Ween 06-27-2007 01:40 PM

Look for a PM (sometime), Jim!

rustyrail 06-27-2007 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd
Here's my take on it..

30 years from now... if this site is still around, or if other(s) takes its place.. all my common power, cloudy day, wedgie photos will be just as golden as F units, alcos, and steam are today.. :)

Loyd L.

Not quite sure about that...standards are way higher now then they've ever been. There are too many superior well-lit, well-composed, focused wedge shots out there. It would have to be of something extremely rare, or would have to be taken a rare location. Otherwise it's just a "niche" shot that will only appeal to a limited number of railfans. If it's just another dash-9, then sorry, cloudy isn't going to cut it in 30 years. In 60 years maybe...

JimThias 06-27-2007 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween
Look for a PM (sometime), Jim!

Thanks, Chris. Honestly, I wasn't aware of any particular attitude on this site regarding those who mainly shoot wedgies.

Ween 06-27-2007 08:06 PM

It's not necessarily on this site, but that "air" is out there in the hobby that wedgies are the product of the uncreative.

I thought Mr. Hamlin's photo was a real boon and a good example of the importance of wedgies, not so much in the technical aspects (not saying his isn't, it is!), but also in the historical one. But, like anything else, it's just my opinion...;)

Carl Becker 06-27-2007 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias
Honestly, I wasn't aware of any particular attitude on this site regarding those who mainly shoot wedgies.

There's those who love wedgies, and those who hate them. I like them, especially when something is done that makes them a little more than just a "standard" wedgie. It's probably evident that I like them when you look through my photos in the database. ;)

I do like many types of time-exposures. However, I tend to like other shots better which have a more realistic aspect to them, another reason why I am more interested in megapixels then zoom power. I really like viewing a photo that shows a scene that I know I could see clearly with the naked eye, just like or extremely similar to how the photo shows it.

ken45 07-09-2007 10:00 PM

I read a guys rail photography web page where he gave tips on rail photography. From his tone, he clearly despised wedgie-takers, especially the grade crossing wedgie. He pretty much said that if you shot from a grade crossing, it wasn't going to be much of a shot.

I've never seen anything wrong with shooting from grade crossings. Being fairly faint hearted for a railfan, I'm not going to go grab a machete and hack through underbrush just to get a shot I could have gotten by standing at that grade crossing a quarter mile back. However, my recent move to Las Vegas, the desert offers easier hiking (and few grade crossings) so I'm a little more adventerous in getting photo angles.

There were a lot more railfans back in the day, but the reason it seems like there is more now is that thanks to sites like this, the results of people's photography is much more accessible. I'm sure in dusty boxes there are thousands of slides of the 50's and 60's waiting to be unearthed.

I agree with Janusz about rail photography being better quality today. Don Ball is one of my favorite photographers, and yet there are few shots in his books that are true jaw-droppers. Instead, they are more interesting for their subject. Rail photography was very standardized back then, whereas, today it's seen more as art, and creativity is encouraged. However, I must say that a lot of what I look for in my own successful photographs are very similar to what you find in Mr.Ball's photos, because I do find them appealing.

The wedgie, however, will always be the bread and butter of rail photographers. For all they get knocked nowadays, they are a generally pleasing way to present a train. They can be taken at most hours of daylight, and you can take them in most geographies. The people who sneer at them either take very few photos or are hypocrites. I certainly am not above them, however I strive to avoid "Random Wedgies in Nameless Locations" where all you see is the train and a bare minimum of scenery. I like giving my photos a sense of place if it's a standard angle, and enjoy viewing the photos of others who do the same.

Mike B. 07-10-2007 02:50 AM

What website did you read that from? I'd like to read it myself.


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