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Old 02-13-2008, 01:12 PM   #19
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Lawrence, KS
Posts: 34
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Hey guys, I figured this shot would generate some controversy if it got on. I honestly didn't think it would, but I'm glad some people like it. Those of you that don't like it, that's okay. No skin off my back. I've had a hell of a time getting stuff that I thought was more acceptable than this on. Bottom line, we're at the mercy of the screeners, and some days we win, some days we lose. I just love taking train photos, especially night shots... just look thru my shots.

About the photo:

I shot this from a boat ramp on Lake Russell, hoping the bridge would be closer in. I was certainly wrong! Having never been to this exact spot before, especialy in the dark made it difficult. To judge where things were. Thank God I had 3 trains to experiment with, but this ended up being the best that I could work with.

Focus was on infinity, and the blurriness on the right side is to be expected when you don't focus on the north star. Physics governs the motions of the stars here, and especially at f3.5, you can't expect everything to be in focus.
The goal here was to use the lake and the sky for the sense of depth and infinite volume. The big dipper was the added kick. In night photography you have to have an interesting foreground or background and an interesting subject. My thoughts here were the lake and sky, and the train. Anyways, Never did I expect the train to take up a large part of the composition. Railroad photos come in many compositions, but it's railroad content, bottom line. There's a train in it, and you can see it moving across the frame at night.

Regarding the size of the headlight streaks. I could have closed the f-stop some, but that would make the streaks smaller and less apparent, albeit more sharply defined.

Regarding color, with time exposures, you get some color washing, and since I don't have photoshop, I can't adjust it like some of the big names. Also, I had a sodium vapor light at the boat dock giving wierd colors coming off the reflections in the lake, and also from the cities in the background on the horizon. Basically, I couldn't fix the color with the tools I had (and it just looked strange and unreal), and so I made it b&w.

Regarding levelness.. Jim, the lake is level, and they make a significant climb out of the lake. It appears this way due to the trees on the right at a closer distance than all the others around the lake. All was leveled on the tripod, and when shooting at 18mm, you get some barrel distortion too. That, also I cannot fix with my editing program.

I like to think I am an outside the box photographer for the most part, just ask the folks I shoot with, or look at some of my other stuff.

Again, to all that like the shot, thank you. To all that don't think it belongs, I disagree, but you shouldn't be forced to like my photo. After all, you're entitled to an opinion. And lets face it, we've all been doodled by the screeners with inconsistencies over time. With something as subjective as photography, you're bound to stir up the pot. I just wanted to share some of the background regarding the creation of this photo.

Thanks guys,

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