Old Yesterday, 02:14 PM   #1
Joseph Cermak
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Default Tips for headlight anticipation shots?

Any tips for those style of night photo where you just see the headlight lighting up something in the distance, so called "anticipation" shots. I finally got to try some the other day but got a PAQ, which doesn't offer much input on what to do differently. Thanks.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...21&key=8850511

Included is an example of the kind of photo I'm talking about
Image © Mike Danneman
PhotoID: 470915
Photograph © Mike Danneman
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Old Yesterday, 02:41 PM   #2
bigbassloyd
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I've did the best with these shots when several criteria below come together for a spot.

No ambient or artificial light to boost the lighting in the scene.
Near a curve, to give the headlight more time to 'brighten' the scene.
Bad weather (fog, snow, etc.) to better develop the glow in the atmosphere.
Railroad related elements that will be silhouetted by the headlight.

In your example you've got an artificially lit location which will 'fight' the locomotive headlight for exposure level in the shot. It also threw the color balance off, giving you a hot white headlight. The bridge is a great idea, but the surrounding location doesn't support this shot well enough.








Loyd L.
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Old Yesterday, 04:47 PM   #3
bbrant
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Nice work Loyd! I've never been able to pull off one of the shots. How far in advance do you fire the the shutter? As soon as you see the glow of the headlight or a little before/after?
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Old Yesterday, 06:09 PM   #4
RobJor
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Yes, Lloyd, classic shots. Thanks.

I have tried a few, rejected.

I have attached a going away version , shot at 1/30th,
When I see the bridge illuminated. Several nights I drove out to Dubuque on the Miss. R. You can sit on the levee and listen as they switch the yard and then work thier way up to the bridge. I would have my Border collie with me and play fetch forever and sometimes talk with kids and their cars hanging out.

Never tried this one as I didn't want to ruin some good memories with a rejection.

Bob Jordan
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Old Yesterday, 08:19 PM   #5
bigbassloyd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbrant View Post
Nice work Loyd! I've never been able to pull off one of the shots. How far in advance do you fire the the shutter? As soon as you see the glow of the headlight or a little before/after?
It varies depending on the scene, conditions, and my desire for the composition. I do try to aim for at least 20 seconds of exposure in most circumstances.

Once you can see the scene begin to illuminate from the headlight, it's time to start (but there's usually no penalty for starting earlier), and I always end the exposure right before the headlight(s) is visible. Knowing how bright the result will be based off the camera settings, the type of headlight(s), and the atmospheric conditions is something that is only possible from a lot of practice. It took me years to get to the point where I know exactly what to do to get a usable result with a very high degree of confidence.

shot 1 was 90 seconds, f5.6, iso 100 in a light fog
shot 2 was 167 seconds, f2.8, iso 100 in a humid but fog-less atmosphere
shot 3 was 90 seconds f8, iso 400 in a heavy rain (mile long straight-away that allowed plenty of time for the headlights to work their magic).
shot 4 was 34 seconds, f6.3 iso 400 in a heavy fog. I could have halved the expsoure time to get the same level from the headlights due to the S curve behind the signal, but I wanted to introduce some red into the fog from the signal.

Loyd L.
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Old Yesterday, 09:02 PM   #6
troy12n
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I feel the OP's shot is really busy. i'm not sure the bridge structure really lends much to the shot, it's also a grade crossing wedgie shot. I would find a better location, ideal location would be one on a curve, or one where you aren't shooting straight into the oncoming train, what you have is a big blob of light

Other things that detract from the scene:
- foreground and bridge structure not lit very well (no detail)
- sodium light in the background and road and power poles detracts from the scene
- the grade crossing apparatus closest to the photographer adds nothing to the shot
- perspective correction needs to be done
- color temperature and/or hue needs adjustment, it has a very yellow hue

I just don't think it's a good location for this type of shot
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