Old 08-11-2016, 05:09 PM   #1
spacetrain1983
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Default Good lighting at last!

Hey everyone. Today, I actually got a shot that I mostly don't have doubts about. I set up at my location, and sure enough, after a few minutes went by, I heard a distant eastbound. I turned on my camera as the train came into view, and I got this shot.
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The only doubt I have about this shot is that the front of the train might've slightly blurred. But other than that I think this is a good shot.
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Old 08-11-2016, 06:20 PM   #2
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Correct the exposure, and you have a chance with this one. It's maybe 1/2 to 3/4 stop too dark.
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Old 08-11-2016, 06:25 PM   #3
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Correct the exposure, and you have a chance with this one. It's maybe 1/2 to 3/4 stop too dark.
I'd also crop it a bit tighter, take a bit off the bottom and at left so that the train is in the bottom third of the image. But yes, this is a vast improvement over previous attempts.
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:09 PM   #4
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Progress. The big challenge here is it is a wedgie of common power (I think) so it will be held to a high standard if you want to get it into RP. As you mention the nose is a bit soft. And while the lighting is not terrible, the sun looks to be fairly high and too head on, much of the side and undergear is in shadow (remember the over the shoulder rule). Not terrible shadow but it does detract. And the contrast and color need to be punched up a bit. But this represents a good step forward.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:28 PM   #5
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I concur with John. The light is a bit head-on here, so the sides are not lit as well as they could be. It is also a bit "high-sunish".....a bit later in the day would produce much more direct light, although a later-in-the-day sun angle would probably not work at this location. Still, as others have noted, this is a huge improvement over Spacetrain's previous submissions.

Suggested edits:
  • Brighten by at least 1/3rd stop.
  • Use some shadow reduction to bring out details in the dark areas.
  • Bump up contrast after brightening and shadow reduction, as both will reduce the contrast.
  • Boost saturation a bit. The colors are a bit blah.
  • Crop some off the bottom of the image. The train is too centered now.
  • Do some sharpening.

    Edit: Spacetrain, you need to figure out which exposure mode you have selected on your camera. If it is fully automatic (camera chooses shutter speed, aperture and ISO), I would recommend changing that. Softness in the nose of the train is most often due to inadequate shutter speed. A new photographer like you really will want 1/500th of a second or faster, to guarantee you a sharp image. You want a mode like Shutter Priority or Full Manual, which allows YOU to pick the shutter speed. If you are shooting full manual, and it's bright and sunny out (NO clouds in front of the sun....not even cirrus clouds), figure perhaps 1/640th of a second at f/8 and ISO 200 if you are shooting raw. If you are shooting JPEG, 1/800th at f/8 and ISO 200 will produce an image that will need to be brightened, but you are unlikely to clip any highlights with that. Again....that's BRIGHT SUN, this time of year....no clouds filtering the sun.
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:04 AM   #6
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Do you know what your shutter speed was?
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:47 AM   #7
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Do you know what your shutter speed was?
1/200. My camera uses a system where the autofocus and shutter-release use the same button, but you partially hold down the button to focus and fully press it down to take a picture. So I had the camera autofocused on the track, and just pressed it down the rest of the way when the train got to the right spot. That's the annoying thing about the Nikon Coolpix L340, that there's basically no manual controls except for zoom. Autofocus and autoexposure are built-in and can not be disabled; I've read the manual and saw nothing about manual focus or exposure.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:03 AM   #8
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(1)1/200.
(2) My camera uses a system where the autofocus and shutter-release use the same button, but you partially hold down the button to focus and fully press it down to take a picture.
(3) Nikon Coolpix L340, that there's basically no manual controls except for zoom. Autofocus and autoexposure are built-in and can not be disabled; I've read the manual and saw nothing about manual focus or exposure.


1. You need at least 1/500s to stop a moving train, and I usually go for 1/1000s to 1/2000s.

2. Most all cameras are like that.

3. Hmm. Now I'm thinking you have a valid complaint here. The inability to control shutter speed is a deal killer for foamer photography. Does the camera have little programs for things like "landscape" and "sports?" If so, set it to the sports program. That will force the camera to select a fast shutter speed. If no control at all, you might consider saving up for a very used Nikon D3200 with 18-55mm lens (should be under $250 on ebay.)


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Old 08-12-2016, 07:27 AM   #9
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Just checked online. The Coolpix L340 has "Scene Modes" buried in the menu. Read your manual and go find the one called "Sports." That will make the camera select the fastest shutter speed possible.


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Old 08-12-2016, 01:12 PM   #10
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That's the annoying thing about the Nikon Coolpix L340
There's the problem. I owned a Coolpix before and I hated it. Every image had some flaw with it. You may get better results by changing to sports mode, but ultimately you'll need to upgrade to a beginner DSLR to overcome the limitations of a point and click.
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Old 08-12-2016, 03:57 PM   #11
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There's the problem. I owned a Coolpix before and I hated it. Every image had some flaw with it. You may get better results by changing to sports mode, but ultimately you'll need to upgrade to a beginner DSLR to overcome the limitations of a point and click.
That being said, I still think it's possible to get decent, rp-level shots with a point and shoot (on sunny days). All these shots were taken with a Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, before I got a DSLR.

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Old 08-12-2016, 07:11 PM   #12
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The fortunate thing is that many photographers are constantly upgrading their gear, so there are a lot of great second-hand cameras out there, at reasonable prices. You can buy used gear from a store, which will usually charge you a premium price for their "warranty", or you can buy from a private individual, preferably someone you know, who treats his/her equipment well. The latter will be cheaper, and the risk can be manageable. Even a 5-year-old, low-end DSLR will give a newbie photographer a much better human interface and a greater degree of control, than a Point-And-Shoot (P/S). The P/S cameras were designed for people who don't want to have to care about how the image is captured, and for the most part, don't have the high standards for image quality that you'll find among the RP crowd.

I owned a P/S camera for a couple of years in the early 2000s and rapidly got sick of crappy EVFs, shutter lag, and all manner of other annoying characteristics. I gave the thing away to my nephew, who just wanted a snap-shot camera. In fact, I gave away my D40x and my D90, which produced a lot of my early shots here on RP. What the camera stores would give me for them was peanuts compared to the value that the new owners are getting.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:34 PM   #13
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The fortunate thing is that many photographers are constantly upgrading their gear, so there are a lot of great second-hand cameras out there, at reasonable prices. You can buy used gear from a store, which will usually charge you a premium price for their "warranty", or you can buy from a private individual, preferably someone you know, who treats his/her equipment well. The latter will be cheaper, and the risk can be manageable.
Excellent venue for used gear:

https://www.keh.com/
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Old 08-13-2016, 02:22 AM   #14
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Here are two that your PS would have worked for:

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And I am not trying to be sarcastic, there are things that can work.
On your other thread there are kids sitting in the back of a pickup.

It looks cute, but they are cut off by the wood pile and probably in the wrong place but I could see you working that in with the train further away. A scene I have seen so many times in a rural area, kids sitting just watching trains.

Also, you had in the past a photo of a shortline, get to know their routine, so you know where to go and you don't need a faster shutter speed. If you get that little camera to work for you when you move up it will be piece of cake.

I don't know where you live and what your free time is and what is around but train opportunities may be limited. I'd say take lots of photos, cars, people buildings, mornings on the way to work, after work, after church whatever. Cull, them, see what you like, figure out what works. Figure out the scene settings, how to prefocus with a half press. Need to start thinking more about an editing program.

As far as the forum, I'd look at some of your old posts, most of what is covered has been done so before. I know you are looking for varied ideas but you are like the tennis player with 10 coaches. Of course, when you get something really good it still may be rejected, but........

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Old 08-13-2016, 02:28 AM   #15
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That being said, I still think it's possible to get decent, rp-level shots with a point and shoot (on sunny days). All these shots were taken with a Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, before I got a DSLR.
Touche Sir!
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Old 08-13-2016, 02:57 AM   #16
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Had you gave it a little zoom for a more head on shot, the poor lighting would have been avoided. It's a step up from total backlighting, but whenever possible, shoot wide to show a "scene" or try and include interesting elements. It's a great way to begin improving your overall photography skills.

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Old 08-13-2016, 04:29 AM   #17
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Unfortunately the motion blur on the nose is a killer with no solution. Getting closer though! Keep going.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:08 AM   #18
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The comp and lighting are good enough on this one. However unless you either figure out how to use or upgrade your equipment then you will continue to struggle. I've never used a Nikon point and shoot but even the little Sony P&S that I carry around in my pocket when travelling overseas can do that and yield reasonably sharp images.
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:26 AM   #19
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Well, maybe something that happened a few months ago affected the camera more than I realized. While I was at a hotel in Salt Lake City, I accidentally dropped the camera in the lobby (well, actually, one of the securing things for the neck straps came loose). Luckily it only caused the batteries to come out and the lens cap to come off. As far as I have been aware, that was all that happened, though the battery cover is a tiny bit loose, but not enough to matter. Now I'm starting to question if maybe it more got damaged than I realized, like maybe the image processor got slightly damaged, resulting in slightly under sharpened images. But, maybe it's just my skill level. Because you know what they say: a camera is only as good as the photographer that uses it.
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:48 AM   #20
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Well, maybe something that happened a few months ago affected the camera more than I realized. While I was at a hotel in Salt Lake City, I accidentally dropped the camera in the lobby (well, actually, one of the securing things for the neck straps came loose). Luckily it only caused the batteries to come out and the lens cap to come off. As far as I have been aware, that was all that happened, though the battery cover is a tiny bit loose, but not enough to matter. Now I'm starting to question if maybe it more got damaged than I realized, like maybe the image processor got slightly damaged, resulting in slightly under sharpened images. But, maybe it's just my skill level. Because you know what they say: a camera is only as good as the photographer that uses it.

It really just looks like motion blur, not a sensor issue. Simply too slow a shutter speed.
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Old 08-16-2016, 01:48 PM   #21
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Even at 200th of second you can avoid motion blur. Shoot slowly moving trains or position yourself on the outside of a curve where you can shoot the train head on (safely). Sometimes shooting off a bridge above the train while it is coming at you head on will work, too.

I shot for a few years with an Argus C3 film camera when I was first starting out and got pretty OK results with it and slow Kodak film. There are even a few of those shots on this site. :0
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Old 08-17-2016, 07:08 AM   #22
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Now I'm starting to question if maybe it more got damaged than I realized, like maybe the image processor got slightly damaged, resulting in slightly under sharpened images.

Highly unlikely. Either the sensor works or it doesn't. Always a chance some elements in the lens got jarred out of position, but the shot you posted was from too slow a shutter speed.


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