Old 03-30-2010, 09:34 PM   #1
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Default How do I compose an interesting station scene?

I haven't gotten a station scene on RP yet-they're always PEQ'd. What are the essential elements to make an interesting station scene? We have 16 Amtrak stops a day and everyone is different, but I'm missing something. Can anyone tell me what it is?
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:58 PM   #2
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Not having the conductor with his back to you would be a good start. The goodbye / hello hug going on down the platform could be useful, if it wasn't 100 ft down the shot, and out of focal range. Just nothing real special or grabbing going on there.

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Old 03-30-2010, 09:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pderekh View Post
I haven't gotten a station scene on RP yet-they're always PEQ'd. What are the essential elements to make an interesting station scene? We have 16 Amtrak stops a day and everyone is different, but I'm missing something. Can anyone tell me what it is?
Something interesting. What about the station scene do you want to show? People waiting? People unloading? People boarding? Conductor checking his/her watch/time? A combination of all or some of these?

Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
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Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)


Take this shot for example. I knew before I even set up for the shot what I wanted to show; that the station was still busy at 8PM. Since it was dark, I used that to my advantage to blur the passengers on the platform to take up more space therefore giving it a busy or hurried feeling.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:23 PM   #4
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Take a look at RP Contributor "El Roco Photography". He has some impressive station scenes with the unique human element included.

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Old 03-31-2010, 12:43 AM   #5
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I have tried station shots but they got PEQ as well. Here are a couple from San Jose.
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Old 03-31-2010, 12:52 AM   #6
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They look like grab shots. They don't say station scene.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:53 AM   #7
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Did you try shooting ghosts?
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amtrakdavis22 View Post
I have tried station shots but they got PEQ as well. Here are a couple from San Jose.
putting together a few of El Rocco's station shots to easily view them. First thought to me is they seem to show a lot more going on than we have...

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 311147
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 310552
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 310425
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 304538
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 300783
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 300394
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 293346
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography


I can't quite pin down why I like them, though.
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:18 PM   #9
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missed one

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 316121
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography


I don't love them all, and in particular no the just-the-door scene, but some have that extra something. I like when he uses the tight angle against the train to emphasize depth.

The two shots by amtrakdavis are ok, no extra something, but my main problem with them is that both are rather unsharp and also a bit dark.
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:31 PM   #10
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Most of El Roco's shot show some kind of interaction between the people on the platforms. Rather than a bunch of passengers ignoring each other while they wait for the train, El Roco found people asking the conductor for directions, getting their tickets checked, or joking with the guy driving the baggage cart. Its those interactions that add the interest to the scenes.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:26 PM   #11
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What I see in a lot of the photos you ask the forums about is ....

1. poor composition
2. not a strong enough main subject

The people interacting makes that subject much stronger. A weaker subject can be made much stronger with a strong composition focused on making the subject stronger or a strong composition that has well placed support subjects.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post
What I see in a lot of the photos you ask the forums about is ....

1. poor composition
2. not a strong enough main subject

The people interacting makes that subject much stronger. A weaker subject can be made much stronger with a strong composition focused on making the subject stronger or a strong composition that has well placed support subjects.
taking the first shot with the conductor and these two rejects, if I am thinking correctly, they're weka subjects. Can they be cropped to create stronger compositions?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=333479748
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=797534&key=0
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:48 PM   #13
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shot one - get rid of more of the left side.

shot two - if you were on the opposite side, and got faces, instead of butts, You'd have a winner.

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Old 03-31-2010, 08:17 PM   #14
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should I resubmit this?
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
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should I resubmit this?
Why?

What has changed with it since Loyd, AB(2) and others gave their advice and opinions?
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:25 PM   #16
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I've cropped off the left. I think it brings the car attendant more into focus and the conductor on the radio?
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:32 PM   #17
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I didn't know he was on the radio and still can't really tell. He still has his back turned toward the camera and the lady looking out of the train is looking suspiciously at you. I don't think the shot works.
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog View Post
the lady looking out of the train is looking suspiciously at you.
As she should, I've got a camera in my hand!

#6 is running almost 7 hours late tonight-so looks like a night scene tonight. I have at least one of those in.

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Old 03-31-2010, 10:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Roffo View Post
Most of El Roco's shot show some kind of interaction between the people on the platforms. Rather than a bunch of passengers ignoring each other while they wait for the train, El Roco found people asking the conductor for directions, getting their tickets checked, or joking with the guy driving the baggage cart. Its those interactions that add the interest to the scenes.
Also notice his use of light. No cloudy shots, or standard sun-at-your-back shots. He uses late evening light, backlighting, glint and especially shadows. His use of shadows in interesting to note, with pockets of sunlight on the focus of the photo, while shadows hide the distracting elements.

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Old 04-01-2010, 05:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
Not having the conductor with his back to you would be a good start. The goodbye / hello hug going on down the platform could be useful, if it wasn't 100 ft down the shot, and out of focal range. Just nothing real special or grabbing going on there.

Loyd L.
Loyd & AB(2) comments says it all, On station scenes, I like to look at a pic and get a sense of the mood or the feeling, like the one below, when I saw that guy he just looked like he had a long day, just my .02
Image © Bill Grenchik
PhotoID: 210094
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Image © Bill Grenchik
PhotoID: 218433
Photograph © Bill Grenchik


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Old 04-01-2010, 02:14 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post
What I see in a lot of the photos you ask the forums about is ....

1. poor composition
2. not a strong enough main subject

The people interacting makes that subject much stronger. A weaker subject can be made much stronger with a strong composition focused on making the subject stronger or a strong composition that has well placed support subjects.
I know what you're saying, just can't get my arms around what you mean. Maybe I just don't have an eye for great composition, but I struggled with unlevel horizons when I first started submitting. I was once reccomended a book on lighting which was a tremendous help. Any suggestions on reference material for composition?
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:13 PM   #22
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Look at your favorite photos. Any subject matter. Maybe pick around 10-20 photos that really give you a strong almost overpowering emotional connection to it. Then study those photos and really pay attention to where the subjects are located and what they are doing. Now picture in your head moving something in the picture slightly to a different spot. Does it seem like that may have thrown off feel of the photo? Maybe take one element away from the shot (like someone looking at the camera). Does that change the shot. Maybe take one of those photos and think what could be done to make it stronger. Mental games like this can help over time. Look and study ever detail from the subjects to the light, to edge and framing details.

Try this. Take your 10 favorite all time railraod photos that others have took. Make a list on paper.

1. kind of light (bright, dark, low)
2. color of light
3. angle and direction of light
4. train direction (towards or away from lens)
5. train position in frame
6. angle train is shot from
7. any strong objects besides the train
8. how many trains
you get the point

Then take you list from the ten photos and see how they compare to each other.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:49 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post
Look at your favorite photos. Any subject matter. Maybe pick around 10-20 photos that really give you a strong almost overpowering emotional connection to it. Then study those photos and really pay attention to where the subjects are located and what they are doing. Now picture in your head moving something in the picture slightly to a different spot. Does it seem like that may have thrown off feel of the photo? Maybe take one element away from the shot (like someone looking at the camera). Does that change the shot. Maybe take one of those photos and think what could be done to make it stronger. Mental games like this can help over time. Look and study ever detail from the subjects to the light, to edge and framing details.

Try this. Take your 10 favorite all time railraod photos that others have took. Make a list on paper.

1. kind of light (bright, dark, low)
2. color of light
3. angle and direction of light
4. train direction (towards or away from lens)
5. train position in frame
6. angle train is shot from
7. any strong objects besides the train
8. how many trains
you get the point

Then take you list from the ten photos and see how they compare to each other.
thanks Travis
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