Old 10-25-2017, 03:55 AM   #26
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Now that's useful info/view point, something to take to the bank.
Most of the out of focus, I believe, is due to the fact we were rolling at 20 + mph on our way to track speed.
I'm fine with everybody's comments towards my picture, I wasn't looking to fix it and hope to get it on RP. I got alot of useful info now to apply for the next time.

There are several basic obstacles to get over to make a successful shot like this. First, you need a lot of DoF (depth of field,) to get everything reasonably in focus. To do that you need to stop down to something like f11 or f16. However, doing that runs you smack into problem #2, which is you were moving and the light was dim, so you need all the shutter speed you can get to overcome that. There are three things you can adjust on the camera to affect exposure: f-stop, shutter speed, ISO. For a shot like this I'd try f11, shutter speed something like 1/1000s, and up the ISO to whatever it needs to be. (There is a fourth way--use fill flash--but definitely not practical here.)

A final issue is the reflection in the glass. You might be able to "erase" it with software, but I would first try a polarizer. As with most things in photography, a solution to one problem can cause a different problem. In this case, a polarizer will eat up about a stop of light if using a low-loss one, and maybe two stops if using a cheaper standard one. Best bet would be to find a spot where engine is well shaded so reflections are minimized, or crop that area out in the first place.


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Old 10-25-2017, 11:54 AM   #27
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There are several basic obstacles to get over to make a successful shot like this. First, you need a lot of DoF (depth of field,) to get everything reasonably in focus. To do that you need to stop down to something like f11 or f16. However, doing that runs you smack into problem #2, which is you were moving and the light was dim, so you need all the shutter speed you can get to overcome that. There are three things you can adjust on the camera to affect exposure: f-stop, shutter speed, ISO. For a shot like this I'd try f11, shutter speed something like 1/1000s, and up the ISO to whatever it needs to be. (There is a fourth way--use fill flash--but definitely not practical here.)

A final issue is the reflection in the glass. You might be able to "erase" it with software, but I would first try a polarizer. As with most things in photography, a solution to one problem can cause a different problem. In this case, a polarizer will eat up about a stop of light if using a low-loss one, and maybe two stops if using a cheaper standard one. Best bet would be to find a spot where engine is well shaded so reflections are minimized, or crop that area out in the first place.

Kent in SD
Thanks for the advice. I still have plenty to learn with photography and especially with changing all the settings to suit the situation at hand. With that said, and with limited time in cab to shoot, I opted for auto settings, I checked my pic and this is what was recorded, exposure 1/60, F stop f/5.3, ISO-1000. Thoughts?
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Old 10-25-2017, 02:08 PM   #28
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Unless you have a camera that shoots cleanly up to 6400 - 12,000 ISO - you didn't have enough light to pull it off. If you had either enough light or ISO capability, you needed to control the aperture and the shutter speed, so manual would have been the only way to go.
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Old 10-25-2017, 02:18 PM   #29
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you needed to control the aperture and the shutter speed, so manual would have been the only way to go.

I generally use aperture priority and that works quite well for daytime shots. In this case, set to A-priority, dial the aperture to f11, and up ISO until you hit shutter speed at least 1/500s. Alternately, you could use a slower shutter speed if you can keep the camera steady (difficult in a moving train!) The idea would be the engine would appear sharp, and the tracks would be slightly blurred. That would convey a sense of movement. At any rate, the f3.5 was way too inadequate for what you were trying to do.


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Old 10-25-2017, 03:23 PM   #30
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Buckingham Branch was always a hard assignment for me. The typical call for Z631 used to be 3am out of the Flats. Took some effort to deliver quality to them with more than half the run in darkness.

Fun times though.

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Old 10-25-2017, 04:59 PM   #31
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With that said, and with limited time in cab to shoot, I opted for auto settings, I checked my pic and this is what was recorded, exposure 1/60, F stop f/5.3, ISO-1000. Thoughts?
Although photographers often speak about glass being more important than a camera body.....and glass surely IS important, the camera you are shooting with does matter. The sensors made in the last 2-4 years have significantly better high-ISO performance than the stuff made 5-10 years ago. The difference is amazing. When you need shutter speed and aperture to pull off a shot such the one we have been discussing, the only variable left is ISO, and that's controlled by the camera you have. A couple of years back, I ditched my consumer cameras and bought full-frame bodies, and have never looked back. When I need ISO, I crank it up. I can't control the weather or the light that I get when I attend one-of-a-kind events, so I need a camera that won't let me down when I get a dark, rainy day. Yes, it is true that camera bodies go out of date a lot quicker than lenses, and yes, it is also true that full-frame bodies are expensive. It hurts to see that a body that cost $6,500 four years ago is probably worth $1,500 now. But if you want to be able to shoot under almost any circumstances, sometimes that's the sacrifice you need to make.
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:15 PM   #32
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Buckingham Branch was always a hard assignment for me. The typical call for Z631 used to be 3am out of the Flats. Took some effort to deliver quality to them with more than half the run in darkness.

Fun times though.

Loyd L.
I haven't followed them much as they are not just quick trip out and back for me and I'm just getting familiar with them. So they are on the bucket list. With my work schedule a factor, my normal rail-fanning mainly consists of local stuff. Any extra stuff comes in to play by chance (as with this shot on the BB)or when we take trips to excursion trains.
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:25 PM   #33
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Although photographers often speak about glass being more important than a camera body.....and glass surely IS important, the camera you are shooting with does matter. The sensors made in the last 2-4 years have significantly better high-ISO performance than the stuff made 5-10 years ago. The difference is amazing. When you need shutter speed and aperture to pull off a shot such the one we have been discussing, the only variable left is ISO, and that's controlled by the camera you have. A couple of years back, I ditched my consumer cameras and bought full-frame bodies, and have never looked back. When I need ISO, I crank it up. I can't control the weather or the light that I get when I attend one-of-a-kind events, so I need a camera that won't let me down when I get a dark, rainy day. Yes, it is true that camera bodies go out of date a lot quicker than lenses, and yes, it is also true that full-frame bodies are expensive. It hurts to see that a body that cost $6,500 four years ago is probably worth $1,500 now. But if you want to be able to shoot under almost any circumstances, sometimes that's the sacrifice you need to make.
Im a rookie at photography and I started using an older camera derveral years ago when I got the bug. When my wife saw a was getting serious about photography she bought me the Nikon D3300 I'm shooting with new in May 2016. ( I realize this is just a good beginner camera) I googled the release date on that camera and it was reported that model came out in January 2014. So are you saying my sensors were already out of date when it was bought?
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:39 PM   #34
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Im a rookie at photography and I started using an older camera derveral years ago when I got the bug. When my wife saw a was getting serious about photography she bought me the Nikon D3300 I'm shooting with new in May 2016. ( I realize this is just a good beginner camera) I googled the release date on that camera and it was reported that model came out in January 2014. So are you saying my sensors were already out of date when it was bought?
Unless you're regularly going to be shooting in bad light, I would not rush out to replace it. That is a reasonably recent sensor, albeit a DX (crop) sensor. I've not shot a D3300, so I can't tell you what the practical ISO limits are for that body, but I would think you should be able to get away with 2500 ISO and some noise reduction in post, which is pretty decent. That's a whole bunch better than my first DSLR, which was a D40x. On that camera, anything above 400 ISO was an emergency procedure. The D90 that I followed it with was better, but even that wasn't terribly good above 800. My D4, on the other hand, gets clean images at ISOs way above those values. I have images on RP that were shot at 10,000 ISO. This one that I posted yesterday was shot at 6,400 ISO. Nothing too incredible, and some noise reduction was required.....but the sun was a half hour from rising when I took the photo.
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Despite the entry price and the depreciation, I have never once regretted buying the D4, and will probably replace it with a D5 or D5s at some point in the next year or two.
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:46 PM   #35
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Unless you're regularly going to be shooting in bad light, I would not rush out to replace it. That is a reasonably recent sensor, albeit a DX (crop) sensor. I've not shot a D3300, so I can't tell you what the practical ISO limits are for that body, but I would think you should be able to get away with 2500 ISO and some noise reduction in post, which is pretty decent. That's a whole bunch better than my first DSLR, which was a D40x. On that camera, anything above 400 ISO was an emergency procedure. The D90 that I followed it with was better, but even that wasn't terribly good above 800. My D4, on the other hand, gets clean images at ISOs way above those values. I have images on RP that were shot at 10,000 ISO. This one that I posted yesterday was shot at 6,400 ISO. Nothing too incredible, and some noise reduction was required.....but the sun was a half hour from rising when I took the photo.
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Despite the entry price and the depreciation, I have never once regretted buying the D4, and will probably replace it with a D5 or D5s at some point in the next year or two.
Ok thanks for the info and tips and from everyone else. I'm still learning what the camera can do as well. I assume the shot you posted was on a tripod? What was the exposure time?
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Old 10-25-2017, 07:27 PM   #36
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Ok thanks for the info and tips and from everyone else. I'm still learning what the camera can do as well. I assume the shot you posted was on a tripod? What was the exposure time?
No, no tripods there. It was run and gun. I was a participant on a charter that day, which would be departing out of Cumbres Pass later in the morning. This train was bringing one of several cuts of cars to the summit, where a 30+ car train would be assembled, recreating some of the long freights that ran in the 60s. I elected to get up early and chase this section up the hill before dawn and see what I could get. I really didn't have time to play with tripods, because I needed to leave this spot immediately in order to make the drive/hike to the next spot in time for the real prize that I was looking for. This particular shot was done at 1/400th and f/5.6, ISO 6400. Camera was a D4 and I believe the lens was the 24-120mm f/4 G VR.

The shot I was really looking for that morning was this one:
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I had seen that phenomenon once on a charter a few years back....dead-calm morning, with the smoke plume just hanging in the trees for a very long time. The first time, I was shooting with an older generation DX camera that just could not handle the ISO. The result then was OK, but when you looked at it at 100%, it looked like crap. This time, I had better equipment and I was not going to pass up the chance to get it right. This image was shot with the Nikon D750 and the 70-200 f/4 G VR. Settings were 1/500th at f/5.6 and ISO 2000. The sun was nearly up by that time, so the light was much better than it was for the first image.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:19 PM   #37
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Thanks for the advice. I still have plenty to learn with photography and especially with changing all the settings to suit the situation at hand. With that said, and with limited time in cab to shoot, I opted for auto settings, I checked my pic and this is what was recorded, exposure 1/60, F stop f/5.3, ISO-1000. Thoughts?
The only time 1/60 is appropriate for railroad photography is if the subject is stationary and you are shooting from a tripod.

I try to do no slower than 1/400, preferably 1/500 or 1/640
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Old 10-30-2017, 03:18 PM   #38
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I generally use aperture priority and that works quite well for daytime shots.
Why? You can't figure out the proper exposure to be used in manual mode?


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Old 10-30-2017, 03:20 PM   #39
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The only time 1/60 is appropriate for railroad photography is if the subject is stationary and you are shooting from a tripod.
Well that all depends on the focal length. Using a wide angle lens, with a stationary subject, a tripod is not necessary at 1/60.
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Old 10-30-2017, 04:56 PM   #40
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Well that all depends on the focal length. Using a wide angle lens, with a stationary subject, a tripod is not necessary at 1/60.
Indeed, I've gotten handheld shots at 1/2.

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Old 10-30-2017, 06:59 PM   #41
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Indeed, I've gotten handheld shots at 1/2.

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Wow, you all must have steadier hands than me
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Old 10-30-2017, 07:52 PM   #42
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Wow, you all must have steadier hands than me
Damn, I wish I could hold it steady at 1/2 sec!

I learned early on that the "limit" for hand holding is relative to the focal length and shutter speed. For example, if I'm at 10mm, I should be able to get a sharp, hand held shot at 1/10th. If I'm at 60mm, then 1/60th. And so on...
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Old 10-30-2017, 07:53 PM   #43
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I know I will hear this shouldn't have been accepted but this is 1/60th. Bob

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