Old 11-27-2007, 05:00 PM   #1
dmeggers
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Question Defintion of "Roster Shot"

Very simple question.
What on earth is a "Roster Shot"? How is this type of shot defined?

I am not from North America and this term is somewhat new and certainly there do not seem to be many (or any) definitions found via Google.

Many thanks.

David
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmeggers
Very simple question.
What on earth is a "Roster Shot"? How is this type of shot defined?

I am not from North America and this term is somewhat new and certainly there do not seem to be many (or any) definitions found via Google.

Many thanks.

David
David,

A roster shot is a shot of a locomotive that is not in operation at the time of the picture.

These are considered common, as they are quite easy to shoot.

A good roster shot has the engine well-lit and not coupled to anything in front of it.

The rarer the engine is, the more likely a roster shot is to get into the database. Roster shots of common power are judged rather strictly.

Here are two examples:

Image © Charles Freericks
PhotoID: 212660
Photograph © Charles Freericks


Image © Charles Freericks
PhotoID: 210521
Photograph © Charles Freericks


Charles
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:08 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Roster Shot

Fabulous. I am now wiser
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
David,

A roster shot is a shot of a locomotive that is not in operation at the time of the picture.

Charles
I thought a roster shot can be of either running or not running equipment.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyro
I thought a roster shot can be of either running or not running equipment.
I guess it depends on your definition of running? Can the prime mover be on? Sure.

But if it's moving down the track, I would consider it a picture of a movement (light engines). And if it's drilling, it would be a picture of a switching move.

Of course, the truth of the matter is that if you crop tight enough, and just show a single locomotive as your subject matter, I guess a train could be passnig you at a 100mph, and it would still be a roster shot. So I'll conceed that you are correct on that, with the caveat, that a roster shot has the appearance of a single locomotive not actually doing anything at the time of the photograph.

I think it's still proper to define a roster in shot in general as a shot of a locomotive that is not in use at the moment it is being photographed, or that appears to not be running.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:33 PM   #6
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To me a roster shot is a shot that features only an engine and is designed to capture the details of the engine. Thus, they should have an engineering-like composition - full side view or 3-4ths view (or pure end-on view?).

The key is that it is all about the engine. Thus, the second example by Freericks is in no way a roster shot, as it is an engine in its environment, including a structure and people. A roster shot is clean, just an engine.

An important aspect of capturing the details is having proper light. In particular, the trucks must be well lit for a roster shot to be good.

Now, perhaps that is too tight a set of rules. A person who considers themselves to be a roster shot advocate left me a nice comment on a recent picture, saying I had a nice roster shot of a steam engine, although it is at a water spout:
Image © Janusz Mrozek
PhotoID: 212652
Photograph © Janusz Mrozek

So maybe I am not quite right or too strict. But the focus is on the detail of the engine, and the engine in Freerick's second shot is too small within the frame to be a roster shot.

And, in response to the last post, the focus is not on whether the engine is in use or not so much as is the picture one showing the details of the particular engine on the company's roster. Think of the shots that are taken by a locomotive manufacturer of a finished product. That is a roster shot. To me.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:55 PM   #7
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Although Janusz finds points of disagreement with me, we are actually more in synch than I believe he lets on, and I will agree that the gentlemen and the roundhouse in the second shot make it something other than a roster shot. (But by those rules, neither is the example that he shows, a roster shot, and of course when we get down to there, he's disagreeing with himself too. )

His most important point, however is that one look at the manufacturer's builder's shots to understand the definition. I couldn't agree more and wish I'd used this in the original explanation, as it clarifies things so succinctly.

Here's an example from the web.

http://www.pioneertelephonecoop.com/~fitzrr/5200a.jpg

Last edited by Freericks; 11-27-2007 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmeggers
Very simple question.
What on earth is a "Roster Shot"? How is this type of shot defined?

As the others have said, a "roster shot" is a locomotive portrait. There is (was?) a whole subculture of railfanning in the US, and entire swap meets are/were organized around trading slides for the purpose of building up a large collection.

A "perfect 1.0" roster as defined by Extra 2200 South magazine would be:

perfectly lit;
mostly in profile, with a little nose detail;
nothing coupled to the front or rear of the locomotive;
no distractions in the background;
all doors and louvers closed;
shot on Kodachrome 25 film;
etc.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Craft
shot on Kodachrome 25 film;
What is this of which you speak?




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Old 11-27-2007, 07:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Craft
As the others have said, a "roster shot" is a locomotive portrait. There is (was?) a whole subculture of railfanning in the US, and entire swap meets are/were organized around trading slides for the purpose of building up a large collection.

A "perfect 1.0" roster as defined by Extra 2200 South magazine would be:

perfectly lit;
mostly in profile, with a little nose detail;
nothing coupled to the front or rear of the locomotive;
no distractions in the background;
all doors and louvers closed;
shot on Kodachrome 25 film;
etc.
Hopefully this was printed some time ago, or else 2200 is living in the past. There is nothing wrong with film, but Kodachrome is not the film to use.

Last edited by Mike B.; 11-27-2007 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
There is nothing wrong with film, but Kodachrome is not the film to use.
I wonder... looking at my thirty year old slides... as much as I loved the colors of some of those other films back then, I now wish, wish, wish, I'd shot nothing but Kodachrome (64 was okay!).

I know you're talking about the great Fuji Films available today, but as far as back then went... the Ektachrome is marginally acceptable today, the High Speed Ektachrome is almost useless, the GAF has turned green like bad cottage cheese, and the 5247???? Almost nothing is left of it.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
(But by those rules, neither is the example that he shows, a roster shot, and of course when we get down to there, he's disagreeing with himself too. )
But I was clear in doing so! As for showing a roster shot, I never shoot them!

Quote:
His most important point, however is that one look at the manufacturer's builder's shots to understand the definition.
Thanks for reminding me of the term "builder's shot". John Craft coins (or at least I hadn't heard it before) the term "locomotive portrait" which is very nice.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:47 PM   #13
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A search for "roster shot" on RP turns up 97 hits. Most of the first 15 are 3/4 shots, but the following are directly on the side and have little extraneous detail (well, the first one, but let's not overlook the non-US stuff!).
Image © Joel Hinkhouse
PhotoID: 192066
Photograph © Joel Hinkhouse

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


The following is very nice and colorful, with nice truck detail. The photographer is crouched low so I don't know if this fits the classic "Extra 2200 South" definition:
Image © Nick Wilson
PhotoID: 212477
Photograph © Nick Wilson
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
I wonder... looking at my thirty year old slides... as much as I loved the colors of some of those other films back then, I now wish, wish, wish, I'd shot nothing but Kodachrome (64 was okay!).

I know you're talking about the great Fuji Films available today, but as far as back then went... the Ektachrome is marginally acceptable today, the High Speed Ektachrome is almost useless, the GAF has turned green like bad cottage cheese, and the 5247???? Almost nothing is left of it.
Kodachrome was great in its day, but that day has long passed. It's amazing how many railfans still think that Kodachrome is the best film available.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Kodachrome was great in its day, but that day has long passed. It's amazing how many railfans still think that Kodachrome is the best film available.
As an old-timer of sorts (not fifty yet), what is the best film today? Provia? Velvia? Something else?
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
As an old-timer of sorts (not fifty yet), what is the best film today? Provia? Velvia? Something else?
Provia 100F. I haven't looked for the study myself, but it's supposedly been proven that it's the finest film you can buy.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Provia 100F. I haven't looked for the study myself, but it's supposedly been proven that it's the finest film you can buy.
For anything as subjective as film, I am not going to believe a study, or at least I am going to want to know the criteria they are looking at and then decide how closely those resemble mine. The notion of a study "proving" one film is best is basically laughable. All films are compromises, in terms of grain, in terms of color balance, in terms of contrast, etc. So it depends on the task and on the taste.

Now, if "finest" means finest grain at a given ISO, that is a separate story!
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
For anything as subjective as film, I am not going to believe a study, or at least I am going to want to know the criteria they are looking at and then decide how closely those resemble mine. The notion of a study "proving" one film is best is basically laughable. All films are compromises, in terms of grain, in terms of color balance, in terms of contrast, etc. So it depends on the task and on the taste.

Now, if "finest" means finest grain at a given ISO, that is a separate story!
It's a separate story.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:47 PM   #19
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Just bought a roll of Provia at lunch.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Hopefully this was printed some time ago, or else 2200 is living in the past. There is nothing wrong with film, but Kodachrome is not the film to use.
You'd have a bloody hard time using it today unless you have a freezer full (it hasn't been manufactured in years) and some way to process it.

But when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we shot them on K25. Ektachrome was too green and too grainy. K64 was too contrasty in sunny weather (it got a workout on cloudy days). And no one shot color neg, because back then the only preferred way to share photos was to shoot lots of slides.
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