Old 09-29-2008, 11:49 PM   #51
mark woody
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz
http://www.railroadphotoessays.com/essays/

If those 2 night shots are your, those are good.
Hi Kent i'm a newbie and have been given a lot of good advice from JRMDC and others.I also think it is not unreasonable given the shots above to display a few encouraging or inspiring shots for us newbies to aspire to.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:01 AM   #52
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As for Weener et al., no, I will not give you a link to my shots. What's the point? You are simply being contentious, and I'm not going to get sucked into a goofy flame war. I don't have the time. I have a real life...There will always be the timid shooters out there, not daring to try anything different or take any chances, trying to undermine anyone who threatens them and their cliches', but that is to be expected, I suppose.
First off, Kent, thank you for allowing me to say "I told you so" to several folks who weren't familiar with how you tend to operate on these unmoderated forums where you like to get up on the pulpit and preach...I said you'd revert to playing the victim when pressed and/or questioned and you did not disappoint.

If you can't see the reason folks are asking to see your shots, you're either intentionally not looking or you know the reason but you don't have a leg to stand on. I gave my doctor/dentist example and J explained it pretty clearly in his post: talk is cheap, show us the beef! But, there's never any beef with you, just a lot of hot air, useless background info, unnecessary name dropping, contradictions, and back handed put downs.

I give a lot of advice, and I admit, I'm not as schooled or as long in the tooth as a lot of folks out there, but I at least put my money where my mouth is. It's not hide and seek with me, it's not trust what I say without seeing what I bring to the table. When I give advice, I'm not afraid for people to look at my work. My stuff may be pedestrian or ordinary for most, but at least they can compare my words to the products that bear my name. I let my work stand on its own. I don't have to talk about who I know or how much my gear costs or what publications I'm planning on submitting to or talk about my history in landscape photography or on and on and on to try and justify my credentials.

Anyway, now the cards are on the table. The folks can decide if they want the beef to back up the talk or if they'd rather have the faith that the beef is actually there...
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:12 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark woody
Hi Kent i'm a newbie and have been given a lot of good advice from JRMDC and others.I also think it is not unreasonable given the shots above to display a few encouraging or inspiring shots for us newbies to aspire to.

While I likely won't post in the main part of the website, I could put a few here from time to time. That's not unreasonable. I've actually put a few in already. Here's one that fits the thread. It was last winter, and I knew I had a train coming from behind me in a blizzard. The roads were bad and there was no way I could outrun the train for very far. I was looking for a spot that would collect lots of loose snow, which swirl when the train blew through. I decided my best bet was a grain elevator a few miles up the line. The wind was vicious and light level fairly low. I parked my car in a way to block the wind, then set up my tripod in the lee side of the wind to both keep me warmer and to make the shot steadier. I used a Nikon 80-400mm VR lens with the VR on. Usually you can't use VR when lens is on a tripod because it causes the VR system to fight the tripod and it clatters. What I did was loosen up the ballhead so there was some slack in the system. VR worked fine used this way. I then went out in the snow and jammed a stick in the snow about where I wanted the train to be when I took the shot. I went back to my camera, focused on the stick, and waited. Train finally came before I froze, and I got the shot. Cloned the stick out later. This is actually my very favorite kind of light/conditions to photo in. It's basically a monochrome which accentuates the bold color even more. I also liked the simplicity. I like the shot because it gives an idea of what railroading is during a Minnesota winter. I like the soft shadowless light found on those sunless days. Jim Brandenburg, NatGeo photographer, often says "There is no such thing as bad light." I think he is right.


Kent in SD
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:10 AM   #54
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JRMDC said the following about Kent Staubus: "But what distinguishes you from others, in my view, is the combination of strong opinions, claims of strong experiences and detailed knowledge of technique, and little to show for it."

Those wishing to see Kent's photos need look no further than RailroadPhotoEssays. You'll have to decide for yourself as to whether the walk matches the talk.

http://www.railroadphotoessays.com/f...ead.php?t=1026
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:50 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Noct Foamer
Your post is an excellent example of why I generally don't put photos on the internet. Once you do that, you lose control of them.
So, were you not concerned about "losing control" of all those railroad-related snapshots in your photo essays? Or, are those just the average quality images you wish to share and the best of your work is hiding elsewhere? I'm still waiting to see something from you that justifies all the nonsense you've been posting here.

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Old 09-30-2008, 04:35 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Ryan
You'll have to decide for yourself as to whether the walk matches the talk.

http://www.railroadphotoessays.com/f...ead.php?t=1026
To me, it just looks like a Gary Knapp knock off...... Maybe EPIC FAIL GUY NS Ditch's reincarnation right here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer
As for Weener et al., no, I will not give you a link to my shots. What's the point? You are simply being contentious, and I'm not going to get sucked into a goofy flame war. I don't have the time. I have a real life.


First thing, please stop talking in all blue, it hurts to read it.

Theres no flame war here, just a request to put your money where your mouth is. I'm unsure of how hard it is to flash a train with a copious amount of speed lights but you have showed nothing that makes me think you are a professional, granted I am no professional. Maybe because I like sunny day nose lit common power shots? When you say ''Weener'' obviously your asking for a flame war.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer
Your post is an excellent example of why I generally don't put photos on the internet. Once you do that, you lose control of them.






Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer
What I do know is I quickly get bored taking the same-o same-o kinds of shots year after year. So, I move on to something new and more challenging.


Show us something new and very challening to take, besides Knapp offs. Could it be the plastic tube shot which has most of the train cut off?

Why exactly do you post here? Since your obviously not here to upload your lol awesome!!1!oneoene work, or maybe you are and getting rejections but refusing to post them here, obviously I would be too if I were acting as if I were the ''Guru'' of RAILFAN photography. The forums are for posting logical advice, most people who post such advice have something to back it up with even me having only 30 photos on this website since April.
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:07 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Watain
I'm unsure of how hard it is to flash a train with a copious amount of speed lights but you have showed nothing that makes me think you are a professional, granted I am no professional. [/color]





Show us something new and very challening to take, besides Knapp offs. Could it be the plastic tube shot which has most of the train cut off?

Why exactly do you post here? Since your obviously not here to upload your work, or maybe you are and getting rejections but refusing to post them here, obviously I would be too if I were acting as if I were the ''Guru'' of RAILFAN photography. The forums are for posting logical advice, most people who post such advice have something to back it up with even me having only 30 photos on this website since April.





I like blue. As for how difficult it is to light trains, it is tough. For starters you really have to be able to previsualize the shot--generally while looking at a scene in the daytime! Think of each light as its own separate exposure and you have to blend them all into one. Then there's reflective issues to work out, and geometric light fall off. How do you focus in the dark on something that isn't even there yet? Had to work that out. How do you meter a shot? Figured that out. Train comes at 40-50 mph and you only get ONE shot--how to time it? I had to figure that out. (Secret is to NOT look through viewfinder.) My first approach was to buy about four super fast lenses to compensate for the relatively low light output of 4AA flash. (This is what Knapp has done.) That doesn't work very well because of very shallow DOF. So, I started buying high powered monolights, battery packs. Soon learned about flash spill (bad!), and had to buy barn doors for each light (at $50 each.) How do I keep battery powered electronics going when it's 28 below zero? Or in the rain? And on and on. Yes, it is very challenging. And a bit expensive. I LOVE the challenge. I get BORED just standing by tracks, taking sunny shots of trains as they go by. I'd rather go back to photo'ing country churches. (At least that paid.) With flash, I control the light. Doesn't matter what the sky or anything else looks like. In the dark, the train is now in my studio.

When I started a year ago, I figured it would take me about three years to get really good. I have just finished my rookie year. I posted my shots as I learned, so others could learn too. All of them, ESPECIALLY the mistakes. If you want to learn how to do this sort of photography, reading my "blog" will save you hundreds of hours and maybe thousands of dollars. That's what it's about--learning. Think of it as a diary kept of a journey.

As for Knapp, I didn't learn about him until about four months after I had started. Knapp and I have dramatically different approaches to light. He likes to flood big areas with as much light as he can. I like to keep the mystery of the night and use light modifiers to narrow the beams such as grids and barn doors. Gary told me he has no use for those. Gary likes to turn night into day, where I think of my flash as very surgical lightning bolts. Gary went with small 4AA type lights; I started with that but found I needed more power. I light up canyons, large scale bridges, and grain elevators. I turned to the highest powered monolights I could find. There has been a very steep learning curve to that. Gnapp likes exotic fast primes and shoots at f2. I like Nikon's best f2.8 zooms and shoot at f5.6, f8. He lives in hilly terrain and I live on the prairie. We have radically different conditions and backgrounds to work with. If you were to truly analyze the shots, you would quickly see how different we are. We do email each other at least once week, mostly for encouragement. Knapp has been at it for about eight years, I've been at it for one. My original goal was to catch up to Knapp. I came to realize that won't be possible. Knapp & I are headed in very different directions.

Why do I like forums? Mainly because of the idea exchanges. I really don't care about seeing hundreds of photos from people I don't know, or having them see mine. That has never been an attraction for me. I'm especially reluctant to post them on a gallery that tells me how I can process my photos and how I can't. Those decisions are mine to make, not someone else's. I've been on forums for 10+ years and during that time I was given a ton of info. It saved me lots of time and money. It also makes me think, and it challenges me. I like that. Most of the criticism of me is that I dislike posting photos on the internet for free. Rarely has anyone seemed to dramatically disagree with advice I give to those asking for it. The advice is generally solid and based on experience or referenced facts. I suppose the bottom line is I like to encourage people and help them out. You will note I don't attack or tear others' photos down. No point in that.

Each forum does have a culture and protocol, and I haven't yet figured this one out. Like everything else, I learn as I go along. If you don't like my advice that's fine. It's free--it cost ME to learn it, not you. I've come about photography a different way than most here, and I do have opinions formed from that. For starters, I believe that all light is good, it's up to the photographer to figure out how to make it work. I believe that the light (and it's use) is about 95% of the shot. I also believe the camera is the least important thing in photography. Another thing I believe is that a good portfolio has lots of variety--it's not all just one kind of shot. I know some of what I believe rankles some, but that's OK. At least I am sincere. I don't care so much about photos on this or that internet forum. What I like to discuss are the ideas. I also like the story behind the photo--how it was made, what the thinking behind it was, what emotion it's about, the background of the people & places in the photo. What bores me to tears are seeing photo after photo of sunny-only shots that tell no story and tell nothing about the unique charecteristics about where it was shot. What I've been trying to do for the past six years is create photos that tell a story and maybe convey an emotion. I absolutely don't want to take shot after shot of close up trains in the sun with the caption "Another Dash 9 running on UP double main."

My biggest influences have come from Solomon Butcher, a Nebraska photographer from the 1880s who set out to record the history of his region. Another is David Plowden who did much the same. Another obvious one is The Master, O.W. Link. Few may know it, but his original goal was to photo post WW2 small towns in daytime before they vanished. All of these guys were making photos to show people who were yet to come long after they were gone. They chronicled their lives & times. For the most part, that is my goal too. If I can sell a few photos along the way to pay for the gear, that's great too. I collect old postcards of my region, such as from the early 1900s. I love these! Each photo is a time machine. It can take you back into the past to show you what existed before you. That fascinates me to no end. These were real people going about their lives. They had no idea at the time the photo would be looked at 100 years later. I have a pretty good collection of very old RR images taken by photographers I'll never know the name of, but they left us a tremendous gift. I do take my own photos with that in mind--what will they tell someone looking at them 100 years from now about the world I live in? Anyone else out there thinking along these lines? Just curious.

If you don't like my posts, that's OK. Just add me to your "ignore" list. That's what's it's there for. If you want healthy debates, I am open to that of course. And I still like blue. And for the record, I have never submitted a single shot to RP. They don't want post processing and I respect that. We have a fundamentally different philosophy. Some day, they WILL change. Time doesn't stand still, and neither has photography.


Kent in SD

Below photo: Death on the DME.
Scrap contracters cutting up old SD-9 leftover from the CNW days. It's sad to see these old guys go, but they will rise again as part of a new choo-choo. Getting permission to photo this kind of stuff can be very difficult but it is history before your eyes if you do.

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Old 09-30-2008, 04:23 PM   #58
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Wow, you really like to hear yourself talk, don't you.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:59 PM   #59
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:59 PM   #60
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I think Kent makes a lot of good points. He likes to share the experience and knowledge of this hobby. Some like the numbers and train counts. Some like different and artistic while others want pure quality. But I also agree that Kent needs to show examples of his work to demonstrate what he is explaining.
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Old 09-30-2008, 08:29 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by travsirocz
But I also agree that Kent needs to show examples of his work to demonstrate what he is explaining.
He already has, and it's obvious the "talk" doesn't back up the "walk."
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:00 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz
I think Kent makes a lot of good points. He likes to share the experience and knowledge of this hobby. Some like the numbers and train counts. Some like different and artistic while others want pure quality. But I also agree that Kent needs to show examples of his work to demonstrate what he is explaining.


In this thread alone I've put up at least three. No comments. Nothing. Why should I put them up when no one even looks at them? I think I've put up a total of five or six, probably more combined, explaining specific points. Again, no comments, just personal attacks. I have been willing to put up a few here & there, but no one is seeing them???? Why should I bother?

What I am is pasionate about photography, and I just don't want to keep making the same kinds of shots over and over again. It's like deer hunting. I've likely shot over 100 deer in my lifetime. It got to where it just wasn't the challenge it once was. I now mostly hunt antelope and elk. I will be heading out west this weekend for rifle/antelope season, in fact. Now, if they would let me hunt deer in the dark, I might be up for that. I've heard they do that in Arkansas.

You hit on something that caught my interest: quality. How do different people define that? Is it simply shot in focus, no blown highlights, level horizon? Those are technical qualities, of course. What about aesthetic qualities, main one being the use of light? That becomes much more subjective and personal. I also judge shots by how well they connect with me emotionally, and if they tell a story or not. Sunlit wedgie 30 ft. away on the track rarely does that for me. Won't say never, just just rarely. I could not care less what model of diesel is in the shot, but to somebody else that could be a deal maker. (Steam is always a deal maker, of course!) You could probably start a pretty good thread on this topic.


Kent in SD

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Old 09-30-2008, 09:25 PM   #63
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My question is why don't you shoot when the sun is out? You act like the only thing one can shoot then is a wedgie. I, and most, would agree that wedgies are boring, but if you took the time to look through the pix on this site, you would soon find that the better ones are not wedgies and some photographers almost ever shoot them. The easiest example would be AB2. Look at his photos and tell me that they are boring because he shot them during the day.
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:44 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Noct Foamer
[color=beige]
In this thread alone I've put up at least three. No comments. Nothing. Why should I put them up when no one even looks at them?
I looked at them. Honestly, I was at a loss for words. After all that grand standing, all that bragging (hence the Commander McBragg photo in an earlier thread), I must say I was truly disappointed. I was really expecting to see some ground-breaking stuff. Instead, common railroad snapshots. Sure, you can afford all the nice equipment to go out at night and illuminate scenes, but that doesn't make you a great photographer as your words portray.

Yeah, you've been around for many years, gone here and there, done this and that, met this person and have known that person, but that doesn't change the fact that almost all of the pictures you've shared look like they've come from a novice photographer. In other words, if you're going to talk the talk, you should probably be able to walk the walk so you don't come across as pompous and arrogant, cleverly disguised with a few pleasantries here and there. Quite frankly, I (and I'm sure others here as well) don't give a damn where you've been, who you've met, what equipment you have in your arsenal, or how long you've been a photographer. You've proven you got PLENTY of talk, but very little walk.

Can you really blame anyone for questioning your ability?

And about the stories...all of us can tell stories about our photos, but this site isn't set up that way. However, I'm sure people here would be happy to share their stories if asked. And posting our photos here doesn't imply we are lacking of the "story" behind the image. Yet, somehow you've managed to belittle RP because it lacks the story behind the image. That's complete and utter BS and YOU KNOW IT. What it comes down to is your personal issue with RP, but perhaps what you don't know (maybe because you're too ignorant for your own good) is that when you attack the concept of RP, you also attack all the photographers who spend a LOT of time and effort to perfect their hobby and share the fruits of their labor with like minds.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:17 PM   #65
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This is nothing more than a comment from a complete stranger, to another complete stranger Kent. I went through the entire posted thread. I read, viewed, and enjoyed it. However, I was expecting subtle improvement in the images as the thread went on. I really didn't see it.

Now as a photographer.. I suck, and I can live with that. I don't try to impress anything else upon people. I'd be in the same boat as you, if I tried to lecture other people about the shortcomings of their work.

Be proud of your work, and display it. If you have to talk about your photos, instead of letting them speak for you, somethings wrong there.



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Old 09-30-2008, 10:19 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer
What I am is pasionate about photography, and I just don't want to keep making the same kinds of shots over and over again. It's like deer hunting. I've likely shot over 100 deer in my lifetime. It got to where it just wasn't the challenge it once was. I now mostly hunt antelope and elk. I will be heading out west this weekend for rifle/antelope season, in fact. Now, if they would let me hunt deer in the dark, I might be up for that. I've heard they do that in Arkansas.

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Old 09-30-2008, 10:38 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer





What bores me to tears are seeing photo after photo of sunny-only shots that tell no story and tell nothing about the unique charecteristics about where it was shot. What I've been trying to do for the past six years is create photos that tell a story and maybe convey an emotion. I absolutely don't want to take shot after shot of close up trains in the sun with the caption "Another Dash 9 running on UP double main."



Kent in SD


I think Noct Phoamer is a pretty cool guy eh takes train pictars that are tell stories and doesnt afraid of anything.

If a photo is good enough, regardless of being sunny day shot, or having a Dash-9 in it whatever.... It does not need a story. I think all shots have a story behind them and they do not need OVER 9000 words of nothingness to describe that story.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer
I have never submitted a single shot to RP. They don't want post processing and I respect that. We have a fundamentally different philosophy. Some day, they WILL change. Time doesn't stand still, and neither has photography.
Obviously they DO want post processing, or no one would have any shots on this website. RP obviously has their guidelines on post processing. That being the Digital Manipulation rejection and the Overprocessed rejection.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:46 PM   #68
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I'm sure I'm on his ignore list, but I'll respond anyway...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The People
But I also agree that Kent needs to show examples of his work to demonstrate what he is explaining.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer

In this thread alone I've put up at least three. No comments. Nothing. Why should I put them up when no one even looks at them? I think I've put up a total of five or six, probably more combined, explaining specific points. Again, no comments, just personal attacks.
And the evidence will show this is just not true. It's easy to make statements when you ignore the facts. Anyway, aside from saying it doesn't blow my skirt up, I asked if Kent thought the shot located in this thread was what he would consider a good or great shot:
http://forums.railpictures.net/showp...7&postcount=29

The reply? Nothing.

And someone else commented on the timing/compostion of another two of his shots:
http://forums.railpictures.net/showp...0&postcount=30

Doesn't really look like a personal attack...just a statement of the obvious.

Quote:
You hit on something that caught my interest: quality. How do different people define that? Is it simply shot in focus, no blown highlights, level horizon?
As far as RP is concerned, yes to all of those and several others. I'm not sure if Kent is aware or not, but here's the detailed submission guidelines for RP:
http://www.railpictures.net/addphotos/guidelines.php

They actually do have a poor aesthetic quality reject, but I doubt "emotion" or "feel" has much to do with it. But with the photos Kent has shared (and others we've seen), I can't argue about the emotion or the feel; however I can judge on technical qualities. And what I've seen outside of RP-specific rejectible criteria (going away shots, cloudy day, etc.) includes poor image quality, heavy noise, oversaturation, pixelation, unlevelness, and poor subject composition to name a few...nothing I would even consider using in my resume to claim I was an expert on the subject of photography. That's not a personal attack...just commenting.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:39 PM   #69
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And someone else commented on the timing/compostion of another two of his shots:
http://forums.railpictures.net/show...50&postcount=30

Doesn't really look like a personal attack...just a statement of the obvious.
I was the one that pointed out the timing and Ween is right, I was just pointing out the obvious. If I had wanted to make a personal attack, I would have several more posts on here, but I know they are pointless and don't post them.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:04 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Railfan Ohio
My question is why don't you shoot when the sun is out? You act like the only thing one can shoot then is a wedgie. I, and most, would agree that wedgies are boring, but if you took the time to look through the pix on this site, you would soon find that the better ones are not wedgies and some photographers almost ever shoot them. The easiest example would be AB2. Look at his photos and tell me that they are boring because he shot them during the day.

Of course you can shoot when the sun is out, or half out, or whatever. That's what I mean when I say, "All light is good." I still take daytime shots, of course. My point is more that I don't merely limit myself to only sunny days. Some thing in reverse: I would NEVER put my camera away because it is cloudy or just became night. Shooting in only one kind of light or anything else quickly becomes boring. There are of course some great photos on this and other forums. What I was getting at is the very same thing you seemed to mention when you say, "would agree that wedgies are boring." Nothing more than that. On most RR sites you have to wade through tons of photos that basically all look the same. Then there are those 5% that are true gems. Those are more what I aim for. For a long, long time this whole website was derisively called "Wedgieville." I have noticed there seems to be a slow change going on over the past year. By sheer volume of numbers, there would HAVE to be some superb ones, right? I just don't spend much time on ANY forums anywhere looking at peoples photos is all. Sometimes one on the title page here does catch my eye and I open it hoping to get the story of how it was made and what the situation was. That's where it falls down a little, I think.


Kent in SD

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Old 10-01-2008, 12:28 AM   #71
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Chris, it would appear you and I have been set on ignore.

Weak.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:55 AM   #72
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Chris, it would appear you and I have been set on ignore.

Weak.
No big deal. Ignoring something doesn't mean it's not there. Ask anyone with cancer.

But, I find it curious that in a VISUAL hobby like photography, the actual visual part takes a back seat to 'emotion' or 'story.' What?!?!? Anyone else find that a tad bit weird. Well, anyone who's not ignoring me that is...
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:59 AM   #73
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No big deal. Ignoring something doesn't mean it's not there. Ask anyone with cancer.

But, I find it curious that in a VISUAL hobby like photography, the actual visual part takes a back seat to 'emotion' or 'story.' What?!?!? Anyone else find that a tad bit weird. Well, anyone who's not ignoring me that is...
I have found a few on here that find writing down train info and train count is better then the actual photography? We all have our favorite parts. Ask any married man. I bet just being away from home is his favorite part. j/k
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:02 AM   #74
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I have found a few on here that find writing down train info and train count is better then the actual photography?
Wasn't that NSDitch? Where'd he run off to, by the way? Hmmm...
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:12 AM   #75
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I like blue. As for how difficult it is to light trains, it is tough. For starters you really have to be able to previsualize the shot--generally while looking at a scene in the daytime! Think of each light as its own separate exposure and you have to blend them all into one. Then there's reflective issues to work out, and geometric light fall off. How do you focus in the dark on something that isn't even there yet? Had to work that out. How do you meter a shot? Figured that out. Train comes at 40-50 mph and you only get ONE shot--how to time it? I had to figure that out. (Secret is to NOT look through viewfinder.) My first approach was to buy about four super fast lenses to compensate for the relatively low light output of 4AA flash. (This is what Knapp has done.) That doesn't work very well because of very shallow DOF. So, I started buying high powered monolights, battery packs. Soon learned about flash spill (bad!), and had to buy barn doors for each light (at $50 each.) How do I keep battery powered electronics going when it's 28 below zero? Or in the rain? And on and on. Yes, it is very challenging. And a bit expensive. I LOVE the challenge. I get BORED just standing by tracks, taking sunny shots of trains as they go by. I'd rather go back to photo'ing country churches. (At least that paid.) With flash, I control the light. Doesn't matter what the sky or anything else looks like. In the dark, the train is now in my studio.

When I started a year ago, I figured it would take me about three years to get really good. I have just finished my rookie year. I posted my shots as I learned, so others could learn too. All of them, ESPECIALLY the mistakes. If you want to learn how to do this sort of photography, reading my "blog" will save you hundreds of hours and maybe thousands of dollars. That's what it's about--learning. Think of it as a diary kept of a journey.

As for Knapp, I didn't learn about him until about four months after I had started. Knapp and I have dramatically different approaches to light. He likes to flood big areas with as much light as he can. I like to keep the mystery of the night and use light modifiers to narrow the beams such as grids and barn doors. Gary told me he has no use for those. Gary likes to turn night into day, where I think of my flash as very surgical lightning bolts. Gary went with small 4AA type lights; I started with that but found I needed more power. I light up canyons, large scale bridges, and grain elevators. I turned to the highest powered monolights I could find. There has been a very steep learning curve to that. Gnapp likes exotic fast primes and shoots at f2. I like Nikon's best f2.8 zooms and shoot at f5.6, f8. He lives in hilly terrain and I live on the prairie. We have radically different conditions and backgrounds to work with. If you were to truly analyze the shots, you would quickly see how different we are. We do email each other at least once week, mostly for encouragement. Knapp has been at it for about eight years, I've been at it for one. My original goal was to catch up to Knapp. I came to realize that won't be possible. Knapp & I are headed in very different directions.

Why do I like forums? Mainly because of the idea exchanges. I really don't care about seeing hundreds of photos from people I don't know, or having them see mine. That has never been an attraction for me. I'm especially reluctant to post them on a gallery that tells me how I can process my photos and how I can't. Those decisions are mine to make, not someone else's. I've been on forums for 10+ years and during that time I was given a ton of info. It saved me lots of time and money. It also makes me think, and it challenges me. I like that. Most of the criticism of me is that I dislike posting photos on the internet for free. Rarely has anyone seemed to dramatically disagree with advice I give to those asking for it. The advice is generally solid and based on experience or referenced facts. I suppose the bottom line is I like to encourage people and help them out. You will note I don't attack or tear others' photos down. No point in that.

Each forum does have a culture and protocol, and I haven't yet figured this one out. Like everything else, I learn as I go along. If you don't like my advice that's fine. It's free--it cost ME to learn it, not you. I've come about photography a different way than most here, and I do have opinions formed from that. For starters, I believe that all light is good, it's up to the photographer to figure out how to make it work. I believe that the light (and it's use) is about 95% of the shot. I also believe the camera is the least important thing in photography. Another thing I believe is that a good portfolio has lots of variety--it's not all just one kind of shot. I know some of what I believe rankles some, but that's OK. At least I am sincere. I don't care so much about photos on this or that internet forum. What I like to discuss are the ideas. I also like the story behind the photo--how it was made, what the thinking behind it was, what emotion it's about, the background of the people & places in the photo. What bores me to tears are seeing photo after photo of sunny-only shots that tell no story and tell nothing about the unique charecteristics about where it was shot. What I've been trying to do for the past six years is create photos that tell a story and maybe convey an emotion. I absolutely don't want to take shot after shot of close up trains in the sun with the caption "Another Dash 9 running on UP double main."

My biggest influences have come from Solomon Butcher, a Nebraska photographer from the 1880s who set out to record the history of his region. Another is David Plowden who did much the same. Another obvious one is The Master, O.W. Link. Few may know it, but his original goal was to photo post WW2 small towns in daytime before they vanished. All of these guys were making photos to show people who were yet to come long after they were gone. They chronicled their lives & times. For the most part, that is my goal too. If I can sell a few photos along the way to pay for the gear, that's great too. I collect old postcards of my region, such as from the early 1900s. I love these! Each photo is a time machine. It can take you back into the past to show you what existed before you. That fascinates me to no end. These were real people going about their lives. They had no idea at the time the photo would be looked at 100 years later. I have a pretty good collection of very old RR images taken by photographers I'll never know the name of, but they left us a tremendous gift. I do take my own photos with that in mind--what will they tell someone looking at them 100 years from now about the world I live in? Anyone else out there thinking along these lines? Just curious.

If you don't like my posts, that's OK. Just add me to your "ignore" list. That's what's it's there for. If you want healthy debates, I am open to that of course. And I still like blue. And for the record, I have never submitted a single shot to RP. They don't want post processing and I respect that. We have a fundamentally different philosophy. Some day, they WILL change. Time doesn't stand still, and neither has photography.


Kent in SD


Thank God I was out taking train pictures today. 532 to be exact. Anyone wanting a real-life old-time railroading experience is encourage to ride VIA Rail's Lake Superior. It's one of those experiences where a world of theory can't compete with the thrill of steel-on-steel.
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