Old 04-16-2014, 12:42 AM   #1
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Default Two takes at the the same location

Interesting to see the same train at the same location shot by two different photographers. Critiques/comments on shots and PP?

Image © Chase Gunnoe
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Image © BNSF ES44DC
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:01 AM   #2
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Interesting to see the same train at the same location shot by two different photographers.

But different times of the day. Both are good for what they are. Although if I were Chase, I probably would have cloned out the unnecessary foreground distraction.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:27 AM   #3
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Jim, that's too big to be reasonably cloned!

I am not a fan of Chase's shot, that foreground structure/think is too much of a sore thumb, and for that matter, I'd prefer seeing more blurred (and not just because I really want it blurred out of existence!).
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:38 AM   #4
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I was talking about the blurred person standing there near the ROW, J.
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:55 AM   #5
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I was talking about the blurred person standing there near the ROW, J.
Oops, I missed that completely! The structure is just too intrusive.
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:24 AM   #6
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Talking Do You Think They Saw Each Other?

Hum......

Playing a little game of "Do You Think They Saw Each Other" are we?

Just wait - John will pipe in and chastise you for being critical of one, or both of the photogs.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:26 AM   #7
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I think both are acceptable and very different.
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:26 PM   #8
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Hum......

Playing a little game of "Do You Think They Saw Each Other" are we?
I doubt it since they were taken at two different times of the day.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:18 PM   #9
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I was in the same vehicle with Chase on the morning of April 12th (I didn't photograph the afternoon run, since I went back home to Big Stone Gap to deal with a clogged sewer line at my home----thankfully resolved later that day). When we drove up to the spot at Virginia Lee, I wasn't all that blown away with the view from the road across that little valley. So, I asked myself: "....what would Mitch Goldman do here?" I lowered the ISO as low as possible (100) and lined up my shot at 1/20th at f25. Here's what I got (the best of about six shots):

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As we drove away, naturally I pulled up the sharpest image to see if it was okay. I showed Chase and the others the results.

So, I suppose my attempt at a pan inspired Chase to try one on the afternoon run at the same spot. It's just another interpretation---and it's okay, but different.

By the way--the other guy who took that second shot (the BNSF account name...) was standing near me, and he opted for something more conventional. It's okay...but it explains why I wasn't enthralled by that scene, at least exposed as a conventional action shot.

By the way....if you look at that guy's shot, you'll notice a TVRM crew member sitting on the front of the coal bunker and looking over the top of the cab. I cloned him right out of there, as it was a distraction in an otherwise decent shot. Sorry, dude...but you were ruining everyone's shot.

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Old 04-16-2014, 01:33 PM   #10
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. So, I asked myself: "....what would Mitch Goldman do here?" I lowered the ISO as low as possible (100) and lined up my shot at 1/20th at f25. Here's what I got (the best of about six shots):

Image © Ron Flanary
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By the way....if you look at that guy's shot, you'll notice a TVRM crew member sitting on the front of the coal bunker and looking over the top of the cab. I cloned him right out of there, as it was a distraction in an otherwise decent shot. Sorry, dude...but you were ruining everyone's shot.
Nice shot Ron, but Mitch Goldpan would have had an ND filter on... The blurry background sure makes it easier to clone out an object wouldn't ya say? It looks the the light was better for your shot. Chase's shot required more PP tools to be used to bring out details i.e. "She looks good, but I wonder what she'd look like without all that make-up on"
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:15 PM   #11
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So, I asked myself: "....what would Mitch Goldman do here?" I lowered the ISO as low as possible (100) and lined up my shot at 1/20th at f25. Here's what I got (the best of about six shots):
Mitch probably would have been shooting 1/6th and using an ND filter. No kidding! Mitch can shoot slower than anyone else I know. Even with the awesome VR on my 70-200mm, I can't hand-hold that slow. My best pans ever were at 1/13th, and even then, I was only successful in getting a usable frame about every 3rd attempt.

As die-hard steam snob, I can't say that many of the shots of 630 appeal to me. There's just something about having not one but two diseasels pushing that steam engine around that would just make me want to put my camera right back in the bag. I also tend to not even bother processing clean stack shots. Without a plume, the 630 really does look like a stone-cold movie prop.

Now, if someone were to organize a private freight charter with 630 on a railroad that would not require diesels, you can sign me up!
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:38 PM   #12
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"Plumes" (except for steam exhaust on a cool day) were taboo in the real world of railroading, since it meant the fireman was wasting coal (or other fuel of choice). They're nice, but they're not really "authentic." A good fireman should minimize smoke by carefully balancing water and heat efficiently against the throttle demands placed on the locomotive, and never causing the safety valve to lift (which wastes water...).

I grew up with regular service steam, so you'll forgive me for gushing over the likes of 630. Also, those two SDs behind just add to the overall railroading experience. If 630 was going alone, they would have to make additional water and coal stops, plus it would have only handled about six cars for that trip, rather than 15. And, the ticket price would have been $250 a seat.

Selecting a shutter speed for a pan shot is also predicated by the speed of the moving object. I relied on the brilliance of many years of experience to make my choice---which was far more practical using the 18-200 VR lens I had on my camera.

I don't have an ND filter--and probably wouldn't use it if I did. I used filters some way, way back in the day, but not now. I defer to Mitch "Pan" on all technical issues regarding a pan shot....I think he's got that technique down pat.

As for PS work....except for cloning out the guy behind the cab, the rest was just some contrast adjustment.

Finally....I checked my image files and I had 14 (!) shots of the pan! About half of them were acceptable...but the others had too much motion blur. While Mitch insists on including the locomotive AND the tender (not my "thing" in every case), I love different variations, such as this one (the first in the sequence--and a closer crop):

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Old 04-16-2014, 02:48 PM   #13
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As die-hard steam snob... I also tend to not even bother processing clean stack shots. .. Without a plume, the 630 really does look like a stone-cold movie prop...
Oh yeah... Those pay and shoot steamers you run around with are really authentic..

N&W said it best on the bulkhead door of their tenders-- Black smoke is waste.

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Old 04-16-2014, 03:08 PM   #14
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"Plumes" (except for steam exhaust on a cool day) were taboo in the real world of railroading, since it meant the fireman was wasting coal (or other fuel of choice). They're nice, but they're not really "authentic." A good fireman should minimize smoke by carefully balancing water and heat efficiently against the throttle demands placed on the locomotive, and never causing the safety valve to lift (which wastes water...).
Hi Ron,

Yeah I realize that a dark plume is wasting fuel and that the GOAL is indeed firing for a clean stack. Unfortunately, my experience is that folks are a lot less likely to look at a steam photo that has a completely clean stack. That's especially true when the train is just a part of a larger scene. Without a plume, there is nothing obvious to lead your eye to the black blob at the head end of the train.

People who might be inclined to BUY a photo of a steam engine would be even less likely to give such a shot a second look. A few months back, I was chatting with a publisher friend and he was gushing over a photo of the SP 4449 that a friend of mine shot a while back. He said he would really like to use such a shot in a calendar.....but there was no smoke or steam to show action. He felt the shot fell flat for that reason only. I can understand his reasoning. The general public, and even a lot of railfans, don't have the same understanding of steam operations that you and I do. They EXPECT a steam engine to smoke at least a little. That's why on photo charters, you'll almost never hear the patrons call out to the charter leader requesting a pass with a clean stack....unless the wind is such that the plume is going to kill the light or obscure the train.

Sometimes...and this is true with aviation too....what's real isn't necessarily what people want to see. Unfortunate, but true.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:13 PM   #15
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Even with the awesome VR on my 70-200mm, I can't hand-hold that slow. My best pans ever were at 1/13th, and even then, I was only successful in getting a usable frame about every 3rd attempt.
Check these tips from Ron Reznick on some techniques to getting successful hand held slow shutter shots.

http://www.digital-images.net/RonRez...onreznick.html
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:27 PM   #16
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Oh yeah... Those pay and shoot steamers you run around with are really authentic..
Loyd L.
Actually, they are pretty authentic. Hop a bird and take a trip out to Chama or Durango and watch one of the regular morning trips head out into the mountains. They smoke quite a lot. On the regular passenger runs, they're not putting on a show and in fact would prefer not to shower the patrons in the cinder car with the black sooty stuff. There's not much they can do about it. Tackling a 4% grade with a heavy train results in a lot of fuel burn. Every time another shovel full hits the fire, the plume darkens. The stack is rarely clear for very long. The old Mount Washington Cog Railway had the most awesome plumes around. Again, it wasn't for show. The draft in those fireboxes was like a blowtorch, and it was taking a shovel about every 7-10 seconds. To my knowledge, they have never done a photo charter up there....there was pretty much no safe place to let people off the train, and the locomotives had no spare capacity for water.

The grade of the fuel also has a lot to do with what you see from the stack.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:50 PM   #17
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Check these tips from Ron Reznick on some techniques to getting successful hand held slow shutter shots.

http://www.digital-images.net/RonRez...onreznick.html
I've used all those techniques. Also, if you plan on trying a pan shot, I would suggest you not choose that week to stop drinking...
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:56 PM   #18
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Hi Ron,

Yeah I realize that a dark plume is wasting fuel and that the GOAL is indeed firing for a clean stack. Unfortunately, my experience is that folks are a lot less likely to look at a steam photo that has a completely clean stack. That's especially true when the train is just a part of a larger scene. Without a plume, there is nothing obvious to lead your eye to the black blob at the head end of the train.

People who might be inclined to BUY a photo of a steam engine would be even less likely to give such a shot a second look. A few months back, I was chatting with a publisher friend and he was gushing over a photo of the SP 4449 that a friend of mine shot a while back. He said he would really like to use such a shot in a calendar.....but there was no smoke or steam to show action. He felt the shot fell flat for that reason only. I can understand his reasoning. The general public, and even a lot of railfans, don't have the same understanding of steam operations that you and I do. They EXPECT a steam engine to smoke at least a little. That's why on photo charters, you'll almost never hear the patrons call out to the charter leader requesting a pass with a clean stack....unless the wind is such that the plume is going to kill the light or obscure the train.

Sometimes...and this is true with aviation too....what's real isn't necessarily what people want to see. Unfortunate, but true.
OK....those are all valid points, as long as you acknowledge (which you did) that in real life professional railroading, that's NOT a good thing. I love a white plume of exhaust in the cool morning, but a thick, dark cloud of exhaust smoke looks too fake most of the time (except when an engine is obviously down on its hands and knees, and there's no way heavy smoke can be avoided). But, those are two different things: authenticity vs. "looks pretty in a photo."

There are no wrong answers in this test.
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:03 PM   #19
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N&W said it best on the bulkhead door of their tenders-- Black smoke is waste.

Loyd L.
Yep, that's very true, Loyd! The L&N frequently painted "SAVE COAL" on its coaling stations, and the Southern even had cast brass "Save Coal" markers mounted on the back heads of its locomotives---where the fireman and engineer could see them at all times.

In the same manner that trainmasters still perform rules compliance tests today, their steam-era predecessors carried around a shaded piece of transparent material to measure the percentage of opacity of exhaust (by holding it up to the light, beside a locomotive's exhaust). Any fireman who failed that test--by a measurable degree (and probably after an earlier warning)--was subject to a company-imposed "vacation."

Excessive locomotive smoke is BAD, BAD, BAD!!!!
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:54 PM   #20
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N&W said it best on the bulkhead door of their tenders-- Black smoke is waste.
Glad these guys didn't get that memo back in 2013. It's one of my favorite shots... which is saying a lot because when I got to this location, I almost walked back to my car to scout out another place to shoot that wasn't so wedgieliscious.

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Old 04-17-2014, 04:35 AM   #21
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Well, since it came up... this plaque is mounted on 630's coal bunker. Sorry Kevin!
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:24 AM   #22
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Hopefully when 4501 is done they let it run without diesels
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:39 PM   #23
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Hopefully when 4501 is done they let it run without diesels
Did they ever let 765 roam without diesels? The NKP unit was trailing the two times I chased her. They didn't run it though, since 765 can actually pull a train.

Ah, how nice it is to be able to whine and bitch about mainline steam action again..

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Old 04-17-2014, 01:42 PM   #24
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Glad these guys didn't get that memo back in 2013. It's one of my favorite shots... which is saying a lot because when I got to this location, I almost walked back to my car to scout out another place to shoot that wasn't so wedgieliscious.

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Well....smoke regulations aside, I agree...very nice shot!
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:44 PM   #25
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Hopefully when 4501 is done they let it run without diesels
I doubt that'll happen. Even in the last days of running 611 (early '90s) they started putting an SD40-2 behind the engine. For darn sure, it was never needed though.

Besides back-up power, there is a practical reason for the diesel assistance: saving coal and water to extend the distance between replenishment of those two essential items.
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