Old 05-09-2011, 02:49 PM   #1
oltmannd
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Default First camera?

What was the first camera you used for railfan pictures?

How old were you when you started?

What were the challenges (technical and logistical)?

How did you learn to improve?

What's your favorite early photograph?

Do those early days make you smile or wince?
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:07 PM   #2
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Canon T70 (borrowed from Dad).

Nikon F3 was the first camera I purchased for myself.

I just watched while Dad shot for years, then I shot video for a few years until moving to stills at 20 years old (took a few years off to chase skirts, be a retard, etc...).

Challenges were learning to use K-64, which was a real departure from the easy to shoot print film. I had a good mentor trackside, and what I learned then I still put in practice today still shooting all manual, non-AF.

Learn to improve by doing and observing the work of others. I'm still learning, BTW, and still observing others... we all tend to develop tunnel vision from time to time.

Favorite early 'decent' photograph would have to be a trio of CN M420W's at Port Hope, Ontario. Impossible to repeat these days. Favorite shot taken with the F3 on RP:

Image © Mike Lockwood
PhotoID: 218490
Photograph © Mike Lockwood


Early days make me smile... lots of neat stuff that is long gone now.
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:25 PM   #3
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What was the first camera you used for railfan pictures?
Dunno, some sort of film point and shoot. My first REAL camera was a Canon EOS Rebel S film camera.

How old were you when you started?
Shooting seriously? my 30's

What were the challenges (technical and logistical)?
technical, learning exposure and the technical limitations of early autofocus systems

How did you learn to improve?
trial and errro

What's your favorite early photograph?
cant post it here

Do those early days make you smile or wince?
depends what I was taking a picture of
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:44 PM   #4
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What was the first camera you used for railfan pictures? Some Kodak 35mm camera, whatever was the "nothing special" camera back in the day. When I got more interested in photography I got a Pentax MX.

How old were you when you started? train photography? Hard to day, 14 for sure, perhaps earlier

What were the challenges (technical and logistical)? Logistical, just being pre-driving age. Riding my bike down to the B&O station in town, brief chats with staff there. Longer rides, was a big cyclist back then, didn't see many trains but saw a lot of tracks. Didn't have time to hang around for hours until something came. My father would also take me places. This shot

Image © Janusz Mrozek
PhotoID: 219342
Photograph © Janusz Mrozek


is one I particularly remember, my father sat in the car for hours and read the sunday paper while I roamed about Mingo Jct - can't do that sort of roaming anymore! I was 14. Thanks to both parents (now gone), father would drive me places, mother would let me wander about the PC/Conrail station in downtown Pittsburgh. Remember your parents and what they did for you.

How did you learn to improve? Looking at good shots and figuring out why they were good and trying to do the same with mine.

What's your favorite early photograph? Several, but taken on print film and not yet scanned for RP.

Do those early days make you smile or wince? WINCE - I was totally clueless, just totally.
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Old 05-09-2011, 04:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oltmannd View Post
First camera?
...has turned RP Forums into ObsCar...

What was the first camera you used for railfan pictures?
How old were you when you started?
When I was in my young teens, my parents gave me a Pentax IQZoom160 point-and-shoot for my birthday. I used that for quite a few years before finally getting fed up with its inherent drawbacks in 2001 and taking possession of my late grandfather's Pentax ME Super that's about as old as I am.

What were the challenges (technical and logistical)?
The IQZoom was dumb; it didn't know what I wanted to accomplish, and there were no features that would allow me to control exposure. It also had a major parallax error problem; when zoomed all the way out, the viewfinder's image was actually about 1/4-frame lower than what would actually be captured on film. Logistically, there was always the issue of trying to get trackside; I didn't get my driver's license until I was 18.

How did you learn to improve?
Trial and error; feedback from family, friends, and Aaron Keller at the time he was writing Railpace's Teen Scene column; eventually, I took a photography course during my sophomore year of college that really helped me learn how to "see."

What's your favorite early photograph?
Don't know if it's my single most favorite shot ever from the pre-SLR era, but it's certainly one that I'm particularly fond of; I'm pretty sure this was captured through the open passenger-side window of my mom's car.
Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 300471
Photograph © David Honan


Do those early days make you smile or wince?
Mostly wince, though it's cool to look back and see what things used to be like, such as when Selkirk was a sea of blue engines seemingly stretching to the distant horizon:
Image © David Honan
PhotoID: 296352
Photograph © David Honan
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oltmund
...has turned RP Forums into ObsCar...
(np Muskrat Love, nd Orange decaff tea)

What was the first camera you used for railfan pictures?
How old were you when you started?
At nine-years-old I got a Regula Diplomatic C 126 (knockoff of the Kodak Instamatic). . Took horrible (beyond horrible) train shots with it at nine. Didn't try again until I was 14, about to turn 15, and I had a Kodak Tele-Instamatic 110. Everything was just awful, until one day, when 15, I borrowed my Dad's Argus Cosina SLR and actually got some decent pictures. Here's one from my first day with that camera.

Image © Charles Freericks
PhotoID: 195800
Photograph © Charles Freericks


What were the challenges (technical and logistical)?
I honestly didn't have enough photography knowledge to really know what the major issues were.

How did you learn to improve?
Listening to what other railfans told me.

What's your favorite early photograph?
It's my father's photo actually, but the little boy on the left with the Regula Diplomatic to his face is me.
http://knox.rrpicturearchives.net/sh...spx?id=1020037

Do those early days make you smile or wince?
Oh - wince... I was a railfan for 1/3rd of the Erie Lackawann's life, and I have zero decent pictures.

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Old 05-09-2011, 06:51 PM   #7
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What was the first camera you used for railfan pictures?

I had a Fuji F-50 Point and Shoot.

How old were you when you started?

Seriously, 20.

What were the challenges (technical and logistical)?

Finding time to go out on busy days or at cool weather events due to work or school. Finding things to do waiting for trains. Understanding balance, composition, rule of thirds and lighting were also challenging.

How did you learn to improve?

Feed back from RP, study, and practice.

What's your favorite early photograph?

Image © Greg
PhotoID: 153602
Photograph © Greg
Image © Greg
PhotoID: 204094
Photograph © Greg


Do those early days make you smile or wince?

Smile and Wince. My favorite early photo was a good start, but it was pure luck as well. I lived in Amherst MA for a year, visiting Palmer, Amherst, the B&M and the NECR for a year, and nothing to show for it. I wish I'd had a DSLR then.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:39 AM   #8
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With my dad working for the IC and cab rides and a pass for free rides for mom to go see her family in southern IL. The home we lived in had the Rock Island main that had 4 trains a day and two passenger the Zephyr Rocket how can I not be a fan.

A big pice of crap kodak 110* that had a set shutter speed of 1/90th and wasn't sharp. Most fans today have a better camera as the PnS aren't all that bad.
about 14

The day after I got out high school I got a job and put the first pay down a Fuji 35 SLR of my picking in hind site if I wasn't in a rush I would had a Nikon but $200+ was 3 weeks pay then if not more.

Fans in that Time frame mid 70's wasn't after the great shot and you got called out for being artsy fartsy if it wasn't a 3/4.

Getting to a Train was the hard part with no wheels of my own and driving to the other side of town was out they watch miles :^( I missed a lot of RI in its last days and MILW to.

CTC Broad magazine Set the standards back in the day for fine photos. Trains was just a news rag.

Haven't scanned them so can't show them.

* Someone needs to hunt the guy down who came up with that and kick him!
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oltmannd View Post
First few photos were taken with a little P&S, before my dad gave me his old K1000.
I've always liked trains. I discovered railfanning when I was about 12.

Took me a while to understand how shutter speed, f-stop, and ISO speed all worked together.

Trial and error. I pretty much taught myself all the basics that way. I didn't really have any mentors at that time. The new guys that come to these forums don't realize how good they have it with all of the information that is available here. I wish I had someone back then to tell me my photos were terrible and how to correct them.

Time. Lots and lots of time.

The first photo I ever remember taking was of a W&LE coil train. It turned out pretty well and it's one of my favorites for that reason.

When I look back it makes me smile to remember how much I didn't really care if the photo came out that well. I just enjoyed being trackside, clueless, and catching trains. Sometimes I pull those old photos back and start to cry at all of the interesting stuff that I saw but have an absolutely terrible photo of that I can't really share with anything.
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:54 PM   #10
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I started with my mom's Pentax film P&S when I was 13. You can guess that they made me wince just from that....and I have a grand total of 1 photo on the site from those days.
Image © Matthew Hicks
PhotoID: 148780
Photograph © Matthew Hicks

Next up, my first 'real' camera was, again, my mom's K-1000, with a 50mm F/2 and 28mm/2.8. 8 on from her, but the biggest limitation at that time was the crappy film I was using, and the hit-and-miss scanning services local labs offered at the time. Plus, film is EXPENSIVE if you don't know where you're looking!I suppose this is my favorite early photo, even though it's meh, just because nothing else is anywhere near as good. It's also the first photo I got on the site, and has the cool ID of 124248.
Image © Matthew Hicks
PhotoID: 124248
Photograph © Matthew Hicks

I really only learned to improve when I got a digital camera, allowing me to have different metering options and autoexposure, and...being able to turn the saturation to 11.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:20 PM   #11
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Talking Same bunch of goofs.

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...has turned RP Forums into ObsCar...
Why shouldn't it?

With the exception of Howard the Great and his hand puppet Mr. Ducky, it is all the same people.


Although I still see that Mr. Valentine has not gotten banned from there yet, so maybe there is hope that some might mend their ways and not be completely obnoxious.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:50 PM   #12
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Got my first real camera about 15 years ago when I was in my early 20s. Bottom of the line canon slr film camera with a lousy kit lens. Enjoyed using it for a couple of years, but was not taking "photographs." Just for vacations, family stuff, etc. Then the world went digital and my wife bought a middle of the road digital camera...like a a high end P&S digital.

That thing irritated me so much I pretty much never took pictures for more than 10 years. The shutter delay was maddening. So wife complained for years that I never took pictures of her or the kids. so I hemmed and hawed for about five years about buying a "good" camera. Came a hair away from buying a Nikon d300, but thankfully got cold feet. I had done little research and would have bought the wrong lens with it anyway.

Fast forward to a few days after Christmas last year, wife said to "go ahead and buy a good camera." So I bought the canon 5d II and the 70-200 f2.8 so that I can take pictures of my kids in church, school, ballet, etc.

So I had this great camera, but needed something to do with it besides take pictures of my kids in the living room all day. I've always loved trains, so that is what I decided to work on as a way to teach myself photography. I'm pretty happy with the results so far. Just last week I got this shot of a humming bird. Not that it's some amazing photo, but you have to have good equipment and have a decent idea of what you're doing in order get a shot like that. By taking pictures of trains I figured out what I needed to do for other applications.

[IMG][/IMG]

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Old 05-10-2011, 04:00 PM   #13
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Wow, the Ocotillo are sure blooming where you live. Arizona?
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:02 PM   #14
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Wow, the Ocotillo are sure blooming where you live. Arizona?
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:05 PM   #15
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The new guys that come to these forums don't realize how good they have it with all of the information that is available here. I wish I had someone back then to tell me my photos were terrible and how to correct them.
Oh, so true - even with what I picked up from watching and listening to other fans (when I did run across them) there was no place to get information and instruction like there is today with the internet.



Quote:
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A big pice of crap kodak 110* that had a set shutter speed of 1/90th and wasn't sharp. Most fans today have a better camera as the PnS aren't all that bad.
about 14

The day after I got out high school I got a job and put the first pay down a Fuji 35 SLR of my picking in hind site if I wasn't in a rush I would had a Nikon but $200+ was 3 weeks pay then if not more.
I had the 110 phase too -- that was the worst. At least with the 126 the negative was a decent size. If by some luck of the draw I held the camera steady and got nice light on the subjet, there's something there to scan and see again. The 100 negatives, even when done right, are pathetic.

My first SLR that I bought for myself was a Fujica ST-801. With the Northeast Corridor being one of my main railfan hangouts, I wanted the 1/2000th of a second shutter (which I think was a Fujica only thing at the time).

I sold that camera when I got my Canon AE1 - and regretted it so much that I went out and bought a used duplicate, so I essentially have my ST-801 again (although I don't ever use it).
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:25 PM   #16
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What was the first camera you used for railfan pictures?

Technically a disposable Kodak camera, but for the internet it was really a 3.2mp Olympus P&S.

How old were you when you started?

I really started taking pictures when I was 12 or 13, but I would go out with my dad and railfan earlier.

What were the challenges (technical and logistical)?

Just about everything, from getting trackside to focusing properly.

How did you learn to improve?

RP rejections, practice and age.

What's your favorite early photograph?

Image © LSRC
PhotoID: 167150
Photograph © LSRC


Do those early days make you smile or wince?

Both. I smile at the rarity, I wince at the quality of my photographs. I miss those Alcos.

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Old 05-10-2011, 04:48 PM   #17
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I've always liked trains. I discovered railfanning when I was about 12.

Took me a while to understand how shutter speed, f-stop, and ISO speed all worked together.

Trial and error. I pretty much taught myself all the basics that way. I didn't really have any mentors at that time. The new guys that come to these forums don't realize how good they have it with all of the information that is available here. I wish I had someone back then to tell me my photos were terrible and how to correct them.

Time. Lots and lots of time.

The first photo I ever remember taking was of a W&LE coil train. It turned out pretty well and it's one of my favorites for that reason.

When I look back it makes me smile to remember how much I didn't really care if the photo came out that well. I just enjoyed being trackside, clueless, and catching trains. Sometimes I pull those old photos back and start to cry at all of the interesting stuff that I saw but have an absolutely terrible photo of that I can't really share with anything.


Pretty similar over here. I always enjoyed them as a child and my parents would occasionally take to places such as Altoona, Horseshoe Curve and Cresson to watch trains roar past. I took my first photo when I was I want to say 9(?) of 2 Conrail 40-2's running light through the curve, the unit was NS 3337.

My first camera was nothing more than a simple Kodak Point & Shoot that I would take with me when I would go bike rides, much like Janusz, to which I still do bike a lot today. I then took over my mom's somewhat more advanced point & shoot, eventually moving to the Canon SX20IS, which I currently use.

As for the learning process, It was pretty much trial and error, along with some advice asking on the way.

I mainly wince at my older photos I see, just wishing I had the common sense to shoot the ---- out of the large handful of rarities roaming around. I was mainly a video person back then as well. A few photos I smile on just because of the good memories it has in looking at that photo.

Last edited by IHapsias; 05-11-2011 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:11 PM   #18
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First camera:

A Kodak Vigilant folding camera. Used 620 film. Eight exposures to the roll. Shutter speeds: 1/100, 1/50, 1/25, T and B. F 6.3 - 32. Here's what it looked like: http://neighborhoodvalues.com/nv/tech/017VT.htm
My dad handed it down to me when he thought I was old enough to handle it. (my avatar photo is one my dad took with it) I was about 12 years old a the time. He taught me the basics. At first, I just used the paper exposure guide that came in the film box. Later, I got a hold of a light meter and learned how to use that. At age 16, I got an SLR for Christmas. A Mamiya-Seykor 500DTL. Used that pretty hard for 20+ years. Now, have a lightly used "newer" (circa 1990) Minolta SLR sitting in the basement and more heavily used Kodak point and shoot super zoom that travels with me at most times.

First railfan pictures were the result of vacation trips. My dad an I used to watch trains as part of usual weekend errands, but didn't usually take pictures. However, on vacation, there was always some sort of train ride involved and I did take pictures.

Attached are a picture of me winding the camera and one I took with it on vacation in 1968 when I was 12 - a five week camping vacation from NJ to California and back.

Most of my challenges were technical and lack of imagination. It was really HARD to take a picture of, or from, a moving train with a camera with a 1/100th shutter and having to take a guess at the focus! Getting an SLR and shooting slide film helped a great deal, but then, the challenge was to get the shot nailed on the first pass. There was no post-processing. What you got, was what you got. Had to learn to pre-focus, what to meter off of (Conrail ballast was a pretty good neutral gray - I got in trouble on other roads!), wait until the train was at the right spot in the shot. Then, the trick was learning how to take what I saw in other's photos and figure out how to get that for myself. Rarely, if ever, came up with an original idea on my own. Biggest leaps came at college when I started going on regular railfan trips with friends. Never having the right speed film in the camera - or in the camera bag - always seemed to be an issue....

The early days, and all those blurry photos make me smile. They were fun times doing fun things and those pictures bring back those memories strongly.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg UATurboTrain.jpg (490.5 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg CWskunkJul68.jpg (106.3 KB, 86 views)

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