Old 10-02-2008, 02:49 AM   #26
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There is a difference between "cloudy" and "overcast". On cloudy shots where plenty of nice blue sky (or colorful sunsets) are showing are much more interesting than overcast shots where the final product has no contrast, and is soft. Overcast day shots can also make the "high sun" issue arise, not necessarily because of the clouds, but because of the lack of shadow or lighting affects.

Of course, I'm not expert, but I hope that my post should prove helpful in some way.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:56 AM   #27
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In reading this thread, a couple of things come to mind. One suggestion for dealing with cloudy day shots was to take pictures from a elevated point of view to cut out the sky. The challenge in that is there seem to be certain screeners who don't like pictures taken looking down on the train. I've had a number of photos rejected for "bad angle" because they've been taken from a bridge or some other such point of view, even though there are definitely pictures taken from the same kind of point of view in the DB. I haven't been able to entirely figure out yet what constitutes an acceptable overhead shot as opposed to an unacceptable one.

On the matter of HDR (which I admit I have no experience in attempting to produce), as I understand it, it is not in fact necessary to take multiple frames of the same subject. Wouldn't the same result be acheived by setting one's camera for AEB (auto exposure bracketing), thus saving three versions of the same frame with different exposure settings, and then working from those? That would make the issue of dealing with a moving subject much easier.

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Old 10-02-2008, 03:13 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by jnohallman
On the matter of HDR (which I admit I have no experience in attempting to produce), as I understand it, it is not in fact necessary to take multiple frames of the same subject. Wouldn't the same result be acheived by setting one's camera for AEB (auto exposure bracketing), thus saving three versions of the same frame with different exposure settings, and then working from those? That would make the issue of dealing with a moving subject much easier.
Yes, but only if the train does not move far enough during the cycling of the three shots to create motion blur when the shots are combined using the HDR technique. I don't know the typical cycle time, but if you have a 3 frames per second camera and the AEB runs on the same speed, then one needs a subject that does not move for one full second, which pretty much means no moving trains. If the camera cycles faster (say, with the mirror locked up) then perhaps it would work, don't know.
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:21 AM   #29
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Jon,

When taking an HDR image with the AEB, the camera takes typically 3 images. And typically you would set the "marker" at -2, 0, +2 (stops). It doesn't "process" the image as if you were to take 3 images, it physically takes 3 images. So a fast moving train is impossible to do HDR. Unless, like J and others have said if you shoot raw you can process 3 files as -2, 0, +2 (stops) and try to make an image out of that. I'm just learning HDR and I like to manually expose the scene with 18 stops rather than just 3. You NEED to have a non moving subject, hands down, to do TRUE HDR exposure.


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Old 10-02-2008, 03:33 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnohallman
In reading this thread, a couple of things come to mind. One suggestion for dealing with cloudy day shots was to take pictures from a elevated point of view to cut out the sky. The challenge in that is there seem to be certain screeners who don't like pictures taken looking down on the train. I've had a number of photos rejected for "bad angle" because they've been taken from a bridge or some other such point of view, even though there are definitely pictures taken from the same kind of point of view in the DB. I haven't been able to entirely figure out yet what constitutes an acceptable overhead shot as opposed to an unacceptable one.

I'm wondering if both factors (cloudy, high angle) come down to simple personal bias. If a screener has basically only been a "classic railfan" type photographer, those kinds of shots seem to have evolved conventions of their own. I have noticed that older guys that pretty much only do trains can be pretty set in what a "proper" RR photo is. OTOH, those who have never been part of the railfanning scene before do not have those preconceived ideas about what a "good" shot looks like. I have not seen a list/page here detailing exactly what the photo backgrounds (i.e. Fine Arts degree, agent for Getty, etc.) of the screeners actually is, so I'm just throwing out a guess. Maybe someone has that info and can add it. I do know from experience that once you've eliminated photos with obvious technical errors (exposure, focus, etc.) it starts to become subjective.


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Old 10-02-2008, 03:37 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by asis80
Jon,

You NEED to have a non moving subject, hands down, to do TRUE HDR exposure.

That's what I read on a Nikon message board from a guy posting results shot with his D3. He said even though the D3 blazed at 8 fps, it still wasn't enough. The slight movement between shots screwed up the program. I would bet that eventually the software will become sophisticated enough to work around that. Just a guess.


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Old 10-02-2008, 03:40 AM   #32
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Fair enough. As I said, I'm not really familiar with HDR, so thanks to everyone for the further explanation of what's involved!

Jon
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:50 AM   #33
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Well I did get a cloudy shot in tonight.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=253125

I'm a little surprised as it went in first try. This is an old Ektachrome that I scanned with an old flatbed scanner that can't seem to focus on anything. I'll be looking for a Nikon coolscan shortly.

You can see where the sun lit up at the top of the background, but the rest is in a cloud cover. There is a little bit of light streak coming through the clouds toward the rear of the train. That's why I still think it may be a bit of a challenge, but overcast scenes can be made to look good. That was one advantage that I liked about Ektachrome versus Kodachrome.

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Old 10-02-2008, 03:52 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Noct Foamer
I have not seen a list/page here detailing exactly what the photo backgrounds (i.e. Fine Arts degree, agent for Getty, etc.) of the screeners actually is, so I'm just throwing out a guess.
One can have a good eye for photography without formal training or professional experience. One of the screeners, for example, is 19 years old or so but has shown repeatedly that he can think outside the railfan photography box.

Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 230192
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)

Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 184053
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)

Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 211931
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)

Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 249023
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)

Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 244076
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)


I have a pretty good credential in my professional field but I find it pretty easy to figure out whether someone is good or not without reference to theirs.

The other screeners are pretty good photographers also.

Kent, you may want to take some more time to familiarize yourself with the current site, rather than what you heard about it back in the day in another forum.
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:58 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Chris Z
Well I did get a cloudy shot in tonight.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=253125

I'm a little surprised as it went in first try. This is an old Ektachrome that I scanned with an old flatbed scanner that can't seem to focus on anything. I'll be looking for a Nikon coolscan shortly.

Chris
I've noticed a lot of "older" scanned shots showing up in the database recently, and I wonder if the screeners are a little bit more forgiving with them than with current shots, especially when it come to pictures from the 70s and before. Just an observation, certainly not an objection!

Jon
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:09 AM   #36
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The challenge in that is there seem to be certain screeners who don't like pictures taken looking down on the train.
Hmmm...I haven't noticed this trend. Do you have any examples?
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:15 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Z
Well I did get a cloudy shot in tonight.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=253125

I'm a little surprised as it went in first try. This is an old Ektachrome that I scanned with an old flatbed scanner that can't seem to focus on anything. I'll be looking for a Nikon coolscan shortly.


Chris
A 19-year-old shot will always have an edge over a present day shot (what is a reason for rejection in something shot last week, is not a reason for rejection on a shot from 20 years ago), although I have to say that even though this one is being called cloudy, it's still nicely lit. I like it either way.
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:22 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnohallman
I've noticed a lot of "older" scanned shots showing up in the database recently, and I wonder if the screeners are a little bit more forgiving with them than with current shots, especially when it come to pictures from the 70s and before. Just an observation, certainly not an objection!

Jon
Good. Contemporary shots are great, but the older stuff, even from ten years ago, can be gold. I too noticed this trend and thought the screeners seemed to be a little less stringent in their standards compared to contemporary shots. Given the cost of quality slide scanners, coupled with the value of archival images in generating traffic, it's a wise move.

Personally, I find an increasing number of the shot I favorite are older, scanned slides... lots of fallen flags, long retied locomotives and vanished paintschemes there.

A few to illustrate these great shots (only the last one was taken after I was born, and in diapers at that):

Image © William E. Griffin, Jr.
PhotoID: 252955
Photograph © William E. Griffin, Jr.


Image © Steve Schmollinger
PhotoID: 52665
Photograph © Steve Schmollinger


Image © Donald Haskel
PhotoID: 175376
Photograph © Donald Haskel


Image © George W. Hamlin
PhotoID: 192283
Photograph © George W. Hamlin


Image © cz17
PhotoID: 248609
Photograph © cz17


Image © Run8diesel
PhotoID: 222646
Photograph © Run8diesel


Image © B. Nicholson
PhotoID: 15604
Photograph © B. Nicholson
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:37 PM   #39
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1. One can have a good eye for photography without formal training or professional experience. One of the screeners, for example, is 19 years old or so but has shown repeatedly that he can think outside the railfan photography box.


2. Kent, you may want to take some more time to familiarize yourself with the current site, rather than what you heard about it back in the day in another forum.



1. No disagreement with that. The Master, O.W. Link actually got his degree in electrical engineering. I just like to know a little about someone's philosophies, goals, and so on.

2. In the past RP did have a reputation as being more of a place for roster shots & wedgies. If you were trying to be creative, it just wasn't the place to be. Or, so I was always told. Partly because of recommendation from Mitch, I decided to take a closer look for myself. There are definitely some more creative people showing up, especially in the past year. The Andrew B. guy you mentioned above is doing exactly the kinds of shots I like a lot. Thanks for bringing him to my attention. Don't care how old he is--Mozart was writing symphonies at age 15. (He's my favorite composer.)

Here's one I tried at a cool abandoned farm house very close to BNSF tracks. Everyone else takes the shot from the outside. I saw the direction the windows were pointed and took it from inside. Used ultrawide lens and two Nikon SB flash for fill, pointed at ceiling. I had some new ideas for the spot and was waiting for the cornfield (between tracks & house) to be cut so I could try them out. Unfortunately, the owner bulldozed it to make room for more corn last month. It was a casualty of ethanol economics, I think. It was the only abandoned house along that line that would work. Oh well. If you see something cool you want to photo, don't put it off. Even out here in Branchline Land things do change.


Kent in SD

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Old 10-02-2008, 01:57 PM   #40
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Here's one I tried at a cool abandoned farm house very close to BNSF tracks. Everyone else takes the shot from the outside. I saw the direction the windows were pointed and took it from inside.
Perhaps everyone else took their shots from the outside because they didn't have permission to be on the inside of that house? Just sayin'. I'm guessing 90+% of railfans don't seek out permission for places to shoot because shooting from public places fits their style. But, sometimes going that extra mile will yield amazing and rare results...

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Old 10-02-2008, 02:35 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Noct Foamer
In the past RP did have a reputation as being more of a place for roster shots & wedgies. If you were trying to be creative, it just wasn't the place to be. Or, so I was always told. Partly because of recommendation from Mitch, I decided to take a closer look for myself.
The general issue with your presence on these forums is that, in actuality, in coming in here to allegedly "take a closer look" what you did do was to come in here with your preconceived and false biases toward RP and express them early and often. While at the same time not showing any work that would show you to yourself being more creative than the fictional place that you had conceived RP as being.

A photographer with nothing special shots who a) claims to be doing excellent work, b) doesn't show his work for the most part so others have to go find it, and c) nonetheless makes claims on what RP is and what it should be based on no personal experience with RP or its forums, gets laughed at and scorned.

So you marched in here and threw a bunch of verbal (written!) shots around and everybody figured out early on that you simply had your attitude and your view and your eyes closed to any opposing information.

That, in a nutshell, is the history of "Kent in SD" on these forums.

Fortunately the path of history can shift if the participants in it want to do so. Do you?
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:11 PM   #42
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1. The general issue with your presence on these forums is that, in actuality, in coming in here to allegedly "take a closer look" what you did do was to come in here with your preconceived and false biases toward RP and express them early and often.

2. A photographer with nothing special shots who a) claims to be doing excellent work, b) doesn't show his work for the most part so others have to go find it, ...

3. So you marched in here and threw a bunch of verbal (written!) shots around and everybody figured out early on that you simply had your attitude and your view and your eyes closed to any opposing information.

4. Fortunately the path of history can shift if the participants in it want to do so. Do you?


1. You are correct, I did have some preconceived ideas. They were handed to me by the "RP Haters" of which there are quite a few, many with questionable motivation though. I have been taking a closer look to get my own info first hand. In the past I have used "the data base" as a place to look up loco numbers to see what model it was, the very few times that mattered to me. I am now finding some people doing exactly the kind of stuff I'm interested in and have begun paying attention to them.

2. Not sure I've claimed to "make excellent work" so much as I claim I am striving to do something different. I have by now posted plenty of shots. That's was once a valid criticism but no longer is. I have also begun submitting some shots to a few magazines. We'll see where that goes.

3. Good point. I should have better gauged the culture of the forum. All are different. I initially was being tongue in cheek with a lot of what I wrote, and some of it was taken in ways I didn't intend. My mistake (and it was big) was not correcting that immediately. Instead, I allowed things get out of hand. Add that I sometimes came home after a long hard day and allowed some of that to creep into what I posted here, without thinking it through. Scorn I can handle, but irrational hatefulness I have no time for. My eyes are indeed closed to that.

4. Of course, I've begun trying for a "shift," as you put it. I've dropped the semi-sarcastic humor, walk away from negative situations, and avoid taking hard line positions. (I allowed the "tripod thread" to get out of hand even though I actually agreed with much of what Jim Thias wrote.) I have been offering lots of help to people asking for it. I have spent a fair amount of time on that and go into enough detail to make it useful. That's really what I'm after. In the past I always appreciated it when someone took the time to help me learn something new, and I return the favor. Maybe in time they will do the same.

You are a reasonable and objective guy so I responded. I won't allow this to turn into a "Song That Never Ends" thread though. Email me with any further comments.


Kent in SD


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Old 10-02-2008, 07:03 PM   #43
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Scorn I can handle, but irrational hatefulness I have no time for. My eyes are indeed closed to that.
Kent, I don't think anyone "hates" you here. I don't hate you, but I've been very intolerable to much of the attitude that you've brought. Some of it I took as condescending, some of it I took as an attack on RP and its contributors. I think it's only natural that people are going to be defensive, especially after many of us have put in a LOT of time and effort into helping others here, as well as trying to perfect our hobby. Most of us have a long way to go, but most of also have shown a LOT of improvement in our photography due to RP. This site has opened up my eyes quite a bit since I joined, and I can honestly say it has helped overall to improve my photography and also pushed me to be a much more creative photographer.

I only discovered RP less than two years ago. Before that, I'd never heard of it. Prior to joining, the opinions I read about RP from some photographers on another site (non-railroad related) somewhat gave me a preconceived notion of what this place was all about. After a short time here, I knew what I had read wasn't true at all. Fortunately I didn't come to this site with guns blazing because of the nonsensical opinions I had heard from other jaded photographers. What I quickly found out was there were some great photographers and overall great PEOPLE here willing to help and share valuable advice.

And that brings me to you. Yes, you have a LOT of advice to share, and I respect the knowledge that you possess. But much of it has been lost with your negativity toward RP and the type of railroad photography that you don't feel fits your interest. We know you love and prefer shooting at night. I envy you for being able to afford the equipment to do that. I'd LOVE to shoot at night, but it's not in my budget right now. However, that doesn't mean daytime railroad photography (ie: wedgies and anything you don't think is highly creative) should be knocked. For some people, that is their passion. For others, thinking outside the box or shooting at night is their passion.

I'm sorry if I've been overly aggressive toward you. I guess I just got a little defensive (and protective) of RP. Not that it's my job or anything, as I'm just another member here with nothing more than my photos and time invested in this site, but I just couldn't sit back and not say anything.

Thanks for taking to time to write what you did above. It was well thought out and meaningful.
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:50 PM   #44
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Kent, I don't think anyone "hates" you here. I don't hate you, but I've been very intolerable to much of the attitude that you've brought. Some of it I took as condescending, some of it I took as an attack on RP and its contributors. I think it's only natural that people are going to be defensive, especially after many of us have put in a LOT of time and effort into helping others here, as well as trying to perfect our hobby. Most of us have a long way to go, but most of also have shown a LOT of improvement in our photography due to RP. This site has opened up my eyes quite a bit since I joined, and I can honestly say it has helped overall to improve my photography and also pushed me to be a much more creative photographer.

I only discovered RP less than two years ago. Before that, I'd never heard of it. Prior to joining, the opinions I read about RP from some photographers on another site (non-railroad related) somewhat gave me a preconceived notion of what this place was all about. After a short time here, I knew what I had read wasn't true at all. Fortunately I didn't come to this site with guns blazing because of the nonsensical opinions I had heard from other jaded photographers. What I quickly found out was there were some great photographers and overall great PEOPLE here willing to help and share valuable advice.

And that brings me to you. Yes, you have a LOT of advice to share, and I respect the knowledge that you possess. But much of it has been lost with your negativity toward RP and the type of railroad photography that you don't feel fits your interest. I'm sorry if I've been overly aggressive toward you. I guess I just got a little defensive (and protective) of RP. Not that it's my job or anything, as I'm just another member here with nothing more than my photos and time invested in this site, but I just couldn't sit back and not say anything.

Thanks for taking to time to write what you did above. It was well thought out and meaningful.

I said above I wouldn't respond to any more posts on the subject, but with such a heartfelt olive branch extended, I know I have to. I am sorry I let things get out of control, and I honestly think RP is a great site. I used to have some bias against it, but no longer do. As for daytime shots, of course I like them and do them too. The point I was wanting to make is I don't want to be making the same kinds of shots over and over. All kinds are great, I just want variety is all. I was over the top with the night stuff, but I honestly am passionate about it.

What I really like about forums is the chance to help others. As I said, I've received a lot of help myself in the past (still do too) and want to pass that along. Anyway, looks like we got the Hulcher crew out here finally to fix our derailment and things are getting back on track.


Kent in SD
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:12 PM   #45
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To Jim's point about RP.net's helping photography. I have been amazed at how much I have learned from this site. I don't see myself ever being one of the elite photogs... but the leaps and bounds my work has taken have really shocked me.

When I go back and look at my photography from just three years ago, so much of it makes me really angry... can't believe I didn't know better when it would have been so much easier to get a much more interesting, exciting, and visually enticing shot. (As an aside, when I look at some 30 year old shots of mine, from when I was hanging out with other fans, who knew better, those are actually better framed - showing that you can learn and unlearn and then re-learn skill again.)

And I will say that my first introduction to these forums stung a little, but many of those who I first felt the sting from are the same I now look to for the most advice from.

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Old 10-02-2008, 10:54 PM   #46
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I said above I wouldn't respond to any more posts on the subject, but with such a heartfelt olive branch extended, I know I have to. I am sorry I let things get out of control, and I honestly think RP is a great site. I used to have some bias against it, but no longer do.
Let's call this your first day on the forum, then. Welcome to RP.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:24 PM   #47
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Let's call this your first day on the forum, then. Welcome to RP.



I get a Mulligan?
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:29 PM   #48
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I get a Mulligan?
"Ignore list" reset to zero.
Hey, I'm not the list, just one participant.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:38 PM   #49
Noct Foamer
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Location: South Dakota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Hey, I'm not the list, just one participant.

Just wanted an opportunity to show my only golfing shot. I mean, you have to photo more than just trains, right? Thanks for your help. We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread about cloudy days.


Kent in SD

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Old 10-02-2008, 11:59 PM   #50
Freericks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer

Just wanted an opportunity to show my only golfing shot. I mean, you have to photo more than just trains, right? Thanks for your help. We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread about cloudy days.


Kent in SD

Where is this taken? It looks like a location where my father-in-law and I might actually be able to spend some time together! LOL.
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