Old 12-22-2008, 10:04 PM   #1
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Default Meeting other Photographers

How and where do you guys (and gals) go about meeting other train photographers? Obviously you might run into them trackside, but which other websites, Yahoo Groups, etc. have you met or gotten to know people from? I haven't met several people here face to face, but through emails, the forums, and IM's, I certainly feel like they're real friends.

I've gotten to know a couple of folks through Flickr, which has a fair amount of social framework available if you decide to take advantage of it, and I'm on several of the local Yahoo Groups, although I haven't met any train nerds as a result of those (have met some cool weather nerds though).

Are there any other specific train related sites that I ought to be looking at to be in the "in" crowd, if there is such a thing?
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
How and where do you guys (and gals) go about meeting other train photographers? Obviously you might run into them trackside, but which other websites, Yahoo Groups, etc. have you met or gotten to know people from? I haven't met several people here face to face, but through emails, the forums, and IM's, I certainly feel like they're real friends.
Ditto

The only rail-photography-oriented people I've met were randomly trackside and at a photo charter.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:47 PM   #3
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I keep in touch with a decent sized group of people online, but my real world meetings are few and far between. It would be nice to talk to someone other than myself on occasion..

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Old 12-22-2008, 10:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ottergoose
Are there any other specific train related sites that I ought to be looking at to be in the "in" crowd, if there is such a thing?
Honestly don't know if this is still a viable option, but used to be that you would join local railfan clubs and go the their slide shows... talk to others afterwords.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:12 PM   #5
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I normally meet people face to face via notices I get for "special" engines coming through, which I found out via either yahoo groups or through rrpicturearchives.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:23 PM   #6
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OK, guys, I say this with all seriousness aside and with a BIG grin, but judging by the images that get mega-hit whenever a female is anywhere in the field of view, it certainly is time for a lot of you to not only meet other photographers, but get out and meet some members of the fairer sex also. Grin!!!!

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Old 12-22-2008, 11:28 PM   #7
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This is where the steam enthusiasts may have an advantage because there are obviously a limited number of places where one can go to see steam engines run. In the nearly a year I've been here, I have been fortunate to meet at least a dozen of the contributors to RP. Most were on photo charters, but some were just trackside chasing normal operations.

Although I probably shoot solo 90% of the time, it is much more fun chasing with other die-hards. On another thread somewhere here I saw a post in which someone inferred that photo charters are rip-offs. I would respectfully disagree. While they can be a bit pricey, I look at them as two-fers. I not only get a chance for some good pictures, I get to railfan with other people who enjoy this hobby enough to spend their hard-earned money on it.
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
Honestly don't know if this is still a viable option, but used to be that you would join local railfan clubs and go the their slide shows... talk to others afterwords.
Yea or at the hobby shops not that there a lot of them now days, Most towns of 10,000 had one, it maybe in the back of the hardware store. Now its all net, good for talking to some one you may have never meet. Hanging out at the depot wont work, no depot. Now days i see fans by the 1/4 or 5/8 wave antenna on there SUV's and may stop and talk if i see some one.
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:13 AM   #9
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I met my best friend on RP... I've met so many people from RP, and I do consider each one (well, excluding a few) friends, that I often chat with on IM.

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Old 12-24-2008, 08:08 AM   #10
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I keep in touch with several local railfans in my area, who are also rather serious with photography, but I definately have a larger clan of people I talk to on the internet, that I haven't had the chance to meet up with, as of yet.

I still make it a priority to get out there and railfan with others whenever I have the time, I'll plan an outing or two in the spring for local railfans here in the area, which usually attracts a few people.

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Old 12-27-2008, 12:35 AM   #11
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in the days before the internet, meeting like-minded railfans was usually done at slide shows, especially organized shows like the chapter NRHS I joined in '87, which was known to be populated by big-names in railphotography, the NWI chapter out of Rockford, IL., founded by Jim Boyd, Mike Schafer, and others in 1969 as primarily a photographers chapter. It was at places like that where you would learn the "rules" of taking good rail photos "sunny, K64, 500 @ 5 from the sunny side". I met a lot of great photographers of the day that way. Nowadays, those same organizations are adapting to the conversion from film to digital media, and lucky for us there are members young enough to help us navigate through the changes. there is/was nothing like showing your slides at a show to a critical audience and when someone well-known would compliment you on a shot, it meant a LOT.


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Old 12-27-2008, 03:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chico

Today, that all happens here!
Or out shooting chico, we have to get out if the weather is good soon.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:27 AM   #13
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I like that railfanning is typically a solo hobby. That's not to say that I don't like to railfan with other people because some of the fondest memories of railfanning are with other people, but I would stop railfanning if I couldn't do it alone. Besides, the fewer people who photograph the train you are makes your photos that much more valuable/rare.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
I like that railfanning is typically a solo hobby. That's not to say that I don't like to railfan with other people because some of the fondest memories of railfanning are with other people, but I would stop railfanning if I couldn't do it alone. Besides, the fewer people who photograph the train you are makes your photos that much more valuable/rare.
And we have a winner.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:59 AM   #15
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Most of the rail enthusiasts I keep in contact with are regular contributors to Railpage Australia or Queensland's Railway Interest Group (QRIG). We keep in contact mainly via telephone or e-mail and catch up when there is a train charter/special movement out and about or even when a few beers need drinking. I have also met a number of members here at RailPictures.

One fine afternoon in January 2005, I was out taking photos and got a particular photo of EMU 70/80 at Northgate en route to Caboolture. Not long after the photo was added to the database, I got an email from a person who claimed to be the driver of this train, requesting a larger image for his little girl. Naturally, I passed on the high resolution image and organised a time to meet up. Today, he is still one of my best mates.

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Old 12-27-2008, 07:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
I like that railfanning is typically a solo hobby. That's not to say that I don't like to railfan with other people because some of the fondest memories of railfanning are with other people, but I would stop railfanning if I couldn't do it alone. Besides, the fewer people who photograph the train you are makes your photos that much more valuable/rare.
That and some of the people you run into trackside. I've encountered too many morons out there who think they're some sort of God because they feel they know more than any other railfan in the area...or the old guys telling you how things were better in their day...or the clueless ones who just start talking and won't shut up, no matter how many hints you drop. Long story short, if you approach me, I *may* talk to you. If not, I probably won't even acknowledge your existence. But that's not to say I don't try occasionally...I ran into a guy a few months back with a nice array of L lenses and a high end body. I said hello, and he just stared at me for a few seconds before walking back to his car (only to wander back and stand across the road in order to listen in to my radio, but still ignoring me)...further reassuring my position to avoid other railfans when I'm out.

And yes, I have friends I regularly railfan with. To (somewhat) echo Mike's sentiments, however, I feel like they're a burden most of the time. When I'm alone, I'll bounce around and go for different shots. When I run into them, they're usually extremely adamant about sitting in one spot (usually CP-382, as evident in my shots) and shooting the same angle over and over again. Or, if by some miracle they do decide to go elsewhere, it sometimes becomes a copycat game - I set up my shot, and everyone else decides to copy it.

However, most of these friends are railfans first and photographers second - something that really drives me up the wall (you know the type - the ones who will refuse to get a nice shot showing the whole scene, or something artsy in favor of getting a roster shot of the Warbonnet second out). When I go out and shoot with people who put their photography first, that tends to be how some of my best work comes about. Instead of sitting there talking about nothing important, we end up going for different shots and motivating each other to go the extra mile for a shot. Unfortunately, there aren't many of these types around here, so I'm stuck with the "locomotives first" crowd for the most part...
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Old 12-27-2008, 07:44 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAMR159
That and some of the people you run into trackside. I've encountered too many morons out there who think they're some sort of God because they feel they know more than any other railfan in the area...or the old guys telling you how things were better in their day...or the clueless ones who just start talking and won't shut up, no matter how many hints you drop. Long story short, if you approach me, I *may* talk to you. If not, I probably won't even acknowledge your existence. But that's not to say I don't try occasionally...I ran into a guy a few months back with a nice array of L lenses and a high end body. I said hello, and he just stared at me for a few seconds before walking back to his car (only to wander back and stand across the road in order to listen in to my radio, but still ignoring me)...further reassuring my position to avoid other railfans when I'm out.

And yes, I have friends I regularly railfan with. To (somewhat) echo Mike's sentiments, however, I feel like they're a burden most of the time. When I'm alone, I'll bounce around and go for different shots. When I run into them, they're usually extremely adamant about sitting in one spot (usually CP-382, as evident in my shots) and shooting the same angle over and over again. Or, if by some miracle they do decide to go elsewhere, it sometimes becomes a copycat game - I set up my shot, and everyone else decides to copy it.

However, most of these friends are railfans first and photographers second - something that really drives me up the wall (you know the type - the ones who will refuse to get a nice shot showing the whole scene, or something artsy in favor of getting a roster shot of the Warbonnet second out). When I go out and shoot with people who put their photography first, that tends to be how some of my best work comes about. Instead of sitting there talking about nothing important, we end up going for different shots and motivating each other to go the extra mile for a shot. Unfortunately, there aren't many of these types around here, so I'm stuck with the "locomotives first" crowd for the most part...
I think you need to find some new friends to railfan with. I'm the type that puts the shot above all else. If it's possible, I'll do whatever it takes to get a better shot. Even if that means not eating for 16 hours, staying up for 36 hours, not stopping for anything other than gas, etc. I'm out there to get good shots, nothing else.
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:03 AM   #18
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When I first arrive at a location, I get this image in my head of what I want the train to look like in the photograph. If my real image does not match my projected image when the train comes along, then I can get quite shitty. The level of shittiness is directly proportional to the amount of time spent waiting and type of consist (rare or not). Some really dislike that about me, others tolerate it, and the rest consider it some light entertainment. It could be a good reason for going solo ...
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
I think you need to find some new friends to railfan with. I'm the type that puts the shot above all else. If it's possible, I'll do whatever it takes to get a better shot. Even if that means not eating for 16 hours, staying up for 36 hours, not stopping for anything other than gas, etc. I'm out there to get good shots, nothing else.
Well said... FINALLY.

At one point in time I was just that 'locomotive shooter' style, where I was shooting from the wrong side, etc etc etc.

I got my first shot on my 2nd RP account (first was deleted due to some comments I made two years ago) accepted about 11 months ago, and now I'm up and over 200 (206). I've gone from a measly 2.1MP PnS to a 10.1 DSLR, it just took me a while.

The pushing of getting a DSLR from local photogs (Alex Ramos played the big role in getting one) and the repeatedly rejections for grainy, and poor quality made me go to a SLR-like camera in the form of a Kodak Z712IS. Still wasn't enough pop, so after 10 months I've moved it to a video-only mode and I got the Canon Rebel XS.

I type this just seconds before leaving my house for a 3 day/2 night camping trip on the famous Donner Pass. I hope to bring home enough shots to submit that make it worth the trip.

Once I come back, give it a few days and then I'll be able to make a post in John Ryan's thread "Best of 2008".
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
Obviously you might run into them trackside, but which other websites, Yahoo Groups, etc. [...]the forums, and IM's....
I belong to three YahooGroups, all for local N. California railfans. One is a discussion, and the other two is for giving headsups on things special rolling around. On the discussion board I don't think there is a single person besides me who submits to RP, they're more of the "Train Watching" kind of group who rather sit trackside with a beer then run around getting the best shot.

Now, as for IM'ing... I look at my buddy list and find about 40 out of 76 that have a RP account and are semi-frequent submitters. I have learned so much from talking to every single one, especially JimThias, AB(2), Nick Benson, Ryan Dadgari and Joe Minor. Besides being a fellow RPer, I also consider each one of them a friend, and some more of a friend than others.

Over the past two years I've met near 5 railfans trackside, two have become my railfan companions. I get the lineup for us, he'll drive and it balances out.
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:32 PM   #21
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I think a lot of the comments at the end of this hit it on the head for me. I often have the most fun when on my own... I usually do my most creative and best work when on my own (have even found that hanging out with photographers that I admire doesn't always work out - as we sort of seem to cancel each other out a little and both wind up with mediocre shots).
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:46 AM   #22
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I have one friend that is really into trains, probably more than I am. Everyonce in a while we will shoot together, and sometimes I can convince my girlfriend to tag along for a couple hours.

Other than that I have never had many good experiences with other railfans and do not really like being around them. I do not like setting up for a shot in advance only to have some wacko with a RR hat with 20 RR buttons with a RR T shirt on step into my shot when the train appears, and I do not like having to worry about being in some one else's way either because I know what a pain in the ass it can be when you are trying to do something and some one gets in the way.

Luckily the two people that I photograph trains with stay out of my way, and I stay out of theirs.


Maybe I am too anti social
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Old 12-28-2008, 07:41 PM   #23
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I have friends that I occasionally go out with and fan like Brett Wrick or NscaleMike. or Ken Kuehne and on a rare occasion my wife. But for the most part I photograph alone. I have very few daylight hours to shoot and so many of my photos are at night. But running with any of the mentioned photographers have been helpful rarely boring.
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarrySr
it certainly is time for a lot of you to not only meet other photographers, but get out and meet some members of the fairer sex also. Grin!!!!

BarrySr
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That's toooo funny, being married for 13 yrs, 2 daughter's, and a lot of estrogen flying around, for me, going railfaning and meeting other photog's (far and few between) here in the land that God forgot, is like a religious experience.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:36 PM   #25
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Other railfans are generally a pain. Unless I'm going to a railroad hotspot like Berea, Greenwich, Fostoria, or something like that, I'd prefer to just not see a railfan. They seem to get in my way, make noise through my videos, always try to talk about something I don't care about, and more! I especially hate it when they arrive after you, and then get in your way and refuse to move.

To top it off, usually they don't know as much about trains as me, because I have visited the spots much more than them (if you're reading this thread, and this comment offends you, don't let it. It is more of a joke than anything, and you'll see that it offended a railroader further into the thread, take it with a grain of salt, please....), so I don't find as much enjoyment out of talking to them, if they are absolutely clueless. I like to hang with several railfans. None of them you guys probably know, but I like railfanning with Marty Surdyk, Tim Sullivan, Jim Mastromatteo, Dennis Taksar and Rich Antibus. Although Marty can get too hung up on location, to the point he won't shoot stopped trains, or rare locomotives, if it isn't in a good location. Jim HAS to chase every Wheeling & Lake Erie train for miles or else!! Tim does not travel far enough to get the shot, and when I agree to chase trains with him, he gets bored with it too quick.

When capable to drive on my own, I'd prefer to railfan by myself, or with the aforementioned friends, despite their annoyances. The only problem with railfanning with someone else, is then you have to put up with their bodily functions and appetites. So, as you can see, I am irritable, and would rather just railfan on my own. Call me grumpy.

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