Author Topic: Photo Shot setup  (Read 1556 times)

shane_man15

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2427
  • Back to building quality Honda products again.
Photo Shot setup
« on: May 15, 2011, 10:45:21 PM »
So, Ever since I took Intro to Audio/Video, I've been trying to sort of apply all the stuff that I have learned in the class (I know it's not photography) and what I've learned from other photographers to set up shots better. Make them more "professional looking."

I know the camera makes most of the difference, but so does your technique with how you take the shot.
Can anyone throw out some tips for me, as well as other inspiring people on the forum that wish to better their skills with a camera? :)
Shane Smiley (shane_man15)

Modeler of the Muncie, Richmond, and Fernald Railway.
Train horns are also my thing.

GIMME A CORVETTE ALREADY!

CIOR

  • The Second
  • Administrator
  • Jay Gould
  • *****
  • Posts: 14285
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2011, 11:00:27 PM »
Test out shots first.  One thing you will learn is that a picture looks different in the view finder than it does with just your eyes.  You tend to find things with the camera that you don't with your eyes.  You can ask Brian, there have been many times that I've said "Man that looks like a good spot to get a few shots from" and then after the train passes he hears me ranting about how I didn't see how much clutter was in that shot!.)  haha

No your location, while you don't always have to have the sun to shoot, shooting into the sun will almost always kill a shot, unless you can block the sun with a tree/building or something.  The bad thing is, you can't always help it, but it pays to be ahead of the subject a little bit.

Frame shots, this is something I learned in photography class in high school.  I usually tell people to find signals, structures, trees, towers, something to frame a shot, even if its only on one side, or both.  It allows you to focus and time shots.  This becomes more important in shooting moving subjects like trains.  

practice, practice practice and more practice.

While the camera does help, it isn't the sole factor.  Sure it limits how far you can take a picture, or the range if you will, but the composing of a shot can be had at any level.  
Learn the camera, learn how much lead time you need, know what it will and won't do!

I started with a 110, and moved up.  Shooting in digital format allows you to practice and try things out.  
Never be afraid to attempt a shot, failure is what teaches you!
Besides, minus the batteries, digital shooting is free.  Its not like it use to be, when you worried about burning up film.

I'm by no means an expert..   ;D  but I do know this.  Taking pictures of your leg or arm is bad, taking pictures of your hand or fingers is normal and knowing that someone will walk in front of you during a priceless shot is just par for the course at a railfan outing!

shane_man15

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2427
  • Back to building quality Honda products again.
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2011, 11:08:11 PM »
In the A/V class, they told us about "quadrants." I try very hard to set up my shot using them.
Mainly I'll make sure I figure out what I want in my shot, test it a couple times, then when the trains come, I shoot. Making sure the train isn't directly in the middle, but either slightly to very offset from the center. I'm getting better and better with the practice, and with the more pictures I see from you and everyone on the forum, as well as other sites. (Mainly Railpictures.net)
Shane Smiley (shane_man15)

Modeler of the Muncie, Richmond, and Fernald Railway.
Train horns are also my thing.

GIMME A CORVETTE ALREADY!

INprinter

  • Willing to railfan for deep fried pickles!
  • Global Moderator
  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Licensed Ham Radio Operator - K9SVL
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2011, 09:32:11 AM »
CIOR is telling you some good stuff. What you got in your A/V class will help as well. In most digital cameras you can "turn on" a sort of grid pattern that divides the view into sections. That is there to help you frame your shot. Search on the web for "Rule of Thirds". Understanding that concept will help you to "frame" your shots better. Most digital cameras allow you to make manual settings. The more you get into it the more you will find yourself turning off most of the "automatic" settings in your camera and setting things up manually. Read the book that came with your particular camera and experiment with the different settings as you read through the book. Go to the camera manufacturer's website, they might have a tutorial posted there for your camera or one very similar. Search the web based on your camera model and probably something will come up that will lead you to a special interest group based on your camera model or type.

Generally, it's not the camera that makes poor photographs. The better you know and understand your camera, lenses and lighting conditions the better your photos will turn out. You can make a lot of good photos with just an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera.

Try to hook up with Bryan. He is probably the best photog on this list and you can learn a lot just viewing the stuff he has posted here.

Inprinter
Shelbyville-1st RR in IN: 7/4/1834. 1st RR abandoned in IN: K&S RR 1854, 26 miles. Making IN RR history. Without photons photography would be a black art. You can never get cornered in the Roundhouse.

INprinter

  • Willing to railfan for deep fried pickles!
  • Global Moderator
  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Licensed Ham Radio Operator - K9SVL
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2011, 09:46:59 AM »
Check out this link, it is a fairly decent explanation of the Rule of Thirds.

http://www.digital-photography-tips.net/digital-photography-tutor-thirds.html

Inprinter
Shelbyville-1st RR in IN: 7/4/1834. 1st RR abandoned in IN: K&S RR 1854, 26 miles. Making IN RR history. Without photons photography would be a black art. You can never get cornered in the Roundhouse.

UP6936

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 495
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2011, 10:31:02 AM »
Shane_man,

Good question on a topic that can be hard to summarize in an email, but you have some advantages, young man.  There are a lot of very good photographers on this forum, so my suggestion is to also study their photos.  Check out some railroad photography books from the library (O. Winston Link and Don Ball are two photographers that come to mind) and study their compositions.   

Another great advantage is digital.  Back in the day, I had to wait a week for the Kodachrome to come back, so sometimes I wrote the camera settings in a notebook to see what worked.  Digital is immediate and shows the settings. 

I am biased to the manual settings because I used a manual Pentax K1000 until 2006.  I set the shutter speed manually as well as the aperture (exposure) setting.  You can do this using the camera but I still have my twenty six -years-old hand held light meter. 

Just go out there, take what you've learned, experiment and have fun!  Be sure to show us your results. 

 

"Same clowns, different circus." - A pearl of wisdom given by a Conrail brakeman.

INprinter

  • Willing to railfan for deep fried pickles!
  • Global Moderator
  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Licensed Ham Radio Operator - K9SVL
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2011, 11:14:20 AM »
Shane_man,

Good question on a topic that can be hard to summarize in an email, but you have some advantages, young man.  There are a lot of very good photographers on this forum, so my suggestion is to also study their photos.  Check out some railroad photography books from the library (O. Winston Link and Don Ball are two photographers that come to mind) and study their compositions.   

Another great advantage is digital.  Back in the day, I had to wait a week for the Kodachrome to come back, so sometimes I wrote the camera settings in a notebook to see what worked.  Digital is immediate and shows the settings. 

I am biased to the manual settings because I used a manual Pentax K1000 until 2006.  I set the shutter speed manually as well as the aperture (exposure) setting.  You can do this using the camera but I still have my twenty six -years-old hand held light meter. 

Just go out there, take what you've learned, experiment and have fun!  Be sure to show us your results. 

 



O. Winston Link, probably the best night-time photographer of railroading ever. I got to get to that museum sometime. Think it is over in Norfolk as I remember. You certainly gave Shane_man15 a lofty goal to aim for.

Inprinter
Shelbyville-1st RR in IN: 7/4/1834. 1st RR abandoned in IN: K&S RR 1854, 26 miles. Making IN RR history. Without photons photography would be a black art. You can never get cornered in the Roundhouse.

shane_man15

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2427
  • Back to building quality Honda products again.
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2011, 11:22:52 AM »
Thank you, guys. So much.  :D
For the last couple of years, I did study how a lot of people took different pictures, and some of my pictures have shown that I've gotten better with my "creative" side, so to speak.

I do remember the Rule of Thirds very well, however, applying it now is difficult. And I think that could be because I don't practice much, but then again, the old B&O to Cincy isn't a very hoppin' place anymore, unlike Shelbyville. ;D
But as I said before, I've studied different pictures. Mainly from Railpictures.net. And seeing some of everyone else's pictures to give me better ideas on what to do and what not to do helps out a lot.

It's definitely hard to explain things that I can only show using a camera.
But From what everyone has told me, I plan on using it all to better myself, and finding out who these people are.  :)
Shane Smiley (shane_man15)

Modeler of the Muncie, Richmond, and Fernald Railway.
Train horns are also my thing.

GIMME A CORVETTE ALREADY!

CIOR

  • The Second
  • Administrator
  • Jay Gould
  • *****
  • Posts: 14285
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 11:26:59 AM »


Another great advantage is digital.  Back in the day, I had to wait a week for the Kodachrome to come back, so sometimes I wrote the camera settings in a notebook to see what worked.  Digital is immediate and shows the settings. 

I am biased to the manual settings because I used a manual Pentax K1000 until 2006.  I set the shutter speed manually as well as the aperture (exposure) setting.  You can do this using the camera but I still have my twenty six -years-old hand held light meter. 

Just go out there, take what you've learned, experiment and have fun!  Be sure to show us your results. 


My photography teacher in high school once said "True failure is just lack of effort!" its very true.

Oh I hated the wait.  I remember learning the hard way when the 2 hour processing lab came to Walmart.  Only took them skunking up a few negatives to learn that the hard way.  Lucky for me we had a good processor here in Muncie and I used them.

Ewwwww, you said K1000, that was the first camera I learned to use in the 35mm range, then I moved to a basic NIKON and finally moved to a Canon EOS and stayed there for years.  To me learning the roll of shutter/ap is a good learning tool.  
I love being able to change my ISO though, sorta hard to do in the middle of a roll of film   ;D

UP6936

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 495
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2011, 01:14:57 PM »
When I got my digital camera, the salesman said I can make prints from the SD card.  I tried, but nothing happened when I put it in the pan of developer solution. ;D

I still shoot as if I have film by using manual settings, composing the shot, and only taking one or two of the train.  I may zoom in or out for one shot but I still use the 50mm range the most. I don't like having hundreds of pictures to look at and delete or edit.   I guess some of the old school is still in me. 

CIOR, I use a Pentax digital.  I know, but i had all the lenses and I'm too tight to spring for a whole new get up.  Maybe when I grow up, I'll get one of the new Canons - they do look sweet.
"Same clowns, different circus." - A pearl of wisdom given by a Conrail brakeman.

B@M

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 56
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2011, 04:07:57 PM »
digital is great.you can really play around with all the settings.stll have spotmatic and k1000.using my d60 nikon.

UP6936

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 495
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2011, 04:48:51 PM »
The K1000 was built like a battle tank.  It's been in the dusty, hot fields and, of course, railfanning.   I still have them and I'm making a display shelf for them and other obsolete photo items to put in the basement rec room.  I loved how heavy they are - no plastic and all metal. 
"Same clowns, different circus." - A pearl of wisdom given by a Conrail brakeman.

CIOR

  • The Second
  • Administrator
  • Jay Gould
  • *****
  • Posts: 14285
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2011, 05:30:11 PM »


CIOR, I use a Pentax digital.  I know, but i had all the lenses and I'm too tight to spring for a whole new get up.  Maybe when I grow up, I'll get one of the new Canons - they do look sweet.

No issue with that.  I went with the new line of Sony, when I found out they bought Minolta, so I can use all those Minolta lenses as I add to my line..  I use to be a core Canon user, but I do like the Sony, the body is a bit smaller than the Nikon and Canon, and that can be a plus.  The only difference so far I can see is the noise issue when shooting in high ISO and that it won't do video (I wouldn't use it for video anyway!)

I live by the idea of its what feels right in your shooting style.

B@M

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 56
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2011, 12:17:56 AM »
The K1000 was built like a battle tank.  It's been in the dusty, hot fields and, of course, railfanning.   I still have them and I'm making a display shelf for them and other obsolete photo items to put in the basement rec room.  I loved how heavy they are - no plastic and all metal.  
they were very well  built cameras

UP6936

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 495
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2011, 07:28:14 AM »
I went with the new line of Sony, when I found out they bought Minolta, so I can use all those Minolta lenses as I add to my line..  


I live by the idea of its what feels right in your shooting style.


Wow! I am really out of the loop...I didn't know Sony bought them.   When my Pentax gives up the ghost, I may have to look into one. Last fall, I missed a couple of good shots when the camera is on autofocus but it can't seem to focus, so it didn't take the picture.  It does that every now and then but I move the focusing ring just a frog hair and it works.  Problem is that I don't know when it's going to do it...back to manual focusing, too.


I couldn't agree more.  
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 11:39:54 AM by CIOR »
"Same clowns, different circus." - A pearl of wisdom given by a Conrail brakeman.

NSNORFOLKSOUTHERNFAN

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 220
Re: Photo Shot setup
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2011, 09:59:52 AM »
I second that
"Yeah I'm a railfan gotta problem with that?