Railroad Line Forums - Mini Clinic on Model Railroad Photography
Railroad Line Forums
Username:
Password:
Save Password


Register
Forgot Password?
  Home   Forums   Events Calendar   Sponsors   Support the RRLine   Guestbook   FAQ     Register
Active Topics | Active Polls | Resources | Members | Online Users | Live Chat | Avatar Legend | Search | Statistics
Photo Album | File Lister | File Library
[ Active Members: 2 | Anonymous Members: 0 | Guests: 112 ]  [ Total: 114 ]  [ Newest Member: rkovvur ]
 All Forums
 Model Railroad Forums
 Railroad Photography Forum
 Mini Clinic on Model Railroad Photography
Next Page
 New Topic |   Topic Locked | 
Author Previous Topic: Montana - 1870s-1880s Construction Ref. Photos Topic Next Topic: Lighting
Page: of 2

railphotog
Fireman



Posted - 09/07/2005 :  07:07:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit railphotog's Homepage
I posted this mini clinic on the Model Railroader Forum, and thought it might be of interest here. Let me know what you think. I have more!


CLINIC ON MODEL RAILROAD PHOTOGRAPHY – Directed towards digital cameras.

THE BASICS – Using the camera properly

1. RTFM! RTFM! - Read the Friggin Manual! Yes there is a lot of information in most camera manuals for all kinds of photography. Manufacturers want you to make the most out of your camera and usually include way more information than the average user might ever use. Whenever you have a question or problem, check the manual first. You will not be able to absorb all of the info in the manual and probably will not need much of it, but you should have an idea of the camera’s capabilities by reading the manual.

2. TURN OFF THE FLASH. Unless you want only “snapshots” to show a model or scene quickly. Any camera that I’ve seen has this option.

3. LIGHTING - Provide lighting on the scene in any other method - existing room lights, work lights, lights on extension cords, desk lamps, daylight from a window, etc. The more light you can place on the scene the better.

4. USE A TRIPOD. If you turn off the flash, the shutter will have to stay open for a relatively long time. During this time ANY camera movement will make the image blurry. With film cameras the idea has always been to have a good sturdy tripod, because film cameras are usually heavy. Most digital cameras are small and light, so can get by with lighter tripods, although heavier ones can be the best choice. Flimsy tripods can vibrate if the shutter is pushed too hard.

5. USE THE CAMERA SELF-TIMER. Most cameras have a self-timer; use it when taking photos even if the camera is on a tripod. Pressing the shutter button can sometimes cause minute vibrations or movement of the camera, resulting in blurry photos. Some cameras have infrared remotes or the ability to accept remote control cords. These are better than using the self-timer as they take less time to trip the shutter.

6. Set the COLOR BALANCE in the camera for the type of light you are using. Better cameras will allow you to choose between daylight, fluorescent, incandescent, etc. Improper color balance can be corrected in the computer after shooting if you have a decent graphics program.

7. CLOSE UP SETTING – Most digital cameras have a close up setting; it is often shown as a flower icon on the camera body or screen. You should know what the distance range is in this mode; check the manual. Some will focus down to a few inches, others may be farther back. Most overall model railroad photos may not require the close up setting unless you want to get in really close like in the front of an engine, or a shot of a particular detail. For a small scene you will probably be shooting about two feet or so away, so the close up mode will probably not be needed too much. There are so many differences between camera capabilities that it is best to make some tests yourself to determine when the close up setting will be useful.

8. QUALITY SETTING – Always use the highest quality image setting on your camera, for the largest file size. You can always make a larger file smaller, but you cannot make a smaller one larger.

9. ZOOM LENS – Most digital cameras come with zoom lenses. The “optical zoom” is when the lens actually moves in or out to change the size of the image. Many can also do a “digital zoom “ – do not use this for any purpose! All a digital zoom feature does is take the image at the long end of your optical zoom and cut out the center portion, resulting in a poor quality image. You can do the same by cropping an image taken at the long end of the optical zoom. You will get the most depth of focus when using the lens at the widest setting. The more you zoom in, the smaller the depth of focus becomes.

10. BRIGHTEN THE SHADOWS – If parts of the model or scene are in deep shadow, there will be nothing to see in the dark areas. Reflect light into the shadows to brighten it up. I made a reflector from two pieces of sturdy white cardboard hinged together with duct tape; this allows the reflector to stand on its own. One side was covered with aluminum foil that I had crumpled up first then flattened before gluing on. This breaks up the reflections so they do not look like a single point of light from a mirror. When less light is needed, I use the plain white side. Make sure when you lighten the shadows that you do not overdo it – there should not be two sources of light.

11. TEST PHOTOS – It is a good idea to shoot some test photos with your camera using the above tips, to help judge its capability. Most point and shoot digital cameras will not have a great depth of focus, so test photos taken on your actual layout will help. If you want to take a photo of your favorite engine, a popular ¾ view of the model may not have the entire engine in focus. Reducing the angle of view towards a side on shot may result in more of the model being in focus.



ADVANCED – Composing Photos

If you’ve mastered your camera and its controls and are able to get results that are technically acceptable, the next step is to make better photographs. You can take pictures, but you have to make photographs. Many consider fine photographs as art – work that is created by the photographer, as opposed to a “snapshot” that almost anyone could take. Some people have an artistic ability, others can learn it.

There are widely accepted “rules” in photography that aren’t really rules – just conventions in composition that can help to make a photo pleasing to the eye. All photos do not have to be taken according to these rules, but they are a good way to learn to see and create a photograph.

(The following is adapted from the Kodak.com website – they can explain their business better than I can):

1. CHOOSING YOUR MAIN POINT OF INTEREST. Although you know what your subject is, it can be hard for a viewer to determine your intent if too many elements in your picture make it confusing. Eliminate all unimportant elements by moving closer, zooming in, or choosing a different shooting angle.

2. ADJUST YOUR ANGLE OF VIEW. Alter your position - Change your position to emphasize or exaggerate how big or small your subject is. You can also move your camera right or left only a few feet to change the composition dramatically.

3. PLACING THE SUBJECT OFF-CENTER. Putting the subject off-center often makes the composition more dynamic and interesting. Even if your subject fills the frame, the most important part of the subject should not be dead center.

4. FOLLOW THE RULE OF THIRDS. An easy way to compose off-center pictures is to imagine a tick-tack-toe board over your viewfinder. Avoid placing your subject in that center square, and you have followed the rule of thirds. Try to place your subject along one of the imaginary lines that divides your frame.

5. WATCH THE HORIZON. Just as an off-center subject is usually best, so is an off-center—and straight—horizon line. Avoid cutting your picture in half by placing the horizon in the middle of the picture. To accent spaciousness, keep the horizon low in the picture. To suggest closeness, position the horizon high in your picture.

6. USING LEADING LINES - Select a camera angle where the natural lines of the scene lead the viewers' eyes into the picture and toward your main center of interest. You can find such a line in a road, a fence, even a shadow. Diagonal lines are dynamic; curved lines are flowing and graceful. You can often find the right line by moving around and choosing an appropriate angle.

7. INCLUDING OBJECTS IN THE FOREGROUND - When taking pictures of landscapes, include an object, such as a tree or boulder, in the foreground. Elements in the foreground add a sense of depth to the picture. A person in the foreground helps establish a sense of scale.

8. FRAMING THE SUBJECT. - Sometimes you can use the foreground elements to "frame" your subject. Overhanging tree branches, a doorway, or an arch can give a picture the depth it needs to make it more than just another snapshot.

9. SHOOTING VERTICAL OR HORIZONTAL - Don't forget that you can turn your camera sideways to take a vertical picture. Try taking both horizontal and vertical pictures of the same subject to see the different effects. A subject that your might usually think of as horizontal can make a stunning vertical picture.

10. KEEP PEOPLE BUSY. The model figures in your scenes should be doing something.

11. FIND UNUSUAL VIEWPOINTS. All photos do not have to be taken from trackside, or from a “helicopter position”; shoot under trees, from tops of buildings or rolling stock, etc.

12. One of the MOST IMPORTANT TIPS is to practice, practice, and practice some more! Nothing beats a lot of experience, finding out what works and what does not. Golfing legend Arnold Palmer replied to someone who said he sure was lucky in golf by saying “Yes, the more I practice the more lucky I become”.
Bob Boudreau
My model railroad photography website:
http://sites.google.com/site/railphotog/

Country: Canada | Posts: 4027

Rick
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 09/07/2005 :  07:52:37 AM  Show Profile
Bob, thanks for the clinic. Very useful info. Please post more when you get the chance.


Country: USA | Posts: 22800 Go to Top of Page

Rick
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 09/07/2005 :  07:52:37 AM  Show Profile
Bob, thanks for the clinic. Very useful info. Please post more when you get the chance.


Country: USA | Posts: 22800 Go to Top of Page

jknapp
Fireman

Posted - 09/07/2005 :  08:38:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit jknapp's Homepage
I agree with Rick....thanks for the info and please post more!



Country: USA | Posts: 2550 Go to Top of Page

jknapp
Fireman

Posted - 09/07/2005 :  08:38:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit jknapp's Homepage
I agree with Rick....thanks for the info and please post more!



Country: USA | Posts: 2550 Go to Top of Page

Tyson Rayles
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 09/07/2005 :  09:08:49 AM  Show Profile
Hi Bob, gotta agree with Rick and John! Thanks for the info.


Country: USA | Posts: 12943 Go to Top of Page

Tyson Rayles
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 09/07/2005 :  09:08:49 AM  Show Profile
Hi Bob, gotta agree with Rick and John! Thanks for the info.


Country: USA | Posts: 12943 Go to Top of Page

Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 09/07/2005 :  09:18:58 AM  Show Profile
Bob,
Thanks for the step-by-step. Now, all I have to do is try to follow them.



Country: USA | Posts: 31248 Go to Top of Page

Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 09/07/2005 :  09:18:58 AM  Show Profile
Bob,
Thanks for the step-by-step. Now, all I have to do is try to follow them.



Country: USA | Posts: 31248 Go to Top of Page

Mario Rapinett
Fireman



Posted - 09/07/2005 :  09:25:30 AM  Show Profile
I hope KarlO visits this thread.... he is one of the masters of photography.... who also does a little bit of structure building.....




Country: Australia | Posts: 5841 Go to Top of Page

Mario Rapinett
Fireman



Posted - 09/07/2005 :  09:25:30 AM  Show Profile
I hope KarlO visits this thread.... he is one of the masters of photography.... who also does a little bit of structure building.....




Country: Australia | Posts: 5841 Go to Top of Page

Steam Donkey
Engine Wiper



Posted - 09/07/2005 :  10:13:42 AM  Show Profile
Bob,

Thanks very much for the clinic. As a photography novice, I really appreciate the non technical way you spelled out the Do's and Don'ts......most other clinics I've read are pretty full of bafflegab!

Stan

PS I've had your Fundy Northern Railroad website (http://www.geocities.com/fundynorthern/MainPage.html) bookmarked for sometime.......great job with the modules, very inspirational.



Country: Canada | Posts: 150 Go to Top of Page

Steam Donkey
Engine Wiper



Posted - 09/07/2005 :  10:13:42 AM  Show Profile
Bob,

Thanks very much for the clinic. As a photography novice, I really appreciate the non technical way you spelled out the Do's and Don'ts......most other clinics I've read are pretty full of bafflegab!

Stan

PS I've had your Fundy Northern Railroad website (http://www.geocities.com/fundynorthern/MainPage.html) bookmarked for sometime.......great job with the modules, very inspirational.



Country: Canada | Posts: 150 Go to Top of Page

jatravia
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 09/07/2005 :  12:08:31 PM  Show Profile
Great tips Bob. Thank you. I think I need to print some of this stuff out for the note book I should be keeping!

Joe <><



Country: USA | Posts: 2831 Go to Top of Page

jatravia
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 09/07/2005 :  12:08:31 PM  Show Profile
Great tips Bob. Thank you. I think I need to print some of this stuff out for the note book I should be keeping!

Joe <><



Country: USA | Posts: 2831 Go to Top of Page

wvrr
Fireman



Posted - 09/07/2005 :  1:37:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit wvrr's Homepage
Thanks, Bob. Even if you know some of this, its great ot be reminded! Thanks, again.

Chuck



Country: | Posts: 6492 Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic: Montana - 1870s-1880s Construction Ref. Photos Topic Next Topic: Lighting  
 New Topic |   Topic Locked | 
Next Page
Jump To:
Railroad Line Forums © 2000-19 Railroad Line Co. Go To Top Of Page
Steam was generated in 0.38 seconds. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000