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Thread: Train From Phillipsburg

  1. #1
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Train From Phillipsburg

    I photographed this train leaving Phillipsburg, NJ yesterday. I walked a distance away from the station and knelt down in the grass and weeds to catch this view. The train runs on weekends, goes down the tracks a few miles and then returns. Fortunately, it was belching lots of black smoke to add drama to the image.

    Comments and suggestions are always welcomed.

    Train From Phillipsburg

    This image 2013 CKCurtis

  2. #2
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Train From Phillipsburg

    Was it the fact that you were trying to photograph the train, AND the billowing smoke that you shot this in the vertical format?


    Bruce

  3. #3
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Train From Phillipsburg

    Very effective train shot, Ken. I love to see these old rattlers.

    The only critique I have is that the blue sky looks a little too saturated to me - but it might just be me !

    Dave

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Train From Phillipsburg

    For me Ken,

    I'd prefer to see a bit more locomotive and less grass and the sky strikes me a bit too blue.

    Apart from that, the angle/composition (to get the smoke) works for me.

  5. #5
    shreds's Avatar
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    Re: Train From Phillipsburg

    Ken,

    Undoubtedly getting dirty in the undergrowth is part and parcel of being a good photographer. Portrait format always works with lots of smoke and a three quarter view, in fact it would be poor in landscape, unless a considerable distance away.

    Could you just take us through your workflow so that others can benefit from the process you have followed here?
    Last edited by shreds; 5th August 2013 at 10:15 PM.

  6. #6
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Train From Phillipsburg

    A very nice image... I like the portrait orientation but the colour of the sky is a bit too brilliant for me.

  7. #7
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    Re: Train From Phillipsburg

    Very nice.

  8. #8
    Ken Curtis's Avatar
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    Re: Train From Phillipsburg

    Quote Originally Posted by shreds View Post
    Could you just take us through your workflow so that others can benefit from the process you have followed here?
    Before I took the shot, I knew that I wanted a vertically oriented photo to catch the smoke. I also wanted to be down low because, from past experience, a position looking up at objects gives them more prominence. I think it is psychological, but it works. I set the camera on aperture priority and set the aperture to f16 so I would get good depth of field. I also knew the train would be moving so I pre-focused on some grass that was about 30 feet (10 meters) away. When the train came, I was ready and took multiple shots as it approached. The engine in this shot was the largest of all my shots before the train was so close that the wheels were outside the frame.

    In post processing, I used Topaz Labs Adjust software to adjust exposure. That plugin can automatically compensate for different areas of lightness and darkness. The next step was to use Nik Software's tonal contrast filter to bring out details in the darker sections. I then had to selectively adjust vivacity to keep the clouds and nearby sky look more natural. I also used the saturation to bring up the yellows in the grass and decrease the cyans and blues in the sky.

    I agree that the image has quite saturated colors in it. That day the sky was very clear and blue with white puffy clouds. In a way I like the saturated appearance, but will take a look at decreasing it in a few days. For all my photos, I usually get so absorbed in the processing that it becomes difficult to be objective. If I wait for a few days after my first edit, I usually see things differently, and more objectively, and revise my adjustments.

    Thanks for the comments and advice from all.

  9. #9
    rawill's Avatar
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    Re: Train From Phillipsburg

    Well I didn't initially notice the "blue sky".
    I was taken by the train shot, with it's smoke trail.
    I never noticed "too much grass" either.

    Looking again I can see why others have mentioned this.
    My first thought, "first meeting impression" was this is a great shot.

    And not being a train person I thought that was good.

    /R

  10. #10

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    Re: Train From Phillipsburg

    Awesome image, Ken. Getting low was brilliant as was the vertical format. Great composition and technically well executed. If I had any suggestion it would be just a tad more room in front of the train but I'd have to see both options to decide. Really a nice image. Well done.

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