• Behind the Photography

  • Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.
Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.

Moderators: nomis, keeper1616

  by railohio
We seem to have a wide range of photographers on the forum here ranging from digital snap-shooters to Provia-toting professionals and just about everything in between. Together the group is unified with one goal, to photograph trains. But why do each of us shoot trains? Who are we shooting for? What's our ultimate motivation? Sometimes we get so bogged down with the details and technicalities that we forget why we're doing it. I'd like to hear why you all are trackside and what keeps you going back out there.

  by MEC407
I have several reasons for photographing trains:

* Personal enjoyment. I like to photograph all sorts of things, including trains.

* Preserve memories. My memory may not be so great a few decades from now, but I'll be able to open up the photo album and look back on the good old days.

* Help others. 30 years from now, some person might decide he wants to model the southern Maine area during the early 2000 era. Maybe some of my photos will help him.

  by JLJ061
Pretty much what MEC407 said. It's a personal enjoyment, and it's good for memories, and roster shots of locomotives.

Who knows, maybe the trains you shoot today may be gone forever tomorrow.

  by FiatFan
In addition to what's already been stated, I like to record special events or one of a kind opportunities. For example, while traveling through Texas right after Thanksgiving, I stumbled upon three of UP's commemorative paint schemes lashed togther just outside College Station, Texas. My wife and I spent about 20 minutes taking pictures.

BTW, it was the George Bush, Mopac, and Katy engines.


  by pgengler
In the last couple of years, I'd been developing an interest in trains and in photography, so it seemed only natural to combine the two. They're usually around, and sometimes different (depending on where you are), so it doesn't require too much travel to get some variety, and even the same spots will be different from day to day. Try saying that about an old building or something! There's also more of a challenge with trains (at least, with trains on the move); you don't have the luxury of being able to do much to set up the scene, and you only have time for a couple of shots before it's gone right by you.

As others have said, it's nice to have a photographic record of the way things are today, so that in the future, I (or others) can look back at "the way things used to be."

Another lesser reason, that only applies to certain type of train/locomotive, is for reference for modeling. Sometimes, the photos you can find on the Internet don't quite highlight the area or the specific unit you want.

  by bshrdr
I shoot for me. I've enjoyed photography for the better part of 20 years, and trains for even longer. Only recently have I put them together for an enjoyable and rewarding hobby. I enjoy shooting the photos, as well as challenging myself to improve in some way each time I go out.

As a secondary motivation, I submit quite a few for publication. I've had my work - both photos & stories - published in the pages of Railpace, Railfan & Railroad and CTC Board Railroads Illustrated.

And third, for future reference. Someday when I'm gone, I hope that my photos will help the historians of the future figure out what happened on the rails during my lifetime. That's my main reason I'm dead against "Photoshopping" poles, etc. out of photos. Once you do that the photo is no longer historically accurate. Yeah, it may look pretty, but it doesn't accurately represent the scene as it was.

But that's just me...