• Digital Photography Mishaps

  • 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 transit383
Mr. Toy wrote:The way to minimize shutter lag is to press and hold the shutter button half way and let it focus on the tracks several seconds before the train arrives. This will keep delay to an absolute minimum. Then press the shutter the rest of the way as the locomotive comes into view, but a little before it is where you want it to be. This will take care of any remaining lag.

If you want to freeze the motion, use a fast shutter speed. If you want to blur it, use a slow shutter speed.

You can practice with traffic on the street.
That's kind of hit or miss... there have been times where I pre-focused the area and then took the shot as the train came into view and it came out beautifully. Other times, the train is blurred but the rest of the shot is clear.

I purchased a Canon PowerShot SD400 which has some Manual settings, not many, but enough to manage. One thing I particularly like about it is that I can set the camera to "Sunny" or "Cloudy" and cloudy shots come out very nice. With my old Sony, cloudy shots would always be blurred, without fail.

  by pennsy
Hi All,

Fully automatic cameras are nice, but they have a nasty habit of making all sorts of decisions for you and you are stuck with the results.

A compromise would be a camera that can have the automatic features overidden and put you back into control. After all, the light meter, couplings etc. etc. all give you an opinion. It should be up to you to decide if you want to do something else. Some of us will never be "photographers", and will have to depend upon the snapshot way of doing things. Others will carefully compose the scene, get more than one opinion of the correct exposure etc. and go on from there. And the results will show this. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Personally, I was trained by professional photographers and so I prefer to decide what the camera should do. And the results show that as well.

  by kevikens
Suggestion: stop fooling around with the point and shoot digitals. Get a digital SLR like the Nikon D50. You won't have a shutter lag and it will do what needs to be done to get good shots of fast moving trains.

  by pennsy

Essentially correct. However, if you are in a fluid situation, one where things are happening from second to second, then you have to shoot first and ask questions afterwards. What do you do ? You set up your camera for average exposure and average speed etc. That way the camera has a good chance of capturing something. When somethng happens at that instant, you fire off the shot without thinking about the exposure etc. Yes you are taking your chances, but you also have a good shot at getting a real live action photograph. Many a professional photographer has done this and made a lot of money with the resulting photograph that was not planned, expected, or even set up. Again, set the camera up for the surrounding light availability, use a fast speed on your shutter to stop whatever will happen, and GET THAT SHOT. At the very least, you ARE prepared for anything. By the way, if you mess up by a small amount, the local photo shop can help when it prints out a picture. Lots of maneuvering room when they print out that picture. Good Luck.

  by mxdata
Exactly, there are some very nice and compact digital cameras on the market that have a manual exposure, manual shutter speed, and manual focus setting capability and can be carried preset with typical settings "for the weather" that will allow you to very quickly deploy the camera and shoot. My favorite for this use is a Canon PowerShot A540, set on "M" with the shutter speed, aperture, and manual focus all pre-adjusted. The camera is about 3 inches by 4 inches by 1 inch thick, 6 megapixel, and fits in your side pocket. I use this a great deal when riding in the cabs of locomotives and have found that you can very accurately gauge the exposure just by looking at the LCD panel image. Since I am normally using it in action photography situations, I leave the shutter speed set high enough, and vary the aperture as needed. Having it set on manual focus eliminates the possibility of the camera focusing on the cab window frame or glass by mistake. When I first got this camera, I intended to use it as an easy to carry backup for my film cameras, but it is a very capable instrument and I have found over the last few months that it is great for those situations where you don't want to carry a lot of equipment around.

  by RailBus63
Personally, I would not buy any camera that doesn't have shutter-priority and aperture-priority modes. We all know that you need a 1/125th of a second shutter speed at bare minimum to catch a moving train, and ideally 1/250th or higher. Without the shutter-priority mode, you take the risk of a computer chip deciding that you really don't need that high of a shutter speed in order to properly expose your photograph.

When I first bought my Nikon film SLR, I tried it in automatic mode and was unhappy with the results, for the reason stated above. I use shutter-priority 90 percent of the time or more, and aperture-priority at times for roster shots of stationary equipment or scenes without a train. On a recent trip to Toronto, my son and I were photographing the 509 Harbourfront light-rail line and found a spot where we could work the landmark CN Tower into the shot. I took two photos of streetcars - one at the 1/250 shutter-priority setting and one on full auto. The first shot came out great, while the 'auto' shot was washed out (apparently due to a brick building on the right-hand half of the photo). All it did was reconfirm for me why I never let the camera decide my exposure, no matter how smart it is supposed to be.


  by Steve F45
Only thing i hate while shooting is when it looks absolutely perfect on the display of the camera then you get home, upload the pic and find out its out of focus like this one.
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... ?id=474705

  by mxdata
Can't access that one, it says it no longer exists on the site. Check your link and try again!

  by Steve F45
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... ?id=475239

I cleaned it up as much as possible, but it looked near perfect on the lcd screen.