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Passenger Trains > A Different Perspective (for me) on Caltrain

Date: 09/22/22 07:12
A Different Perspective (for me) on Caltrain
Author: broken_link

I’m generally a telephoto junkie when it comes to rail photography. I’ll occasionally use a normal or wide angle lens to change perspective in addition to capturing more in the scene such as additional landscape, sky, buildings, etc. Feeling it for something different and wanting to challenge myself to shoot wider, I shot several northbound trains at 14mm while they were making their evening commutes through San Carlos on the evening of Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

Photo 1: JPBX 908 “Redwood City” is expressing past with train 311. This was tricky to capture and a lesson in better planning. I shot it pre-focused (good) in aperture priority (bad), even though I knew better, with f/11, Auto-ISO, and a minimum allowable shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second. The change in calculated exposure value when the train blocked the sun pushed ISO to my set max allowable of 4000 and dropped the shutter speed to 1/800th of a second. Then the camera’s metering failed to catch up with the first couple of frames after the sun reappeared in the scene. I ended up having to drop the exposure a stop and a half in post to recover highlights in the sky and other parts of the scene, and I had more noise and a tiny amount of motion blur in the locomotive that I shouldn’t have. I also didn’t get the sun star from behind the palm tree that I wanted. In scenes like this, shoot manual and ditch the auto-ISO.

Photo 2: 14 minutes later JPBX 923 was an easier subject as it was stopped with train 413.

Photo 3: An all stops local, train 129, was paused with JPBX 918 “County of San Mateo” for motive power. The entire train of Nippon Sharyo gallery cars is wrapped in a rolling billboard for Google Chrome. I used the intervalometer function with my camera mounted on an extended monopod to make myself seem 9 feet tall while capturing this scene. It was challenging to come away with a balanced shot, however, as wide angle rectilinear lenses will quickly cause geometric distortions if they aren’t kept level. I’m going to play around more with this technique and try it with some longer focal lengths as well.


Date: 09/22/22 10:08
Re: A Different Perspective (for me) on Caltrain
Author: Bob3985

Awesome photos with a great use of light angles.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY

Date: 09/22/22 10:16
Re: A Different Perspective (for me) on Caltrain
Author: PasadenaSub

All three look really good to me.  Shooting into the sun from the shady side of the tracks is probably the most challenging scenario for me.


Date: 09/22/22 10:46
Re: A Different Perspective (for me) on Caltrain
Author: broken_link

Thanks Bob, Rich.

Shooting on the shady side and into the Sun has been helped by the improved dynamic range of modern BSI CMOS image sensors, as well as the ability to selectively edit portions of images in photo editing software. AI powered selective editing tools have really made things move more quickly. They don't always get it 100% correct, but they often can do 90% or more of the heavy lifting. Way faster than using just the brush tool or other methods to selectively mask portions of images.

Date: 09/22/22 13:41
Re: A Different Perspective (for me) on Caltrain
Author: TheNavigator

Very nice trio!

Date: 09/22/22 19:27
Re: A Different Perspective (for me) on Caltrain
Author: sphogger

Very nice!  Sphogger

Date: 09/23/22 05:13
Re: A Different Perspective (for me) on Caltrain
Author: texchief1

Excellent shots!

RC Lundgren
El;gin, TX

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