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Taking photos of weathered engines.

sean hpw

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Hi all, this is a big bug bare of mine, having just done a year learning photography with College, I have built a short board for taking pictures of loco's ect ive weathered, i have found that some photos come out just about passable, the first picture being an example of this




Others do not look good like these where the weathering comes out ALOT stronger than it actually is, even in florecent lighting.






Others come out even worse than that, as below which is really cringeworthy




I am fiarly compitent with a camera and am using a Canon D600 SLR with a 18-135MM lens, and really want to take photos that show the models off properly, i think its the flash causeing issue, but again any other thoughts ideas are welcomed, i often use a tri-pod for my photos (not that it makes much difference for the effect im getting) i have a clear lens filter on (it helps protect the lens when im in some of the more unusaly locations im renown for ending up in) and am using the built in flash unit of the camera. i have tried differing the ISO settings, but that makes the image very orangy in colour and sometimes i get alot of noise in the image (see below) any help at all is welcomed and apresiated!





Thanks for looking



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  • 6 months later...

Hi Sean,

I've attached some photos I've taken in the hope that I can use them to demonstrate some techniques that work for me.


Where you're going wrong in your photos is that you're pointing the camera directly at the loco side on and then pressing the trigger. 9 times out of 10 a camera will always use flash, which instantly washes out the object of the photo.

The key to good looking photos is...

1.position of the camera


3.ALWAYS use a tripod

4.switch the flash off


In the photos below notice how the camera is

a)looking along the loco body and

B)either looking up or looking down NEVER straight on.

Also the first two photos were taken outside, one in shaded sunlight the other in late afternoon sunlight and I bet you can tell the difference.

The third photo is again a three quarter length shot, but this time taken in doors on a diorama.

By including back ground and foreground, the train becomes part of a scene rather than a point and shoot photo.

Also the lighting is florescent angle lamp so I can position the light where I want it, while setting the camera's white balance setting to florescent otherwise the photos will all come out blue.


All photos were taken with the camera mounted on a tripod and and set to Aperture priority mode, which means that I set the aperture that I want to use and let the camera sort out the shutter speed, I also set the shutter to a 2sec timed delay so I'm not touching the camera when the shutter goes off, as this might cause camera shake.


And finally, the photos are all cropped tightly, as this forces perspective.

I hope this helps, good luck

Stuart Moore




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  • 2 years later...

Lose the onboard flash, if flash is a must get yourself a proper gun that has tilt capability, point it up at the ceiling or a wall off to the side and bounce the flash off that. It diffuses the light very nicely (obviously works best if wall/ceiling is white!). If you can't justify the cost of a proper flash unit, then get yourself a plastic milk bottle sans label and hold that in front of the flash, it should help soften the light.


Another option, and one I use a lot, is to bounce natural light from a window onto a model using a piece of paper held above, below or to the side of the camera as necessary. This is useful indoors and the placement of the paper adds directionality to the light. Example:




Natural light though is far preferable if you can though - and if you're lucky enough (or clever enough to use forced perspective) then you can use your surroundings as a matching backdrop, for example:




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