Ooops! More Lousy Railroad Photos.

Here are some recent examples of photos gone wrong.

It would be grand if every time I pressed the shutter I made a calendar perfect picture. (If, of course, I wanted to illustrate calendars all day long).

Trains move while I’m trying to make photos. If I don’t get everything set right, move at the wrong instant, or the technology slips up, then the moment is gone by the time I get it together.

Many times I get what I’m aiming for, but sometimes I goof it up.

Yes, I make lousy photos. Sometimes.

Auto focus failure. Large amounts of infrared light, the lack of a defined focus area, or low contrast can confuse a camera’s autofocus system.
This is really hopeless and I’m not even sure what I was aiming at. Great use of pixels, eh?
Too late! There was a photo opportunity, probably about a second before this exposure was made. There’s also too much foreground. Ah well, it was a dull day anyway.
I previously published a better version of this effort. Here the framing is off, the level is wrong, and I shook the camera. A bad photo all around, certainly one for the bin! (Trash).
Oh no a post got in my way, and I included fellow railway enthusiasts. And it was cloudy and I’m tight to the platform. It’s just ALL WRONG. Time for a beer.

Too often the cause of the lousy photo is malfunctioning technology, or my over reliance on automated camera functions. Other times it’s just me. People make mistakes. Luckily no harm comes if I make a bad photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

5 comments on “Ooops! More Lousy Railroad Photos.

  1. Michael Walsh on said:

    My problem with digital and camera phones is that I seem to take rather a lot of pictures of my feet. Even in film days, I did have a few, but at lest with digital there’s no lasting cost.

  2. Dan Rousseau on said:


    I am very much interested in the negatives you found of the Boston & Maine SW-1 on your trip through Keene, NH. I would love to get copies of these photographs, even digital copies if I could. You see, I went to college my freshman year at Keene State College. I did not have a lot of money nor did my parents, but off to Keene I went. I spent much of my free time riding with the Green Mountain Railroad crews on that little SW-1 #1115 as they switched the industries in Keene. It was my form of entertainment. I have always been interested in railroads and loved railfanning and model railroading. I am currently preparing to paint a brass model of the SW-1 in O Scale (1/48) to match that switcher. This is the reason I would like to get copies of your photographs.

  3. My vision is such that I often cannot correctly pick out focus, even when it looks correct to me. This is especially true with long lenses (telephoto) and appears to be a function of my corrective glasses. I discovered this more than a dozen years ago, which is why I switched to largely auto focus cameras.

    I use various types of autofocus systems, including the ones that allow you to pick different focus points, which is very helpful. With my older cameras I occasionally field focus using the distance information on the lens dial.

    I occasionally like to use focus dynamically, and not always place the point of greatest sharpness on the most obvious subject. I also like shallow depth of field because it allows for a more interpretive photo and better represent how the eye interprets a scene.

    Hope that helps,
    Brian S.

  4. Most of the time my problems are on my side of the viewfinder!

  5. Some AF questions and thoughts:

    It’s quite useful, especially when we don’t have time to set up a shot, and it seems to work quite well most of time.
    On the other hand, there are occasions when the train may not be centered or there is some other reason to distrust or want to override the AF with a manual setting. (or perhaps use AF to set focus at a particular spot before the photo, then disable it for the shot)

    Do you find yourself using manual focus often, and in what situations?

    Newer cameras let you set AF points to user-selected areas of the frame, which could be useful for certain action shots – perhaps you want to focus on the front of the train which will be off-center when it reaches the point that you want to trip the shutter. Have you ever used this feature?

    A lot of the time it may not matter much if depth of field covers what you need – where the old “infinity focus” is good enough. Do you find that to usually be the case?

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