I used my Nikon F3 loaded Fuji Velvia 100F and a 24mm Nikkor Lens to expose this view of an outbound Metra train headed toward Aurora.
I’ve found that a wide-angle lens is a good tool for making use of an impressive sky.
Here, I’ve offset the Chicago skyline with the old power plant at right. The skyscrapers help put the clouds above in relative perspective. By placing the theoretical horizon near the center of the frame, and thus keeping the camera body near level, has allowed for these buildings to remain on more or less on a perpendicular line with horizon.
If I’d aimed slightly more skyward, the nature of this 24mm lens design would skew the visual perspective and the buildings would seem to fall away from the film plane.
The bright blue and white paint on Metra’s MP36-3C nicely mimics the sky above, while the black band on the body of the locomotive emulates the width and tone of the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower) both of which help make for a more unified composition.
I made this non-conventional view of the Waterbury Branch shuttle on November 16, 1992.
Using my F3T with Nikor 200mm lens mounted on a tripod, I aimed away to catch the train trailing in order to feature the New Haven painted FL9 locomotive working in push-mode at the back of the consist.
I worked with the ‘around the corner’ lighting that emphasized the textures of the sides of the locomotive and cars, the frost covered ground, while making for a gossamer-like background of trees and electrical wires.
In this composition, I’ve carefully included the electrical pole at top right. It would have been easy enough to crop this out, but I’ve left it in because it serves as an important visual element.
The insulators and wires atop the pole catch the light and draw the eye away from the main subject, while putting context to the network of wires behind the train and so adding a degree of depth to the whole photograph.
Too often, subtle compositions like this one have been cropped by philistines. Simplifying the image doesn’t necessarily make for a better photograph. If I wanted a tighter simpler view, I would have exposed it that way.