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Jim Frazier ADMIN April 25, 2021
I'm setting this pool to no new admissions. I'm just rejecting too many pictures. Not worth it.

Group Description

We want train pictures that are, well, COOL. What we don’t want is garden variety railroad photos. There are other groups for that. This group will be actively curated to achieve that goal.

Pictures should be good photos – not just a photo of a train. Even if the train is itself interesting, that won’t save it unless it’s a cool picture.

Here are some “rules” to follow. Note that breaking the rules is OK – they just have to result in a great photograph.

a. Rule of thirds. This is most commonly broken (in railroad photography) by putting the train smack dab in the middle of the picture with a lot of grass and uninteresting junk in the foreground. Don’t do that. For God's sake, crop!

b. Level horizons. There's no excuse for crooked pictures. Every picture editor has a tool to fix it. And the latest cameras have an aid in viewfinder. Of course, you could be going for a Dutch angle - but it better be cool!

c. You should have good contrast, crisp colors and correct color balance (unless monochrome), interesting light and skies. Pictures scanned from older slides and prints usually won't work without some editing.

d. The photo should be sharp...unless it’s artistically not sharp.

e. Don’t post multiple pictures of the same scene. I’ve actually seen 5 pictures of different trains, with the same damn church steeple in the exact same light. Don’t you have anyplace else to go?

f. The train should be kind of obvious. Or there might not be a train at all! Photographs of stations, details, and other railroad related items are welcome. But the railroad aspect must be the primary point of the picture.

g. Avoid pictures with annoying and distracting elements like: fences and walls that don't act as leading lines, signs, out of focus foreground objects, etc. Pay attention to the environment and background. You're not taking a picture of just a train. You're making an image of everything in the frame. Choose wisely.

h. Avoid simple roster shots of locomotives, unless it's cool.

Other helpful compositional elements include:

-framing (like a train coming through a bridge or signal poles),

-leading lines (like tracks or fences),

-interesting scenery and surroundings

You'll improve your chances if you use some sort of photo editor to at least crop, improve contrast, improve colors, level horizons, etc.

Remember, you don't have to follow the "rules" to make great pictures. But paying attention to those "rules", and knowing when to break them, will make your pictures better.

If your picture didn’t make it in, feel free to appeal or ask why. I may have made a mistake, or I would be happy to explain my rationale.

Group Rules

This group is curated and pictures that are not good railroad shots (in the opinion of the administrator) will be removed. See the description for guidelines for pictures that will be accepted in this group.

Additional Info

  • This group will count toward the photo's limit (60 for Pro members, 30 for free members)
  • Accepted content types: Photos, Images
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
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