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by Kim on Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:06 am
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I would like to get an image of a fast moving train at night. I want to get there before the train is due an take a shot of the landscape of the crossing with the night sky. I have taken plenty of shots like that but I do not have a clue on how to take the shot of the train approaching. 

When I have the two shots I will be combining them in software so it is a requirement that I set up the camera and compose the scene, one without the train then the same shot as the train is coming towards me.

I know how to pan but that is not wanted here. I will only get one shot at the train on the night. You can only attempt it on moonless nights with clear sky's to get the night sky component so I want to be ready for the first opportunity. The location is rural with no real lighting about but I am hoping the train light will be enough.

Any help with camera setting  for the train image would be appreciated.

I will be using my Nikon D750 with the 24-70 f2.8 lens with a remote.

Thanks, Kim.
 

by DChan on Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:27 am
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Not sure exactly what's the final composition of your photograph is, but I do hope that the train is not really coming towards you when you are taking the photograph because...people have been killed trying to take a photograph with a moving train behind/approaching them. True story; I read it in the newspapers. They could have simply stood in front of a stationary train but...they got the photographs but did not live to see it.

Anyhow, seems to me you don't just want a dark sky - or is it sometime around sunset - with no details in the back ground. I'm thinking you can try using flash to freeze the train in the photo while exposing for the sky/background. You'd be taking one shot. Experiment and see if you like the result.
 

by Jeff Pearl on Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:48 am
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I would find a place where you can either set camera off to the side of tracks, or set it up just ahead of where the tracks curve to right or left.
 

by Kim on Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:31 pm
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I have found a good location on a dirt country road where I can be on the angle to get the train coming towards me about 15 feet back from the track.

All I really need to work out is the shutter speed to set to get the train front and the streaking train behind as it approaches me. All the rest I am good with.
 

by DChan on Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:05 pm
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Kim wrote:
[snip]
All I really need to work out is the shutter speed to set to get the train front and the streaking train behind as it approaches me. All the rest I am good with.



If that's all you need, you can simply go and take some shots of some moving trains or any moving vehicles for that matter to find out (don't know if anyone here could actually give you a specific shutter speed to use). Don't think you need very fast shutter speeds for an approaching train. Question is if the shutter speed is fast enough to freeze the train in the photograph, will it be too short to get it properly exposed if you're gonna take the photograph later in the day? The time you take the photograph, the speed of the train, how far away the train is from the camera, the way you want the train to appear in the picture, etc., are factors that could determine the shutter speed to use.
 

by signgrap on Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:54 pm
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The question then is can you get a fast enough shutter speed with the aperture closed down to get adequate DF?
My guess would that you would have trouble getting both shutter speed and DF.
That is why the above suggestion of flashing train with slow enough shutter speed to imply motion might be the best solution.
Dick Ludwig
 

by Kim on Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:00 am
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Using a flash on an approaching train is against the law here in Australia as it is in England and many other countries. It is considered to be a high risk activity.


I think an F stop of 5.6 would be adequate and if I bump the ISO up to 500/600 I am thinking a 2-3 second shutter speed may work. I want the head of the train to be in focus with trailing lights behind it.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:41 am
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I would definitely recommend a higher ISO, as your camera is a pretty capable performer at low light/high ISO. Two to three seconds is a long exposure if you want any part of the train to be in focus, even if shooting head on, when shooting at a low ISO. The farther away the train is, the better to not show motion, but I think the engine(or lead car, since around here, they sometimes run backwards!!!) would be mostly in focus if the exposure is long enough to capture it. The reason being that the last position during exposure would be the least exposed time-wise, to motion blur. I would try bracketing the ISO, as well. You didn’t mention train speed, which is a big factor in your image.

https://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-d750/5


https://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-d750/6

...............................
This is not a great example(pinhole image), but you can see how a long exposure makes it difficult to fully expose the engine. It captures the train motion and lights, but the engine is not exposed long enough to be clear. You may need to take an additional higher speed shot of the engine immediately after the longer exposure.

https://www.naturescapes.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=247677

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by DChan on Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:32 am
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If a blurred train is what you want all along, that's easy. Focused or not it's still a blur in the photograph.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:49 am
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DChan wrote:
If a blurred train is what you want all along, that's easy. Focused or not it's still a blur in the photograph.

This is what she said:
 “I want the head of the train to be in focus with trailing lights behind it.”

That’s why I said:
“You may need to take an additional higher speed shot of the engine immediately after the longer exposure”.

Using a zoom lens to keep the engine the same size over the exposure time could also work, but it wouldn’t be easy for a one time shot.
No matter what, it is a difficult shot to capture.

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by DChan on Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:13 pm
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
DChan wrote:
If a blurred train is what you want all along, that's easy. Focused or not it's still a blur in the photograph.

This is what she said:
 “I want the head of the train to be in focus with trailing lights behind it.”

That’s why I said:
“You may need to take an additional higher speed shot of the engine immediately after the longer exposure”.

Using a zoom lens to keep the engine the same size over the exposure time could also work, but it wouldn’t be easy for a one time shot.
No matter what, it is a difficult shot to capture.

Joe


I'm just trying to say that there will not be anything that is recognizable as a train or anything in a 2 sec photo of a moving object. You can set your focus on the train, or just focus on anything in the background and the result is the same. The idea of using flash is to let the burst of that flash exposes the train and register a focused image of it on the "film" and the rest of the exposure would then result a streak of light. Without the that, it'd just be a streak of light like what you see in many night time street photos with passing cars. If that's planned result, I don't think it's difficult at all. I'd say anyone with even a phone camera can take it :-) But, I'd admit I'm still not sure what exactly she had in mind and I thought the background was also an important part of the photo.

Here's what she first said:

Quote:
I would like to get an image of a fast moving train at night. I want to get there before the train is due an take a shot of the landscape of the crossing with the night sky. I have taken plenty of shots like that but I do not have a clue on how to take the shot of the train approaching. 

When I have the two shots I will be combining them in software so it is a requirement that I set up the camera and compose the scene, one without the train then the same shot as the train is coming towards me.

I know how to pan but that is not wanted here. I will only get one shot at the train on the night. You can only attempt it on moonless nights with clear sky's to get the night sky component so I want to be ready for the first opportunity. The location is rural with no real lighting about but I am hoping the train light will be enough. [snip]
 

by SantaFeJoe on Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:48 pm
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She said that flash is illegal and that she would combine two separate images in PP, one sans train. With no flash, it will be nearly impossible in low light unless a high ISO is selected for the train image and engine is coming straight in with cars curving in BG.

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by DChan on Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:09 pm
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
She said that flash is illegal and that she would combine two separate images in PP, one sans train. With no flash, it will be nearly impossible in low light unless a high ISO is selected for the train image and engine is coming straight in with cars curving in BG.

Joe


I agree with the flash (or is it "without the flash") part.  Even if flash is legal, there's still a logistic problem. Then her reveal of using a 2 sec exposure time....The idea to use zoom to keep the train in focus while zooming would blur the background, which I don't think is what she wanted...A composite photo would be easier considering.
 

by DMcLarty on Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:52 pm
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Kim wrote:
I would like to get an image of a fast moving train at night. I want to get there before the train is due an take a shot of the landscape of the crossing with the night sky. I have taken plenty of shots like that but I do not have a clue on how to take the shot of the train approaching. 

When I have the two shots I will be combining them in software so it is a requirement that I set up the camera and compose the scene, one without the train then the same shot as the train is coming towards me.


ahh this is easy …you just have to buy the new OMD EM1X and set it to trains….LOL …ok not funny. 

What you are doing is what I would term reverse panning. The Back ground is static the subject is blurred. 

I have found a good location on a dirt country road where I can be on the angle to get the train coming towards me about 15 feet back from the track.

Find location of the crossing that will allow you to be in the law ( i.e. not in the area of the railways property line and or rights) I think your location as mentioned would be too close for what you want - maybe unsafe, for the results too close to capture the train and you will get a lot of the wind blast from the train toppling over your camera gear and maybe you. I would pick a farther back 30-40 meters ( 100-150 feet )and maybe elevated thus allowing for a wider shot. Taking a wider shot and night scene will allow you to refine the crop there after as well when you build your composition of the two images.  

you need to to keep the same width and position for both shots to get the best composition - steady tripod no movement 

Take first image of the night scene as you mentioned at whatever works to get the BG detail lights buildings that you want. 
 
Now you need to do some math and configuration if you know the speed of the train you said high speed so let’s use 80 KMH (50 MPH) the train will move at approx. 75 feet / 35 metres per second. (speed of object per hour /3600 will give you distance over 1 second)

To get the front light and grill of the engine in focus you need to manual focus on the spot you want the front of the train to be at in your image.  ie Midway through the crossing at the crossing. 

The second part of the shot depends on your math…You need to be ready to hit the shutter at the point the train crosses according to the speed of the train before the focus point. I.e. if you use 2 second shutter then you need to trigger the shutter approx. 150 feet 70 meters before the point of focus in the crossing. 

you will need a lower ISO to accommodate the brightness of the headlamp of the train as well ...if you are at a farther back and at higher angle the ISO will can be higher. 

The shutter opens the train passes the mark before the crossing and shuts off at the focus point at the crossing.  Timing is everything so if you are slow on pressing the shutter you will miss the shot you have from start to finish 2-3 seconds ... practice as below.

You can practice with cars at night or day to see how it works. Pick an intersection then set up your moving shot. Manually pre-focus  2/3 way into in the intersection…when cars travel through the intersection on the green light hit the shutter as they enter the intersection. I would start with 1 sec. shutter.  (a car travelling at 50 KPH will travel approx 22 meters per second.) if you practice during the day you do this in one shot . Have fun but be safe.  


Doug - still in the cold Arctic 
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by DChan on Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:06 pm
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DMcLarty wrote:
Quote:
ahh this is easy …you just have to buy the new OMD EM1X...[snip]



Nah...other OMDs will do just as well :-)
 

by Kim on Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:47 pm
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Doug. Thank you very much for the detailed advice. I will give it a go.

The train is a passenger train with 2-3 cars all lit up. The location is out in the country and is dark with no buildings etc. I would be on a public back road so I think I would be legal. I am 74 years old and female so I am hoping I have learned enough by now to stay safe.


Thank you Joe for your help as well.


Regards
Kim.
 

by SantaFeJoe on Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:43 pm
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DChan wrote:
SantaFeJoe wrote:
She said that flash is illegal and that she would combine two separate images in PP, one sans train. With no flash, it will be nearly impossible in low light unless a high ISO is selected for the train image and engine is coming straight in with cars curving in BG.

Joe


I agree with the flash (or is it "without the flash") part.  Even if flash is legal, there's still a logistic problem. Then her reveal of using a 2 sec exposure time....The idea to use zoom to keep the train in focus while zooming would blur the background, which I don't think is what she wanted...A composite photo would be easier considering.



The background would be black when she shoots the train, if I understand correctly. No worry about blur. A composite is what she wants to do.

Kim, I wish you well on your endeavor!

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by Kim on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:40 pm
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Thank you Joe. I will post the result if it turns out as expected.
 

by DChan on Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:16 am
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Kim wrote:
Thank you Joe. I will post the result if it turns out as expected.


How did it go, Kim?
 

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