So photographs help me tell the Dunes Junction story. And because we are talking railroading and model railroading, which is a very visual enterprise, photos, or at least illustrations and graphics, are an essential part of the storytelling.
I became interested in photography in my teens because of trains. I started with a 110 Instamatic and graduated to Canon 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) cameras by the 80s. I've since joined the digital revolution--and it's difficult to overstate how digital has made photography cheaper, better, and easier than it ever has been ever to photograph trains, big and small.
|Sony NEX-7 with 18-55mm lens|
A digital SLR or one of the new mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras offers more options and controls. I recently acquired a Sony NEX-7 interchangeable lens camera, which I have been using for my most recent Up Dunes Junction photos. It offers a decent selection of lenses and very fine exposure and focus control, as well as an excellent wireless remote control.
The other trick is practice and repetition. When I first shot trains back in the late 70s, I carefully budgeted each shot because of costs--in those days, each image cost around 30 cents apiece. Now multiple shots at different settings and lighting conditions cost virtually nothing--and you only need show the good images. I estimate that for every photo that makes it on to the blog, I discard around ten or so.
The main trick is to use built-in close-up and self-timer features and a cheap tripod. Most point-and-shoots have a close-up feature marked with a flower icon--this will give good close focus. Self-timer mode eliminates camera shake, as does the cheap tripod. If a remote or cable release is possible, it will also eliminate camera shake.
|Sony NEX-7 camera on tripod next to Dunes Junction|