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Thread: Building the Pinacle Creek Mining & Timber Co. RR

  1. #221


    jim, yes somehow i misread and thought this was a z scale layout, i was wondering to myself how does this guy get this to look so nice and big in z scale... haha my fault. Good to see this is ho scale since this is what i like as well...

    Good idea with the loop idea, i have two little kids and there would be no way i could make my layout point to point and have them interested without not being able to run the train around the layout, but for others point to point isnt a issue.

  2. #222


    jim i lke the idea of a loop i like to watch trains run while doin other things on the layout. the way i have mine is i can run 3 to 4 trains on loops as well as all the way around the entire layout. i have all single track main with passing sideings or can do point to point as well as some switching. not much into operations but do aliitle. could do more operating if i feel like it

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    Gary, You're right. I think the way I have the layout a simple loop would work. I'm excited to build some more scenery! Lots of crags and pinnacles on the new section. I though about a folded loop but my mind is wanting tracks nearer to the fjord. If I folded it then I would have a nicer cliff scene, but not the look I think I want. We'll see. Got to get this Z layout out of the way first. Jim

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    Some thoughts on photography.

    Finally have some time so as promised let's look at photography. First, I am not a professional photographer and my views are simply that-my views. As in any hobby there are many ways of doing something. Generally they are all correct. Remember these are my thoughts, not necessarily yours or the next guys. Not looking for arguments here.

    Let's look at this photo again:

    Most will say that it is pretty good. What makes this photo different from yours, or some of mine, or someone elses? A satisfactory photo should represent what the photographer is trying to get across. In this scene a small camp, scenery, track, bridge, and train. I tried to convey that this scene in obviously not in the Midwest or the Southwest. It is in deep woods, in a climate that gets plenty of moisture, and where the sun does hit, plenty of undergrowth. The track is at the bottom of the photo leading in from the right. Too many times we viewers see side on shots that, while they do show the photographers favorite boxcar, the rest of the photo is simply there and seldom tells us anything.

    I like to shoot photos that make the observer not only appreciate the scene, but maybe learn something and even use their imagination a bit.
    By definition that boxcar photo does tell us something the photographer wanted us to see and that's all good. On the other hand I build my layouts with only one thing in mind and that is photography.

    Weird? Maybe. Remember this great hobby will accommodate many different likes and agendas of its participants. Sadly, I have almost no other reason to be in model railroading than photography. I model to make scenery as logically "real" as I can. To prove to myself that I can do it, I take photos. I don't care about 'operations' so not many yards on my layouts. I'm content to let trains run around a folded loop running through scenery and take photos.

    Back to this photo. Notice again that the train is going away from us. Way too often modelers show us the engine and we seldom see what the layout is really about. I think we can see this is a mining layout. The loco? Who cares? Heisler, Shay or Climax probably, but this photo is showing the whole idea of a small camp, the wilderness and the reason for the photo in the first place, mining.

    There are many techniques for taking a good photo, even one of that side on boxcar. My best advice is to quit taking photos from the middle of your layout room with the camera in your hand. We've all seen those photos and seldom does the photographer get really honest feedback simply because we, the viewer, can't really "see" anything.

    Here's how to take a photo. Always use a tripod! Always use a camera with a timer! Never use a flash! Actually, this isn't my way, it is they way we've all been told how to take a photo for years and years. It is often not done this way.

    So things to remember. Photo composition ie. does your photo make the viewer think, even happy? A good photo should be in natural light with maybe only a table lamp or an extra light source to show off some color. If you are in a room with no natural light then you will need light bulbs in the blue spectrum and maybe only one in the red spectrum. You can find these at your bulb stores or at big home centers.

    While I don't use Photoshop I don't have a problem with those that have to. Sometimes because we may not have natural light some 'enhancements' must, and I think, should be made. I have something called Photo Impact Pro. It is as least 9 years old now and it allows me only the basic color corrections and cropping. More on that stuff later. I think the program cost about $19 back then and it's around $90 today. So, you can see that mine is pretty primative. I don't think the above photo had any 'enhancements.' Simply light from my tube solar light and my desk lamp. More later. Jim
    Last edited by HOexplorer; 04-19-2012 at 12:16 PM.

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    You know, Jim, you have what I believe they call the right approach to your hobby. I have followed your thread with awe and in your last post above you gave a great explanation as to what the hobby should and can be. Well said, I continue to watch this and other threads, trying to hang onto the old 'there is something for everyone' and 'one man's junk is another ones treasure' school of thought. So many correct ways to approach the hobby and so little time and space for argument. Thank you.

    May All Your Days, Be CIRCUS Days.

    See you down the road,


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    Johnny, Thank you. Not much to add, but ain't this a great hobby? Jim

    PS: I'll finish 'About Photography" maybe Friday, this weekend for sure.
    Last edited by HOexplorer; 04-19-2012 at 01:47 PM.

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    About photography Part 2

    I'm not posting the photo here again. Please refer three posts up.

    I talked about composition. Basically, I try to have my whole picture tell the story. If I want to show you my weathering on my boxcar, I don't include a photo filling most of the picture with a locomotive in it or even in the background.

    In the photo above there is a lot of stuff in there. Ore cars, bridge, mining buildings, and mining camp. Looks good because the whole photo has something for everybody. In fact, don't forget that if your photo is telling the the story you want to tell that maybe there is actually more. I mentioned I have an old photo program. One of my favorite parts of it is the cropping feature.

    Check this out.

    Here we have one half of the original photo and it can easily stand alone. The point is that maybe your photo has 'parts' to be shared as well.

    Lastly it was mentioned in a pun about depth of field. Most of us know the procedure to deepen our depth of field, but what makes my photos and other folks photos stand out is a photo stacking program. Using my natural, for the most part, lighting it is near impossible to show you photos all in focus. I use the Helicon Focus program. Because I actually model for photography this program is indespensible to me. There are some other stacking programs out there. I found this one first and I like it so I use it. Never tried the others. Some are even free.

    Basically, you need a couple of things for these programs. The first is not the camera but the will or need to have near perfect photos. Depth of field is important, but maybe not $117 important. Second, you need a camera with manual focus. Third, you have to take about 15 to 20 photos to get a shot like the one above. Remember tripod and timer. The program melds the photos together and virtually my photos you've seen use this process.

    So the big question you should asked yourself is, is photography and my subject matter worth $117? If it is I would recommend investing in a stacking program. If anyone has any questions about photos or anything else I can help with just ask. Jim
    Last edited by HOexplorer; 04-20-2012 at 05:31 PM.

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    Ahh...that's the secret of how you get the depth of field. Nice.
    I take it you manually change the focus slightly for each of the 15-20 shots so to have perfect focus through the depth of the scene once combined.

    You do have a knack for a good composition.

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    waltr, Thanks for the question I forgot to mention that. You can imagine holding the camera still for 19 shots changing the focus each picture and bending over the layout for the lonely track photo I showed earlier. No wonder I have a bad back! Jim

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    Do you have a diagram of the layout? All of the sudden my thoughts of a layout are consumed by what you've shown us in this thread. That may give me the ideas I'm seeking.


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