Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Close Ups of a Train Set

I have not updated this in awhile as I have been busy (both work and personal).  This has forced me to change my plans for this blog for the short term.  One of the events was the passing of my father in law.  One of my first memories of my father in law was the great train setup he had in the back room of his house.  I had never seen a train setup this large privately owned before (and it was as large as most commercial setups I had seen).  Over the years, as his children moved out, and there needs changed, they downsized (as many do), making it impossible to maintain a set of this side.  Even with less space, he still enjoyed his trains (as did his grand kids at this point), so I figured I would show some close up work and display some pictures of the set he had at the time of his passing.

As always, if you want to see a larger image, just click the picture.

Before we get into some close ups, I figured I would show it from above (to give some context for the other pictures).  Trains are running (it is a loop within a loop setup).  The smoke in the middle is coming out of the diner (smoke comes out the chimney).

This is an example of a bad picture (I will fix it in a minute).  When shooting minatures, you want the camera low to get better perspective.  Once you do this, you really have to pay attention to angles.  This picture just looks like a mess (though the reason for this was the trains are moving, and I was trying to avoid them). 

By changing the angle so the view was more along the lines, the picture sharpens up greatly.  More scale is seen, the size of the tracks.  Also by timing the trains to be further away, they stay in focus better.  The smoke from the diner is a bit much, but it is part of the set.

For completeness, I took a similar shot down the back of the inner track to show the street view.  Though this setup was much smaller than the previous one that I had known, his personality really shines through in it.  The scene is Christmas time (we will see a Santa later), his favorite holiday (he had the decorations to prove it).  Additionally, it was an old time scene with old cars and buildings, and he enjoyed antiques (and old toys).

This is a picture of the far corner (so it was what you could not see before - with a train speeding by behind the buildings).  Once again to get the look, the camera has to be low to get a good view (this would be how it would look from the train window on the outer track).  Alot of attention to detail in this section and others (people out and about, the dog, christmas decorations etc).  Though the ice cream truck seems a little out of place ;-). 

Here is a close up of the diner (with all the smoke).  The smoke was turned off at this point (to help with the pictures).  The stack is up on the left side of the sign (looking from here).  What would a train set be without a train car diner?  Notice the sharpness throughout the frame.  None of these were shot in macro mode.  Macro mode would leave to small of an area as the focus point (leaving too much out of focus).  They were also all handheld with no flash (that would make the lighting look unreal).  The stabilization in the SX210 did a good job, and allowed me to get sharp pictures holding the camera at weird angles (this exposure was 1/60 sec long). 

Here we have a nice full service gas station, with an attendant waiting to service your car.  Here you get a nice view of the gas station, the platform a bus in the street behind and the buildings behind that.  Once again in macro mode, this would not have been possible (and the "boca" would have been beyond believable). 

However, if this is supposed to be an old time scene, we need more than just gas stations.  We need an Esso station (is that Esso as in Standard Oil - oops).  Now that is a gas station.

I left this picture in here as I liked the angle and to show some issues.  This is a platform.  There are taxis waiting to pick up the travelers.  The tracks are around the other side of the platform.  Looks like Santa on the platform, but it is hard to see.  This picture was not really in good focus, but repaired to this level through sharpening.  That gives the halo look around the lines that are seen here.  Not a bad picture, but could have been better.

I wanted to make sure Santa got seen.  However, this shot also shows another problem (one that I did not have the time or setup myself to work around).  The shadows on the platform are a bit too dark (trust me the flash does not help, but makes it much worse).  Taking pictures of minatures really requires that lighting be taken into account.  I fixed this one a little by using the shadow highlight feature in photoshop (to lighten only the dark areas).  It is not bad, but a small light (or using softer ones above at mulitple anges) would have helped greatly.

I figured I would close this out with the church.  More evidence of the Christmas theme (Christmas mass is advertised on the sign).  The pastor is waiting on the steps to greet the traveler. 

No comments:

Post a Comment