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Rack & Ruin

By meshklam
Taken in Somerset, while out walking came upon this old railway siding

Tags: Railway Transport Old

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dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1778 England
4 Jan 2021 3:18PM
Hi again, Andrew -

The EXIF is incomplete, but the technical quality is decidedly iffy. I'm not sure if it's focus error or camera shake, but this is very unsharp, to the point that I wouldn't post it unless it was unrepeatable news of family subject matter. It would be fine if you'd got a shot of the Prime Minister breaking lockdown, for news value: entirely OK for the first shot of a newborn baby, but it's not sharp enough for a pictorial subject in full daylight.

I'd reshoot if i could, I think.
meshklam 16 3 England
4 Jan 2021 3:29PM
Thanks for the reply , I will try again
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.5k 2346 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2021 6:25PM
It's far from perfect but I'm going to add a few points.

First of all, it has a distinctly blue tinge to my eyes - we are not seeing full details of your settings, did you leave White Balance on auto or adjust it? There are some odd light streaks which make the image look a bit as though it was taken through glass - if that's the case it could explain the bluishness.

Secondly, how did you set the camera - auto, program mode, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual? Again, we are not seeing full Exif, including focal length - I suspect that this was nearer to 24mm than 105mm, but it could have done with smaller aperture, and if hand-holding a faster shutter speed. Even at 24mm, at 1/30 second you are pushing your luck a wee bit unless your posture and holding technique are good. (Can I just check - are you using the viewfinder or the screen to compose?)

And finally the aspect that generally interests me most, composition. This is a subject that appeals to me and that I photograph a lot - rust and decay, with nature reclaiming its own. Dust to dust... It's about conveying both the structure and power of the machinery and what is happening to it.

Here I think the important area that needs to come across as a structure is the mechanism at the front, but you have cut off the bottom. There's no harm in pushing and pulling undergrowth aside a bit, in order to reveal the structure. Then try getting down really low and looking up at it. (That will require two things - a plus exposure compensation, maybe +0.7 stop, because you will be pointing the camera up towards the sky; and a large plastic bag to kneel on).

Try to fill the frame, and make sure significant structure, the works end, makes visual sense in the frame.

Think about focus, for this sort of shot I would want the area immediately in front of us pin-sharp because that's what we need to feel we could reach out and touch.

And I hope we shall see you again here soon!
meshklam 16 3 England
4 Jan 2021 6:45PM
Thank Moira
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.5k 2346 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2021 7:04PM
Andrew, you haven't answered some questions. Specifically, how you set the camera, how you compose. Next time you upload to the Critique Gallery, could you try to include more information please? Otherwise we are working in the dark...

Meanwhile I hope that we have given you some ideas to think about.
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2190 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2021 7:30PM
Hello, Andrew.

The logo bottom right is fairly obvious, but I think there is a very large one that is barely visible, in the centre of the frame. This is tending to spoil your subject and it may be why Moira felt the shot was taken through glass, because she thought this was a reflection. Or, alternatively, she may be right and I may be wrong.
Neither logos are necessary here.

This is a great find, a subject worth a lot of thought and attention, seeking out some good angles and also looking at some close detailed shots, making the most of the decay.
This is out in the wild, not in someone's well maintained flower bed, so don't be afraid to uncover any parts that you feel are interesting and worth revealing.

You will have to give this another go....or two, or three, or more.

dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1778 England
4 Jan 2021 8:21PM
Thanks for a positive response to my rather negative comment.

It's the sort of place that is worth going back to repeatedly, and shooting in different ways, to find what's the best angle, and indeed the best time of year.

This looks to be a winter shot (no leaves on the trees), and I reckon that everything will disappear come the growing season. Leaves on the trees overhead will also make the light levels lower.

Play with wide shots like this, and also close-ups of the details of both the line and the van. Sometimes these things decay gently for years: and sometimes they disappear very fast with an act of vandalism or new development.

I apologise for my earlier negativity: and I wish you well fro the year ahead. Keep shooting!
dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 738 England
4 Jan 2021 9:18PM
If you can go back soon that would be good, not just to try this shot again butto take a lot more from different viewpoints as it's a great subject. Maybe you did, but there's sure to be one or two different angles.

Following on from John's comment, shoot this as the year goes on and you'll have a series depicting the vegetation gradually taking over.

Take a tripod with you as this type of subject works best with sharp results.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.5k 2346 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2021 9:32PM
I've added a modification - I took a few liberties. A tighter crop, to try to isolate an area that hangs together without being marred by the cut-off; mono, with added grain, which disguises softness; contrast and toning for drama; burn edges for the sense of a secret, enclosed place. the subject definitely has terrific potential.
meshklam 16 3 England
11 Jan 2021 8:55PM
i have uploaded another photo of this .

renamed it Rack & Ruin 2

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