Phot of the Week (and more): Green Trolley

Green Trolley

For this week’s PotW I’m featuring the image above, which I did for The Digital Photography School’s weekly assignment. The theme this week was “Transportation.” I’m going to try to do these things every week just to keep myself shooting.

But wait. There’s more. When I saw the theme of “transportation” it didn’t take me long to remember that there’s a Museum of Transportation right down the road from where we live. So I packed up my gear, waved goodbye to the family, then went and shot two gigs’ worth of trains, planes, automobiles, and trolleys. I thought several of them were worth sharing, so I’ll include them here.

NOTE: As usual, all the thumbnails below are squared off to make them line up neatly on the page. Please click through to see the full, uncropped versions.

While there were various things available to point my camera at, I did have one major problem: the weather. It was brutally hot, but that wasn’t really that big a problem. The main problem was that it was also overcast, which meant that the sky was utterly and completely blown out in every shot. Nothing but white, which looks lousy and immediately grabs the eye to say “Hey! Look at me! Aren’t I ruining this shot? Aren’t I?”

This was too bad, but I worked around the problem by focusing on shaded areas (like the one with the trolley shot above) and by zooming in to fill the frame. So some detail work and close-ups, which is actually a different kind of way of looking at something huge like trains. My first instinct was to do some big, dramatic shots featuring the iconic silhouettes of the big, old steam engines against the sky. Since none of those looked any good with the white sky, I had to get creative.

One of the best examples is probably this shot of the Silver Charger. I couldn’t get all the letters in the shot without showing a bunch of the sky as well, so I ended up tilting the camera. I quite like the effect with the strong diagonal lines that go nicely with the words. It may be my favorite pic of the trip.

One other neat thing about this shoot was that since Geralyn had graciously volunteered to stay home with the kids, I had the whole time to myself and didn’t have to worry about keeping an eye on anyone. And probably just as importantly, I didn’t have to worry about trying to get pictures of the kids. This was surprisingly liberating and I recommend you all try it. It also gave me a chance to slow down and take my time. I took shots of the same thing from many different angles with many different camera settings, and I even had time to break out my new gray card and do some manual exposure settings, which turned out very well on some of the pics.

So, fun trip. I’ll just have to go back some day when the sky is more cooperative to get all the other shots I wanted.

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2 thoughts on “Phot of the Week (and more): Green Trolley

  1. That Silver Charger photo grabbed me immediately, too. It’s funny how just a slight angle change or shift in perspective can completely change a photo of something, isn’t it? Great bunch of shots, Jamie. Thanks for sharing them all!

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