for poor quality of colour. I don't know what happened but it seems the lights at the venue gave everything a very yellow colour, especially when photos were taken using small aperture settings.
I've done the best that I can so far to adjust the colour but it probably needs more time than I have at the moment to get better results. If anyone has any experience of fixing this kind of problem I'd appreciate some advice.
Seaboard Southern's pictures (26) start here
I used my new macro lens on some of these photos. I'm quite impressed with some of those - especially of my personal layout, Lynneton Yard
HA! - I really like the one with the thief getting arrested - we all know that RR yards are kind of ... "gritty" to say the least. But these photos got me thinking -there is a lot of work in these scenes, and every RR that I've been around is just dirty - oily, dusty, rusty stuff - and these layouts are pristine- even the thief is clean - so, I wonder why it is that these very creative people who make these amazing layouts don't simulate these factors as well? I know it's not impossible because I've gotten oil and dust on things - even little things - but shouldn't these trains have dust and dirt and smashed insects (little tiny ones) on them? shouldn't there be oil and rusty cans around the tracks?
Frankly, I'm always surprised that these American-modeling Brits get it as closely as they do, considering that they generally lack our opportunities to go out and actually walk the tracks any time we feel like it. It must be difficult to do most of your modeling from photographs of things that you will probably never see up close and in person.
Which brings up all the American layouts I've seen that *still* look like Christmas-set toy trains, even thought the builders could go right across town and peer at the prototypes just as closely as they wished...
I agree that there should be oil and other bits around. My personal layout, Lynneton Yard, was never intended to be an exhibition layout. It started life as a piece of wood that I used to re-learn my modelling skills when I'd had a knee replacement and couldn't get into my loft. I used No 5 switches to make sure that the rolling stock would go through the loft layout switches. I also wanted to have some operational fun which is why I made it into a timesaver. To see the development of this layout look at
newest picture is shown first
In fact it was exhibited without any scenery and attracted a lot of attention as a fun puzzle. Then someone suggested that I add scenery to the non switching part, then I decided to add more to the staging yard side. Then, with the help of my good friend Cliff South added more scenery. To see some of Cliff's detailed work go to
for his exhibition layout
for his Virginia and Truckee layout based in a 12' x 9' shed in his garden
All this has taken (enjoyable) time from my loft layout which still has a long way to go. Yes, I'd like to add more detail to the layout but it all takes time - after all it's the little details that really take up the time. It's still meant to be used as a puzzle rather than a detailed layout
Strangely enough, the advent of the digital camera has meant that we can get many of these details, but of course we must go to America - or Canada in my case - to get the photos. It's hell if you don't get the one you really want as it's a very long way to go to find that detail :-) I try to take pictures with a modellers view in mind. Have a look at some of my real pictures here
particularly those taken in and around Winniandy and Grande Cache.
Thanks for taking an interest. Your comments are much appreciated.
What photo software are you using? Most of them have an 'auto fix' mode somewhere that usually does a pretty good job of fixing color. What appears to have happened is the 'white balance' function in your camera was not properly set for the lighting. This can be fixed on the back end (as above), but it is better to get it right in the camera. Look up 'white balance' in the index of your camera manual.
I did enjoy the pictures. Thanks for continuing to share.
I use the software that came with my Canon 450D when I bought it in
2007. I have Photoshop but don't know how to use it. Most of my knowledge has been picked up as I've been taking photos. That's why I've signed up at my local college to learn how to use a digital camera. They start with the basics then move on course by course. I reckon it will take about 18 months to get to the course on Photoshop :-)))
Good idea. They'll probably get to white balance pretty quick. Usually you can do ok by just setting it to 'auto'. If you managed to move it to some other setting by accident, your results could be unpredictable.
It may actually be a very bad idea to try and fix the final JPEGs because there is rather little room for improvement before you start loosing a lot of image detail and the photos lood worse "fixed" than just off-color. Happy be those who have set their camera to "raw" before ;-)
The EOS series have a setting for "custom white balance" - just look it up in the manual - basically you shoot a "measurement picture" of a white sheet of paper (gray card). The camera calculates the white balance setting which is used until you select something different.
If you're still in doubt, get a larger memory card (I learned by experience) and set your camera to record "raw" - then get the software from or use the Canon utility do do the raw conversion at home, which is pretty simple if you start out with white balance only (and probably a bit of exposure ;-)
When I recently looked at some older pictures I had taken in a model train exhibition, I concluded that I will need to take a "gray card" (piece of white paper) and a tripod if I ever go to an exhibition again
- even when "repairing" the raw images at home, you need a source for the white balance setting. RawTherapee can use any reference area of the image to calculate the correct settings, provided the area contains a "neutral gray" which can be anything from white to black, as long as it's neutral. But you still need that reference, which can be a business card (if it's white), a backpack strap or anything. And in a model railroad exhibition the conditions will not vary too much, so just make sure you take an extra photo of your wife/girlfriend/child and make sure they either wear something suitable or hold a sufficiently large card ;-)
Again, the "wife with reference" will work best if you shoot in raw format, otherwise, do the white balance custom setting thingy ;-) Check it out in the manual, it's not that difficult. If the pictures should still be a little off, it's hopefully so little that you can correct it without too much loss of detail ;-) But if you shoot in JPEG you should make sure that you have little or no corrections to do afterwards, as each and every thing you do to the picture will loose you quality - even if you "only" crop the picture (which means de-compression and re-compression) - you loose image quality. You probably won't notice, but it adds up quite quickly and you'll see ugly artifacs. Sure there is a little room for corrections, but it's actually quite small. Using raw pictures, you have a lot of room for changes as *a lot* of information will be lost when converting to JPEG, but it's before the compression, so you still get the highest quality JPEG... But then, shooting raw pictures means you'll need five times as much memory ;-)
Personally I'm not a fan of Photochop, partially because I think GIMP is just as good for home and hobby use and partially because I'm so tired of the "Photoshop hype" ;-) But what I write will apply to Photochop as well as GIMP or any other ;-)
I've had pretty good luck with my Pentax setting the AWB (white balance) to incandescent lighting, I've never really done a manual white balance. Then too, I'm pretty good with Photoshop, so I can fix minor colors after the shot. Back in the old film days I used a blue filter to remove the yellow tint from home lighting. I still have those screw on filters for the fun of it, but the camera does a quicker job.
Thanks for the information. I've decided to go to absolute basics and signed up for an evening course at my local college. The only problem is that it will take about 9 months to get to the stage where they can answer this problem :-)
In the meantime the help of people here is much appreciated
I've been spending some time on my loft layout recently. I've now got 8 roads laid in the yard area. My next step is to fully test the 'main' and 'secondary' routes before painting and ballasting the track.
In the meantime I've just got down from the loft having spent quite a few hours there today. I've taken some of my rolling stock out of the boxes to set them on the track. I've come to realise that putting stock in and out of the boxes is very time consuming and causes damage so this time I've taken them out of the box, checked the running quality (the Micro Mart truck tuner is brilliant for getting stock to run), changed wheels (or set them to one side ready for a full wheel change session!), checked coupler heights and action on my setup track and then placed them on the track where they will stay.
I now have one train with an SD75/SD40-2 lashup and 20 covered hopper cars which fit comfortably into the longest of my yard tracks; an ABA F3 with 7 coaches and 4 box cars which is my test train (if they will go around so will most other stock), plus an SD9 with 12 cars which fits comfortably on one of the shorter 'secondary' yard tracks.
I'm hoping to get two friends to come along in a couple of weeks so that we can have a 'let's test the main routes' session. Then I can wire in the Tortoises, as make a start on some scenery. I'll post pictures when I take them if you're interested
Well, my wife and I are attending a "Photo course" at our local public evening college. The referent is quite competent, but the course is a bit un-structured :-( And since we are on our way to "level 2", it doesn't help us much... But It may differ for you ;-)
If the rants of people really help you ;-) The major problem is that there are often many ways to achieve something (custom White Balance setting vs. raw images and later correction) and that people will bash each others' heads just because everyone does it just a little differently ;-)
In our photo course, the referent told us right at the start that we should set our cameras to low resolution and low quality as this doubles the number of pictures you can take. Later he told us that we should crop happily, but he forgot to mention that once you have less than ~1600x1200 pixel left, the image will start to look bad on a 15x10cm (6x4") print. Sure you don't need the high resolution high quality setting, but it reduces what you can do with the pictures afterwards... You can always throw away excess quality, but you'll never re-gain it... So I'll bash your head if you shoot in anything but raw, but that's stupid because you will be happier if you use the setting you feel most comfortable with (and you might want more than 400 photos to fit on your
8GB memory card ;-)
The best advice I can give you is to take your camera and go take pictures. Practice in your loft and try out different methods, until you find one that makes good pictures and is not overly complicated ;-)
Cool, that reminds me to work on my layout, but currently we have the high-priority task of raw-therapee-ing several thousand holiday photos ;-)
Well, my layout is rather small and is foldable, so I must remove trains whenever I finish running them. So I am considering to buy/build long, narrow boxes with track in them. I would run the trains into these boxes under their own power (and out of them later), but inside the boxes the trains would be stored dust-protected and moveable. Handling would be (mostly) without touching the trains which is good also.... Just grab a box, align it with the layout's entry track and drive in or out...
Actually there was a discussion about hidden yards on the german newsgroup. Back then I suggested a short, straight dead-end track in front (easily accessible) to allow re-railing wagons (like a fiddle yard) with either a plastic rerailer mounted instead of the stop block or open-ended to allow something like those "cassette" boxes. Since it's the hidden yard, it doesn't have to look prototypical and I think it's a good idea to have some "fiddle space" next to all the storage tracks. Imagine having to re-rail a car at the hind-most storage track, in the middle of a train - with the extra track in front, you just take it out, rerail it and have some fun shunting it back in place ;-)
Again, it's your layout and you should only do what you like ;-)
Lucky you, my longest station track is about one meter (N-Scale) while my two-track hidden station is about 0.75m and I still have not got the IR sensors in place that would allow me to find out whether the train is fouling the turnout... I won't be able to run trains with more than seven cars or so - and I do talk about short cars ;-)
That's exactly what I've been doing to the past two and a half years. I'd only just got the 450D when I went to Canada in 2007. I didn't even have a UV filter. Everything was shot on automatic mode- and the results were not the best. (have a look at the results on the 'real' section of my fotopic site)
Since then I've learned so much more, invested in a tripod, filter, lens hood, etc. This year I bought a 100-400 zoom lens from my brother (half list price!) which I used to great extent when I went to Canada this year and I've subsequently bought his 100mm f2.8 macro lens which I have yet to learn how to use.
You're right, there is no substitute for taking photos and seeing what the results are, but I thought I'd better learn the absolute basics and take it from there as the learning process might be quicker that way. Course starts on Nov 4.
The other thing I want to learn to use is Photoshop. At the moment I use the processing software that came with the Canon camera. Trouble is there's only so much time available and I have to prioritise. So it's trains, NMRA marketing, trains, layout building, trains, work, writing for taxi talk magazine, trains and if there's any spare time, trains (trains = models most of the time and mainly North American so that is usually done when I go the Canada) :-))
Auto mode will give pretty good results, though when post-processing my (raw) pictures I practically always correct the color temperature... And quite often I do some exposure (brightness) adjustment, though that's quite a bit of "personal style" ;-) The biggest drawback to auto mode is that it disallows "raw" - so my camera's "full auto" or "scenery" modes get little use, if any. Mostly I stay in "P" or one of the "Av", "Tv" or "M" modes, with "M" used least ;-)
As for your selection of software - personally I don't like Photoshop - in part because there's such a hype about it, in part because the referent in our "photo course" (who also gives photoshop lessons) didn't know how to use it (ugh) and most importantly, it doesn't run on Linux ;-) Most of my photo processing is the actual raw conversion and I find the free "RawTherapee" the best tool, especially under Linux ;-) For anything more complicated I use GIMP, as it brings all he functions I need and I don't see why I should pay more than 80 Euro for something I don't need anyway - because I mostly use a very small subset of the functions the software offers. So, it's a bit of learning to handle the alternatives, but then you need to learn Photoshop, too ;-)
Seems that digital photography and post processing are partially dependent upon personal preferences, although the basic concept is the same. I've just received the start times for my 5 week basic digital photography course, so that should give me the essential 'ground rules' and then I'll see what develops from there (pun intended).
In the meantime please keep the comments and suggestions coming. They all add to my knowledge and are much appreciated.
They are highly dependent on the monitor. Pictures that look a little dark on my monitor look OK on my wife's laptop. Colour tone is also different. Etc. Unfortunately, proper calibration requires hardware as well as software. I looked for calibration kits about a year and choked on the prices. ;-(
I don't own a copy. Had one I got cheap when number one son worked at Adobe and eventually gave it to number three son who gave it away to someone else. Right now I use Picassa if I'm in a hurry and Paint Shop Pro 9 because I got a copy for $10 when the local photo store had a clearance. Did I mention I'm cheap?
I tried GIMP, but found it to be more effort than I wanted to spend. It also crashed on something simple. Can't recall what, but I'd rather switch than fight ...
The calibration kits are getting a bit less expensive, but they are still above my choke point. If I were doing a lot of printing, I'd probably get the calibration kit as the cost would be repaid with savings on ink
Same problem here. Although there is a little trick: I did a few test-prints at a shop near my home and I found that the shop's prints were just a tad on the dark side. So basically I turned down the brightness of my monitor a bit, now it works great - until the lab changes their settings :-(
If you print at home, do a test print and check the settings, if necessary, adjust the printer to match your pictures or adjust your display to match your printer - at least somewhat... But then I do very little printing at home, as I feel the inkjet-printed photos just don't look as good as the stuff I get from my shop... Especially when looking from the side, some colors tend to "turn" in the home-prints which is not to my preferences...