How real do your photo's look?

Includes workshop practice, painting and weathering, model photography etc.
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Will L
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How real do your photo's look?

Postby Will L » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:54 am

There are software tools about today that can really improve our photo's by improving the focus and depth of field issues you get when photographing small things close to and which make our model photos look like models. Like this one.

kutsford head on.jpg
Created by combining a number of shots from the same spot focused at different distances from the camera
kutsford head on.jpg (43.63 KiB) Viewed 11505 times


Just how much it is these factors that make things look like models is demonstrated by the following youtube clip which shows the reverse is now also possible. You can now shoot pictures/video's of the real thing so they look like a model. So called Tilt Shift photography after the very strange lenses that get used for this

(Unfortunately the original U Tube link is no longer available WPL 8/12/10)
But I have now found this one instead. WPL 7/4/2012

Of the other similar clips you get access too when this one is finished , the "Amazing tilt-shift photography video" is probably the best but is of a container ship/port and there are no trains! But I'm sure I've seen that container stack on a layout somewhere.

Enjoy

Will
Last edited by Will L on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Andy W
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Andy W » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:05 pm

Remarkable! Another "looks like a model factor" is, of course, that all the footage is shot from a high view point, whereas the (rather lovely) shot of Kutsford is from a low, eye level, height.
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JackBlack
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby JackBlack » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:45 pm

I really like this stuff! There's a photoshop tutorial here that shows you how to sort of create the same effect from existing photos:

http://best-photoshop-tutorials.blogspo ... odels.html

It's not really as good as using the proper tilt shift lense, but I tried it on some pictures I had of Lisbon that came out okay. And yes looking *down* on things helps:

Lisbon1.jpg
Lisbon1.jpg (38.09 KiB) Viewed 11494 times


Lisbon2.jpg
Lisbon2.jpg (39.38 KiB) Viewed 11494 times


Cheers, Nick

Rustyrail

Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Rustyrail » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:39 am

The problem with model railway photography is generally twofold. First, a limited depth of field (DOF) and secondly, colour temperature.

A wide aperture setting is common place in the context of model railway photography to accommodate insufficient light, resulting in large areas of BOKEH (out of focus areas in photographs). Many people will have their cameras on an auto setting rather than manually adjusting the aperture, speed and ISO. The camera in auto mode will naturally open up its aperture to gather as much available light as it can. Whilst BOKEH is acceptable in art photography (often deliberately created), in model terms it destroys the illusion. Keeping a small aperture setting in the region of f11 upwards will alleviate the above effect (maybe with subtle cropping in post production too, but lay off enhancing the picture too much); alternatively, if insufficient light prevails, using longer exposures and a small aperture, with the camera secured on a tripod, or on the layout itself will also increase the all important DOF. However, unless using something like a Nikon D3 with its full 35mm frame sensor; extremely sensitive ISO capability and low noise registration, such photos will suffer from extra graininess with digital artifacts in abundance (once enlarged). Which leads on to lighting, or more precisely, colour temperature. Many compact digital cameras are adjusted for daylight conditions (circa 5,000 to 6,000 degrees Kelvin) and not artificial lighting; the resulting photos inside will often appear too warm (yellow to red) with only about 3,300 K available being radiated by room lighting and layout lights. Unless an appropriate indoor menu setting is chosen, or the flash is utilised (the former is no guarantee, however) overly warm photos will result. Flash photography on such small items is harsh and extremely contrasty, unless a professional flash umbrella and bounced light is used . So some type of photographic lighting will be needed to raise the colour temperature to replicate daylight and allow cameras to shoot with a smaller aperture. As photographic and film spotlights generate a great deal of heat very quickly, they are totally unsuitable for normal layout use, and should only be used for specific photo shoots. If used, they too will need colour balancing to represent daylight by the use of blue gel filtering.

As a rider to the DOF issue; this is a classic problem of small format cameras, of which 35mm is one. To completely eradicate BOKEH something like a 5 X 4 technical plate camera (more in the realms of proper chemical/darkroom photography) would have to be used, with its vast frame capability and the exceptionally fine grain negative film stock available for it. Also with its adjustable bellows converging verticals can be prevented (very good for architectural photography).

Bad composition is another giveaway; many layout photos are taken as though from a low flying helicopter! The photographer needs to put him or herself in the position of an actual punter's POV (point of view). Very hard to achieve in reality, and unless the layout being photographed is exceptionally finely crafted, the resulting view, if achieved, will highlight the "model" aspects of the view and less of the "reality" one wants. Finally, shooting in monochrome can give a more realistic look (the MRJ has perfected this technique) and the dreaded post production enhancing techniques of photo editing software has some use too. Of course one can take a layout outside and photograph it there, but this has numerous drawbacks in practical terms (not least the weather!) and often layouts are too awkward to set up out of doors. If a photo is taken well in the first place, bearing all the above in mind, a pretty convincing view can be achieved, even without fiddling with it afterwards.

Cheers
Simon

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jim s-w
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby jim s-w » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:04 pm

Other than standard finishing (curves) this is as shot

Image

Cheers

Jim

Rustyrail

Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Rustyrail » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:06 pm

Excellent Jim; you'd be hard pressed to ascertain if it was real or a model... shades of the famous Hursley colour poster in the MRJ many years ago...

Cheers
Simon

Philip Hall
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Philip Hall » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:49 pm

I know next to nothing about the technical side of photography other than how to make the camera take the pictures that you want. In the 'old days', pictures for MRJ were taken almost always on Ilford FP4 and processed in his home darkroom by Tony Smith. The three of us (Barry Norman, Tony and yours truly) used either a Contax 139 or a Yashica FX-D with usually a 28mm lens (Barry had a Contax one, and it showed) or a 55 or 60 mm Macro for loco portraits. The cameras were set on auto - aperture priority - plus one stop, F16 or F22. No need to work out the exposure, the camera did it for you. We either used an electronic cable release or timer setting. Lighting was nothing fancy, just a couple of 500W floods; most of the 'studio' loco shots were taken outside in Tony's garden on an overcast day. You can see in the picture of Tony Reynalds' 'Atbara' in MRJ 45 that the wind had caught the front coupling! Not something you usually have to look out for. When we went into colour Kodak Portra film was a favourite, exposed the same way but with a blue filter on the front if using the floods. The photo of 'Hursley' was done in that way. We chose the Contax 139 completely independently, probably before we knew each other; we just found out later we were all using the same cameras!

Digital cameras have made things different, not necessarily easier. I use a Canon S3IS compact, recommended to me by John Sutton (of 3mm 'Southwell' fame) and it does everything I need of it. Once again, aperture priority, plus one stop (mostly for loco portraits against a white background, this), and usually the 2 second timer so's you don't jog the camera. Depth of field when set to F8 is quite remarkable, so much so that, for layouts, (not portraits) I usually knock it back to F6.3 to give a little out of focus effect at the front and back which we always got with the Contax and a 28mm lens at F22. Barry now uses a Canon 1000D DSLR with a 28 - 55 lens and the results from this were in MRJ recently on 'Debenham'. But lighting is a whole lot easier as the cameras can be set to 'auto white balance' which takes care of most situations. Where it doesn't, such as with a mixture of lighting then you have to resort to setting and evaluating it manually. So sometimes I use the floods still, sometimes layout lighting is enough. Nowadays almost all of the loco portraits I take are done under the workbench lights (two 40W daylight fluorescents held quite close) or simply by the light from the roof windows in my loft workshop. I find I don't need as much light as I used to need with film.

If you get it wrong, there's always Photoshop. Which I did, spectacularly, a year or two ago, and once I'd worked out how to correct things it took an age to do all the pictures I'd taken. Which is why I say it's different, not always easier. We now have the ability to take huge numbers of pictures, looking for the good'un, and can spend endless happy (?) hours making them perfect. Here's an example. Years ago I used to take about three or four films at Scaleforum, including all the competition entries, and gave them to Jim Summers who took them back to Scotland on the Sunday afternoon. After processing, he then had a hundred or so pictures to spread out on a table and choose the ones he wanted for the Snooze. Some came out, some didn't, that's what you had. Last year, I took three times that many and, because I now could, spent an age sorting and editing them, cutting out some backgrounds, adjusting exposure and the like. They went off on a CD to EditorJohn and to David Brandreth, who had another three or four hundred from everyone else who'd been kind enough to send him their pictures. And you can't print that lot out and spread them on the dining room table, you have to plough through them on the computer, which takes a very long time. So that's progress, but only of a sort!

I haven't any experience of ultra compact cameras, apart from my wife's Canon Ixus 82IS, which takes great pictures but is not suitable for our sort of stuff, as there is no facility to adjust apertures and the like. And I must admit I don't care for the software that combines many pictures to produce staggering depth of field, preferring to use the camera's abilities - or, indeed, lack of them - to produce what I want. It can look very nice, as with Will's picture of Knutsford, but often it looks a bit too good. Sometimes the pictures we are able to take, which often reveal every last imperfection, show only too clearly that it is a model, rather than the illusion of reality we all seek. Chris Pendlenton has got this off to a fine art, as his recent sets of pictures in MRJ show so well. Shots from a passing seagull, so beloved in the bad old days, are now not so common, and it's easy with a swivel viewing screen to plonk the camera on the layout for the 'natural' viewpoint. Then it's down to your 'eye' for a picture!

Happy snapping...

Philip
Last edited by Philip Hall on Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:39 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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grovenor-2685
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:31 pm

Here's an example.

Can't see the example Philip, did you have some trouble attaching it?
Regards
Keith

Philip Hall
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Philip Hall » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:24 pm

Hi Keith,

I didn't attach a picture - when I wrote 'Here's an example', the example was the tale of how long we all take to sort out photos these days...!

Philip

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grovenor-2685
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:14 pm

Philip,
i suspected as much but I thought i'd use the ambiguity to see if we could get a pic out of you :(
Regards
Keith

Philip Hall
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:44 pm

In response to Keith's request for a picture, here's an example of the depth of field you can get with a compact such as the Canon S3IS.

T9 30707.JPG

It's a Hornby T9 in EM, taken at F8 under the workbench daylight fluorescents. Exposure was 1 second, the camera sorted that out itself, and I added an extra stop exposure to compensate for the pale blue background. I forgot to mention before that for model pictures, I always set the camera at ISO 80, which removes any possibility of a grainy picture. The enlargement is a bit cruel, the weathering looks rather more subtle to the eye (what I said before about showing the imperfections!) and I've also noticed that the cab handrail has become misplaced. I almost always use autofocus, set somewhere around the front driving wheel on this picture, and sometimes I find I have to pull the camera back and slightly zoom in to get it to focus where I want. But that's how the camera works and you get used to its foibles.

Philip
Last edited by Philip Hall on Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rustyrail

Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Rustyrail » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:22 pm

Really excellent Philip; a very good example of the model railway photographer's art. Thanks for posting it.

All the best
Simon

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jim s-w
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby jim s-w » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:17 am

What follows is a bit of a cheat!

Image

I have only done 1 car of my class 155 so far so this is photoshopped out of several pics. Quite pleased with how it came out.

Cheers

Jim

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Mike Garwood
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Mike Garwood » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:00 pm

OK Jim, when do we get to see a picture of your model? :D

Nice...

Mike

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grovenor-2685
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:14 pm

Mike,
Jim has included a link to embed his image. you should be able to see it unless your security settings are getting in the way,as it was here at work until I just reduced the security level and the picture came up.
I have noted recent updates to Firefox having this effect and needing the settings changed.
Keith

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Mike Garwood
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Mike Garwood » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:38 pm

Keith
Wrong context, it looks too much like the 'real thing' to be a model. I use Google chrome with no problems. Thanks for the info though.

regards

Mike

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jim s-w
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby jim s-w » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:41 pm

Hi All

Been out in the sun. I like this one but I am not sure you can call it real with a wooden table and huge trees in the shot.

Image

cheers

Jim

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jim s-w
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby jim s-w » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:43 am

Hi All

Quite pleased with this one

Image

Just 3 LEDS as a light source with a 30 second exposure. Lights in the background and a feint exhaust added in photoshop

Cheers

Jim

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Flymo748
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Flymo748 » Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:35 pm

jim s-w wrote:Hi All

Just 3 LEDS as a light source with a 30 second exposure. Lights in the background and a feint exhaust added in photoshop


Rather nice Jim... it has that grainy quality of film shot through one of those compact cameras in the early 80s, just like I had when I was at school!

Flymo
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jim s-w
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby jim s-w » Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:35 pm

Thanks

The grain was a complete accident but I too thought it gave quite a nice old school look

More low light stuff, this time, aside from normal finishing theres no photoshoppery on this one.

Image

Sometimes you just have to take advantage of what you are doing at the time. In this case I was weathering the platform surfaces with a wash thus the chance to try a rainy night shot.

Cheers

Jim

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jim s-w
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby jim s-w » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:55 pm

Hi All

Fancied a little play with Black and white.

Image

I seem to be taking over this thread, come on people, lets see your pictures!

Cheers

Jim

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Mark Tatlow » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:09 pm

Right Jim, gauntlet laid down..............

Both of these involve a little bit of cheating.......................but the first one only a fairly small amount so I don't apologise for this; the second one, well anyone who knows Scotland properly knows the view.........!
Attachments
Portchullin7compress.jpg
photo courtesy of Andy York
Highlandman picture cropped.jpg
photo courtesy of Highlandman
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Mark Tatlow

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jim s-w
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby jim s-w » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:55 am

I dunno Mark

Ultimately we are all trying to convince that a 8 inch long model is 100+ tonnes of loco. Why is it cheating? Its just adding something not there due to space restraints. Its not like you are fixing errors in your models.

If you printed out a giant print of the mountains and stuck it to the backscene no one would say its cheating, whats the difference?

Cheers

Jim

PS - what are the red things on the platforms?

allanferguson
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby allanferguson » Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:07 am

jim s-w wrote:I dunno Mark

PS - what are the red things on the platforms?


Steps, I think. Still commonly to be seen on Highland platforms.

Allan F

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: How real do your photo's look?

Postby Mark Tatlow » Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:16 am

allanferguson wrote:
jim s-w wrote:I dunno Mark

PS - what are the red things on the platforms?


Steps, I think. Still commonly to be seen on Highland platforms.

Allan F


Yes they are, although they probably shouldn't be red - one more job for me to do!

A feature of these lines until very recently (the last 10 years really) was very low platforms - in Highland days, all carriages had an extra step board to accomodate this. If you go up to the exHR lines now you will notice that the handrails to the footbridges seem to start at a very low level and a little bit proud of the first step - this is merely that the ground has been built up and over the first couple of treads of the stairs!

I have done my platforms at 1'10" and this might even be a little high! All sorts of boxes and steps were provided to allow the passenger get into the carriage - I intend to do one or two of the other types that I have seen.
Mark Tatlow


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