Monday, December 2, 2013

Photography & Model Railroading

I have taken probably several thousands of photos related to model railroading over the past decade, and many of them for the sole purpose of magazine article material, and more recently this blog.  Even then, I still feel that I am a fresh amateur, and getting good shots isn't always easy.  There is a lot of middle space between a great photo and a bad photo, and I guess it just takes a lot of practice and a keen eye for quality to become good.  I recently purchased an inexpensive light box and set of lights, since I have been taking so many photographs of my n scale 3d printed trucks and trailers.  The current set up was staging my vehicles on an oak plywood surface and simply using the fluorescent lights on my garage ceiling for the light source.  The photo quality was decent, but didn't provide enough light where I wanted it.  I set my light box up tonight and tried it out, and wanted to share the results.  The set I purchased came with 3 small lights, so I have one aimed inward from both sides and the top.  It wasn't very expensive, so I thought it was worth a try.  Eventually I would like to have a small permanent studio for staging my photos, which will help me maintain consistency with light and camera settings.

My initial reaction was that the white material was too thick and not letting enough light through.  There is a double layer of material over a wire frame, so I could easily cut a hole in one layer, and reduce the thickness by half.  The lights seem to provide a satisfactory amount of light.  I may build my own box, with brackets to hold the lights, so it can be easily moved as a single, mini studio.  Overall, I think the camera did a nice job.

By the way, I know that my row crop duals have the tread pattern running the wrong direction.  That bracket is a separately printed component, and hasn't been glued permanently in place yet.  It just needs to be turned around.


  1. Everything looks fantastic!
    Honestly, I don't know where you get the time.
    Between my daily commute and 50+ hour work weeks, I'm lucky to have any time to myself at the end of the day.

    1. My time is also very limited, but I try to make the most of it. 3d printing has pretty much consumed all of my hobby time this year. Maybe someday I'll actually get back to model railroading.

  2. Hi.
    I think it looks ok. Have you tried photo stacking, it is ideal for this close up work as you can obtain good focal length from front to back. Zerene is one such product and available as a free trail. Worth a tryl.
    I have been playing around with some new LED lights to obtain better shots of locos and Rolling stock on my RR as my lighting does not show the front of the trains anywhere near good enough. I intend to use my new Canon EOS 650 D hooked up to my laptop to try and see if I can do better.
    Have fun and I'm enjoying your models.

    1. Rod, if I had more time, I would like to get more sophisticated with photography. I know just enough to get the job done, but I am sure there are lots of things a pro could teach me. I know a bad picture when I see one, but beyond that, I am sure there are many things I don't know, that a more experienced person could teach me.