Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure: Attempting a pan shot

Posted by D-Halv
on Thursday, July 21, 2011

Canadian National No. 2319 quickly moves a southbound manifest through Sussex, Wis., as the sun prepares to heat things up. Canon EOS 30D, 7/21/2011, 1/40 sec, f 16, ISO 125, 18mm. Drew Halverson photo

I started the day off right today! I met up with Trains Art Director Tom Danneman to railfan before work. This southbound train showed up when I did and provided for an early effort. It's a "pan shot" attempt, where I basically tried to capture the train with the background in motion. You can achieve this result by following the train with your camera, using a slow shutter speed to fire shots. I was hoping to catch part of the cab in focus. But as you can see, I didn't quite pull it off.

What I like: 

The bright colors. The sunrise created vibrant back lighting. If I combine the color with the train's motion, then I walk away liking this shot.

What I don't like: 

Nothing is quite in focus. I really wish the locomotive No. or pilot would have been in focus. To achieve that would take multiple attempts. Give it a try sometime ... It's tricky.

What I learned: 

Take what you're given. Trains show up when you least expect them to. Therefore, always think of new ways to photograph them. Don't be afraid to shoot into the sun or try some slower shutter speeds, for example.


Flickr: "Drew's Fantastic Train Photo Adventure, 2011"
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