Shortly after some enterprising individual first punched a pinhole in a box and focused the light it let through onto a silver halide emulsion, I actually took a college course in photography. Once we got past the basics of how to hold a camera and what a f-stop was, the instructor started teaching us (in some cases fruitlessly) the essence of good photographs. Just about his first rule was “never take pictures of train tracks going off into the distance. It’s trite and it tries to suggest more of a message than is actually contained in the image.”
So here I am taking a picture of train tracks going off into the distance (told you it was fruitless in some cases). Still, I think my wise old professor would probably forgive me this one transgression. This image calls up a great picture of some train rolling along, completely unaware of the trail of bird food it is painting its way with.
I have to admit that I struggled with this one a bit. Evidently I wasn’t paying enough attention when I was looking through the viewfinder. While I thought I had things all vertical and framed up, it turned out to be rather badly tilted. Worse, there was little I could do to fix it in post processing. Adjusting the crop angle more than a tiny bit gave me much more of the horizon than I wanted (the horizon was particularly ugly in this case). Cropping out the horizon left me with too little of the tracks to look at.
In the end I distorted the heck out of it, which left things more like how I originally wanted it, but also ended up with tracks that would leave a train feeling like it was on the Tilt-A-Whirl and just about ready to tip over to the right. It’s a good lesson in triple-checking your framing, especially when you have unlimited time to take the shot.