Slow Leak

Slow Leak

f/5.6, 1/80, ISO-400, 36mm

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.

This entry was posted in Natural Lighting, Photography and tagged , , , .


  1. 96arley February 13, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Haha, would hate to be riding that train, no wonder all the corn sloshed out, 😉 I’ve had to use Photoshop to forgive my composition mistakes on a few occasions. Great post and very enjoyable to read, thanks for sharing!

  2. AJBopp February 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    I really tried to twist this one up so that it would look right, but it defied my every effort. Oh well. You learn as you go, and I’m not entirely unhappy with it as it is.

  3. Meanderer February 14, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    I really like this image. At first, I thought the grain was a bright shaft of light! It’s an interesting and intriguing image.

  4. Omar Upegui R. February 16, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Hi AJ Bopp:

    You pictures are awesome. I follow my own rules. If I like my pictures I post them. Restraining your taste to rules will prevent you in having fun taking pictures. You are doing great. I had a lot of fun looking at your shots. Persistence makes perfection.



    • AJBopp February 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      Thanks Omar! I am much the same way. I actually relish the discovery of finding out what my readers like vs what I like. Some of my favorite images on this site have barely been viewed, let alone “liked” or commented on. This particular image has been pretty well received, but I do wish I could take it over again.

  5. loniduekloni March 2, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    Beautiful work!
    thanks for stopping by
    Please check my paintings blog at

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