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Monday, 03 February 2014


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The comments on that linked article are just horrible. Normally my personal policy is not to read internet comments, but in this case I couldn't tear myself away. It was like, um, ...

I photographed the construction of the Tacoma Narrows bridge back in 2006 and 2007, sometimes around the train tracks on the Tacoma side. While I stayed off of the track areas, even being on the side of them was unnerving. I was constantly watching for either the passenger or freight trains. It was due to me noticing how fast they would were moving, but more importantly, that I could not hear them until they were almost next to me. I was very happy to get off the track area as it really is a dangerous place. At least I got the photos I was trying for but felt the risk was too great in the future.

Photographers are known to be a little "crazy". Mix CRAZY and IRRESPONSIBLE and you have a lethal mix no matter what the arena.

Whoops! 2nd photo down...


There is more than one victim in an accident like this. The train crews really pay a price. If you can't or won't think about yourself at least consider them and stay off the tracks.

Maybe his girlfriend had an ulterior motive.

"Using train tracks as a setting for photographs is an illegal, unethical, and unsafe practice."

You left out the most appropriate adjective: stupid.

"illegal,unethical, and unsafe"?

Hardly true of all tracks. Many of us have closed, abandoned and unused 'storage tracks' near where we live. Tracks not used for some time and not active. Even private tracks left in place when the RR section was closed and the land sold without removing the tracks.

Active tracks - you are right for much of it.

Unbelievable stupidity. As was the conclusion already last time. But even bigger stupidity is from one comment to that original article:
'We have to do something about the rash of killer trains.' What the hell. The trains have tracks that are easy enough to see. Nobody can go there by accident. This was not some innocent bypasser who did not notice the tracks. And then it is the train's fault.

Illegal it may be, but I'm not so sure about unethical. Sometimes you just want to get your shot. If we never took risks, and always were squeaky clean about the laws I don't think we'd have as good a collection of images in the archives.

Not to play the Devil's advocate..but this seems like a pretty good argument for using a photographer's assistant..for "trainspotting.'

There are any number of situations where an extra pair of hands,an extra pair of eyes(&ears) and an extra brain brain come in handy. Can in fact be lifesaving...

Can we assume that the problem isn't that these folks are not aware of the train but that they are actually get to get the moving train into the picture? This raises another set of questions re common sense…I.E. how can these people not realize that fashion shots and action movie shots that involve trains involve trains that are not moving, or are moving slowly and always under controlled circumstances. And that nowadays anything that involves people and a fast moving train is composited in Photoshop or AfterEffects etc. It's certainly not done at risk of life and limb. Although Buster Keaton did :-)

You can gaze out the window
Get mad and get madder
Throw your hands in the air
Say what does it matter…
- John Prine


How can you say that and not link to this:

Where I grew up in central California near there was always the possibility of encountering a train running down the middle of the street in a residential area.
It seems there are a lot of photos of this sort of thing on flickr

Confuscious said: "Man who stands on shiny rails has dull mind."

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