Shirley Pohlman  

BIG BOY by Shirley Pohlman

September 2021 - BIG BOY

September 2021 - Shirley Pohlman


September 2021 - Shirley Pohlman

Original 2

About the Image(s)

The historic Union Pacific Steam Locomotive was pulled out of retirement again this year for an excursion that included our area. Our Camera Club met the train as it crossed the Saline River in Benton, AR. On a scorching day we waited an hour and only had about five seconds to take our shots as it zipped past us. I learned you don’t have time to change focal lengths! I got a shot as it appeared through the trestle and did not have time to get my lens adjusted, thus missing the top of the engine. This was shot with Nikon D610, at 300mm, tripod mounted, manual mode, f/9, 1/1000sec, ISO 400.

I brought both originals into Photoshop and added canvas to the main shot. I made a smart object from the top of the other shot and copied onto the engine. I filled in the remaining blank canvas by cloning from the lower section. Back in Lightroom I adjusted white and black points, saturation, clarity, contrast, crop, and added vignette. Added HDR landscape filter in Topaz.

11 comments posted

Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Wow, Shirley, you worked magic on this image! Especially given the circumstances in which you captured it. I love it. Great job!   Posted: 09/03/2021 17:41:51

Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Wow! The image has an immediate dramatic effect of the train coming at you, but the compositional balance appears a bit top heavy so I would crop a bit more from below but leaving all of the rails for direction. The brown smoke appears unconnected to the train and could be joined to the chimney by adding smoke to the white sky over the engine. The tree-top on the left could do with more leaf cloning.   Posted: 09/03/2021 22:33:39
Shirley Pohlman   Shirley Pohlman
I have tried to fix the image according to the suggestions. I didn't realize that I did such a poor job of cloning leaves on tree to the left. Added a little more to the center tree. Added a little more smoke. Cropped bottom a little more. Does this help in your opinion?   Posted: 09/07/2021 14:45:15
Comment Image
Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
Yes. Great edits. Interesting Topaz filter.   Posted: 09/07/2021 22:22:59

Martin Newland   Martin Newland
I like this image and as Piers has said it has an "immediate dramatic effect."
I like the green and gold colours and you have taken the image from a great angle. Maybe you could clone in some smoke from a train from another image!
If the image was mine, I would soften the edges of your cloning of the foliage in the top left hand corner so that it blends in seamlessly.   Posted: 09/04/2021 18:53:04
Shirley Pohlman   Shirley Pohlman
See my edits above   Posted: 09/07/2021 14:46:09

Jaqueline Whalen   Jaqueline Whalen
Love this, Shirley. The engine looks totally dramatic and really captures your attention. You are a master working in photoshop. Wish we were closer so that I could take a few lessons! I think I would like to see a bit more of the green tree at the top of the photo. To me it does not read as smoke and looks more like a greyed out part of the picture. I am sure with your skills you can do that! Great photo.   Posted: 09/07/2021 07:41:49
Shirley Pohlman   Shirley Pohlman
See my edits above   Posted: 09/07/2021 14:45:47

Kurtis Sutley   Kurtis Sutley
(Group 38)
I think the image does justice to the scope and size of this giant. In my opinion you could reduce the shadows some to bring out more detail. The two factors that really drive how you shoot Big Boy are sun position and proximity. I think too many people think the closer the better. In reality closer really limits your options. Todays quality glass allows for a higher aspect from greater distances. So you don't need to be really close to get that "head-on" look. When I planned both the first time and this recent shot, there was a specific image I wanted. But I also wanted the flexibility to start shooting sooner and to shoot through the desired composition. That also meant consideration of background and sun angle. I would leave the tri-pod in the car. At 1/1000 sec you just don't need it. You paid for vibration compensation, use it. You are allowed to set your camera down if it starts getting heavy. One more point about getting close. Without something in the image to compare, in my opinion you lose the ability to express just how massive 4014 is. If it comes through again find a spot where she's just getting up to speed. She'll be blowing steam or smoke and she'll be slower, giving you additional time to get the shot. At 50mph she's doing 70 feet per second. At 30mph she's only doing 44 feet per second.   Posted: 09/08/2021 13:21:27
Shirley Pohlman   Shirley Pohlman
Thanks, Kurtis. I made lots of mistakes on this one and hope to have another try.   Posted: 09/08/2021 14:51:22

Jim Wulpi   Jim Wulpi
Masterful edits, Shirley.
The HDR and other filters creates a texture that matches the heyday of the era of this magnificent machine.   Posted: 09/16/2021 05:34:51


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