Photographic and Scanning Equipment used in creating this website
Page last updated 9/28/2004
I have received many requests asking what equipment and techniques I use in my railroad photography and digital image production. Although I try to answer each request individually, I have decided to create a listing that should answer many of the most frequently asked questions. I think you will find my choices of equipment and supplies to be very basic and budget minded in nature:
My Camera Equipment
1985 to Feb. 2001 - Canon AE1-Program
Since around 1985, this has been the camera I have used for all of my photography. While I originally had a power winder, it broke about 2 years agoand it hasn't been replaced (and probably never will be). I currently manually advance the film in the camera. While this presents some challenges, I have also found that it lowers my film and processing expenses.
Feb. 2001 to Dec. 2003 - Canon EOS Rebel 2000
After shooting about 20 rolls of film, I can report that I am extremely pleased with this camera. It is simple to use, and operates as advertised with a minimum of complications. I mainly shoot photos using the shutter speed priority setting which allows me to select the shutter speed while the camera selects the appropriate aperture setting. Also available with this setting is an override setting that allows the shooter to "push" the exposure in half-stop increments. I have found this useful in some backlit subjects and other less than optimal lighting situations. One of these days when I am rich and famous, I hope to add some higher-end lenses to my camera setup.
Beginning in 2004 - Digital Photography
In early 2004, I purchased a Sony CyberShot 5.0 digital camera for use taking home and family photos. During this time, I also decided to try the camera out taking a few train photos. Although the camera was a basic point and shoot pocket camera, it created some photos of decent quality. This was all the proof I needed to tell me that digital photography was the future. In September 2004, I acquired a Canon Digital Rebel with two lenses (18-55mm and 75-300mm). The film and 35mm camera have been retired, and I have now oficially arrived in the digital photography age!
I recently purchased a Slik U8000 tripod from a local camera shop. It is a fairly inexpensive (about $75) aluminum tripod that has 6 way adjustments, quick release pad and is about 60 inches in height fully extended. I hope that using the tripod will improve the sharpness of my photos, especially with the 300 mm lens.
1985 to Feb. 2001 - Canon lenses: 28mm, 50mm and 70-210mm
I have found that these lenses cover most potential photographic scenarios that I may be presented with.
Feb. 2001 to current date - Tamron Lenses: 28-80mm and 75-300mm
I decided on these lenses as they provide even more flexability than the three lenses I used with my old AE1 Program.
previous to September 1986: various color print films
September 1986-1996: Kodachrome 64, Kodachrome 200, Ektachrome 200
1997-1998: No rail photos taken
January 1999-January 2001: Kodak Gold 100 print film, Kodak Gold 200 print film
My prints are processed by Walgreen's one-hour Kodak processing machines producing 4x6 prints. Using this method is more time and cost effective, and the results are acceptable for my ability and uses.
January 2001-Dec. 2003: Slide film
While I have shot some Kodak Elitechrome 100EC film, I have settled on Fuji Sensia 100 and Fuji SensiaII 100 as my standard film. I have shot this film almost exclusively for the past year and have been very happy with the results. I have purchased the film by mail in 10 packs for an average price of $3-4 per roll which makes it very affordable. I use a local lab that processes slide film in house and allows me to get the film back the same day.
My Digital Imaging Equipment
Prints: Microtek X6 flatbed scanner
This scanner produces fairly sharp images from 4x6 prints. As noted above, all images on the website taken after January 1999 are produced on this scanner using 4x6 Walgreens processed (Kodak one-hour lab machine) glossy prints.
Slides: Acer ScanWit 2720S
I have recently purchased this economy priced slide and film scanner, and plan to return to shooting photos on slide film. In the little amount of experience with the new Acer scanner, the results have been fairly pleasing. I hope to add more older photos to the site in the coming months, as I have the time to scan them.
Digital Image Acquisition: Adobe Photoshop 5.0
Web Design: Microsoft FrontPage
I know almost no HTML, so I rely on the software for creating the code required for the page design. The layout design is intended to include as much content as possible without being difficult to navigate. I hope I have succeeded in doing this...
Computer Dell Dimension 8400 P4 - New for 2004
Other Equipment and Supplies
I also own a Uniden BC100XLT handheld scanner with a portable magnetic antenna for auto roof mounting. While these are useful, I don't always use them. I always seem to forget the scanner while making short unplanned trips. Many trips are the old fashioned version of "drive to a spot and wait for something to show up". Sometimes, these are the most enjoyable trips, other times they are the most frustrating.
If you have any other questions, feel free to e-mail me.