Passionate about train tracks [pics]

Started May 29, 2008 | Discussions
jkjond
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Passionate about train tracks [pics]
May 29, 2008

Desmond's post from yesterday about trains in a featureless city prompted one of rundadar's typical responses with his contemplative enthusiasm.

He suggested Desmond dug into his emotion and questioned exactly what it is he likes about trains. The subject could be anything, but for Desmond its trains.

So on my walk back from dropping my car off to find out how many mechanics it takes to change a lightbulb (a simple process which is well beyond my capability in a modern car) I decided to take my d70 along to play with the flat lighting on the bay. This includes a level-crossing over the railway line, so yesterday's conversation was brought back to life.

I don't share Desmond's passion for railways, so I had to question what it was about the lines that I was passionate about. Passionate about railway lines? Come on. I hate the things, whenever I board a train I end up in Blackburn.

But it is the geometry, the texture, the colour, the form and tone. Those are the qualities I enjoy in images like these. Here are a few of my shots. Take a look over them, then read the final para, at which point you may want to look over them again.

Out of the set I posted on flickr I've selected these three for their common quality. I see them as landscapes. They relate quite nicely to Japanese woodcut prints - strong horizons, sun in sky, peaceful - two even has that classic Japanese rain like stair rods, and all share a wonderful grain!

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morris
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Re: Passionate about train tracks [pics]
In reply to jkjond, May 29, 2008

John,

The 3rd image is striking. I also like the last.

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TuckerUK
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Re: Passionate about train tracks [pics]
In reply to jkjond, May 29, 2008

Brilliiant! I wished I shared your artistic eye.

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rundadar
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In reply to jkjond, May 29, 2008

I like all three. And the 4th one too. And the first three are about as good as it gets in this genre. The genre itself is... what's the word.... ah! - 'bland'

And then there's is #4. And the #4 I like much more than #1-3, because I favour the genre that much more.

And I haven't produced a half-decent shot in the whole week. So I am issed off with myself (now, what's THAT have to do with anything?!)...

And I count 6 dust bunnies in the sky on the #4 ;P
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jkjond
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Thanks Morris and Tucker... and Alex...
In reply to rundadar, May 29, 2008

And I haven't produced a half-decent shot in the whole week. So I am
issed off with myself (now, what's THAT have to do with
anything?!)...

You should get more passionate about being issed off.

And I count 6 dust bunnies in the sky on the #4 ;P

Eeek, and I got rid of the worst two. I bought the kit for eradicating them forever at the weekend, can't believe what I paid for the stuff, too sacred to use. Amazed that ebay didn't have any tempting offers on the cleaning pads, so I've bought a 76 LED headtorch from there instead.

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harry
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Re: Passionate about train tracks [pics]
In reply to jkjond, May 29, 2008

Tracks project a complicated image that reflects our deepest emotions:

1. Tracks represent order - trains cannot run without the tracks.

2. Tracks represent authority - nothing could be in the way of a train, yet trains serve large purposes of carrying freights and people around.

3. Tracks represent destinity - they will lead to somewhere eventually.

4. Tracks represent the great unknown - they won't tell you where they would lead you to. Mostly you would not see the beginning or the end of tracks.

5. Tracks are solid, yet vulnerable - they were built to take heavy loads, but could be destroyed easily by floods, earthquakes, and high heat.

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karinatwork
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Scents...
In reply to jkjond, May 30, 2008

Have you ever smelled the air when coming close to train tracks, or even crossing them? The steel, the wood, the rocks that hang on to the mix of urine and other smells make up that unmistakeable scent that a railway track gives off... and I can assure you it smells the same in every country I have been too. (No I don't go around sniffing rail roads when I'm travelling, I just happened to noticed through the years... because indeed they all smelled the same).

Memories are tied to this scent, memories of younger years and love and hate and tears and happiness. Show me a railway track, and you get emotions from me.

And of course I love the colour combination of brown and baby blue, hence the first one is my favorite.

Ahhh... can you smell it?
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rhicks6000
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Scent and Sounds
In reply to karinatwork, May 30, 2008

I agree with all the comments about rails. I love taking photos of trains and to hear the sounds associated with trains.

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squiddd
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Re: Passionate about train tracks [pics]
In reply to jkjond, May 30, 2008

Very interesting idea and nice composing.
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jkjond
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Re: Scents...
In reply to karinatwork, May 30, 2008

karinatwork wrote:

Have you ever smelled the the mix of urine and other smells,
that unmistakable scent... I can assure you I have been.

KARIN!

...or to put if more seriously, thanks, Karin.
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TheronFamily
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In reply to jkjond, May 30, 2008

is profound, and equally neglected.

it shows very well in your set, yet remains elusive in the naming of the other poster, i.e. Demond.

I need to go find me some tracks I guess ...
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keemra
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Re: Passionate about train tracks [pics]
In reply to jkjond, May 30, 2008

Hey John! Now you are speaking my language. I have been thinking recently that there is something wrong with me because I don't get wowed by most of the landscape pictures I see here, even the ones others ooh and ahh over. (Does it have something to do with my life long condition of nearsightedness?) I love those first 3. They are perfect. I want to reach out and touch them. Yes, I can smell the air that surrounds them too. The last one is umm.. a landscape..

Having said that, I have been trying a bit to break out of my close up mode of late, but without much success. We will see what a little more effort brings.

jkjond wrote:

But it is the geometry, the texture, the colour, the form and tone.
Those are the qualities I enjoy in images like these. Here are a few
of my shots. Take a look over them, then read the final para, at
which point you may want to look over them again.

They relate quite nicely to

Japanese woodcut prints - strong horizons, sun in sky, peaceful - two
even has that classic Japanese rain like stair rods, and all share a
wonderful grain!

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Make your own mind up - there are no rules in this game.

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rhlpetrus
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In reply to jkjond, May 30, 2008
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Regards, Renato.

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LeungPhotos
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Re: Passionate about train tracks [pics]
In reply to jkjond, May 30, 2008

Nice set and comparison. That's at a whole other level!

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Demond
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Re: Passionate about train tracks [pics]
In reply to jkjond, May 30, 2008

Nice shots! I like the first one most of all. The pattern, texture and color is appealing to me.
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KT Mae
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JOHN!
In reply to jkjond, May 30, 2008

I am so appreciative that you share your insights. These are wonderful and you are quite right, they do emulate Japanese prints. I especially find the 2nd and 3rd shots intriguing! You have a wonderfully unique way of looking at things.
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jkjond
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In reply to KT Mae, May 30, 2008

I appreciate all your comments on this set - funny how photography works, you go out one day, re-walk a walk which you've done countless times over the years - I've even photographed this crossing on a few occasions including some abstract close ups - but then one day everything clicks into place and you get something from it which you have missed so many times before.

Desmond - glad you popped by - I would no doubt have walked straight past this spot once more had it not been for your previous thread.

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Jeri_
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Art Appreciation
In reply to jkjond, May 30, 2008

I probably need to take a class in art appreciation. I hold a degree in Math – so that will tell you how my brain works and the sort of classes I took in school.

Because I have gained the utmost respect for jkjond, I cannot simply dismiss these photos which would be easy to do if it was (almost) anyone else.

I do find the photos very calming. I find them aesthetically pleasing. Was there a lot of pp here? The brightness of these work well but I wonder if that was done in pp? Not that it matters – I’m just curious. Would I want these on my wall? Hmmmm – at first glance, no I would not. However, if I was trying to set a mood of calm serenity – these just might work very well. I think they would also hold the interest of the viewer who would spend a great deal of time trying to figure out if they really were just a piece of wood… Actually, I think these would be perfect in the waiting room of a psychologist.

What I am struggling with is why you would take these. But, more importantly, why would I? (aside: gosh – that statement could be misconstrued – I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and until I understand something – I don’t know if it is for me or not) You said: “But it is the geometry, the texture, the colour, the form and tone. Those are the qualities I enjoy in images like these.” Images like what? Are these the blandscapes you were talking about? So is it a self challenge perhaps? To search for such exposures? Did you set out to capture blandscapes when you took these?

Another aside: Interesting – I just looked up the definition of bland: “Characterized by a moderate, unperturbed, or tranquil quality, especially: a. Pleasant in manner; smooth. b. Not irritating or stimulating; soothing.” These photos fit this description and confirm that they would be perfect for the waiting room of a psychologist. I had always thought that bland meant dull.

I think I’m on the right track – writing all of this out helped.

Jeri

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jkjond
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Re: Art Appreciation
In reply to Jeri_, May 31, 2008

Jeri_ wrote:

I probably need to take a class in art appreciation. I hold a degree
in Math – so that will tell you how my brain works and the sort of
classes I took in school.

I was quite good at sums at school - a bit of an oddball in that I did maths, physics and art at A Level, before going on to art school for my degree. A class in art appreciation... to be honest, that sounds dull to me! (could be great)

Because I have gained the utmost respect for jkjond, I cannot simply
dismiss these photos which would be easy to do if it was (almost)
anyone else.

But it could all be an elaborate hoax... we could all be emailing each other now saying 'ha ha, Jeri has gone for it!'.

I do find the photos very calming. I find them aesthetically
pleasing. Was there a lot of pp here?

I will have applied the slightest of curves and set the white point and corrected the horizon - which for me amount to no pp at all. Actually, I think I did all the pp in the raw converter - boosting the d70's characteristic underexposure somewhat.

The brightness of these work
well but I wonder if that was done in pp?

I'd say the brightness is representational of the scene, but as mentioned, was pp dependent.

Not that it matters – I’m
just curious. Would I want these on my wall? Hmmmm – at first
glance, no I would not.

I certianly wouldn't! I could hang them in my working room (fondly called a studio), but I wouldn't want them anywhere else in the house.

However, if I was trying to set a mood of
calm serenity – these just might work very well. I think they would
also hold the interest of the viewer who would spend a great deal of
time trying to figure out if they really were just a piece of wood…
Actually, I think these would be perfect in the waiting room of a
psychologist.

What I am struggling with is why you would take these. But, more
importantly, why would I? (aside: gosh – that statement could be
misconstrued – I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and until I
understand something – I don’t know if it is for me or not) You said:
“But it is the geometry, the texture, the colour, the form and tone.
Those are the qualities I enjoy in images like these.” Images like
what? Are these the blandscapes you were talking about? So is it a
self challenge perhaps? To search for such exposures? Did you set
out to capture blandscapes when you took these?

These are blandscapes. It is hard to think of a parallel to help explain why I take images like these, I'm not sure I can add anything to what I put in my original description. Maybe it is a rejection of straight record shots so much as anything. A need to look beyond the subjects. Now and again I'll throw in a comment on other people's photos: 'good vision'. Looking beyond what everyone could see.

Removing familiarity so that it becomes interpretation and expression.

I rarely go out anywhere with my camera with a specific image in mind, and though I was armed with only my 105mm macro my intention was to explore the light across the bay, not photograph things round my feet. But I go with an empty mind to see what turns up.

Another aside: Interesting – I just looked up the definition of
bland: “Characterized by a moderate, unperturbed, or tranquil
quality, especially: a. Pleasant in manner; smooth. b. Not
irritating or stimulating; soothing.” These photos fit this
description and confirm that they would be perfect for the waiting
room of a psychologist. I had always thought that bland meant
dull.

Yeh, I'm rather pleased with the word Blandscape, I think it captures the concept really well, though does have a slightly insulting undertone... which I also find appropriate. I was always good at creating words when I was learning to talk as I couldn't get my head around language. Actually, I was very late starting to talk as I had two older brothers who did all my talking for me - eventually my parents had enough and shipped me off to my gran's for a weekend. That seemed to do the trick... is this your elaborate hoax paying off and you are really a psychologist as hinted earlier?

I think I’m on the right track – writing all of this out helped.

I've said all along, there's nothing special about any of this. If it floats your boat, then great... but I wouldn't worry if you 'don't get it' while others enjoy it. We all have different taste along the way - it may change over time... some day you'll email me with images along these lines which you have taken yourself to find that I've decided that cat photography is my thing after all (NOT).

Regardless - its always a pleasure to hear your thoughts.

Jeri

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LitoD80
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Without wate
In reply to jkjond, May 31, 2008

Thank you for sharing!

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