Question for all

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by billk, Jun 14, 2002.

  1. billk

    billk Active Member

    General question: How much effort and thought is put into the design and construction of your layout as far as "foto ops"? From the quality of many if not most of the pix that gets posted here it makes one wonder sometimes if the primary purpose of the layout was to take pictures of it, not to operate it or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being critical or being a wise *ss, I am just curious, as usual.
  2. BillK, this one is an easy one for me because photography and model building have both been lifelong hobbies for me. What first attracted me to model railroading many years ago were the photos on the magazine covers and in the layout articles. To be honest, I didn't know diddly about train operations at the time. So from the very beginining my interest was primarily creating a layout with plenty of "photo ops."

    That much having been said, though, I designed my current layout to provide both photo ops and operating possibilities. I know more about operations now than I did several years ago - though I still don't know enough about the subject - and I want to be able to actually operate this one when I finish it.
  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    biilk that's is good a question is I've seen posted, don't think you are being critical or the other thing either. :D In my case the primary reason for building the layout is operation, without that I'd just as soon go fishing (and maybe not). However with just a little thought you can build it in such a manner as to have a reasonable amount of photo locations available also. Doesn't require any extra $$$ or even work, just a little forsight in the planning stage. Something is simple as adding a 3 or 4 inch "shelf" along the front edge of the layout that you just spread some ground cover on so that you don't see the edge of the benchwork will do a lot to improve the ability to take good pics. :)
  4. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Actually the whole reason I'm building my layout is because I enjoy building models of all sorts.Neither taking pictures or doing operations has ever occurred to me as a reason to build a layout.
  5. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Most of the photos I've posted were taken on the modules. The modules were designed and built to entertain the public with trains moving through some good looking scenery. There wasn't much thought given to photo op's.
  6. mrgooch

    mrgooch Member


    Although I have taken many pictures. I gave no concideration for taking pictures. I just happenend to have a digital camera which made it easy and fun to find all the interesting angles and views.
  7. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    For me (seeing as I haven't even finished my diorama :rolleyes: ) it's the Visual that drives me. The ability to picture myself walking along the rail, streets, etc. of my "little" world, is what brings me joy. Operations also fit in there to add to the realism of "My World." Also, by creating "scenes" for the non-rail visitors to giggle or awe over, I bring them into the layout also. If it turns out the it photos well ... it's icing. Hmmm... Yup that's it.:D
  8. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    When I started my current layout, I had never taken a picture of any of my modeling...I had a 35mm camera, but I didn't know all the "tricks of the trade" (nor did I own any of that expensive lighting setup) necessary to do indoor model phoyography.
    However, I had given a lot of thought when considering this layout, to the use of restricted viewing angles, & the use of view blocks, & backdrops.
    This was primarily due to my having read books by John Armstrong, & Iain Rice, in which they talked of building layouts as "vignettes", or "theatrical stages", where evrerything in the viewer's field of vision was in scale, & there was nothing from the "outside world" to detract from this view.
    As far as the photography, I can blame this almost entirely on Shamus! :D When I saw what he was doing on here with his digital camera, I made it my goal to get one of those things! So last Nov., I somehow convinced my BEAUTIFUL, LOVELY, FANTASTIC wife that that was all I wanted for my birthday!
    Lo & behold, the way I had built the layout with lighting, & backdrops, worked quite well for taking pictures too. This has become a whole new aspect of the hobby for me, & it's one that I really enjoy. I love staging a scene, & photographing it, & having all these scenic elements come together in a realistic way.
    As far as operations, I'm not really into the "operating session", where you have the clock, & the switch lists, & the car forwarding sysyems, etc...I think all that is fine, but I'm what they call a lone wolf here, & so I have a little routine that works for me. I like switching operations, so I'll stage a train, with at least one car for each of my industries... In the process of spotting loaded cars, the switcher will also have to pick up empties & put them together in a train. Whenever I get my staging tracks completed (I am one FANTASTIC procrastinator), I'll be able to stage 2 trains, so when the empties leave, I can start the process over again.
    Whew! You asked for it BillK! :)
  9. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    I'm a "rotten" photographer....people say "Jeeeeez" instead of "Cheese" when I take their pictures. :D :D :D

    But I do enjoy posting pictures here and thanks to everyone for all the favorable comments:) :)

    Hopefully, soon I'll have the layout back in shape so everyone can see what's really going on.:D
  10. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Bill, That is a great question. With my present layout (the fifth in as many places) I definately designed for operation. Perhaps I will write about some of the things I considered in a future thread if anyone is interested, but it would be off topic for this thread. That said, once the track plan was established and construction started, photo ops became a major consideration in placement of scenic elements. I tend to model scenes which have caught my fancy either from local favorites or photos in the many books I've acquired. All from the North Jersey/New York state area. Susquahanna, Erie, Lackawanna and so on. My goal (o.k., one of my goals) is to be able to take photos that compare well with the photos of the prototype. I know I haven't posted any photos yet, I only acquired a digital camera recently, and it is a cheap one which doesn't allow me to focus, the photos I have taken of my layout basically stink. Takes portrait type photos well, but I will need to purchase a much better camera for layout photos. I will also have to get off my butt and do more scenery work.

  11. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Bill,
    I like Casey, have the best of both worlds, plus, I have always enjoyed taking photographs. I have built all my model railroads with the key to a “theatrical stage”, and enjoy operation as well as photography.

    After leaving the world of Show Business, I started life as a professional photographer working for various newspapers as a freelance photo journalist. The reason I could do this was the fact that I had always been interested in photography as a young lad and had always taken photo’s where ever I played. I also use to take photographs of various artists in my photographic studio back home.

    I still take photographs to this day, hence the photo’s of my model railroad. Yes, I love operation, I work off a waybill system I created many years ago.

  12. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    GoooooD Question!!!!

    Bill, I build my layouts "just because I like to see them run".

    Hence the fact that most times all they do is go in circles. I take pics of only the items that are completed - a bad habit! I almost always wish I'd taken "under construction" pics.

    After the item(s) are finished I take the pics & post them. But I find myself moving around the layout "Looking for that perfect angle" - just like in real life! I drive somewhere to go railfanning, then I look around for that perfect place, then I move again still looking... finally I find what looks good & take the Pic!! :) :D :)

    Most of the time I get lucky!!

    Both are Great Hobbies - and Expensive too! :D ~~ Mikey
  13. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Photo ops, and viewing are high on my priority list. That's why I have chosen an "island" layout, so viewing/photo angles are many and varied. Front/back/sideways high and low. I'll probably stick with "island" too, as I do like the multiple viewing angles you can get.
  14. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey Bill, I don't even have a camera!:eek:

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