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A Matter of Perspective

September 24, 2010

My standard lens for railfanning is Canon’s  EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM.  Putting this lens on the 5D II makes a rig that weighs just under 5 lbs – not something you can walk around with all day.

My sore back notwithstanding, it’s my favorite lens because the stabilization allows me to capture sharp images, without the hassle and delay of a tripod, especially in the heat of a chase.

Here’s a couple of shots to illustrate the different perspectives that I can capture as a train approaches.

UP 5532 leads a ZATLC train just west of Glidden, Texas on June 11, 2010

This first shot is at 200mm. I like how this focal length magnifies the grade that the train is climbing.  I framed the train to be a small part of the image because I felt that the rails would create leading lines directing the viewer’s eye directly to the train in the distance.

The conductor has a friendly wave as his train passes by me, west of Glidden, TX on June 11, 2010

Pulling the lens back to the 70mm focal length allows me to capture a classic wedge view, where the train is the predominant part of the image.

A zoom lens will never be as critically sharp as a prime lens, but I’m more than happy with the sharpness of 20×30 enlargements made with this lens.

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