Photography Videos-What Can Go Wrong & More

I mentioned Ken Patterson in another post on photography.   You can find him at MRH, (Model Railroad Hobbyist) “What’s Neat” a video shout out,  produced monthly.     If this is your first awareness of such then I highly recommend and please  feel free to subscribe.

Here is a sampling of what you can find with regard to photography, weathering and other interesting subjects.

Videos,  what can go wrong.

Model railroad video – what can go wrong | Imagineering | Model Railroad Hobbyist

MRH Imagineering columnist Rob Clark talks about some things that can be done poorly when you’re making video of your layout. Part of the April 2016 issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine.

Thanks for watching.

Every video should have a theme or story behind it even  if you have to make one up.     A little imagination goes along way.

You should be picking up on all kinds of tips on how to shot a video.    There are some tricks to the trade whether you are a professional or an amateur.     Good news is:  You can make it happen.

Ready for more?

Model Photo Set Design.

What’s neat – April 2016 column | Model railroad tips | Model Railroad Hobbyist | MRH

MRH What’s Neat columnist Ken Patterson has these goodies in his April 2016’s What’s Neat column; 1) layout construction tips; 2) LED-strip layout lighting; 3) model photo set design; 4) Korea Brass U25C first look; 5) TCS Wow Sound; 6) And more, lots more! Part of the April 2016 issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine.

Thanks for watching.

  • The key to making a video,  slow down the panning movement of the camera.    Give the auto-focus a chance to work.
  • One of the best panning shots I took was when I followed a train around an O scale train layout.    I slowed the train down to realistic speeds and followed it.      
  • Try out the various settings  on your camera to see what works best for you.
  • Two quick tips:   1.  When using an auto-focus digital camera and you are shooting a panning shot try  an action setting.  2.  On some camera’s there is a feature that will allow you to smooth out the hand held shots.    You know the spastic action your hand can have when it’s forced to hold something in place for to long.

One other detail I almost forgot.    When watching You Tube you may need to bump-up the pixels  to see a better picture.   I find that 480 usually works best for my viewing screen and in some cases one of the HD settings works even better.

That about wraps up the photography presentations for now.     Get out there and shoot and don’t be afraid to share it with the rest of us.

As always take what you want from here and leave the rest behind.     If in doubt come on back to revisit something to see what you missed.

Fun is something you interpret and has little to do with others so go have some fun, or not.     That’s up to you.


Photography For Model Railroading

Photography can be a tricky thing.

I enjoy  videos where trains pass by the camera at realistic speeds.  Having everything in focus is the difficult part.     You can also use shots that give you a variety of perspectives, where you see the train approaching, passing by and leaving.   Varying the angle of the shot.    Framing the shot with a building or tree to the side, over the tops of automobiles and etc.  Interior tunnel shots can be edited and abbreviated.    No one likes looking at a dark screen for to long.   So with that said let’s get into the crux of this discussion.

My purpose here is to share not only my advice but the advice of some of the best in the business.     Shooting those prized toy train and model railroading stills and videos.

You may have noted on other posts here at,  where I said “Get your quick viewing goggles on…  the photographer wants you to see his layout and fast.”    Or “Turn up the volume if you want to hear what the presenter is talking about.” I did say that, right?   The heckler in the back row and the last seat agrees saying he took notes.  Thanks for paying attention, I said in recognition.  It should be obvious…. what our first tip of the day is:   Slow the video panning of the camera down and mic-up the participants.

This Rick, is an amateur photographer at best.    We amateur types know there are some basic rules that can’t be ignored, even by us.   I get real disappointed when a professional photographer I know, does a very poor job of shooting a video.      So, here’s some advice that will go along ways toward  improving any  photographers photo shoots.

Just for fun we will even include the rail fans who shoot the 1:1 foot scale.     We can all improve our shooting techniques.

What are some of the basic rules?    Let me get right to that with some answers before we get into the video How To’s.

This will apply to Video’s and Still’s:
  1. Filming a video movie, move the panning of the camera slowly.    I’ve watched videos where I ended up suffering from motion sickness and I don’t typically suffer such.
  2. Don’t plant the video camera in a permanent spot.    Shot a scene from different angles to provide some variety.
  3. Lighting needs to be adequate enough to bring out the true colors or the scenes you are shooting.      Back lighting can be used to highlight something you want to show off or to remove those unwanted shadows.   Proper lighting for any shot is always a good idea.
  4. Ease up on the close ups and may I suggest shooting them with a zoom or telephoto lens.     Tricky and it will take some time to get used to but I guarantee you’ll like the results.
  5. Night shots of your layout are always welcomed but you might want to visit Winston’s Links photographic art work to get some ideas on How To.   You can also visit John Acosta’s, You Tube Videos.
  6. Do allow your auto focus, point and shoot cameras to focus in on the picture you want to capture.    Most of the time it will focus on the closest thing in your picture and blur out the rest of the shot.
  7. Shooting stills:    Shoot multiple shoots at different camera angles and  settings.   You’ll learn quick enough what works and doesn’t.
  8. Before finalizing your video or slide show do edit out poor or blurred pictures.   Your eye will tell you when something is amiss.

These are just some of  the basics.    Does that help?

Would you like some advice from a professional?     I thought so.   Here is the first video.      A dialogue.

Photography With Paul Dolkis.mp4

Uploaded on May 23, 2011Learn how to photograph your scale models !    Thanks for watching.

That was an excellent discussion but they didn’t show you How To.   Let me see what I can find.     A short and I mean short, How To.

Part 2, I looked for it but couldn’t find it.     Taking a wait and see attitude.  RickH.

How To Photograph Model Trains or Dioramas

In this video, I show how I like to photograph model trains. These techniques can be applied to any scale or type of model.

This is my friend Will’s layout…To see his channel go here:…

Thanks for watching.

Jeepers!   (Not fans of early diesels such as the GP 7’s).    Brandon, slow the panning  video shot down.      The one thing that is obvious is that many of the video producing cameras today make it tough to come up with a quality shot.      The auto-focus spends to much time searching for the right focus, blurring the shot and missing the shot altogether.

  • Using my digital camera:   One trick that helps me.. when I use it.    You can aim the camera making sure the center of the camera lens is aimed at the object you want in focus.   Push down the shutter without causing it to click, watch for the camera to focus on the scene and only then pull back and shoot.   Sometimes, that will give you the coveted shot and …well…more times then not…yuck!
  • Shooting stills or videos can sometimes be a real challenge.    Not impossible but sometimes it can be self defeating when under the scrutiny of your edit you find pictures that are less then what  you hoped for.    You’ll wrap your head around it…in time.
  • The built in flash on most digital cameras will wash out the picture.     Some have referred to it as bleaching out the shot.   Here the infrared will bounce off the closest object in the picture resulting in a shot where the front will be to bright and the rest to dark.
  • Get out of the helicopter and shoot ground scenes.    Unless you want to go on a helicopter ride across your layout.     Then slow it down before I barf all over your shoes.   Grin!

You will find that there is computer software that can  help you bring a picture to life.      Ken Patterson talks about such over at MRH, on “What’s Neat This Month”.

John Allen and his books about his layout  “The Gorre & Daphetid,” will provide you with some good examples of excellent photos.     He doesn’t always talk about how he took the shot but you should be able to get some ideas and stir up your creative juices.

The key to any picture you shoot or when shooting a video, is to not be afraid to shoot away.   With digital camera’s it’s cheap enough to make a mistake…OOPS!     Not like the days I paid for processing.

Your first photo shoots will be teaching ones and there is much you can learn from each experience.    So get out there and shoot it.   With a camera of course.

Do record what you did as in how you set the camera up and etc.  You know how you got the best shots.   The job is never done until the paper work is finished.

There’s more to come here on      How To photograph your Layout.    If it‘s green you can click on it and highball down the tracks to the next post.

If you look long enough you will find some bad shots of my layout.    Sorry about that.    I’m working on it, I’m working on it.     And so can you!

Have fun!

Stay tuned, more to come.