wgooden July 10, 2018
Great converging lines. Award worthy
AFBennerPhotography July 11, 2018
Thank you!! :)

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Jul, 2017

The Tracks

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Won Top Shot AwardFebruary, 2019


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Peer Award
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Absolute Masterpiece
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Outstanding Creativity
All Star
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Top Class TM

Top 10 class
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Top 10 class week 1


Behind The Lens

This was taken in Nipawin, Saskatchewan on a trip I went up there to second shoot a wedding. We were out scouting locations, and the bride had mentioned this train line. Built in 1908, this has become a well known symbol with the town.
It was towards the end of the day in July 2017, and it had been grey, cloudy and rainy the entire time I had been there. Until later in the evening, and the clouds finally started to shift a bit and the light started to come through. Walking out on to the rail lines, I managed to escape the swarm of mosquitoes which was a blessing. I walked quite a ways out onto the tracks, and tested my ability to be up high as these tracks are about 85 feet above the river. The weather had calmed, and the river was almost glass like.
I wanted to keep it on the muted side to match the time of day, and the retreating gloom of the rain from the day. I do find shooting into the sun with a lot of cloud cover a bit trying still, so I underexposed a bit to try and compensate for the highlighted area from the sun peeking through the clouds. I also wanted to keep the mysterious and somewhat creepy feel of the tracks disappearing into the distance through the trees.
I used my trusty Canon 5D MII with my EF17-40mm f/4L lens. No tripod, and no flash. Just using the natural light, and my steady hands.
One of my favorite things to photograph is historic and abandoned places. They carry our history, and sadly are left behind most of the time. There is so much character, strength, blood sweat and tears in some of these places, I just love exploring these things. And stretches of road or tracks have always caught my eye, I always look down them wondering what just on the other side. It make me want to keep walking and go see for myself.
I did some exposure balancing on the foreground because I had underexposed to compensate for the sky. I did edit out the other photographer I was with who was a ways down the tracks, but I didn't want anyone in the shot. I bumped the saturation on the greens to pop them out a bit more, and the vignette is just because I like that look. I keep that on the minimal side though, it's just to add that touch of darkness and framing around the edges.
In my camera bag
Always my 5D MII, that is a heck of a camera and it's getting on in the years, but I can still get the shots I want with it. I also use my EF17-40mm f/4L as my prime lens, and I also carry a EF 70-200mm f/4L USM and a fixed EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. I have a Speedlite 430EX that I'll sometimes have with me, and a tripod if I'm going to shoot something that would need it. Generally though, just the camera and lenses as I prefer natural light. And at bare minimum I have my 5D and my prime all the time.
Because the sun was just starting to come out, the overall light was still a bit gloomy. But that sun is just a bright spot as it's coming out. I would always underexpose or bracket a few shots to pull the detail from the foreground, and avoid blowing out the clouds from the sunlight. Don't be afraid to take a few steps closer to get the shot you want, move up and stand where you need to to capture what you are seeing. Don't be afraid to use post-processing to help pull out shadowed areas, and keep a balance with such a bright highlight. While I enjoy the use of a vignette, it helps draw the eye in and adds that touch of drama, be careful not to overuse it. You should still be able to see the details in the darker edges.

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