Letter of the Week: "Railfanning"

Your article on railroad photography (Trainspotting, March 2008) was a nice surprise, even if the British term for the hobby was used (rather than the American “Railfanning”). Photography is an enormous part of the railfan hobby, yet coverage outside of the railfan press is pretty much nonexistent. Besides numerous magazines, there are also a number of websites devoted to rail photography (such as www.RailPictures.net), and several large multimedia shows are produced around the country each year

From: Craig Walker
Subject: Trainspotting (March 2008 Issue)

Your article on railroad photography (Trainspotting, March 2008) was a nice surprise, even if the British term for the hobby was used (rather than the American "Railfanning"). Photography is an enormous part of the railfan hobby, yet coverage outside of the railfan press is pretty much nonexistent. Besides numerous magazines, there are also a number of websites devoted to rail photography (such as www.RailPictures.net), and several large multimedia shows are produced around the country each year, in which slides or digital images are projected, set to music, to tell a story. The quality of the images is extremely high, and these shows are well attended – the largest is Winterail, held in Stockton, California, the first weekend in March each year and attended by 1000 or so.

However, I have to take exception to Points 5 in your article on railroad photography. A fast shutter speed is, as stated, needed to freeze the action, but very often a slower shutter speed will do a better job of showing speed. Here are some links to images of mine in which a slower shutter speed was either chosen intentionally or due to low light levels:

Craig Walker
Orange CA