How to Photograph a Stationary Train
Train photography is a very popular hobby, for all ages. We all enjoy taking train photographs whether it is moving or stationary.
How to Photograph Steam Trains will give you plenty of information to help you photograph moving steam trains.
I have recently been asked, how do you photograph a stationary train?
Here, I will help you out so that you can get a good photo.
Stationary Train Photograph Settings
Taking a photograph of a train that is not moving is a lot easier. Saying that, having looked at a lot of my railway photos, nearly all are of moving instead of stationary! The following camera settings are what I use on my Canon 5D MKIII.
If the sun is out, I would use 100 to 200. If the weather is dull, I tend to use 400.
- F Number
If you only want to photograph the front of the train and nothing behind it, then use up to F2.8. F2.8 will make front of the train nice and sharp. But the whole background could be out of focus.
To include the whole train, carriages, wagons, station etc then use F8 to F10. This higher F number will also help to sharpen what is behind and around the train.
- Shutter Speed
You do not need a fast shutter speed if the train is stationary. I usually use between 200 to 400.
Have a read about Shutter Speed for Moving Trains to learn the difference in shutter speed.
- Mode Dial
AV is the mode dial you need to use for non moving trains.
- Focus Mode
Set the Focus Mode to ‘one shot’. This is the one needed for a non moving train.
You do not need to use a tripod unless it is at night time.
The lens you use will depend on how far away from the train you are.
If possible, try and get a good background in the photo. It could be anything to do with railway or a nice natural background. This would be better than having a modern house included in the photo.
Of course, it depends where the train is.
Enjoy and have fun.
Once you view the photo on the computer and notice you made a mistake, don’t worry too much. Try and workout what you did wrong. Research about it and try it again. The more you try, the better the photo will become.
If the train starts to move then you need to change the camera settings. For moving train details, have a read at How to Photograph Steam Trains.
GWR 0-6-0PT No: 5786 as L.92 is seen at Bishops Bridge on the South Devon Railway working the ‘Santa by Steam’ special to Buckfastleigh on the 16th December 2017
Please remember that all the settings that I have mentioned above are what I use. If you use different settings and still get good photographs, then that is fine. Feel free to let me know what settings you do use. If you are new to railway photography, then I hope this will help you out.