What makes good coaster pictures?

Wednesday, June 11, 2003 2:48 PM
I was thinking about this and couldn't come up with a decent explination. What makes a really good roller coaster picture? When you see a good coaster picture, what makes you say "wow?"

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www.CaliforniaCoasterNews.com
www.SFMWZone.com

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 3:00 PM
Dramatic lighting, the stucture itself, the emphasis, and the point of view really are key points to a good picture.

I mean what would look better, looking staight a the top of Millenium Force, or a pic taken from ground level?

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EBeth

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 3:48 PM
Getting a POV that's unusual and one that a thousand other people haven't already taken before.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 4:20 PM
The way I look at it there are a lot of different elements that make up a good shot. The POV shot is not the end all coaster picture, and quite often, they are not that good. Also, a ground shot can give a good deal of perspecitve to a ride, like this one I took of HypersonicXLC.

When I shot I look for a few things. I like to always shot the coaster where the train is visible in the shot. Rarely do I shot otherwise, and it is usually only to show an interesting feature of the ride, like this here on Zoomarang.

I personally like to go for a closer shot, one that you can see the riders with, one that you can see their expressions, their surprise, their delite, or their fear in the ride. These types of pictures can be tough to get, but I think they show what a coaster is really about, not the trains or the height or the structre, but about how it makes the people that ride the coaster happy.

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"If you make it too smooth, it'll be like sitting in your living room."
-Bill Cobb - Designer, Texas Cyclone

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 4:29 PM

Composition, Lighting, same as any form of photography.

Time for a shameless website plug

http://xl.kneebush.com


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UnfrigginbelievablyIncredible

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 4:36 PM
I don't mean POV as in taking an on-ride shot.

I mean POV as the photographer's POV, whereever it might be.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 4:38 PM
You mean composition?

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UnfrigginbelievablyIncredible

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 4:44 PM
I just mean try to find a different picture than what everyone else has done.

For instance, I'm tired of seeing pictures featuring MForce's entrance sign with the ride in the background. Been there/done that, ready for something different.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 5:00 PM

Composition, Lighting, same as any form of photography. Time for a shameless website plug http://xl.kneebush.com
Do you always plug broken links? :)
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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 5:36 PM
Well thanks for pointing that out, my website is down and I dont even know it. Server issues.

My E-mail still works....

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UnfrigginbelievablyIncredible

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 5:36 PM
I prefer tighter shots. Pieces of coasters if you will. There's two distinct styles of coaster shots you can take. I call the first "artistic". Interesting angles, close shots of trains, angles that make standard elements interesting, etc. Shots that are interesting to look at first and of coasters second. This is how I approach most of my pics.

The second is what I call "documentary" shooting. Simply documenting what a coaster is and how it looks. Wider shots, giving the idea of total sturcture shape, etc. I like these shots too and do many, but prefer the first approach.

Another point many people don't consider when putting their pics on the web is quality of the digital image. I've seen tons of great pics that I can't stand to look at due to bad scanning technique, overcompression, or whatever. A so-so photo will be received better if presented with as much quality as possible. A great picture will seem ugly if it's a quick scan with tons of compression in the conversion to JPG.

That doesn't really matter if you use digital. The problem I have with 98% of the digital pics on the net is that they look...well, like pics taken with a digital camera. There's a certain quality that just screams "I used a digital camera!". Kind of like CD's vs LP's. CD's offer convience and some of the best quality out there but there's an intangible element that actual records have (had?) that CD will never capture. I see the same comparison in film vs digital. The plus side is convience and the fact that the cheapest cameras are so intelligent that anyone can point and shoot and get perfect exposure makes them worthy. Sure, there are great digital pics that don't look "digital" but you need to spend at least $1000 to get into that range - usually more. I prefer to use film and scan the negative. It's more "organic" feeling and the results can be every bit as good as digital if you know how to use a manual camera. The trade off is convience. It takes much more time and money to use film, but I prefer the final result to digital. At any rate with so many people taking pics and sharing them anymore, the quality of the presentation on the web makes the real difference.

What makes a good coaster picture? One that you like!

I don't think there's a clear answer. If there was we'd all just do that and all have huge collections of outstanding pics. It's like asking how to write a hit song. If there was a definite answer we'd all do it and be millionaires. You try things, see what works for you and learn from experience.

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 5

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 5:43 PM
Here's are some important factors. It can't be blurry (unless it is intended to provide an artistic touch), it must be well-defined, the main subject of the photograph must be centered well in comparison to its surroundings.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 5:48 PM
Things dont have to be centered Krax. In fact thast all part of good composition. Off center shots definitely have a place.

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UnfrigginbelievablyIncredible

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 5:55 PM
Actually one of the first rules of photography is the "rule of thirds".

In a roundabout way it says centering a subject will provide the least visually interesting shot possible.

In general it's a good rule for "creative" photgraphy. But rules are often made to be broken and centered shots can hold their own quite nicely. Especially if you lean more towards the "documentary" style I mentioned.

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 5

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 6:46 PM
I prefer tighter shots as well. Above all, get the damn train in the picture. I can't tell you how many photo submissions I reject because they don't include the train.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 7:07 PM
Simple.... People.

You can take what you think is an amazing photos of a coaster, but it is missing the key element if you do not capture the riders, or people's reactions to it.

IMO, a coaster is just a big structure of wood or metal. What makes it interesting/fun is people's reactions/responses to it.

Over time, I discovered for myself that I am much more drawn to shots of rides that emphasize the riders. There you can capture not only the drama of the attractions, but also the size as well.

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Shaggy

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 7:23 PM
I agree with Shaggy. I prefer tight shots that allow you to see the riders' expressions... I also like overviews.

If you are composing the image correctly (principal of thirds or golden mean), the center of interest is actually not supposed to be located in the center.

-Jeff

http://americacoasters.com

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 7:28 PM
See www.joyrides.com for some excellent examples. One of the best sites around for that. This guy touches up all his pics which is why they look so vibrant & 'perfect.'

Here's a pic I took of Xcelerator recently & think is pretty decent for my limited camera skills! ;)


*** This post was edited by Taipan 6/11/2003 11:35:12 PM ***

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 7:28 PM
It is all in the eye of the beholder. In my opinion, this photo is the best I've ever taken. I love it because I think it has perfect timing, position, and great lighting (a little glare, but it almost adds an "artistic" effect). Other people may think it's absolutely hideous, I respect their opinion, because I don’t take pictures for anyone else but myself.

If you're going for wide, go really *WIDE*, as seen here in my photo of The Beast. That is really not the best quality photo, and the glare from my bright orange shirt in the helicopter window isn't too hard to miss. But because it's so original, many people have complemented me (directly or indirectly).

Also as Jeff stated above, a train in the picture makes it exponentially better. Compare these two photos of Wicked Twister taken right after one another. 1 2

Shots as the sun is setting can turn out pretty good too. (They can, most of the time they don't, I got lucky with that one)

Blurry photos normally don’t turn out too well unless that is exactly what you were going for. 1 2

But above all, as an amateur photographer don’t try to please anyone else but yourself, don’t let anyone tell you that your picture sucks because it doesn’t have all of the "necessary" things that they may think makes a good picture.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 7:36 PM

JamminJ said:


If you're going for wide, go really *WIDE*, as seen here in my photo of The Beast. That is really not the best quality photo, and the glare from my bright orange shirt in the helicopter window isn't too hard to miss.


And thus we learn another important photography tip: bring your polarizing filter. ;)


*** This post was edited by General Public 6/12/2003 2:34:17 AM ***

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