My favorite photography magazine these days is PleinAir Magazine. Yes, I know that PleinAir is not about photography, but it has been a source of inspiration to me that I cannot find in the pages of the regular photography magazines with their emphasis on gear and technique.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Eric Miller about his lifelong interest in railroads and photography. Eric is a well known photographer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including Railfan and Railroad, The Railroad Press, Railroads Illustrated, and Railroad Explorer magazines. His recent story on the Pocohontas subdivision was featured as the cover story in the March, 2017 edition of Railfan and Railroad Magazine. His first book “A Clinchfield Chronicle” was published in June and is available on Amazon.
Edd Fuller, Editor – The Trackside Photographer —Eric, first of all, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Tell us how long you have been a railfan, and how did you get started? What is there about railroads that grabbed and held your attention?Read more
Like most people with a camera, I am tempted from time to time to take pictures of flowers. There are lots of flowers around, they are all beautiful and it is easy to take a good picture of them. One might say that it is hard to take a bad flower picture. Even technically flawed photos of flowers—out of focus or motion blurred—often work in an abstract sort of way. What I learned though, is that it is very difficult to take a really outstanding photograph of a flower. Trains are like flowers in that respect. It is relatively easy to take a good train picture, much more difficult to take a truly great one.
So the question becomes, "What else?" Read more
That “killer” image that we all look for is sometimes not enough. To tell a story, go deeper into a subject or come to terms with an idea or emotion that cannot be expressed in a single image, we may need to undertake a multiple image project.
Sometimes projects come together after the fact when we find among our images relationships that we didn’t see at the time we made the shot. Sometimes projects are very intentional, involving research, shot lists, perhaps even a storyboard. Last month I mentioned David duChemin and his concept of using the camera as a tool of exploration, and I recommend his current video podcasts where he expands this idea in relation to personal projects. Simply put, David’s advice is to get an idea that interests you and is not too broad, and begin exploring that concept visually with a camera. Read more
Recently, I have been thinking about the role of photography in documenting the railroad landscape. Photography and the railroad grew up together. Both were born in the early years of the 19th century and photography has provided a valuable documentary record of the industry that helped power the industrial revolution and the creation of the modern world.
Like so many of us, my interest in railroading led to a parallel interest in photography. Not only did I have the pleasure of planning the photo, but later the images evoked powerful memories of people, places, and events I had encountered as I learned more about this fascinating industry.