Saturday, November 7, 2015

Lisa's Photo Adventure

I just got home from a photo shoot that I will never forget. Todays session was at the Historic Sibley house in Mendota.  It's a little niche setting I realized only recently when Tim and I took the pup for a walk along the Mississippi River.  Why had I not thought of this place before?  The old Sibley 1836 historic brick home made of limestone next door to the Fairbault house, a fine example of Colonial architecture and was also built of yellow sandstone quarried locally.

There is also a railroad track that runs parallel.  If you follow Pinterest you know that photographers love to copy each other and take portraits using railroad tracks.  It is private property and technically illegal BUT nevertheless every budding photographer breaks the law and places their subject on the privately owned tracks.  The rail creates a nice leading line if you use the rail correctly...and I know the first photographer who shot a subject on the tracks used the rail as a leading line.  BUTsomewhere since that shot and today..... photographers starting going crazy using the tracks as a "prop setting".  It's common to see a baby on the track.
Not sure why the photographer used railroad tracks here....
Cute picture....what do the tracks add? Makes me want to pick
him and that Coca cola box up (and the Bi-plane) and find a beautiful
bush to place them in front of : )

I see this and I think:  Why?
Would someone really lay on the track like that?
Answer:  Yes if you want your head chopped off.  
This photographer didn't know when to stop
adding props.  The tracks add nothing...all I can
think is geez....hope a train doesn't come!

OMG!  Seriously!  If I saw that picture hanging on someone's
livingroom wall I'd laugh out loud.

This one is the only one that makes sense...pretty cute.

Back to my story....anyway I was busy taking a family portrait when I heard the train whistle in the background.  I commented that I had never seen the train while using this location.  As the rumble of the engine got closer our attention was drawn to someone on the tracks.  AND they were not moving off the tracks!  The train was getting louder and the whistle started blaring.  It looked to be a family of at least 6  getting set into a pose by a photographer.  They were all wearing a cranberry red color.  There was an old man with his walker feet away.  The train was now visible.  The scene was surreal. We were about to watch 7 people get killed on the railroad tracks.
We were where the red dot is.  The family was the blue and the train is yellow.

We just stood there and I looked over at Jen and she turned her head away not to see.  I looked back at the tracks and what seemed like bodies dove off the tracks...pushing the old man and his walker to safety. Braking and screeching the heavy train came to a stop 500 yards or so away.  The engineer walked back down the track to investigate....I finally took a picture.
 The engineer is in yellow.  This family is lucky to be alive.

* "Railroad tracks are private property.  It is illegal to shoot on railroad tracks. 

Unused tracks are not abandoned. They are still owned by the railroad company and you are still trespassing.
Ignorance of the law will only get you so far when you are confronted by a police officer or a tragedy because you didn’t follow the law. It is virtually impossible for the railroad companies to cover every inch of track with signs that warn them that they are trespassing."
railway photography safety
* "When you bring clients onto railroad tracks you are putting them at risk and you are putting yourself at risk. You or your client could get hurt or killed. You are also putting the people who are operating that train at risk. The potential pile-up when they have to abruptly stop means you are putting more people at risk. A train derailment can mean chemical spills and property damage to any nearby homes. A photographer causing accidents on the tracks would be responsible for the any injuries or deaths, derailments, chemical spills, property damage, delays in shipping, etc.
Photographers will imitate other photographers. Client education is a key component when it comes to railroad tracks and safety. If your client asks for a session on railroad tracks, explain to them about the laws and the fines for being on the tracks.. As the photographer, you are the one ultimately responsible for the photo shoot. If anything happens it is your business, your finances, and your name on the line. Photographers need to educate other photographers that shooting on tracks is NOT acceptable and then they need to work on educating their clients that shooting on tracks is dangerous on too many levels to get that clichéd image" 


And I'd like to finish my story with a picture I took while visiting a Railroad Museum in 2013



1 comment:

  1. Your comments about the pictures are spot on! Train track photos make me uncomfortable. I just can't help but think of that scene in Stand By Me when the kids have to dive off the tracks!!


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