Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography Railroad tracks… and faux models.

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    I was recently added to a statewide models/mua/photographer group on FB. Some of the posts are downright entertaining (like, the creepy older man just starting out in photography looking for female models for TF shoots, but he doesn’t have a computer; the super creepy trans models posing on hotel desks in schoolgirl skirts).

    Today a “model” posted a bunch of photos she just had done by an “amazing” photographer. They were all shot on railroad tracks, her standing/sitting on the rail, standing in heels on the railroad ties. The photography itself was horrible. It was shot in full sun, the depth of field was way too long to be at all flattering, the angles were dull, and you can see signs along the tracks in the immediate background (I’m sure it was a “no trespassing” sign). And, well, the model was not model material, and her outfit was really unflattering.

    I kindly posted “not trying to cause an argument, but just as an FYI, shooting on tracks and posting the photos online can get you in trouble. I have heard of people getting fined $10,000 for trespassing and the photos were used as evidence.” – which is true, because I have seen links to news articles in some of the photography groups I’m in. The model replied that they were “just off the road, it was right behind where the photographer was shooting.” I said “yes, but that doesn’t matter, as you’re in the photos standing and sitting on the rails.” She wrote multiple times “Well thanks for your concern sweetie but like I said we were just off the road.” To that I just said “Nevermind. lol.” She just got this stupid little catty girl attitude towards me (when my point was really to just inform her, as well as the other models/photogs on the group). Not to insult her. I didn’t even bring up how bad the photos were.

    But yep, she’s a model for sure: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=458622247616137&set=pcb.458622397616122&type=1&theater

    Worst Case Scenario

    If this site was called YOU ARE NOT A MODEL, I could fill it with links.


    From another thread on defining a professional: “I don’t make a large portion of my yearly income on photography (I have a full-time job besides) but I am also a professional photographer.”

    Ah, yes…this from someone who started the longest “bullying” thread on YANAP and who isn’t content being browneyedgirl89 anymore because fstopper89 sounds more photographically professional? A large part of being professional involves decorum but when I see you posting a pic of someone out of spite just because she wouldn’t listen to you about railroad tracks, all I see is insecurity. No, she won’t be on the cover of Vogue, but neither will 99.999999% of the general population, both you and me included. Words like “not trying to cause an argument” will do exactly that as evidenced by your description of what happened afterwards and I would bet my house that you were just chomping at the bit to “bring up how bad the photos were.” Thank God you had the decency to leave well enough alone.


    I agree Sharra, I thought it was a bit catty too. It’s one thing to have a giggle at poor quality fauxtos but it shouldn’t be about personal vendettas.


    Sharra, only reason I changed my name is because it sounded more interesting to a photography subject. Just did that on a whim. My comments still show up under the new name in all the threads.

    What exactly is wrong with my statement on not making a large portion of my yearly income on photography yet still being a professional photographer? Is there something indicating that the work I do is not professional? I have a business and provide professional work, but I work M-F as well.

    And me starting a “bullying” thread- this is a site based around crappy photography. I wasn’t bullying them. I posted some more links to crappy photography and others did the same.

    The reason I posted a comment on her photos in that group regarding railroad tracks was to try to educate not only her, but anyone else viewing the page/photos. I didn’t bring up that the photos were bad because she was not the photographer. The subject was on photographing on railroad tracks. I even told her that I once shot some photos of a friend (not a paying client!) a few years ago on some railroad tracks before I knew it was illegal or that hefty fines could be involved. When another photographer saw the photos he informed me of this and I removed the images from the internet because my friend is a police officer (he didn’t even realize how being on the tracks was illegal; they were behind his wooded property) and I didn’t want to do something to inadvertently jeopardize  his job, or get myself in trouble.




    Fstopper89, as a PROFESSIONAL software developer, I know EXACTLY how forums work, so you don’t need to tell me that changing your name affects ALL posts, because EVERY forum post is tied to a database of some type or another where the content is associated with a user id and that id is, in turn, associated with a login name. Thus, changing the login name will affect ALL your forum posts because of the relationship login name <-> user id <-> content. Almost everything online operates that way, otherwise sites like eBay and Amazon would be unacceptably slow and they would never be able to keep track of your past and present activity in a manner that would be acceptably responsive to their clients.

    That aside, you are free to change your login to whatever you choose. It does give the impression, however, that maybe you had said something someone or a small group found offensive in the past and you wanted to distance yourself from that and perhaps you thought a name change might hide you from previous comments. I’m not saying that’s what happened and I’m happy you understand that the name change means nothing other than satisfying your own whims. I’m just expressing an opinion, nothing more.

    I NEVER said anything about you calling yourself a professional in terms of providing a service for money, no matter how much of a percentage that service contributes to your yearly income that you report to Scott Walker or Barack Obama. There are many people who work multiple jobs, whether it be out of enjoyment or necessity. The word “professional” can be defined as

    “engaging in an activity for gain or as a means of livelihood”

    Your means of livelihood is obviously your M-F job, so the photography aspect of your income is the GAIN that you enjoy and can provide a service that your clients are willing to pay for. I have no problem with that—all the more power to you if you can do that. With my own M-F job providing software for the betterment of clients running their own businesses and family commitments with organized sports, etc., I would love to have more time to put into my own photographic efforts and be able to profit from it. But I’m perfectly content to preserve family memories.

    The issue I have here is you seem to have missed the word “decorum” in my previous post, which is defined as

    “dignified propriety of behaviour, speech, dress, etc.”

    When you start a thread about trying to “educate not only her, but anyone else viewing the page/photos”, and continue to argue with her, you are not displaying that quality AS A PROFESSIONAL SHOULD. Publishing her photo only makes it worse for you as your credibility comes into question. If the subject was photographing on railroad track, then why post the photo of the girl for all the world on YANAP to see? She is NOT the subject, only the instrument of your frustration. It should have been enough to have the attitude “OK, I told her it was illegal any why, so it’s not my problem if they get caught and fined.” If that happened, you likely wouldn’t have heard about it anyway unless it was relatively close to you or it became regional, national, or international news because of a serious breech of the railroad company’s interests or assets. Is shooting on tracks illegal? Yes. Is it cliché? Sure. But I have a couple shots of my own on tracks because I liked the leading lines and vanishing point. I most certainly would have kept my distance if any type of train had been on the tracks moving at any speed. If any railroad personnel had been present and asked me to leave, complying would not have been an issue. Pleading innocence might help in my favour, too. I’m sure you’ve seen shots of rail yards at shipping ports or within cities, maybe even within your own. Are those illegal? Not if they’re sanctioned by the owners of the property. But with all that said, if I’m scorned by you and others here for being anywhere NEAR tracks or for anything I say here, then so be it—I am certainly not going to lose sleep over it.

    The bottom line is that I’m to EDUCATE YOU on proper photographic and PROFESSIONAL etiquette. IF “89” is the year you were born, then being 24 or 25 is being at the tail end of complete brain development. Please don’t think I’m challenging your intellect because that is NOT what I’m doing. It is well known and documented that people in their teens and early twenties are responsible for a lot of rash behaviour, be it out of control fraternity or sorority partie, criminal behaviour, or something completely different. And, no, I’m NOT saying everyone in that age category is part of that, nor am I saying you are part of that group. But I will say you are on the cusp of it and you certainly have room to grow. If you want to call me a bitch for saying any of this, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I’ve certainly been called worse, but I move on and I try to help those whenever I can. If you can’t accept that or choose to ignore it outright, there’s not much more I can do except take the attitude that I tried to tell what I felt was wrong and it really doesn’t matter beyond that what you choose to do with it. I can only hope my advice makes you a better person.

    Anyway, I feel I’ve written a small book here. I could have simply responded with “Nevermind. LOL” and let you have a taste of your own medicine, but I thought trying to reason with you might be a better approach. I’m not saying I’m the Ann Landers of advice, because I know I’m FAR from perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not going to let this become a back-and-forth argument/discussion between us and with anyone else who chooses to comment. If you want the last word, you’re welcome to have it, but as far as I’m concerned, this stops here. If you choose to respond, please consider your words carefully and try to preserve your credibility before voicing your thoughts.

    ‘Nuff said.


    Sharra, your response does make more sense, and was written respectfully. So I do appreciate that.

    I guess this is just one of those sites that, well, obviously is made to mock bad photography (and the things that go along with it, as one example, taking a client to a place where they are trespassing).

    Yes the name change was purely for fun. I saw that it had changed across other comments I had made in other forum topics. Some people in these threads have created multiple accounts- I’ve only ever had one. My login name is still the same, just the display named changed. I honestly don’t even go on these boards much anymore, as most of the photography discussions I participate in are on some of the Facebook groups I’m part of.

    For what it’s worth (if anything here), I have always been more level-headed than my peers and not a part of that “out of control” group you mentioned.

    Your earlier comment came off as accusatory and assumptive. But not the next comment.

    The reason I told that girl “nevermind” was because she kept bantering with me saying it was fine because they were just near a railroad crossing, and she wasn’t getting it that it didn’t matter. I think she could have responded with “Ok, thanks for the info, I wasn’t aware that it was illegal.” That was really all I was going for as the group had a lot of amateur models and photographers who probably don’t know that either.

    As far as the railroad thing, another death just occurred to a photographer because of it. Although, his situation he was clearly being extra stupid- he was on a rail bridge over a highway and the tracks took a blind curve just past the bridge. He was apparently taking photos of a model. I guess the model was fine but the photog died. There are definitely railroad tracks that are pretty foolproof and safe if you DID want to shoot on them, like straight tracks where you can see a mile in either direction. But after thinking about it more I’ve realized that it’s over-used and cliche. I get the leading line thing, but there are other settings that can create the same leading lines. Just the threat of a fine for being on the tracks is enough to keep me away. In some other discussions I have heard that the rail industry has used photos they found on the internet as evidence to fine someone, so they don’t even need to catch you at the time you are on the tracks.


    I’m not on much here anymore either, in fact, today has been the first time in several weeks. I look at a couple pages of home page postings, read the first page of titles from each of the forum sections and click on any that grab my attention. Yours just happened to be on top and mentioned railroad, so I thought I’d take a look. You know what happened after that. 🙂

    The “mile in both directions” track shot was back when I shot film and digital was still very much in its infancy for the general public. It amounted to the rails coming exactly out of the corners and I was still naive about composition that I put the horizon line dead centre with a few shrubs and trees on either side. Looking back on it now, it is a rather boring shot, but at the time I thought it was kind of cool. It was a “jump on the tracks, align the corners, and click” shot, with little planning. There’s also a black metal bridge over a small ravine that I might consider just for the stark, almost silhouette symmetry against a bright blue sky. But there’s no way you’d catch me in the middle of that bridge with no means of escape except trying to outrun a train!

    As for photography groups, I haven’t really sought them out. There’s a storm photography page on FB that I peruse every so often and the odd Flickr page now and then. Beyond family, I’d have to say landscapes are my favourites. Having mentioned symmetry, I rarely pass up reflected scenery on a still lake, especially at dusk or dawn. If there are any groups you think are worth looking into, don’t hesitate to pass them along. I know a Google search for “landscape photography groups” brings back close to 8.8 million results (just tried it!) and I’m sure some of them are really good, but I’m happy to take a look at any recommendations, not just in landscapes.

    Being a site that mocks photography, this probably isn’t the best source of a thread recommending groups. For all I know there may have been such a thread months ago that I’ve simply forgotten about or more recently on a discussion page I’ll never see anyway. If you’re up to it, don’t hesitate to start such a thread! 🙂 I know that I, for one, would take a look.


    Check out the group Fstop Frenzy on FB. It has professionals, amateurs, and hobbyists, and people are generally pretty respectful. The moderators try to put a nix on people being jerks toward each other especially when people ask for CC on an image.


    *sigh* I constantly post the articles about photographers and their clients getting hurt or killed on train tracks and the risks that it entails in the groups I belong to. I warn the photographers that post their train track sessions that active tracks are illegal to trespass on and that the railroads WILL press charges. I’m met with animosity almost every time. It’s very frustrating because where I live there are several decommissioned tracks that are safe (although, still trespassing) and there’s even a railroad museum that welcomes photographers very openly that’s perfectly safe… yet these people endanger their clients and, worse off, their clients’ children so they can stick them on cliche’d, active tracks.

    The reaction that “model” had was rife with condescension and that’s just all the more frustrating. It’s like, damn people, we tell you these things for a reason! Come on now…
    I almost want railroads to press charges more often so it forces people to be safer…


    Interestingly enough, the model deleted the original post after I had told her this stuff. A few hours later she re-posted. And, two other photogs commented that being on the tracks was illegal. She again replied “Yes but we were totally safe, but thanks for looking out for me, it was very kind of you!”

    Sigh. I didn’t even comment again. Deaf ears…

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