Ballen Photo wrote in post #18977213
This is a nice shot, and I can see why members might be concerned for your safety. This is why I have learned (mostly) to not say anything when I'm not aware of the circumstances. I do hope you will post more trains in the future.
Thank you, and I likely will. From my perspective I didn't really read those comments as being anything about my personal safety but more along the lines of "how dare you do something so stupid while breaking the law at the same time". Those aren't the words, but it felt pretty close to that. That lead me to feeling like I needed to defend my "shot" as it were since the implication wasn't true on either account.
You know, I see shots of tigers and lions with a full face view of a look that says "I'm about to eat you". Now personally I can't imagine myself being in those positions to get a shot like that (even cropped if so) and to ME it doesn't look very safe. I don't feel the need to point it out to the person that took the shot. I'm sure that in most cases the shooter took precautions and evaluated the environment then decided they could get the shot without undue risk to personal injury. I may or may not have made the same decision and I can't know that because I wasn't there.... but I shouldn't assume they didn't.
I watched a guy in Grand Teton National Park approaching a grizzly with cubs nearby (I was in a vehicle on the road). Now personally I thought... "this guy is crazy for doing that" even though the grizzly was 70 yards or so away from him. I drove on and learned there was an attack in that area with injuries involved. Same guy? I have no idea but in my opinion those situations are pretty dangerous being the animal has thoughts of its on, likely contradictory to the person trying to get a close shot.
Anyone that follows me at all knows I shoot waterfalls, lots of waterfalls. I've watched people decide to climb (or try) a waterfall...slick rocks and all.... only to come tumbling back down on their head. In a specific case I recommended against the activity, and ended up jogging the better part of a mile to get a signal to call 911. He fell on his head. Still, I shoot waterfalls but it is VERY rare for me to climb them and even the vantage points I get at times involve some danger... in which I'm very deliberate in my movements to the point of testing traction, kicking rocks to make sure they don't move...and once getting set not moving my feet at all while getting the shot. Tough on the knees at times but I'm 52 and "knock on wood" have managed to stay completely injury free in my pursuits.
The most likely danger I faced while taking that train shot was tripping over a broken piece of railroad tie and hitting my head on a rock or something.
Now to be clear, I know very little about trains... and I have no direct knowledge of flagging or rail clamping. I do have a good knowledge of engineering however so when I say that switch is in operable :
1. I mean the huge lock that exists on the portion that "slides" to move the rails in effect keeps those rails from sliding...thereby making it impossible for a train to get onto the abandoned spur unless that lock is removed and the switch is actuated.
2. I also know, that because there are two sets of rails... a train traveling on the set of rails not connected to the spur at all makes it all but impossible for the same train to get onto the spur even if the switch were activated
So from a risk standpoint, it would take a catastrophic failure to result in that train coming my way.... such as it derailing. In fact that is the only way I could see that train ending up where I was standing or anywhere close to it. That IS a real risk... those things happen. The same risk you might be taking if you are standing 30 feet away from the track itself and taking a shot as the train passes of which I'm sure there are many examples of shots like that.
While I haven't (or intend to) look up the statistics I suspect that risk would be somewhere in the range of a plane crash, getting struck by lightening, getting run over by a car in a parking lot, or being involved in an auto accident. Actually I suspect some of those examples are far more likely.
You can look at an image and make assumptions but it's probably more prudent in most cases to not let your internal dialogue leak because it is probably your assumptions are incorrect. I mean if we are concerned about safety we could say something like "wow, are you sure you feel safe standing there?" which is significantly less abrasive and probably results in the same explanation without the condescending tones.
Enough about that though... I need to get to work on editing my video taken through a windshield at 130mph (believe me I'm joking)