A Different Looking Steam Train

I have a number of images of the steam trains of the Cumbres & Toltec RR line pulling into Cumbres Pass station. One day, I decided to to experiment for a different look.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

After adjusting the image for exposure, I did some PP in Nik Collection Silver Efex, using an antique photograph preset; then back to Photoshop and added a high key layer, reducing the opacity around the edges and knocking it down further on the train and station. I like the final result.

Technical Details

1/400 sec f/8 ISO 200 Single shot

1 Like

RAW image

This is excellent in my opinion. I like the composition, the mood, and your post-processing. Great job. You really elevated what was originally a rather ordinary image.


Wow, Gary, what a great image. Your post processing makes this a stellar image all around. I’m partial to B&W and this one just hits it out of the park. Well done indeed.


Thank you, David. Once and a while, thinking out of the box can open up a whole new way of looking at things.

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Allen, I appreciate your comment.

Gary, this is a wonderful image. You’ve made it magical with your processing. When I see this, I think of the old days when all the trains were steam engines. The little depot is adorable. I could see this as a scene in a western. I guess that statement dates me. :grinning: Love the high key look too. Great job!


Very nice, Gary. I like the timelessness in the photograph and the use of the vignette which makes it look even more antique and which blocks out areas of the image which don’t really add something to it. The one thing I noticed is that it seems to be tilted just a tad to the left, which is most noticeable in the left part of the building. Other than this will look great printed and matted on the wall.


Not to be comparing work, but are you aware of the work of O(gle) Winston Link who did some really fascinating work with trains back in the 1950’s. Mostly shot at night using large lights. The best images were those showing the local environment with trains rushing by in the background. I always liked this one taken in a drive-in theater.

See also.

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Took a quick peak to the work mentioned in your comments, very interesting. I will look into it more, thanks for sharing.