Photographing Trains at the Orange Empire Railway Museum Part 1

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Who does not love an old train or street car?  They are so much about our history and culture.  The Orange Empire Railway Museum is a bit out of the way in Perris, CA, but well worth a day trip for photographers, families, and train enthusiasts.  Here is what you might see.

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There are three “yards” and several carriage houses.  The yards have a variety of locomotives and different kinds of rail cars.  The carriage houses hold even more cars including a set of passenger street cars.  They also will have a couple of trains and street cars running at anytime that you can ride.

Here are a few  thoughts on strategy, composition and equipment.  They are open every day from 9-5.  For best light and smallest crowds get there early or late.  I would imagine in the winter with late sunsets, the light at the end of the day would be better than what we had.  We had been planning to go for months and were waiting for a cloudy day to cut down on the light and glare.  We finally got one last Saturday with nice monsoonal weather.

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The place is quite large and it is easy to get away from the main museum by walking to the back yards.  You will get more time and freedom the farther you get into the yards.  We saw plenty of red and yellow cars – photography favorites.  You can compose here wide, tight,close-up and weird angles.  Almost anything will work and there are plenty of interesting subjects.

We also had to decide whether to carry our tripods or not.  We brought them with us and left them in the car.  We really only needed them twice.  Once for an interior photo of a carriage car and once in one of the carriage houses.  We just increased our ISO and shot away.

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Mary carried her Fujiflim X-E2 with several lenses and I carried my 5D MK III and 5D MK II infrared with 24-105 MM lenses.  We did not go heavy, but we did not exactly go light.

Finally, we had fun with the processing.  The subjects just called out for a more gritty look and feel.  More about the processing next week.

To see more of (and buy) our photos, please go to


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