Although over forty years have passed since the demise of regular main line steam workings in Britain, photography of steam engines is still a popular leisure pursuit.
Most of the digital photographic techniques applicable to diesel and electric traction are relevant to steam engines as well. The unique aspects of a steam engine are its exhaust and escaping steam. This article deals with the problems posed by a bright exhaust while the next looks at a dark exhaust in a bright sky.
The exhaust of a steam locomotive can be very bright in sunny conditions and may need special attention during photo editing to avoid losing detail. Below are sections from the same image processed in different ways. Note how the JPEG format is plain white in the brightest areas due to losing detail while the finished version (shown as ‘Combined’) has kept all the textures vital to a good exhaust. The article explains a good technique for keeping all the detail.