It’s Not a Perfect Image, But it’s History


Here is another “it doesn’t have to be perfect image.” Pennsylvania Railroad No. 4309 heads the afternoon westbound Fort Pitt through Massillon, Ohio, in what looks like late 1967 or early 1968.

The original negative was very underexposed, making it nearly transparent and hard to get detail and decent contrast. By using Adobe Lightroom 5 and Adobe Photoshop Elements, it was savable.

As for the composition of the image, I took it a fraction of a second early and put the pole through the last car.

I could either pitch the image or realize that not every image that I took was perfect. Instead, I chose to look at it in a new way.

First, it captures a part of passenger train history.

Second, it shows the railroad bridge in the background and the Massillon of back then. Instead of cropping more tightly, I included the Massillon road bridge and part of Massillon that has changed since then. I especially like the big CHEVY sign.

Third, for a cold and grubby winter day, this isn’t bad at all.

As for the pole, that was my fault. The whole image is far more important than something I can’t go back and change.

With those thoughts in mind, now I can be thankful I have this instead of unhappy because of its flaws.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

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