Matthew Malkiewicz and the steam engine trains

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Written by Valentina Romano

Part-time photographer and full-time engineer Matthew Malkiewicz started in 2005 a wonderful series of photos, called “Lost Tracks of Time”, capturing old trains releasing clouds of steam in the sky. This series can be found on his website www.losttracksoftime.com.

Malkiewicz is a self-taught photographer that managed to combine his passion for steam engine trains with photography, creating a unique and fascinating collection of shots.

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After the artist released an interview to Bored Panda (www.boredpanda.com), The Golden Scope decided to share his words on its page too, to give you a better perspective on Matthew’s works.

I have a photo of myself watching a toy train run around the Christmas tree as a baby, it must have hooked me well… in my teens I received my first camera, which I aimed at every train I saw.

Explains the photographer while talking about the first time he realized how interesting trains were!

He then continues sharing his thoughts on steam engine trains:

My passion gravitates to the machines of yesteryear, fire-breathing monsters that seem to be alive whether you have your hand against the polished steel or you are two bluffs away looking across acres of prairie grass. I envision how it must have been back in the day and try to create photographs as timeless as possible to depict what I consider a vibrantly better and sadly vanished time.

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Referring to a specific photo (see picture below), Matthew Malkiewicz says that:

This photo of the little boy watching the oncoming train is my favorite. A pure case of luck, being at the right place at the right time, ready with the proper equipment. This is from deep in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The child was the son of one of our train crew, completely unstaged and unrehearsed he steps in front of me and sits on the rail to watch the [train] runby. I feel it’s my best because of the spontaneity of it all. So many of my better shots comes from either free styling or completely winging it, feeding off the adrenaline rush of thinking quick on my feet or missing the opportunity.

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The artist expands on his combined passions of photography and trains:

Shooting trains can be compared to hunting. Get to the location early, scout out the angles, setup, take a few test shots, and then wait. Some of the trains I chase are 100+ years old, mechanical problems do happen. Patience is key, as is persistence.

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Talking about the more technical sides of his artpieces, he says:

My camera bag contains three digital setups: a Canon 5D-MkIII with 70-200mm/F4.0 zoom lens, a Canon 5D-MkII with 24-70mm/F2.8 zoom lens, and the first generation Canon EOS-1DS with 50mm/F1.4 prime lens. Because of the dirty, greasy, smoky, and often times humid conditions I subject my gear to, as well as the weather’s harsh elements; I choose never to change a lens in the field. Having the 3 combos at arm’s reach gives me so much flexibility and functionality, as well as keeping the camera’s internals clean. I am an ambient and natural light shooter only – do not own any flashes or strobes. For production, I feel only half the hobby is spent with camera in hand; the other is afterwards in front of a computer with Photoshop. The time spent processing averages an hour per frame, although I have plenty of 4-hour sessions under my belt for a single image.

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Finally, Matthew Malkiewicz concludes his interview with Bored Panda by giving few tips:

Always push the outside of the envelope, challenging yourself every time out to do better than the last. Do not be afraid of failing. Look at a lot of photography, both the classics and modern day. The more the better, decide for yourself what you like and what you don’t. Take those mental notes with you out into the field and apply them.  Start shooting before dawn, and end after dark. Take full advantage of the golden hours. Weather is your friend, adds so much atmosphere and character. Rain, snow, sleet, wind, fog, humidity; sunrises and sunsets. Take the time to learn Photoshop. Attend seminars and workshops, pick the brains of fellow photographers, and watch as many YouTube tutorial videos as you can. Lastly, shoot for yourself. Capture and create what appeals to your eye and tastes.

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(Source: Bored Panda – www.boredpanda.com; Photo: Matthew Malkiewicz)

2 responses to “Matthew Malkiewicz and the steam engine trains

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