Landscapes, Photography, photos

Trying the Same Again

A friend of mine, who is also a keen photographer, was saying to me recently how much she loved one of my photos and really wanted to see if she could get the same or similar image.  She wanted me to take her where I had taken the photo.

scmelbourne-hdr1I am sure many of you will remember this one.  It was my header shot for some time.  It is funny how the memory plays tricks.  We could both remember it as having a sunset behind the city.  When we went out last weekend to capture the image, we were so disappointed that there wasn’t a sunset.  Then I looked up the photo again and was so surprised to see there hadn’t been a sunset here either.  I think it must have been the colours that were in the final image.

The above shot was taken almost 2 years ago.  It is a HDR image, I was doing so many of them back then.  I still like the image, but I had always wanted to go back and always meant to, but somehow never got around to it.  It was nice to do it again.

We were disappointed.  There was no real sunset, it was quite pathetic really.  There were hardly any trains.  There weren’t many lights on in the city buildings.  So I know we will go back again.  Here is what I got.

LeanneCole-traintocity-4244It is quite a different looking image.  I know I said there were no trains, it was true. I have taken all the photos I had with trains and put them on one image.  I like the effect.  This image is certainly earlier than the previous one, lots of street lights and things haven’t come on yet.  I did make the most of the sunset that we got.

Things have changed since I took the first one.  I do have more experience.  The first one was taken without a tripod, the second with.  I just didn’t have it with me the first time.  I have a new camera and a new wide angle lens.  My knowledge of Photoshop and compositing has grown a lot.

I think it was a great thing to do to go back after two years and see how different how I would make an image. I still love the first one, but I also like the second one, for different reasons.  I will go back again, we are planning on doing it another evening, when daylight savings finishes, but we will go back during the week, see if we can get more of the peak hour trains and the city going into early evening.

I will put both in a gallery for you to look at on their own.


  1. Very hard to recreate an image, have tried many times with one particular subject, an old house shot on 35mm film with no luck. Lighting is never quite the same as you said. Nice to revisit and try again though.

    • It is hard,of course there are always going to be elements that will be different, but I love going back to the same place and seeing what I get. Thank you.

  2. A really interesting look at the perceptual changes. I like the second myself, the off angle lines and lighter colours work for me. I’ve been doing some night shots lately, I’m trying to use the white balance to get rid of the orange tinge of the street lights but haven’t found the best setting yet. I need to figure out how to set it manually.

    Good post,


    • Thank you Jim, I don’t mind the second shot, would love a lot more trains though, and the city lights, but I am happy with what I got. I love the orange tinge of street lights. Though a personal thing, so I guess you can tell I can’t help you there, haha.

  3. Leanne – I like both images, but beg to differ that the earlier one is not a sunset. From the fact it is twilight-ish, it could be a sunset or a dawn, but as there is just a little tinge of peach under some of the clouds at bottom left of the sky, plus the fact that there is more light at the bottom – both shots must be facing west, I believe it is a sunset rather than a dawn. It’s just not clear and peachy like the second image because the sky is obviously much cloudier and wetter. So I believe your initial instinct that the first image was taken at sunset was correct.

    • The earlier one was taken at sunset, or that time, I meant we didn’t get a lovely sunset. We both thought there was lots of colour in the sky and there wasn’t. They were both taken around the same time of day at the same time of the year. Thank you.

  4. So interesting to look at the same location and to get so,etching quite different. Like these two very much.

  5. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says

    Those streaks and glow of lights is beautiful. ;)

  6. Your first image is the one that initially caught my eye and turned me on to your blog. Stellar shot.
    And I think returning to a place or event you’ve shot before is a key to becoming multi-dimensional as a photographer: one needs to attempt to evaluate the aspects of a photo that make it a good one and attempt to build on it to make another equally good image or a better one.

    • Thank you, it was quite popular when I first started showing it.
      I agree, I think it is a great idea to go back to the same places over and over, you always seem to capture something different.

  7. I think the angle at which you are looking at the background makes a huge difference in the shot and what it conveys. The older image seems to be drawing the viewer into the city, while the latest one is more a static observation of the city at night – neither is right or wrong, just different. I rarely do reshoots – although there is a certain door in Moab, UT that I take a shot of every time I am out there – but that is an exception. Interesting post. (I prefer the older image BTW)

    • I like that Robert, they are quite different shots. It is an interesting thing to do, it is interesting to see how you shoot the same thing, what you change. Thanks Robert.

  8. I like both photos, but actually prefer the second one as it has a more peaceful feel to it. Good post, thank you!

  9. They are quite different and beautiful in their own way. While I do love the HDR shot, I’m really enjoying your second shot. It has more impact on my emotions like a wistfulness or contemplation or something like that. I’m also appreciating the value of using a tripod. I get lazy about taking it with me but it really does make the image so much more tack sharp. Thank you for sharing these!

  10. I like both photos for different reasons too Leanne. The more recent photo does have a touch of sunset though, and is more relaxing to look at. I like trains and railway stations and wish we had some around here, where I live.

    • What a shame Joanne, they are great to photograph. It is interesting what you have said, someone else said something similar as well. Thank you.

  11. leecleland says

    Love the second shot. You’ve used the lines to great advantage to gain movement. Really interesting to see both shots together.

    • I thought so too, it was interesting revisiting the first one after we had taken the images. Thanks Lee

  12. Love the first shot! The colours from the lights in the buildings and the trains really complete it. :) Just shows how the same place can look dull at some times of the day and magical at others :)

    • Though Sarah it is interesting to note that they were both taken at roughly the same time of day, and the same time of year. I think the main difference is one was during the week while the other one was the weekend. Thank you :)

  13. I think this is why we as photographer’s keep going back to the same place over, and over, and over again. The light, clouds, and sky are always different. It is never the same image twice. Both images are lovely, but do like your first image sans tripod best. :)
    I’m looking forward to the 3rd image from this spot now. :)

    • That is so true, you always seem to do things just a little differently as well. Thank you so much, hopefully you won’t have to wait 2 years for the third one. :)

  14. Re-shooting is a great way to learn and develop as a photographer. I like both versions, but you can tell that your knowledge on photography has improved a lot. The focus is better in the new version, but the skies were more interesting in your first version. The first one is more colourful, while the second is more mellow. It’s like you say: even if you go back to a place, you’ll never get the same shot twice.
    In my opinion both photos have their qualities and speak for themselves.

    I used to live next to the train tracks and I loved to take long exposure photos of the trains.

    • It is also interesting seeing they were shot with different cameras and lens as well. Shame the second didn’t have a better sky. You really don’t get the same shot.
      I agree Cardinal, I think that about the two images as well.
      I love long exposures of them as well, you can get some great effects. Thank you.

  15. Leanne I LOVE the first one… Somehow it has more life… it shows the essence of the city at that moment. I am looking forward to seeing what happens the next time… I am sure its gonna be totally different but definitely worth a wait for me …

    • It is going to interesting to see what I get the next time I go back, you do get such different images depending on the weather conditions. Thank you.

  16. thatnavaword says

    te first one is definitely much cooler!

  17. They are both great images, but I prefer the second one… has better light trails and a more balanced composition.

    • I think I feel the same Mark. I find the first a bit too bright, oversaturated. I think the second is more realistic. Thank you.

  18. Image 2 has a more abstract, surreal feel, but I like your first one as well. :)

  19. This is at Southern Cross? It looks like I pass by this place everyday on the way to work. I love how the first photo is all bright and orangey at the bottom, in contrast with the dull clouds above. I like the second one too. It’s duller than the first but there’s a cool feel about it – and autumn/winter is approaching, so very apt. There’s just something so Melbourne about both photos.

    This just occurred to me: if you could sum up Melbourne in one shot, what would it be? Or could you? Maybe you have done it already, I don’t know. Haven’t known you that long :)

    • Actually this shot is taken near the MCG, so other end of the city. I like the idea of it being a very Melbourne image. Thanks for that idea.

      I don’t know what the shot would be. Interesting, can I think about it?

      • Ah yes, my bad the other side of town. The trains go that way when I head south quite a bit. Of course you can think about it. I love a lot of the shots you share of the city and Melbourne. Melbourne is so many different things from architecture to food, people, laneways, art…the list goes on. I think it’s much easier to choose a shot that screams Melbourne rather than a shot that sums up Melbourne.

  20. I like shooting in the same place. It’s one of three bridges in Smolensk. There’s great view of the Cathedral. I often return to it.

    • I think it is a great thing to do too, you always seem to see something you hadn’t see before, or do things differently. Thank you.

  21. I’ve photographed that same scene… without a tripod. Sometimes you need them, sometimes you don’t. As far as making the same picture goes, it’s a matter of light and atmospherics. Usually the light in what was your signature picture comes after a storm. And, you are a better person than I am… my locations are my locations. Find them if you can, but…

    • I agree Ray, I don’t like using tripods, but sometimes you have to just do it. The first photo should have been with a tripod, I would have liked to do some other stuff at the time but couldn’t because I didn’t have the tripod with me. I also agree about what you said about making the same picture, you really can’t ever do the same thing. Thank you Ray.

  22. I like both photos, with each offering different impressions. The first, a city not ready for night. The second, the streaks of light on the rails, everyone in a hurry-up mode to get home.

    • Thank you David, I think pretty much the same about both. I love the streaks for the trains, would like to do a lot more of them.

  23. *smile – this is not one of your photos that I can remember .. very strange – but of the two I really like the “smeared” version

      • Paul says

        Apologies for the delayed response, Leanne.
        (That I don’t always post isn’t intended as “not being nice.”)

        Both images are effective, but personally I think the second one is in a class of its own. It may have something to with the unexpectedly off-center, assymetrical composition, leading the eye to the primary focal point, the illuminated Herald Sun sign. That this is counterbalanced by a secondary focal point (the clouds lit by the setting sun, on the left), is both subtle and deft.

        The sharpness of the silhouetted buildings against a clear evening sky, combined with the crisp diagonal lines of the lights of passing trains, and the image’s strong but simple tonal contrast, creates a powerful visual impact.

        Further apologies for perhaps sounding like a visual critique…
        Anyway, what the heck. Top marks! :)

      • That’s okay Paul, I completely understand, I was just getting some nasty people commenting and they should be silent.
        I really like your perspective on the image. I am sitting here reading it just nodding my head.
        No apologies needed Paul, it was good.
        Thank you so much, now you are sounding like a teacher, LOL. :)

  24. Pingback: Gamlebyen & Trains | Cardinal Guzman

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