Making Tracks

There’s an almost infinite appeal to me in photographing railroad tracks—appropriately, because the visual metaphor of the railroad track is to show rails that are parallel and never touch. They go on forever, or seem to. So railroad tracks are, in other words, a representation of the infinite.

Railroad Tracks near Gaviota, California by Harold Davis

Railroad Tracks near Gaviota, California © Harold Davis

The crucial point in railroad track compositions is the vanishing point. The viewer’s eye will proceed along the tracks to the point at which the tracks seem to come together and vanish. Of course, the tracks never really come together, and a vanishing point is a trick of perspective rendition. But to do an effective job of making a railroad track image one needs to accomplish something interesting at the supposed vanishing point.

In my image of Railroad Tracks near Gaviota, California this interest is generated by the stormy sky, and by the bend to the right in the tracks towards the distant hills and beach.

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