On the home page of ExactRail.com we have a section where large images of highlighted products change every few seconds, we call them the slider images. We like to use photos of our cars in their "natural habitat", usually photographed on a diorama in the outdoors or on a layout. This adds a warmer and more colorful image than the cars on a white background.
I use two different dioramas to photograph the HO scale cars on. One is three tracks going through a generic location & the other is a desert scene with our 72' Deck Plate Girder Bridge. To photograph N scale I will use my home layout or mock-up something (I really need to get an N scale diorama built). Both HO scale dioramas were built a few years ago for various reasons other than what we use them for today.
The triple track diorama is used the most often and it shows. I built it for some photography that was needed on the original release of our Trinity TRINCool Reefers about five years ago. Along the back left corner I had a few trees and a fence that was built from strip wood. In the foreground I scratch built an electronics box. I used sifted dirt from the nearby rail yard and some ground foam for the scenery. After being used for its original purpose it sat on a shelf and gathered dust.
Today the trees, fence & electronics box are gone. Little by little the trees would blow away in the wind and then I pulled the remaining ones out. The fence and electronics box were destroyed when the diorama decided to take an unplanned trip to the floor.
Overall the little 12x24" diorama has earned its keep but the day will come when it gets the boot.
Bridge to Nowhere
I built the bridge module for a blog post that never happened. I must have been pulled away to something more important because I never finished the diorama. As you can see in the photo, the dry riverbed was never put in and the fascia was never finished. Like its triple track brother, this diorama spent some quality time on top of a shelf collecting dust & dead bugs.
For this I wanted to make a desert scene and so I acquired some reddish dirt from the side of a highway in a nearby canyon. The diorama was built on the same 12x24" sized sheet of plywood as the triple track display. I scratch built the concrete abutments out of sheet styrene to go along with our 72' Deck Plate Girder Bridge. The little bit of vegetation is ground foam. As I always shoot below or level with the bridge, I have never needed to finish the dry river bed.
When I go out to get the needed photos I like to find locations that have little to no items that will be in the background such as power lines and buildings. On occasion I have used both with great results. I have also used the Wasatch Mountains or trees in the background but most often it is just sky.
When I have my location I put the diorama on the roof of my car, position the product, get some funny looks from people driving by and get a few shots from different angles. Next I upload the photos, do a little clean-up in Photoshop if needed and crop the photos for the slider.
I like to do the photography on partly cloudy days but occasionally I have no time and I have to shoot regardless of the weather. There has been times I have done the photography in snow or light rain. From past experiences, I have learned that if there is any wind, I need to prevent the cars from moving, I have had cars get blown off (sometimes I have caught them, other times I didn't). I use a very special rock to prevent disasters from happening anymore.
I would like to get a few new dioramas built at some point. When the time comes, I will post their construction here.