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Monday, January 24, 2022

Yes!  You could win $250 for 1st Place,  $100 for 2nd Place, or $75 for 3rd Place in the Walthers Magic of Model Railroading Contest.  Photos chosen as publishable Honorable Mentions will win $25.  Photographers will receive a copy of the reference book in which their photo(s) appears.  Act quickly, May 17th 2011 is the deadline for your entries.


Ok.  Now that I have your attention, please allow me to explain further in detail.


For a Christmas gift, I received my Walthers 2011 N & Z Model Railroad Reference Book.  I love the catalog aspect of the N & Z scale products.  I enjoy looking over the photography of other layouts and scenes.  But, as I was paying more attention to the photography, I noticed a lack of Z!  All of the winning photos are N, and if my counting is correct, I think there was only one Z scale photo in the whole reference book.  That only Z picture is on the opening page for Z scale products.


My initial thought was “What gives? Why the lack of Z?”  So, I went on and sent an email to Walthers to find out more information and to share with you about their “Magic of Model Railroading Contest”.  I wish to thank Lance Burton, Senior Writer of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. for answering some questions.


Good morning John, and thanks for your note. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding, as I generally check this email about once a week in the “off season.” I was a bit surprised by the lack of Z scale diorama, module, and layout photos in your 2011 reference book.  In fact, even the Z scale no show's in your winning photos.  Please don't get me wrong that it detracts from your reference book.  I am just being a tiny biased in wanting to see more Z. So do we! Despite the increasing simplicity of digital photography, the number of submissions has gone down each year, although I’m not sure why. We’re actually lucky to get one or two Z Scale entries. What I would like to do is to help spur the Z scale community for more submissions to your N&Z Model Railroad Reference Book.  I would also like to create a link from Z Central Station to your Magic of Model Railroading page.That would be great — the more people aware of the information, the better — and thank you for your efforts! We should be updating the Magic portion of our page with entry information and deadlines in the near future, but we accept submissions and inquiries at any time. But, along with the link to the Magic of Model Railroading page, I would like to have an article to help guide the Z scale modelers to better photo submissions.What do you look for in a prize winning photo? The “best” photos are the ones that tell a story with great modeling. There should be some sort of implied action or drama that draws the viewer into the picture, and makes it come to life.  
What are some of the "do's" in model train photography? Lighting, depth of field and focus are the big three. We prefer to see models in finished layout settings, and again, scenes that tell a story are the most fun for our readers, and for us too.
What are some of the "don'ts" in model train photography? Keep in mind that this is a family hobby, and we encourage our readers to share the Book with their kids and grandkids. We'll reject images with adult-themed jokes (such as company names) or scenes. One key point to remember is that camera's never lie. You and I can look at our models day after day and miss things, but the camera will record the smallest problem, say bent or broken details, poor assembly, wheels off the track and so on. Military and figure modelers use small mirrors to view their work from a different perspective and make flaws jump out. Cameras do the same thing. And it isn’t just small details that get overlooked. Check the layout for things that don’t belong there — we've had to reject images because tools, coffee cups and other real-world items were pretty overpowering. And lastly...  Are there any guides, articles, or websites you can recommend for Z scale modelers to take better pictures? I'm not personally aware of anything dealing specifically with model railroad or miniature photography, and I don’t recall any recent magazine articles, but I would think there must be something out there. Thanks again for your interest and support of the Magic contest. If I can be of further assistance, feel free to contact me. Lance Burton Senior Writer, Wm. K. Walthers, Inc.

I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Lance Burton for his time and assistance.  Z scale modelers lets get going on our photos and send them in!  It is time for you to send in some pictures of your diorama, module, or layout.  Here is the link to Walthers Magic of Model Railroading page.  Remember May 17th, 2011 is the deadline for your entries.

And after some research, here are a few links to help you with your model railroad photography.


Bear Creek and South Jackson  Note: Go to the “How To” menu tab.


Basic Model Railroad Photography


Good Luck everyone!


John Kellett

Z Central Station

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