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Some great shots! I agree the surrounding area has a lot to do with the quality of a pic. I don't know if your asking us to compare but that first picture seems the most pleasing to the eye overall.
 

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pics.4 &3 to much snow in front,hard on the eyes.
pic 1 appears to crowded,train looks to tight in frame.
pic.2 i really like overall,your not drawn straight to the train,enough background around train.might go up on shutter speed a click to help get the engine wheels,front end in sharper contrast,slight out of focus with train speed.
going up one more speed will also help tone down the over brightness of the snow,or try a filter.
but number 2 imo is the best overall composition.
 

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I really like those Crappie. Number 3 has the best composition, IMO.
 

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Love #1! Though old trains are a fairly common subject, this image stands out from the crowd.

The triangle, formed by the train, the smoke and the trees on the right, creates a pleasing composition and a nice flow of elements. The detail in the smoke is outstanding, the train is sharp, and the rural scene on the right is fitting for this old train. With very little cloning, this could be right out of the 1800s.

Normally, compositions work better with more space in front of the subject. This one works, in spite of breaking that rule, because the subject is framed by the snow line and the trees on the left.

I'd like to see this image processed with an old monotone look as well. It's a great candidate for a large print.

Thanks for sharing!
 
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