PDA

View Full Version : Railpictures screening - consistency (or lack thereof)!


nickhp
03-25-2004, 03:20 AM
Guys, what is happening to railpictures? Where has the consistency in screening pictures gone?

My favorite peeve is bad light, I was told one of my pictures was too dark even though it was taken in setting sun light and was lit properly. Then I check the latest uploads and find something like this:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=54976

Oh yes, the other one that really got me. I posted 2 or 3 shots of the same locomotive taken on different days, under completely different weather conditions, in completely different locations. Rejected for duplication. Then a green engine goes through Kentucky and we get this:

http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?road_number=BN%209265

Come on RP moderators, let's see some consistency. It used to be that you were fussy about the pictures accepted here. Now you seem to be going for quantity instead of quality, and allow bad photo's to be accepted while others seem to be getting good photo's rejected.

I have noticed that many of the people that used to post pictures here have disappeared and no longer post - this may well be the reason. I know I haven't bothered posting pictures here for several months for this reason. BTW, about duplication - with the way your uploading system is set up, it makes sense to try and "group" uploads. For example, I will try and upload all pictures taken in Wichita of BNSF trains together so that I don't have to change too many items between each picture upload. As a result, it looks like there is duplication because I am uploading so many BNSF Wichita pictures at one time. There is no way to improve the upload process, so instead you need to be a little more careful about what is a duplicate shot under these circumstances.

And finally (thank god right!) - don't give people here the (IMHO) pathetic excuse that you go through so many pictures or that it is easy to accidentally accept/reject a picture by mistake. That is an insult to the people that take the time to take and upload their pictures here. If they take the time to take and upload their pictures, give them the same courtesy in taking time to CAREFULLY review their pictures. If you can't keep up with the numbers, then get more screeners, I'm sure there's no shortage of willing candidates. If some screeners have problems distinguishing between the accept and reject button, give them lessons or reduce their workload. Just don't kick the submitters in the teeth with excuses for inaccuracy or inconsistency in screening.

I hope you'll take this message as constructive criticism and in the same manner you want us to take your comments when you reject our pictures. i.e. think of this as my message of rejection of the railpictures screening process/status...

nickhp

Zach Marlow
03-25-2004, 04:14 AM
I would have to agree I get photos rejected because of bad lighting and then something like the one mentioned above is accepted. I had one that said to dark, so I went back the next day and took the same picture with just a very little more exposure and I get a rejection of overexposed. seems like everytime I submit a photo it is rejected for one reason or another

Chris Starnes
03-25-2004, 04:56 AM
Nick,

You make some very valid points. Thanks for sharing them in a professional manner unlike very many other people that have come and gone in the past who have flipped out over such things.

As you know screening each different photo is a very subjective process. We have been trying very hard to cut down on poorly lit wedge shots of standard stuff. As part of this we are trying to make people realize that the standard 'go to my favorite railfan spot and take a snapshot' theory of rail photography does not exactly produce the best results. I do not think anyone here is really 'overloaded' with work but you have to remember we are all human and have lives outside of this website. As much as I wish sometimes it was, this website is not my #1 priority and as a result sometimes that shows. Nobody here is perfect....and we do not expect anyone else to be.

As I have said many times in the past, if you are questioning a rejection (or a series of rejections) I invite you to appeal the rejection or email us about it. I think a lot of people would agree that by appealing a rejection they have had a much better understanding of what we are trying to get across with that particular rejection.

Just remember, we ARE trying to be consistent, no member of our crew isn't at least trying. Screening photos isn't as easy as it may seem from the 'outside'. I have been on your side of the fence at Airliners.net (and still am) and can understand where you are coming from.

CTS

nickhp
03-25-2004, 05:48 AM
Chris,

I must say I am shocked, but positively so, at the response you provided to my message. You have proved very humble and mature in your response - kudos to you for that.

As I said in my message, my (and I mean MY) impression is that a lot of people are confused and dejected about rejections because of seeming inconsistency, whether between their own photo submissions or those of others. People are seeming to get frustrated because they don't know where the line is drawn between acceptable and rejection grade material, and are obviously losing interest in sharing their pictures as a result.

Speaking personally here - I shoot RAW format with my DSLR. Apart from the shots I want to print or use for reference work, the ONLY other shots I used to work on were shots for this site. My average time in preparing EACH picture was about 5 minutes. Add to that another two minutes for uploading etc. and that makes seven minutes per picture. Times that by say 10 pictures in one day and you have over an hour spent working on material for the site. If my work is then rejected in five seconds of viewing, I feel somewhat wronged, especially if I see other pictures which break the "rules" more than mine be accepted. Result? No pictures posted since uhmmmmm (have to go and check, it's been a while!) November 8, 2003. I wonder how many others there are like me?

Anyway, I hope you'll think about the things I mentioned and maybe share your thoughts with the other screeners -you guys have the ability to reject pictures without confusing or upsetting people while at the same time maintaining or bettering the quality level of the pictures accepted to the site.

Best Regards

Nick
(former contributor 8) )

Chris Starnes
03-25-2004, 02:15 PM
Thanks Nick. I generally try to respond to messages here (or appeals) on the same level that they were presented. If you had come here ranting like a child like some have in the past, I wouldn't have been as nice :wink:

I am sorry that you have not uploaded any more recently but that is your decision to do so. When looking at other photos and asking yourself "what the hell were they thinking" just remember that one man's trash may be one man's gold. There are a very interesting and unique group of "styles" which our photographers follow. To go along with that we try to have a decent base of screeners who have open minds to such different sytles. That is where quite a bit of the lack of consistency comes from - a difference in styles. Having said that, I am not sure how to correct it unless we set strict rules that would govern which styles to accept that would in turn limit the creativity that so many of our uploaders have.

As far as the time you put into this, I can see what you are saying there as well. As a personal request from me to you, I ask that you do not shoot your photos with the sole purpose to upload here. Photography is about capturing a scene which expresses YOUR view of the event (unless of course you are getting paid for it).

CTS

Curtis Wininger
03-25-2004, 05:00 PM
I don't want to come in and try to add anything because Starnes has more of the position to do so and has covered everything I could think of anyway. I just wanted to commend your posts. That's a good example of criticism that can be taken without offense. Thanks.

nickhp
03-25-2004, 06:26 PM
Chris - I think you mis-read my last post, in part at least. I was saying that the pictures I edited were only the ones for this site, not that those were the only pictures I took. I take pictures all the time, so nothing has changed just because I haven't been posting here. What has changed is that I haven't been slaving away on editing pictures - they remain on CD's for some future use.

And regarding your last post, I understand somewhat about different screeners possibly having slightly different ideas of pass/fail criteria, but standards are standards and there really has been a wide extreme of quality accepted to rp lately.

Keep up the battle :o)

Nick

Save The Wave
03-25-2004, 10:23 PM
It's good to see this discussed. My ego has been bruised by the many rejections :lol:
Have to admit that it is very discouraging seeing pictures being accepted that were worse than the ones I have had rejected. Over the last few weeks I have started submitting only pictures which I am pretty positive will be accepted, instead of flooding the screeners with everything I shot. That is what USENET is for :wink:
It is great to see the screeners accepting the constructive criticism and working towards a resolution.

Nick, hope you're back to submitting soon :)

busyEMT
03-26-2004, 02:14 PM
My favorite peeve is bad light, I was told one of my pictures was too dark even though it was taken in setting sun light and was lit properly. Then I check the latest uploads and find something like this:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=54976



I thought this picture was very well done. It has a certain Steven King's Tommyknockers feel to it. It is refreshing to see artistic shots like this sprinkled amongst dreary, leafless tree shots of winter.

I was surprised to have this shot accepted http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=54704 due to the lighting.

CR4100
03-29-2004, 11:17 PM
I'm a bit late in joining this thread. The lack of consistency here is driving my nuts. I submitted two similar photos and had one rejected for "bad cropping" while the other was accepted. Other perfectly good photos were "too dark". It makes me wonder if the monitor used by the screener is set-up properly or if the screener looks at the thumbnail to make the decision.

I also wonder how photos that have no "nose room" such as 55472, 54479 and 54780 are accepted. Trains are moving subjects that need room to breathe otherwise the photo seem cramped. The are also photos in the database where part of the subject is cut off (55295 and 55294). In all but extreme cases, chopping off part of the main subject is an example of poor composition by the photographer and not acceptable to a site that claims to be about quality.

Nick, I think you are correct about people choosing to post elsewhere. I, for one, have been adding photos to my personal site to share with my Yahoo Groups rather than add them here. It's a shame that this is happening because there are some great photographers here.

Curtis Wininger
03-30-2004, 12:25 AM
If you are looking for answers, which photos are you asking about as far as the cropping issue?

A close up shot of a steam wheel doesn't imply movement to me. It's just a different style. There has been a lot of debate about different people liking different things.

Chris Starnes
03-30-2004, 01:41 AM
I submitted two similar photos and had one rejected for "bad cropping" while the other was accepted. Other perfectly good photos were "too dark".

Instead of worry so much about what was accepted, you could post links to these photos that were rejected for some suggestions which would greatly increase your chance of getting shots accepted in the future. We would be more than happy to elaborate on the "too dark" rejection and provide some suggestions to hopefully improve your results.

Like I said before, I see where you guys are coming from and our crew has been in discussion to see what we need to do differently. I know it is frustrating to have stuff rejected but it is also frustrating for us to see people complain about what was accepted when you could just as well be working on improving your photography skills to have your stuff accepted as well.

CTS

wirailfan
04-01-2004, 05:21 PM
"I know it is frustrating to have stuff rejected but it is also frustrating for us to see people complain about what was accepted when you could just as well be working on improving your photography skills to have your stuff accepted as well." - CTS


I think this discussion is great and long overdue. I also think the above quote is great advice. It gets easy to get into a rut doing the same shots over and over again.

My frustration comes with accepting photos that were taken on bright, sunny days only. A lot of interesting trains roll across the landscape when the clouds are obscuring the sun. I don't want to turn into the kind of photographer that stays home because the sun isn't shining brightly. If it is light enough to see the details on the side of the locomotive, isn't that acceptable light?

Maybe I'm frustrated because it's been a cloudy first quarter 2004 up in the upper Midwest! :x

I know that screening photos takes a lot of time and effort, and I want to thank all of the screeners for their hard work. :)

Darrin
04-17-2004, 05:33 AM
:( I have to through my hands up at this point. I have sent 7 pics and had all of them rejected. I get every thing form it to dark, to light, to far, bad crop, not clear. I give up. :roll:

Guilford350
04-17-2004, 05:55 PM
:( I have to through my hands up at this point. I have sent 7 pics and had all of them rejected. I get every thing form it to dark, to light, to far, bad crop, not clear. I give up. :roll:

Don't give up that easily!

Is it possible for you to show us your rejects? That way we could help.

ck5644
04-18-2004, 12:17 AM
I can understand your frustration. It certainly has become much more difficult to get shots accepted...The motto"It's very likely to be accepted" certainly doesn't seem to be true any more. It looks like this site is heading towards professional standards after all.

:( I have to through my hands up at this point. I have sent 7 pics and had all of them rejected. I get every thing form it to dark, to light, to far, bad crop, not clear. I give up. :roll:

na4m
04-18-2004, 06:17 PM
[quote]
Like I said before, I see where you guys are coming from and our crew has been in discussion to see what we need to do differently. I know it is frustrating to have stuff rejected but it is also frustrating for us to see people complain about what was accepted when you could just as well be working on improving your photography skills to have your stuff accepted as well.

CTS

As someone who is fairly new at submitting images here I must agree that there has been a noticeable increase in the inconsistency of acceptance of photos based upon my acceptances and rejections.

As for "working on improving our photo skills"... well it seems that one thing that would help us improve is to have the submission guide lines clearer.

The published guidelines at present don't seem to be what the screeners are using to accept or reject images. The email information with the rejection reason is way too cryptic. If the screeners reject images as being "too dark", "back lit", etc. we need more feedback as what the criteria is instead of just a couple of words.

Acceptable photographic images are highly subjective. Without knowing what the screeners are using for their criteria we're all just shootin' in the dark. (no pun intended!)

-Phil

Chris Starnes
04-19-2004, 01:33 AM
I think what we have posted now is as in-depth as we want to go. We are not here to give you step-by-step instructions on how to make your photos. You need to photograph these trains (or any other kind of photograhy for that matter) for YOUR own personal goals and objectives. If someone else is telling you how to shoot your shots, that limits your creativity.

If, after you make your photos, our styles or standards to not match, so be it - at least they will suit you and your standards which is all that really matters.

E3429
05-13-2004, 02:24 PM
How about one of the screeners defining 'common power'? I just had one rejected twice, first for being too dark-which to their credit, I noticed right after I hit send. Lightened it up, then it came back as 'cloudy shot of common power'. Sorry-It's not that common here to see an SD40-2, yard slug, GP39, C40W in the same lash up here. Yet there seem to be 2,733 shots of NS C40-9Ws. BNSF CW44-9s and UP SD70s show up alot around here. Are they common power now? In the 70s and 80s it was SW1200s, GP9s, and GP40s.

Lately, pretty much everything I've sent in is rejected. Back lighting, bad angle, bad cropping-and the same arguement everyone else has-"then images with the same defects show up as accepted." Oddly, quite a few of those are ones taken by screeners. Not that I actually expect that remark to help my situation, but at this point, who cares? Maybe I just need to take a break from trying to post here and work on other interests.

And before it's said, yeah, my pictures are good enough for my own tastes (most of them anyway!).

Have fun!

Cardinal1998
05-13-2004, 11:33 PM
How about one of the screeners defining 'common power'? I just had one rejected twice, first for being too dark-which to their credit, I noticed right after I hit send. Lightened it up, then it came back as 'cloudy shot of common power'. Sorry-It's not that common here to see an SD40-2, yard slug, GP39, C40W in the same lash up here. Yet there seem to be 2,733 shots of NS C40-9Ws. BNSF CW44-9s and UP SD70s show up alot around here. Are they common power now? In the 70s and 80s it was SW1200s, GP9s, and GP40s.

Yes, I agree that "common power" needs to be better defined. I have also noticed that the people who could answer this question seem to be avoiding it like the plague. They don't even seem to acknowledge that the question was even asked. As you correctly point out, "common power" varies widely.

I personally think it is absurd to reject a photo based on how common the power is. It should not matter in the least what the photo is of, being a UP SD70M, NS Dash 9, CSX AC4400CW, SP 4-8-4, SOU E8, B&O GP30, etc., so long as it is a quality photo. And, "common power" changes constantly. There will come a time, hard for the powers that be to comprehend I suppose, when shots of today's power will be admired for showing railroading as it was "back then." There is no railfan I've talked to who hasn't wished they had taken more shots "back then," whether it be the steam era, the diesel transition era, the 60's, 70's, five years ago, whatever. I am positive there was plenty of "common power" around then. So why reject on the basis of power type?

Just a few thoughts.

Chris Starnes
05-14-2004, 01:48 AM
The only real problem we have with "common power" is if it was shot in marginal lighting conditions from the standard 3/4 wedgie angle. If someone takes a nicely composed photo which includes something other than just the engine/train and the lighting is decent, we will accept it.

A few examples of what we consider common power:

BNSF C44-9Ws
NS C40-9Ws
CSX Widecab GEs
UP SD70Ms or Widecab GEs

Chris Kilroy
05-14-2004, 01:50 AM
We are not rejecting based on 'common power.'

What we are saying is that we are more likely to accept a borderline (marginal is maybe a better word) of something rare, than something very common.

As much as some people might not like to admit it, we simply don't need shots of an NS Dash 9, for example, shot under dark overcast, from a 3/4 wedge angle, in the database. Send us a GG-1 or something in those same conditions and we would probably accept it based on rarity.

JButler
05-31-2004, 03:58 PM
I am very new to this group, and really only tried to submit a photo on a whim, so I will try keep my comments to the point.

It seems that your database of photos has become fairly large, and is growing. This means you, the site owner and “screeners,” can be and are being a little more choosy about what you accept. There is nothing wrong with this, it is your site.

However, if you don’t want any more ¾ shots of CSX GE widecabs, why not just say so. To dismiss nearly all ¾ shots of CSX GE widecabs with the “poor lighting,” “poor cropping” or “common location/common power” excuse is doing a disservice to those who take the time to submit to your site and to those visitors just viewing the database. When a photo rejection is appealed and the reason for the rejection changes, (from poor lighting to soft focus or from poor lighting to common power as I experienced) submitters can figure out that you just don’t want that photo and are making any excuse not to accept it.

Lighting, cropping and even subject matter are subjective and pretty much an expression of the photographer, not a screener. If a photographer takes a photo on a foggy, overcast or rainy day and thinks it is “moody,” maybe the screener should not dismiss it just because it is not a bright sunny day. If it is in focus and properly exposed, the response of a screener, with instructions to avoid ¾ shots of CSX widecabs, should be just that, “We are avoiding ¾ photos of CSX widecab GEs at this time because we have plenty.”
The screener should not use “poor lighting” or “poor cropping” as an excuse not to accept a photo, unless it actually too dark or the subject is cropped out of the photo. Especially when anyone can look through the site and find photos that are a little dark or off center. The screeners don’t appear to have any great photography insight, just opinions, or instructions from the site owner. Some folks will take your comments as legitimate critiques and may alter what could be good shooting habits. I’m pretty much happy with my photos, so I won’t spend a lot of time trying to please a screener.
Thanks for letting me add my 2 cents worth, good luck with your site and this subject.
Jim Butler

E3429
06-01-2004, 03:23 AM
When a photo rejection is appealed and the reason for the rejection changes, (from poor lighting to soft focus or from poor lighting to common power as I experienced) submitters can figure out that you just don’t want that photo and are making any excuse not to accept it.


Exactly. Thank you.

Chris Starnes
06-01-2004, 02:31 PM
Nope - that is due to the fact that our system only allows us to reject for one reason when often times there are several things that need to be better.

If we don't want it, we'll tell you.......

Curtis Wininger
06-03-2004, 02:41 AM
Furthermore, poor lighting needs a long shutter speed which, in turn, makes the photo less sharp, which could look like soft focus. Poor lighting could make the photo blurry, or appear to have soft focus.

E3429
06-06-2004, 12:22 AM
With it closing in on 70 images here, with more than enough 'long hood end detail' shots, and questionable angles- at what point does NS 4610 become 'common power'? :roll:

Chris Starnes
06-06-2004, 02:30 AM
Until NS paints about half of its fleet in Southern Green, the 4610 will not be common power. :wink: