View Full Version : Rejected photo: How would you make it better?

05-02-2004, 05:10 PM

And don't say 'wait for the sun to come out' :wink:

It was rejected for being too dark...

But to me, that sets the mood for the shot...

I'm open to suggestions, critiques, etc...

I gotta learn somehow...

05-02-2004, 07:45 PM
Well, the clouds do play a factor, mood or not, when shooting common power. The screeners usually don't go for 'mood,' especially when it comes to common power (CSX, NS). Of my 50-something pics, the NS shots are by far the most infrequently viewed. They tend to like to see excellent lighting (i.e. sunny).

Also, the the grassy area on the bottom half of the shot can be cropped out, in addition to some of the sky. They don't like to see vast expanses of nothing.

Hope that helps. Wait for a sunny day and crop it a little closer, and you'll probably see an acceptence.

05-02-2004, 09:43 PM
No offense, but depending on your location, anything can be considered 'common power', regardless of road...

I would hate to think that our moderatoes choose to pictures simply because they include western power...

If you cropped out the sky, you'd lose the tree on the side...

I can see cropping out the grassy expanse, but wouldn't that make the train even more off centered?

Chris Kilroy
05-02-2004, 10:24 PM

You asked for advice, and Ween gave you a couple of very good tips. Rather than pick an argument with him, I would highly suggest listening to his words of wisdom.

He was spot on in his remarks regarding what the screeners look for. :)

To me, the shot is very unattractive. There's an enormous amount of dead space, an annoying set of power lines running directly across the center of the frame, and the photo is highly underexposed, making the train (the subject of the photo) very difficult to see.

Why anyone would attempt to photograph a common train in the weather conditions present in this shot (not only overcast, but dark overcast) is beyond me. Every part of the country gets its fair share of sunny days -- why not wait until the weather improves?

05-03-2004, 12:18 AM
From experience I can tell you this about lighting: Unless the photo is of something unusual they want bright sunlight. However, if you like the shot, that's all that counts..

05-03-2004, 01:14 PM
It doesn't seem to me like Robbman was picking an argument. He was simply asking a valid question in order to get a clearer idea of what is meant be common power. I too think this needs some clarification as he brings up a good point about anything being considered common power. I know of a place where the common power are RS-3s and F7s. In fact, a Dash 9 would be extremely uncommon. Plus, common power changes constantly. Steam was once very common, along with F units, GP7s, GP30s, U25Bs, etc. So, it does seem a definition is in order to clear things up.
Also, a comment was made about why anyone would shoot in that kind of weather. While I agree sunny days make for good photographs, it isn't always possible. Somehow, they still haven't invented a weather controlling machine. Sometimes you only get one day to go out. There are other obligations in this world, such a work. Why waste a day? Plus, some very good photographic possibilites exist in bad weather. Just look at some of the snow shots, one I can remember even made Photo of the Week. Should people pass them up because the sun isn't out? It seems to me a good photographer would know how to work with the lighting conditions available. I seem to remember one of the screeners in another forum saying you have to work with your environment. Weather counts as part of the environment last time I checked. It seems to me that Robbman was seeking help in how to make future photos in that situation better, and he figured he'd ask people who are pretty good at photography. While some good suggestions were made, such as the cropping issue, he got a lot of ridicule, especially from the moderator. To me, this is not helping him become a better photographer which it seems was his goal.

05-03-2004, 02:09 PM
Define 'dead space'...

I thought the purpose of a scenic shot was to include scenery... a roster shot I can understand doing some cropping... read my previous post about cropping those things out and what it would do to the picture.

Thank you Cardinal1998... I wasn't picking an argument, I was asking a legitimate question, what is considered 'common' power?

So far I've figured out that I should just wait for the sun to come out, don't include any scenery, and make sure it has foriegn ( i.e, western ) power... not very helpful in improving my photograhpy, simply more helpful in getting a picture past a screener.

The only helpful advice was to avoid power lines coming across the shot...

Curtis Wininger
05-03-2004, 04:10 PM
Take any advice you get and don't be picky when asking for it. There's nothing wrong with shooting dark photos on cloudy days. Heck, there's nothing wrong with uploading them. Don't expect much, though.

The type of power in this shot (I'm sure) had nothing to do with the decision to reject it; however, the poor lighting did. I'm sorry, but I'm going to do it. Shoot in better weather.

Dead space is the area in the photo that doesn't really matter... unfilled space. Usually that rejection reason is bad cropping.[/i]

05-03-2004, 07:11 PM
The basic problem with the shot is that it's underexposed! It's NOT the weather, it's the exposure. (How'd all you guys miss this one?)

Light meters are stupid. They don't know what they're looking at and they'll try to balance the whole shot out to neutral gray. If you have cloudy sky and don't compensate for it, the picture will turn out dark.

Similarly, if shoot againt a dark background, you'll wind up overexposing.

Easy method for getting the exposure right is to meter the palm of you hand and then stop down an F stop.

You can fix this photo easily in MS Photo Editor. Just go to the + side on gamma and it'll look a lot better.

The composition of this photo is a matter of taste. There is nothing wrong with it aesthetically, but it is not most of the screener's cup of tea.

Curtis Wininger
05-03-2004, 08:30 PM
How'd all you guys miss this one?

... because it wouldn't have made it much better to have been properly exposed but blurry, or properly exposed with shallow DoF. Personally, for this shot, I think it's just too dark. Maybe someth other shot would have worked. That's a good point though.

05-04-2004, 02:09 AM
At least Oltmannd is giving advice that is worthwhile. Someone is finally trying to explain how to work WITH the weather rather than around it.
If you have a digital camera, play around with the settings until you get lighting you like in the display. Click the shot just to make sure; you can erase it off with no loss. The trick is to make sure it is set to a fast enough speed to capture the train as sharply as you want. Blurry can be a good effect, if done right. It'll take a bit of trial and error, but that is the learning process.
It seems very disturbing to me that the moderator and a screener are some of the least encouraging. Whether they intend to or not, they give off a "take my advice or else" attitude. This isn't very helpful to people who are looking for help and advice.

05-04-2004, 02:21 AM
The only helpful advice was to avoid power lines coming across the shot...

What are you looking for with your shots? To make them better in general or to make them pass the screening test to get accepted on RP? The advice I gave will help you out with the latter. I've been around long enough to see what they like and what they don't like, what gets accepted and what doesn't. Listen to the other guys if you want to improve in general (I know nothing about metering, gamma, etc).

By your statement above, you're indicating that the answers you were given were not what you wanted to hear. When you write:

I'm open to suggestions, critiques, etc...

I gotta learn somehow...

live by it; take the advice and apply it. Don't get defensive. Your replies are not coming from someone who is 'open to suggestions, critiques.' Your statements might drive other people from jumping in and offering their advice.

05-04-2004, 02:44 AM
How'd all you guys miss this one?

... because it wouldn't have made it much better to have been properly exposed but blurry, or properly exposed with shallow DoF. Personally, for this shot, I think it's just too dark. Maybe someth other shot would have worked. That's a good point though.

Unless he was shooting very slow film, a normal (50mm) lens shot at that distance would not have presented a depth of field or shutter speed problem. a 1/125 at F 2 would have done it quite nicely.

Personally, I would have preferred a different composition for that shot, but it's preference, not a matter of right and wrong.


Curtis Wininger
05-04-2004, 03:01 AM
Yeah... there was a problem in trying to say exactly what to do about that without knowing the specs of everything. Over 200 ISO film starts to stink. I think 2.8 would be a little too big, but maybe not. It would be interesting to see what would have happened.