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-   -   PC Voting Thread (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=7540)

ken45 06-09-2008 09:41 PM

PC Voting Thread
 
With the recent start-ups of a pair of rail-photo critique blogs, it got me started thinking about a discussion thread I've pondered in the past that I think I'll guage interest in. While I enjoy critiquing photos as much as the next person, I really don't want to invest the time in actually starting a blog. Rather, I'd prefer running discussions on here.

My idea is simple. Each week, participants in the thread would share their PC votes for the previous week (but before the actual results came out) and discuss why they found those photos worthy of their vote. This would encourage a different sort of discussion on these forums beyond the usual "How should I crop this" and "What does composition/balance mean". Discussion in this thread could help inexperienced photographers understand how to take their photography to a higher level, as well as allowing more experienced and talented photographers to see things in a new light. It has been brought up in the past about having photographers be informed of whether their photos received any PC votes. This thread would do that in a minor way, and allow us to publically tip our caps to a job well-done by various photographers. I also must admit that I'm curious as to how the other members of this forum define a top-notch photo.

I'm starting this thread simply to guage interest in having this sort of discussion on these forums. If there was sufficient interest, I'm not sure about whether a single running thread would be preferrable or a new thread weekly for each discussion. The running thread would not have to burden anyone with starting the thread each week, but would become unwieldy over time. Does anyone have any thoughts on this, positive or negative? After this post, I will lead off with my PC votes for this week, just to show sort of what I have in mind.

ken45 06-09-2008 10:03 PM

Last week there were a great number of excellent shots posted to RP. I had to narrow about 9 likely photos down to a choice 4. Normally, I only have 2-3 worthy photos that I vote for.

[photoid=237983]

For vote 1, there was no way I could turn down John Wests outstanding moody shot of stored boxcars on the frozen desert. This shot appeals to me in a number of ways. I love the desolation and loneliness of it. A locomotive lends so much life to photos, that the lack of one in this shot makes the boxcars seem all the more forlorn. The sky is excellent and the muted colors makes the photo all the more bleak. Is it the end of the line for these boxcars? If so, what a place to spend ones final days!

[photoid=238102]

Next up is Burghman's SC along the CP. Throwing in a body of water to reflect the train in scores big points with the screeners and me too. I also like the nice overall balance this shot has with regards to composition, with the shot cropped at all the right points. Just a real nice mountain scene.

[photoid=238027]

I'd been thinking about the potential of similar shots to this, with a silhoutted train against a lighter background but not the sky. Then I came across this one. I think the idea works well with steam. You get the classic profile, the plume of smoke, yet the background offers a little more to look at than just plain sky. Certainly a different view of Helmstetters.

[photoid=238327]

Finally, this week's showstopper for me. I fell in love with this shot from the moment I saw it. It's a very historic shot (you really have to look to find something modern) that hearkens back to the decline of railroads golden age. The first thing that hit me was the color. It reminds me a lot of some of the slides I've seen from the late 60's by such photographers as Don Ball. Secondly, the scene has a storyline in the empty baggage carts, the G tucked back into lesser prominence, it could seemingly represent when passengers were leaving the rails for the skies and highways with the dying rails as an afterthought. Having a background in shadow pushes only the important aspects of the shot to prominence. A time-machine photo without the charter.

ottergoose 06-09-2008 10:17 PM

[photoid=237854]

A busy schedule last week limited my browsing quite a bit. The one shot that did manage to catch my eye was this one. The light, snow, and F units are amazing (and a polite request to diminish the watermark was acted upon). Throw in the fact that they're CNW, and I couldn't resist nominating it. I really dig the fact that it's (presumedly) a busy station and there's not a person to be seen. I really hope it ends up in the top 4.

travsirocz 06-10-2008 03:51 AM

Great idea. I would really be interested in doing that here and think it is a great idea! I will add more later. Tired. :wink:

WembYard 06-10-2008 03:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travsirocz
Great idea. I would really be interested in doing that here and think it is a great idea! I will add more later. Tired. :wink:

Same here, will come back when I have a little more time and looked up my choices for last week.

JRMDC 06-10-2008 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ken45
[photoid=238027]

I'd been thinking about the potential of similar shots to this, with a silhoutted train against a lighter background but not the sky. Then I came across this one. I think the idea works well with steam. You get the classic profile, the plume of smoke, yet the background offers a little more to look at than just plain sky. Certainly a different view of Helmstetters.

Nice idea!

Regarding the silhouette (killer word to spell correctly!), a similar treatment was done by one of the recent CRPA contest-winning shots, also with steam. It's a very effective technique, isn't it!

http://www.railphoto-art.org/award_2008/gold3.html

JimThias 06-10-2008 01:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ottergoose
[photoid=237854]

A busy schedule last week limited my browsing quite a bit. The one shot that did manage to catch my eye was this one. The light, snow, and F units are amazing (and a polite request to diminish the watermark was acted upon). Throw in the fact that they're CNW, and I couldn't resist nominating it. I really dig the fact that it's (presumedly) a busy station and there's not a person to be seen. I really hope it ends up in the top 4.

I'd vote for that shot, but the unlevel nature of it is a bit distracting to my eyes. :twisted:

travsirocz 06-11-2008 06:03 PM

I can't believe for people haven't responded to this post. It is a great way to see what other photos people like and way to get the good photos that I may have missed looking thru all the thumbnails. It may also encourage more PCA voting. I bet the photos that win the PCA awards have less then 30 - 50 PCA votes.

Ken, what if every week you start a new post with the PCA dates that we will be doing. Great idea.

Joe the Photog 06-11-2008 06:15 PM

I seem to be very stingy with PCAs lately. I don't have any selected for this week and only two fornext --

[photoid=238744]
[photoid=238798]


Joe

John West 06-13-2008 09:28 PM

I like the idea. One of the more fascinating things about RP is why people like what pix. Clearly the pix that appeal to me are not always the ones that appeal to others. Indeed it is often surprising how big the gap is between personal preference and group preference. And this kind of thread would provide some insight beyond the mere statistics.

It also focuses on positive stuff since the comment is about pix you like not the ones you don't. And that avoids some of the angst associated with negative criticism. While it is good to take pictures for yourself, it is also helpful to better understand what appeals to others, since fundamentally the whole point of taking pix is to share them.

It will probably not be a very standardized process, because I suspect there are huge differences in how much time folks spend browsing the new posts.
Some days I look at them all and fill up all the PCA boxes, other days I'm too busy and don't even open up the site.

Will be interesting to see what evolves.

WembYard 06-14-2008 04:19 PM

Sorry its been a couple of days, but here goes (this is for the week that ends tomorrow)

[photoid=238096]

I love pictures of trains in the landscape and could often quite happily fill all my choices with such photos. This one particularly appeals due to the way that the rails lead the eye to the train and the slight smoke haze shows that the locos are working hard.

[photoid=238582]

More big scenery. Also this one, to me, depicts something that happens nearly all over the world - the freight train waiting for the passenger train to pass. The man standing by the freight loco watching the other train is a nice touch.

[photoid=238519]

Another weakness of mine, street running with bonus points for a smaller loco giving that brancline feel. The jeep shows the size difference between train and road vehicle and I like the way that the train is in focus whilst the jeep is not.

[photoid=238494]

Yup, more scenery! Although this is Greece, the way that the viaduct is "inserted" into the rock face reminds me of Switzerland a favourite country of mine.

Mike B. 06-14-2008 07:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John West
It also focuses on positive stuff since the comment is about pix you like not the ones you don't. And that avoids some of the angst associated with negative criticism. While it is good to take pictures for yourself, it is also helpful to better understand what appeals to others, since fundamentally the whole point of taking pix is to share them.

I agree with everything you said except for the portion in bold. I know a lot of people can't stand the thought of taking a photo and not letting anyone see it, but how is the point of photography to let other people see what you shoot? Isn't the point of photography to take a photos that the author likes? Once he/she has taken the photos, it's up to them to do what they want with them.

I know I sure am not taking all these photos to share them. I take them because I enjoy it and it's a pleasant challenge. Sharing is an afterthought for me.

To try to keep this thread on topic, here are a couple of photos I liked.
[photoid=239328] [photoid=239279]

Joe the Photog 06-14-2008 08:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike B.
[photoid=239279]

Interesting. I voted forthat one as my third PCA either last night or early this morning. Glad to see I'm notthe only one giving Toccoa some love.


Joe

Mgoldman 06-14-2008 08:58 PM

And to think - till now David was telling his friends, "yeah, I liked this photo a lot but it was a flop, not a single comment on RP..."

[photoid=239279]

/Mitch

Joe the Photog 06-14-2008 09:39 PM

Point granted, Mitch.

ken45 06-16-2008 04:43 PM

Another week of interesting submissions. I once again found 4 shots that I gave a PCA vote to.

[photoid=238798]

AB2 got a vote from me this week, although that's hardly unusual for me. This shot was a late addition bumping another shot that while I liked, didn't feel it was railroady enough for me. It's actually pretty hard for me to put a finger on one exact thing that I like about this photo. It's a very unique shot that just "feels right"

[photoid=238933]

Not only is this a beautifully scenic shot, but is one of the most balanced compositions I have encountered. A very comfortable shot to view in that my eye tends to make a U through the scene, taking it all in. Objects of interest can be found in all locations of the picture making this great shot one of my favorites along this obscure branchline.

[photoid=239211]

Tim Tonge got another vote from me for this shot of the circus train at dusk. I'm a big fan of dusk lighting after sundown when longer exposures get you rich purples and blues in the sky. The warm glow of the headlight and the interesting train behind complete the scene, but even without the circus train this one probably still nabs my vote.

[photoid=239039]

Finally I voted for this straight scenery shot by Steve Armitage. As a Civil Engineer, I love shots that pit man vs. nature. The rugged gorge, twising alignment, and large bridge tell me a story of an engineering struggle with the train representing triumph. The patchy clouds complete this shot.

RicHamilton 06-16-2008 06:57 PM

OK here are my choices and why

[photoid=238899]
The white building with the red loco popping out from behind a dying old grain elevator, the green grass and blue sky.

[photoid=238865]
I found that the fog made this shot for me. The implied motion from the streaks and glow of the lights were great.

[photoid=238864]
Even with the foregroud "clutter" I find this shot interesting because of the range of colours and the different approach to including the distant side signals om the rar right side of the photo.

[photoid=239086]
I just flat out love these shots and the implied desolation of this one with the fog or dust rising up caught my eye.

ottergoose 06-30-2008 06:09 AM

Well, I forgot the whole "post before the results" aspect of this, so I've got a double dose for this post.

[photoid=239603]
This one ended up getting it, and it doesn't take much to figure out why. Any shot that tickles my fancy as a weather weenie and a railfan is good, but when they're combined so well I can't help but vote.

[photoid=240280]
This is probably one of the best going away / sunset shots that I've seen... how it still has less than 400 views and didn't get a PCA is beyond me. The atmosphere, light, and color are great... another "lost" gem, I suppose.

Now, for the round of shots that hasn't been announced yet...

[photoid=240511]
There are a few things that could have made this shot a bit better, but, I still enjoyed it. The obs/dome, neon, and glint are great.

[photoid=240551]
I'm a sucker for night shots too, and this one's pretty slick. I wish the crop was a bit different, but the architecture and reflections are stunning.

[photoid=240673]
[photoid=240481]
Asides from being the nicest guy I ever met in the disputed territory near the Oklahoma / Arkansas border, John Ryan's one helluva photographer. 2 nominations sent his way this week. One for excellent use of clouds and cityscapes, the other for being so original and pleasing to look at.

Who else is getting votes this week?

ken45 06-30-2008 03:43 PM

I forgot to post last week's nominations myself. Too bad so few people are taking part in this thread.

[photoid=239629]

What I like about this shot I pretty much summed up in the comments section. What sets this apart from so many other reflection shots is the fact that the train is lit up while all other parts of the scene are dark. This isolates only the train and it's reflection. Very nice shot.

[photoid=239603]

What can I say? It's simply an amazing shot that I could only dream about taking. (But I'll certainly try!)

[photoid=239884]

Nice composition, great color, crisp shot...a typical Belmont photo. Very striking photo.

[photoid=239977]

Finally I sent my 4th vote to Nscalemike with this well-captured image of the Grandluxe train leaving Las Vegas. Love the soft, muted colors of the desert in the evening, and this shot does a great job of showing why I love the desert and why this is my favorite time of year in the desert. Just a real special shot, IMO.

JRMDC 06-30-2008 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ken45
Too bad so few people are taking part in this thread.

I'm not able to contribute much here; I only get a chance to review a small fraction of all the shots. So this thread is a good place to come, and I thank you guys for it. Sorry I have little to contribute.

stevenmwelch 06-30-2008 04:38 PM

I'll post here my choices for the week...

[photoid=240463]

I have a fetish for a good time exposure, and Nick hit the 'g-spot' in that one. Love the sky, the skyline, and the reflections on the water.

[photoid=240370]

Like I stated before, the fetish for time exposures. I'm a huge IC&E fan (yet never seen it in real life) but this shot is just great.

[photoid=239603]

The lightening made the shot. Without it it's an excellent shot, but the lightening just pushed it over that good/great hump for me.

[photoid=239204]

I love Mr. Belmont's work, and this might be his best. Seeing this shot, it has finalized my decision in going to Solider Summit this August on my way to Chicago. ;-)

ken45 06-30-2008 05:05 PM

I forgot to post last week's entries. Only two for the week.

[photoid=240511]

I too enjoyed this shot which hearkens to the halcyon days of streamliners. Not too bad as far as sunsets go, but the lit drumhead makes the shot.

[photoid=240463]

Nick Benson has been posting some great stuff as of late. When a photographer submits a series of photos with a common theme, I will generally pick the one I like best for the PC Vote. I think this dusk shot is the best of the bunch. I'm a big fan of well composed and executed light streak shots and this is one right here. The warm feel from the lights is also a plus.

[photoid=241031]

And then there was this one I just stumbled upon. I don't know how I missed this one when it was first added but I just love it. I am a huge fan of using interesting shadows to really add interest to a photo, frequently doing that myself. Here the looming shadows just emphasize the train, who's color really jumps out in this photo. But the shadow isn't just dead space...it's got nice texture too. Very well-done shot.


In hindsight, I thought this last week was pretty slow for excellent photos. But a last second look through uncovered some gems.

John West 06-30-2008 05:11 PM

Here are some during the past (more or less) seven days that caught my eye.

[photoid=240942]

[photoid=241098]

[photoid=241011]

[photoid=240902]

[photoid=240673]

[photoid=240535]

[photoid=240511]

[photoid=240455]

Now to pick four for PCA's

travsirocz 06-30-2008 05:18 PM

[photoid=239603]

I haven't posted because I feel bad. I haven't been selecting many PCA lately like I use to do. I will have to get my butt in gear since I appreciate any PCA votes that are given to me.

The shot above is one of those shots that would be really hard to reproduce. I have tried to shoot lightining before and failed. The whole overall shot and colors are great.

JimThias 06-30-2008 06:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
I seem to be very stingy with PCAs lately. I don't have any selected for this week and only two fornext --

[photoid=238744]

Joe and anyone else who voted...can you explain why you thought this shot was worthy of a PCA? Without the ordinary looking girl sitting there, does this shot still get a PCA? Was that the deal breaker?


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