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JRMDC 10-17-2009 01:53 AM

Pro vs Anti RP
 
I was going to post this in another thread but I have decided to start a new one.

************

Quote:

Originally Posted by henfiet (Post 101197)
To save myself from having to make a second post, I did indeed once have pictures on this website a long time ago. I, like so many other excellent photographers out there, got tired of the usual BS from the screeners, and had the photos promptly deleted from the database.

Putting aside hen's expansive narrative and contributions - and, frankly, in retrospect, by far the most interesting question about his presence here recently is just why was he here, what was he trying to accomplish and/or experience???? - one thing I note is that there seems to be some latent hostility toward RP from what I will call the 'old crowd.'

I am not talking about the multi-reject crybabies or the Rats, I am talking about a group of photographers, older is my perception, that got it into their heads some years ago that RP was not accepting what they considered good photography. Now, my casual view is that was true. In particular, I perceive a substantial expansion of what is considered acceptable photography over the years I have participated here. I think if some of those people came to RP for a fresh look with truly open minds, that they would form a substantially different impression. I think some people put RP into a mental category years ago and they haven't bothered to check to see if that is currently accurate.

Along with this is the undeniable fact that it takes time to get past all the low value basic shots that RP chooses to accept. I think that some people can't get past that RP has best/near-best shots of a more artistic kind and best/near-best pure wedgies, both in the mix, and the latter make it hard to see the quality of the former. And they judge the site down, because they would like RP to be primarily about the former, and in terms of volume it isn't. And back in the day it was even harder to find the good stuff because there was a smaller proportion of it than there is now. And back in the day impressions were made, and impressions can last.

I suspect - with NO evidence whatsoever (none for any of this, just my impressions/observations) - that there might be a generational issue also, older RR photo veterans (of widely varying ability, I might add) with their great experience in rail photography looking at all the relative newbies and thinking less than fully welcoming thoughts, perhaps subconsciously. And beyond that, just think of all those people under 30, under 25, with outstanding work here, and think of what someone older and less talented might feel. And I suspect that the younger crowd is more of an RP crowd and the older crowd, less so. Gazillions of older photographers have no interest in doing the RP thing.

I also suspect, or at least wonder, whether the higher technical standards of the digital world, with its high sharpness, its ability to make adjustments for level and exposure and what not, puts them off. They learned how to do slides well, they accepted what someone here in their signature calls something like "25% focus accuray and we learned to like it", that sort of thing, and they see the new digitally-related focus on high standards for rather narrow or less-artistic technical characteristics of images, and they say too much! Irrelevant!

Let's put aside for now any comments, for example from Jim Thias, that RP is actually not so strict, for example on level shots. :)

And there are certainly dimensions of RP standards that one can have reasonable disagreements about. Is it really so bad that half of a V-nose shape on the front of a standard wedgie appear in shadow, does that really trash a shot to the point that it gets called, misguidedly, "backlit" (how about "poorly sidelit")? Yes, that is one of my pet peeves, I'm sure everyone has their own, and they are all different. :)

So, I am saying there is old and new, older and younger, film and digital, etc., and it doesn't sink in well with some that RP has been around, and they don't necessarily appreciate the good side, which is extensive.

These are purely speculations of mine, what say you all, anything worthwhile? Does this meet any of your experience? Am I full of it?

Ween 10-17-2009 04:25 AM

Quote:

Let's put aside for now any comments, for example from Jim Thias, that RP is actually not so strict, for example on level shots.
Is it legal to use 'for example' twice in the same sentence? :D

Generational differences abound in every aspect of life...it's not going to be any different in this hobby.

John West 10-17-2009 06:52 AM

I get a lot of good chuckles from the anti-RP crowd. I suspect a lot of issues are at work. Obviously the screeners are forced to exercise a lot of judgement, all of which leaves lots of opportunity for offense for any number of reasons. There is also probably a generational gap kind of thing...some folks were good at film but are still adapting to puters. But I think RP is winning. The print media is struggling, and I see more and more first class images on RP, some by "known" names, others by new folks with real talent, hidden among the all too large volume of mediocre images that seem to get accepted because there is no "objective" reasons to reject them. If I were to make one change, it would be to raise the quality bar.

milwman 10-17-2009 12:03 PM

[quote=John West;101228"objective" reasons to reject them. If I were to make one change, it would be to raise the quality bar.[/QUOTE]

Thats the tuff part as I see it, Quality? Just what is it, Cropping? Colors? Time of day? 3/4 shots? How unique the shot is or how much work it was to get it. We all see and want a shot to look the way we see it. It's the Art of the way you see a shot and why we try so hard to get some on here. We all see art we don't like or don't get but is it still art to some. I think they would be better off by making a new page of most artful shots that gets some of the meets the grade but isn't art full, but a nice photo on a page of there own?

The more I think of this the more i like it!

KevinM 10-17-2009 01:26 PM

I'm an Engineer, not an Artist. I like pursuits in which quality can be measured as opposed to being totally subjective. With that background, I'm not in favor of RP changing its standards unless, as Richard suggested, they add a page for the artful. I doubt anything I've ever shot would qualify for inclusion there.

As for whether RP's current standards are too narrow, I think one could easily argue that they turn away stuff that many would consider quality shots or artful shots. We must remember however, that RP is a business of sorts and the management team has to define the product they think will sell...and so far, they seem to have filled a niche in the web market. I personally like the high standard, because it has pushed me to a standard of quality that is way beyond what the average shutterbug is capable of. When friends of mine look at my pictures, they marvel at lighting, composition, color etc....and my stuff is pretty mediocre compared to much of what I see here. I wouldn't have gotten to where I am without the Drill Sergeants (Screeners) beating me up.

As to improvements that could be made.... Two things:

The first is something that has been brought up previously...and shot to shreds :lol:. One of the reasons we all come here is feedback. There's no denying the fact that photographers like RP because we can see if people find our stuff interesting. For that reason, we all look at viewcounts as a measure of how well we stack up. I like the concept of presenting thumbs to the RP audience...people who actually come to the site....and letting them decide if a picture is interesting enough to view full size. I'm not at all fond of the concept of posting on RP, then spending the next hour posting "Thanks for Looking" links on Altamont Press, Trains, Trainorders etc etc. and there's clearly a minority segment here that has taken to doing that. I prefer the idea of letting the RP audience decide who takes more interesting pictures, not who is the better promoter. If I were RP Editor for a day, I'd allow linking ad-nauseum, but the viewcounts displayed would only show RP audience activity.

The second is derailment shots and wreck pictures. Ban 'em :lol:. I don't believe that most of these represent "The Best Railroad Photos on the 'Net" and they don't show our primary focus (the railroads and railroaders) in the best of "light". Most wrecks are due to human error and hanging that stuff out there just demeans and embarrasses the very people who make railroading happen. In all honesty, most wreck postings come across as taking advantage of someone's misfortune for the sake of some views. Perhaps that is human nature. :(

Just my $.02. ;-)

trainboysd40 10-17-2009 01:34 PM

Hey now Kevin, my average views per photo would be like 5 or 10 lower if it wasn't for the one derailment shot I have on! I did my best to frame it well, too ;)

ottergoose 10-17-2009 02:58 PM

The anti-RP folks I've run into seem to fit into two categories - the intentionally inexperienced: "I just want to be out taking pictures, I don't want to learn everything it takes to post-process 'professionally,'" and the experienced: "I've been getting pictures published in Trains since 1963, I'll be damned if some kid in a basement tells me my shots are good or not." I suppose there are the crackpots who don't fall into those two categories "CK hates me," "AB(2) loves so-and-so," "they don't allow enough post processing," etc.

The intentionally inexperienced enjoy the hobby the way they want to, send their stuff to Flickr or RRPictureArchives, and are completely content. It's fine for them to enjoy the hobby however they want to.

The experienced folks wish they could get their stuff accepted but got sick of the process, which I think can be pretty aggravating and inconsistent, especially if you have a significant amount of experience in railroad photography outside of RP, and don't last long enough to get a feel for what all of the rejection reasons actually mean. These guys show their work at slideshows, publish it in books or magazines, and a few of them upload to Flickr.

The guys who do make it on RP get a kick out of the instant feedback, some enjoy the challenge of getting a top shot (artistic merit, successful spam, inclusion of a female, etc.), and like that their work, in some cases hours after a photo was made, can be seen by thousands of people. They realize that talented photographers here don't all have names you've seen printed on calendars, book covers, or under photos in Trains, and that some of them are pretty damn good given their perceived lack of experience. Most importantly, they're willing to put up with some BS from the process here, because the enjoyment of being successful here is less enraging than the process of having good photos rejected.

The issue of link spamming is pretty easy to counter - judge your success by the number of positive comments and favorites that your shot generates. Boom, problem solved.

The problem with "raising the bar" is that you wouldn't be able to replicate the mentoring effect that the site's had for many of the guys who really cut their teeth here. Had RP not accepted some of my shoddier work, I don't know how likely it is that I'd be as interested or successful in railroad photography as I am now. I'd be interested to know if that holds true for anyone else, or if that's a good enough reason for maintaining the quality status quo.

Andrew Blaszczyk (2) 10-17-2009 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 101205)
. . . I suspect - with NO evidence whatsoever (none for any of this, just my impressions/observations) - that there might be a generational issue also, older RR photo veterans (of widely varying ability, I might add) with their great experience in rail photography looking at all the relative newbies and thinking less than fully welcoming thoughts, perhaps subconsciously. And beyond that, just think of all those people under 30, under 25, with outstanding work here, and think of what someone older and less talented might feel. And I suspect that the younger crowd is more of an RP crowd and the older crowd, less so. Gazillions of older photographers have no interest in doing the RP thing. . . .

I call it God's-gift-to-railroad-photography syndrome and most of the "seasoned" railroad photographers that I hear, meet or read suffer from it. They are the guys who think their photos are the BEST ever and do not suffer from one flaw. It is still perfect regardless of whether it is slightly backlit or the scan has a speck of dust on it. It is often because of the subject matter too. Remember, the "good old" days are gone so everything is "boring" now. Rejecting a cloudy shot of DRGW or SP power is sacrilige to some people even though sometimes all it needs is a little brightening; it becomes personal. To them getting an unlevel horizon rejection would be a slap in the face rather than what it is, a casual "hey, this photo needs a little bit of rotation to make it perfect or acceptable" comment. It's mostly overreaction probably because the admins of the site are twice as young as them and they take it as a personal issue rather than the picture being unlevel.

As much as I love hearing positive feedback about RP, I absolutely LOVE hearing people bash it without good reason. "A buddy of mine had this awesome photo rejected one time so I don't even bother." "You have to be in the in-crowd to have photos accepted." (I don't know everyone who I've accepted a photo from personally.) "They're way too picky over there at RP." The latter is pretty pathetic when you consider that a 9 or 10 year old girl has had a photo of the week here<i>!</i> and there are countless teenagers who have had shots accepted.

Bryant Kaden 10-17-2009 04:09 PM

What I value the most about this site is that I can search for something I'm interested in (say a shot of a particular locomotive or at a particular location) and be guaranteed a good or even great image of what I'm looking for. Sure, they may not all be "art," but I think there is enough variety in the db now that you can find pretty much anything you're looking for.

I appreciate those who are "pushing the envelope" of railroad photography, but I think there should also be room for those who take a more documentary approach. For instance, one of my favorite photographers on the site is Kevin Piper. Not only is he recording contemporary railroading as a railroader himself, but he's got a great collection of roster shots that I personally enjoy. I wouldn't consider many of his shots "art," but I think they are a unique and valuable addition to the db nonetheless. I would hate to see those sorts of images excluded simply because they're not artistic enough.

Dennis A. Livesey 10-17-2009 05:12 PM

Janusz, as usual, a very thoughtful post. I've spent the last hour thinking.

At Train Festival 2009, I ran into a couple of photographers (+40 years of age) who adamantly refused to post to RP and I went away feeling frustrated not being able to see their work.

My wish would be that RP became the place for all rail photographers to display their good work for all to enjoy. While everyone has the right to do what they wish, unshared passion is a loss to our culture. The thought that fabulous images are locked away in someone's files, never to be seen, is too lugubrious for me to contemplate.

(I know one person here would accuse me of the same thing, hoarding my photos. All I can say right now is, "I'm working on it!")

Certainly calcified behavior keeps some from adapting to the future and coming on RP. But also it's the newbie, young or old, who can't get past the rejection learning process.

However, screening is what makes RP unique and valuable. Witness Kevin, or Nick or myself who got much better learning at RP school.

I love RP because I finally get to show off for thousands of people. In the good ole' days the only national show was being in Trains or Railfan. But unless you had a super shot, or news, or a feature article, there was no way the magazines could show all the good photography there was out there. 90% of fans such as myself had no outlet for all our creative juices. RP allows does what the local club slide show could never do. What was once a frustrating impossibility has now miraculously occurred: I now can be amazed by incredible images from around the world I never would have seen and likewise the world sees my work. That is the wonder of the internet at it's best.

Dennis A. Livesey 10-17-2009 05:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ottergoose (Post 101250)
The problem with "raising the bar" is that you wouldn't be able to replicate the mentoring effect that the site's had for many of the guys who really cut their teeth here. Had RP not accepted some of my shoddier work, I don't know how likely it is that I'd be as interested or successful in railroad photography as I am now. I'd be interested to know if that holds true for anyone else, or if that's a good enough reason for maintaining the quality status quo.

Nick, a very good point. Already too many people perceive RP as an ''elitist club of snobs." I think RP would lose in the long run. But I must agree with John to the extant that wading though someone's countless wedgies to get to their good stuff is annoying.

RP standards are not the end all be all. They are actually rather middle of the road. Yes, there is arty stuff but not exclusively, and there is common stuff but at least an acceptable technical level.

So yeah, after slumming yesterday though several anti-RP diatribes that seemed to exist mostly because someone didn't have anything else to do, I've come to the not-original conclusion you can't please everybody.

AntD. 10-17-2009 05:26 PM

I'll admit, at first I was a complete Anti back when I really didn't understand the whole "quaility" idea, and was rejected time after time again. Now I'm a Pro RP member with 47 and counting photos on the DB. It's also funny how now looking back at it, my first few photos that were accepted I wish I could go back and edit them because the look poor to me now LOL!

It just takes time and lots of practice & patience! And I'm the type of person with very little patience!

EMTRailfan 10-17-2009 05:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AntD. (Post 101264)
It's also funny how now looking back at it, my first few photos that were accepted I wish I could go back and edit them because the look poor to me now LOL!


You can as long as you still have your originals, and then goto the resubmit in your Members' Section and re-upload the new version to replace the old.

Dennis A. Livesey 10-17-2009 06:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevinM (Post 101243)
... they add a page for the artful. I doubt anything I've ever shot would qualify for inclusion there.

,..and my stuff is pretty mediocre compared to much of what I see here. I wouldn't have gotten to where I am without the Drill Sergeants (Screeners) beating me up.

<a href="http://plugin.smileycentral.com/http%253A%252F%252Fwww.smileycentral.com%252F%253F partner%253DZSzeb008%255F%2526i%253D4%252F4%255F9% 255F7%2526feat%253Dprof/page.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/4/4_9_7.gif" image.gif"></a>


:-D

travsirocz 10-17-2009 06:17 PM

What has RP done?
Two of the best from my last page.
[photoid=201985]
[photoid=201687]
Two selected from my first page.
[photoid=300155]
[photoid=299717]


RP has also caused great distress to my wallet (gas, camera gear). I would be no where as passionate about photography in general without this site. I have been shooting for myself as a hobby since I was 13. I thought they were good but found out others thought differently from the screeners and on the forums. This caused me to try and improve and strive to shoot better each time I went out. This site was a push in the right direction. Besides the "game" of getting shots accepted, once they are on the site the game of how many views, awards, favorites, comments kick in. You could do this at sites like flickr also but its like a 100 to 1 in views. 50 views there is like 5,000 here. The regulation make my enjoyment of the site much higher. Also, in the beginning - I really hated the f****** screeners. I did! That has changed, atleast most days.

Some people just do not have the drive to move forward. I have the drive to not be left behind.

John West 10-17-2009 06:29 PM

Voyages of discovery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey (Post 101261)
The thought that fabulous images are locked away in someone's files, never to be seen, is too lugubrious for me to contemplate.

One of the really fun aspects of RP for me is it gives me an excuse to dig through 50 years worth of slides, many of which are long forgotten. Just the passage of time has made many mediocre pix from long ago all of a sudden much more interesting. And Photoshop provides some tools to help fix some of the flaws.

With regard to my earlier comment about "raising the bar." I agree there are lots of issues since after all it is an inherently subjective thing, and different pix appeal to different people. Mitch Goldman talked about the "hidden gems" many moons ago. I continue to find all kinds of hidden gems, and wonder why they didn't get an SC, top shot, PCA, or some such recognition to help raise them to the top of the pile. I would encourage the screeners to be more free with SC's, since for many of us that is the primary gateway to sorting the interesting from the other stuff. But in the same breath, I would suggest the screeners try harder to "think outside of the box" to avoid the cliche's.

Having said all that, perhaps I can now ask Dennis to explain exactly what "lugubrious" means.:wink:

travsirocz 10-17-2009 06:41 PM

Still, I would love to see a weekly or daily or bi weekly hidden gem award.

Dennis A. Livesey 10-17-2009 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John West (Post 101274)
Having said all that, perhaps I can now ask Dennis to explain exactly what "lugubrious" means.:wink:

I was channeling my inner Beebe!
:lol:

JRMDC 10-17-2009 06:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ottergoose (Post 101250)
The problem with "raising the bar" is that you wouldn't be able to replicate the mentoring effect that the site's had for many of the guys who really cut their teeth here. Had RP not accepted some of my shoddier work, I don't know how likely it is that I'd be as interested or successful in railroad photography as I am now. I'd be interested to know if that holds true for anyone else, or if that's a good enough reason for maintaining the quality status quo.

This is a feature of RP greatly underappreciated outside the RP-participating realm.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey (Post 101263)
But I must agree with John to the extant that wading though someone's countless wedgies to get to their good stuff is annoying.

The "wade" is the price we pay for having a site that provides (free!) guidance and inspiration for rail photographers, us and others. Without the plain wedgies as being sort-of a "minor league" for photography development, you don't get people rising to the better stuff. (None of this should be perceived as denigrating those who shoot or enjoy looking at the plain wedgies; there are many valuable facets to any human activity.)

milwman 10-17-2009 07:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AntD. (Post 101264)

It just takes time and lots of practice & patience! And I'm the type of person with very little patience!

Think you seen the light from the looks of your last photo.:-D

Dennis A. Livesey 10-17-2009 07:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 101279)
The "wade" is the price we pay for having a site that provides (free!) guidance and inspiration for rail photographers, us and others. Without the plain wedgies as being sort-of a "minor league" for photography development, you don't get people rising to the better stuff. (None of this should be perceived as denigrating those who shoot or enjoy looking at the plain wedgies; there are many valuable facets to any human activity.)

Agreed.



(I annoy myself too easliy:o)

Dennis A. Livesey 10-17-2009 07:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travsirocz (Post 101272)
What has RP done?

I like how Travis illustrated photographer growth so well.

My last page:

[photoid=83465]
[photoid=83408]

My first page:
[photoid=291651]
[photoid=300132]
[photoid=300429]
[photoid=292635]
[photoid=300138]
[photoid=299477]

cblaz 10-17-2009 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey (Post 101263)
But I must agree with John to the extant that wading though someone's countless wedgies to get to their good stuff is annoying.

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 101279)
The "wade" is the price we pay for having a site that provides (free!) guidance and inspiration for rail photographers, us and others. Without the plain wedgies as being sort-of a "minor league" for photography development, you don't get people rising to the better stuff. (None of this should be perceived as denigrating those who shoot or enjoy looking at the plain wedgies; there are many valuable facets to any human activity.)

I agree completely with Janusz. One of the great things about RP is how you can watch photographers evolve from this (taken a month apart in 2003):

[photoid=33844]
[photoid=190947]

to this (taken 2 days apart in October 2009):

[photoid=300264]
[photoid=300409]

Every photographer has to start somewhere, and RP can be a learning tool to evolve into a better photographer. I know I, as well as some other forum members, have advised a newbie photographer to go out and master the 3/4 wedgie to help learn their cameras. If RP didn't accept the "boring" wedgies, a photographer might become frustrated and never grow.

The so-called "God's greatest gifts to railfan photography" that litter the pages of Trains, R&R and Railroads Illustrated had to start somewhere. The only difference is we never see their mediocre work, only the shots they deem worthy of publication.

Most of us can point to one of older shots on RP and point out all the mistakes and what we would have done differently, and RP is a part of that learning process for today's generation of railfans. That's the reason I will not remove any of my older photos, so I can always show someone how my photography has grown and improved thanks to trial and effort, guidence, and this site.

- Chris
/Resumes cursing under my breath every time AB2 and John Ryan post a new shot.

DWHonan 10-17-2009 07:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey (Post 101261)
I love RP because I finally get to show off for thousands of people.

This is why I finally began posting to RP earlier this year. It wasn't until I sold a few photos that I realized, "How would a potential customer find my work?" A few friends had mentioned to me how photos they posted here had been licensed for use by a variety of railroad-related businesses, and it occurred to me that RP was by far the best way for me to develop a portfolio of my work that could be viewed by a wide range of people. It's not necessarily just the profit motive, as pleasant as that is -- I've also found great enjoyment in simply getting feedback on my work and knowing that others enjoy the end results of my photographic visions.

One thing I've learned is that there's almost no predicting what RP viewers will like; some shots you think will do outstandingly well end up flopping miserably...
[photoid=282687]
...while others you post to prove the point that derailment shots get an excessive amount of views, regardless of how boring the composition is, unexpectedly win a PCA and become the second-most-viewed shot in your portfolio:
[photoid=270526]

It's been a fun nine months, and I continue to look forward to sharing more of my work and seeing the great scenes other photogs capture!

NathBDP 10-17-2009 07:46 PM

Well, I am pro RP. I see their standards and realize what will most likely be accepted into the database so I don't bother trying to upload something too different. But then again RP can be a backwater in the sense that they will accept the same old backlit steam sunset photo, or a 3/4 wedge shot, no matter how tiresome that type of composition has become. It's like everyone trying to emulate Steinheimer or Benson, and now O W Link. They should qualify images on the basis of originality too.

JRMDC 10-17-2009 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NathBDP (Post 101287)
Well, I am pro RP. I see their standards and realize what will most likely be accepted into the database so I don't bother trying to upload something too different. But then again RP can be a backwater in the sense that they will accept the same old backlit steam sunset photo, or a 3/4 wedge shot, no matter how tiresome that type of composition has become. It's like everyone trying to emulate Steinheimer or Benson, and now O W Link. They should qualify images on the basis of originality too.

Show us some of the "different" shots! Or better yet, give them an upload, see what happens. Seriously. (Unless they are the sort of thing that RP just does not go for, like selective coloring, intentionally non-level, etc.)

I don't think that RP should stop accepting certain types of "advanced" shots like the backlit steam sunsets. Yes, they should even keep accepting the yellow-sky backlit western shots. Maybe not give those such an automatic SC :) :) But I want my shot to try to do those advanced shots my self and show them here. And each one is a bit different.

As for the tiresome 3/4 wedgies, see my "wade" post above.

AntD. 10-17-2009 08:07 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by milwman (Post 101280)
Think you seen the light form the looks of your last photo.:-D

I SEE THE LIGHT!!!!:lol:

Wizzo 10-17-2009 08:58 PM

I was in 2 minds whether to submit this one as its a little bit different in terms of composition and lighting

[photoid=300686]

but having put it on a general photography site where it scored quite highly, I though I'd see what the screeners made of it here.

I think the site has definitely raised my standards over the last 2.5 years and I've just had a purple patch with my first Screeners Choice and being published in some of the UK magazines for several months running - something I could never have considered before submitting here.

JimThias 10-17-2009 09:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween (Post 101224)
Generational differences abound in every aspect of life...it's not going to be any different in this hobby.

I agree, and that was one of my first thoughts. Photography, regardless of the subject, is no different.

railfanzone 10-18-2009 12:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NathBDP (Post 101287)
Well, I am pro RP. I see their standards and realize what will most likely be accepted into the database so I don't bother trying to upload something too different

Define different. I had these accepted in the past week - do they qualify as different as you're describing it?

[photoid=300527]

[photoid=300529]

They sure as hell aren't 3/4 wedgies...

Anyways, as for the pro/anti RP - I get a kick out of both sides of the spectrum. The folks that feel so slighted by a rejection, and also the cheerleaders that scream that RP is the best thing since sliced bread - both can get quite comical at times (the former moreso, in my opinion, but the latter can also get a bit absurd at times). My opinion, however, falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

The way I look at RP is simply this - it's another "publication" to feature our work in. Like other publications - magazines, books, newsletters, or what have you - the work is subject to approval from the "editor", which in RP's case is a screener. Whether I get a rejection from Jim Wrinn at Trains or a RP screener, I don't get bent about it. Sure, my ego gets a little tweaked, but who's doesn't when their hard work is rejected. Just move on. It's not like they're saying "sorry, but your license to take train pictures has been revoked, please turn in your camera." Instead consider it constructive criticism - and that's where these forums come in handy. There's a sounding board here where you can get some pretty good feedback, even from those nefarious screeners themselves. ;)

Oh, yeah, and the other thing, lighten up, it's a freaking hobby for pretty much most of us! :D ;)

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, not for use with any other offer, one coupon per customer, etc.

-Tom

Tgranville 10-18-2009 03:23 AM

I am Pro RP. It took a while for me to get my first photo accepted, but I have learned a lot from the contributors on the site that helped me push myself as a photographer and taught me to try new ideas.

I went from shots like this:
[photoid=181480]

to shots like these:
[photoid=242505]

[photoid=296477]

Bryant Kaden 10-18-2009 05:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 101291)
As for the tiresome 3/4 wedgies, see my "wade" post above.

As a self-professed wedgie photographer who dabbles in other compositions, I would argue that not every wedge is created equal, either. Excluding a whole category of composition may mean you lose some remarkable photographs in their own right. Pardon me for using two of my own photos as examples, but here is one from my earlier photography days:

[photoid=126459]

And one taken back in August:

[photoid=295469]

The first one was definitely just a "point the camera down the track and take a picture" composition. I didn't really think about it.

While the second one is similar in composition and technically fits the 3/4 wedge category, I actually thought about what I wanted to do. You don't really get the full effect of the second until you see it full size. I intentionally used a lower angle to accentuate the clean red locomotive against the clouds and blue sky. I didn't get too low, however, so you could still see the train negotiating the rolling hills in the background. I also shot with my lens wide open to create a shallower depth of field, again enhancing the front of the locomotive against the background.

I'm not saying it deserves a SC or PCA or anything even close, but I think it's a pleasing photograph to look at and so have several others who have requested prints of it.

I guess what I'm saying is that, as overdone as the wedge is, the composition still has a place in railroad photography and there's no good reason why they should be categorically excluded. Besides, your "wading" is another's treasure hunt!

Ween 10-18-2009 07:59 PM

Quote:

As a self-professed wedgie photographer who dabbles in other compositions, I would argue that not every wedge is created equal, either. Excluding a whole category of composition may mean you lose some remarkable photographs in their own right.
Good point, Rev. Wedge shots are a lot like AC/DC songs...to the untrained, non-fan, they're all the same and simple. But to the true fan, you can see the differences and the little nuances that make it more than just the camera down the tracks...

lock4244 10-19-2009 02:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 101205)
They learned how to do slides well, they accepted what someone here in their signature calls something like "25% focus accuray and we learned to like it", that sort of thing, and they see the new digitally-related focus on high standards for rather narrow or less-artistic technical characteristics of images, and they say too much! Irrelevant!

My current sig came from a comment about my equipment... something along the lines of how its amazing I can focus my lenses manually and I must be really talented. Got me thinking about how much shooters rely on AF... to the point where manual focus is viewed as some sort of alchemy. Manual is easy... putting my shots fate in an AF lens is scary to me! Anyways, anyone that shot slides know that 1 out of 25 bad shots was due to poor focus, the rest were due to using the wrong exposure.

My first digital:
[photoid=183205]

My most recent:
[photoid=300533]

I think that the olny true anti-RP people are those that get frustrated quickly by rejects and lashout as a way to make up for their inability to take good photographs or their total refusal to learn from others. You know, children, regardless of age.

Christopher Muller 10-19-2009 03:08 AM

I don't think you guys are giving yourselve's enough credit. Wouldn't you improve on your quality on your own, aside from RP? I know that I still have the drive for improvement, even when not uploading to RP (or when I took my hiatus from uploading). To say you've improved solely on rejections from RP is really cutting from your accomplishments.

NathBDP 10-19-2009 04:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween (Post 101343)
Good point, Rev. Wedge shots are a lot like AC/DC songs...to the untrained, non-fan, they're all the same and simple. But to the true fan, you can see the differences and the little nuances that make it more than just the camera down the tracks...

Eh, that's exactly the problem with them. I think a great railroad photo should be able to appeal to anyone, not just a train fan.

ottergoose 10-19-2009 04:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Christopher Muller (Post 101359)
I don't think you guys are giving yourselve's enough credit. Wouldn't you improve on your quality on your own, aside from RP? I know that I still have the drive for improvement, even when not uploading to RP (or when I took my hiatus from uploading). To say you've improved solely on rejections from RP is really cutting from your accomplishments.

Given some of the crappy work I've seen from other lifelong foamers who've been trackside before I was born, no, I don't think we're misleading ourselves when we say that fast, unbiased and honest criticism hasn't allowed us to improve our work. How else do you explain all of the twenty-somethings that are out there beating the pants off of some of the guys who've been out there for years and years? Some of it's natural ability, sure, but I don't think that explains all of it.

Christopher Muller 10-19-2009 05:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ottergoose (Post 101367)
Given some of the crappy work I've seen from other lifelong foamers who've been trackside before I was born, no, I don't think we're misleading ourselves when we say that fast, unbiased and honest criticism hasn't allowed us to improve our work. How else do you explain all of the twenty-somethings that are out there beating the pants off of some of the guys who've been out there for years and years? Some of it's natural ability, sure, but I don't think that explains all of it.

It'll be a case by case basis no matter which side you argue. I certainly see your point, especially with the 'lifelong foamers', but you can't lump everyone together. I personally would like to take credit for my improvement, not credit it to a website.

Wizzo 10-19-2009 12:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Christopher Muller (Post 101359)
I don't think you guys are giving yourselve's enough credit. Wouldn't you improve on your quality on your own, aside from RP? I know that I still have the drive for improvement, even when not uploading to RP (or when I took my hiatus from uploading). To say you've improved solely on rejections from RP is really cutting from your accomplishments.

I've similar sentiments to Ottergoose.

Improvement prior to the Internet and sites like RP was slow. Access to high quality pics was limited to books and the monthly magazines. Use of film meant that there could be considerable delay to seeing the results of an expedition unless you had your own darkroom or access to one. Submitting shots to magazines was much more difficult and the chances of having one accepted, low.

Some groups of photographers in the UK formed societies that exchanged shots such as The Phoenix Railway Photographic Circle http://www.phoenixrpc.co.uk/ - which includes some of the best known British cameramen (you may recognise some of the names from RP). Before the Internet, this was mainly by post, so feedback was slow.

Now, we have digital, so experimenting with composition and lighting is much easier, cheaper and quicker. Feedback is almost instantaneous, so improvement is quicker as well. Without the Internet and sites such as RP for comment and inspiration what now can take you a few days could take weeks, months, or years

trainboysd40 10-19-2009 01:09 PM

I started off being taught by RP, and taught very unlovingly and harshly, but I started branching out in my own direction about a year and a half or two years ago. Now I generally don't listen to RP's advice, but don't really have anywhere else to show my railroad photos...Good thing most of them are acceptable here now.


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