Thread: Pro vs Anti RP
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:42 AM   #77
Bryant Kaden
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Brooten, MN
Posts: 40

Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
By allowing someone to accomplish the basic unit of rail photgraphy, a good wedge and then move on, RP is creating the top photographers of tomorrow. Make it harder to get in, they will be turned away, go to some mediocre site and not progress in their photography. We would all lose in the long run.
I think that's the best pro-RP argument I've heard or read so far. There certainly is a basic level that must be met to get included on the site. There may be some disgruntled newcomers over what that level is, but when you get 50-100 shots in the db, you should have a good feel of what those are and be comfortable with them (for the most part). Much of the conflict seems to be over other more creative shots that one feels they have put more "effort" into than that basic level, and yet they get rejected. So the question becomes, "Why are they accepting those blah blah blah shots but not my 'out of the box' shots?" I don't know how to answer that, I guess, but I did want to add two pieces of (unsolicited) advice to the "newbies" to railroad photography or this site in general that may end up hinting at where I'd go with it:

First, just think about what you're going to do with your camera before you even pick it up. That's what some kind "elders" taught me when I was first starting out back in my 35mm film days. It basically means this: Pay attention! You're making choices whether you know it or not. The key is to start making those choices consciously and purposefully. So pay attention to how you are going to compose the shot. Look around at the elements available. What are you including and excluding? Look at the entire frame, not just the train. And pay attention to how you're going to expose the shot. Where is the light in relationship to your subject? How much light is there? How can you best use it to create the image you want? And now, in the digital age, I'll add pay attention to how you post process your images. To me, that's all rp is asking you to do: pay attention! And I'm usually not so blunt, but honestly, these are things that anyone serious about improving their photography should be doing anyway. If you're not interested in doing those things, then you're obviously not interested in taking better pictures. That's fine, as long as you understand it and again, consciously make that choice, but don't blame it on a website or the people who run it.

My second piece of advice, again given to me early on, is to look at a lot of other photographers' work and begin getting a feel for what you like and appreciate, then go and try to emulate it. That's another advantage that rp gives all of us, that I think someone alluded to before. You don't have to wait for the next slide show or magazine or spend 50 bucks on a book. You have a wealth of experience and a wide range of photographic styles literally at your fingertips. Don't be discouraged by a lack of success early on. Honestly look at the images you like and admire and then look at your own. How do yours fall short? What steps can you take to improve? That's something I continue to do, and that's what continues to drive me in this hobby. And that's where I end up answering that first question of why so and so's shots are accepted but mine aren't. I think we all have to honestly look at our rejected images and honestly look at comparable images that have been accepted. Is it possible that even the best photographers can still take less-than-desirable images? I think we all know the answer to that...
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