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Old 04-18-2014, 06:52 PM   #14
LA&SL Fanatic
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 700

This will be a long post, because I've been thinking about this very thing lately.

I'm an RP guy. Exposure to RP really helped finally get me kick-started into taking better pictures. I like the quality of photos, which varies from average to great. I like that I can see everyones uploads each day. I like the search functions that are provided. RP would have to really screw up for me to permanently leave.

Considering that the common thread that brings us all together is that we all take pictures of choo choo trains, it is amazing the egos you encounter in this hobby. I know this because I have a huge one. The thing with egos, is they cause you to completely lose perspective on things. The mass migration of the "good" photographers over to Flickr is because their ego can't take that a few of their shots they thought were great were rejected from this site because the screener on this site didn't think it fit what the site was going for. Here's a thought: Since when do ALL your good shots HAVE to be on RP? Or if they aren't, you're taking your ball and going to Flickr? You know the standards. You know what shots fit and which ones toe the line. If the borderline one gets rejected, so what? Post it to Flickr. Why deny uploading the RP acceptable one because the borderline ones aren't making it?

The thing that really amazes me is after badmouthing RP, in the very next breath, they'll say that they use RP for researching photo trips. That annoys me. You'll use my shots to research trips and find great angles, but you won't chip in a small handful of shots per year to contribute? I met a photographer once who went off on RP, and yet seemed to have good knowledge of a great number of shots I'd posted there. Why not throw up a couple shots? Think of the photographers that left. What if each one of them posted 1 shot per month. Just one. Doesn't have to be this revolutionary, boundary pushing shot. There would be a noticeable increase in image quality in the daily uploads.

Someone posted a few days ago that the ideal mix would be a combination of RP, Flickr, and Personal Website. I agree with this completely, and it's the path I've chosen. I post to RP, because I like the site and like to contribute to it from time to time. It gets me the most exposure and views. I also post to Flickr from time to time. I enjoy the non-RP photographers I find there, and again, want to give a little back since they were willing to share their photos with me. Finally, I started a personal website several years ago simply for my own enjoyment. I wanted a nice place to post photos to share with specific people who expressed interest in my photography, and to have a good place for non-train photos.

I'm going to break off here and leave two final thought. RP certainly has its imperfections, but it is a good place to share high-quality photographs. It is disappointing that the site owners are so checked out that they don't even contribute photos to their own site. It is disappointing to see the quality of photos diluted because of the ego of many talented photographers who had one too many shots rejected. But it is still a good place to me. Am I going to let the minor things I don't like keep me away, or am I going to focus on the good and keep sharing my photos here? I think I'm going to be part of the solution rather than the problem, and try to get back to uploading 1 shot per week. I'll try to help the new people by contributing more in the forums, and writing in my new blog some posts that might help them understand why their photos are rejected and the very simple steps that can be taken to improve them.

Finally, and this is just thinking out loud, I'm curious what the value of the site is. I wonder if a group of people would like this site and want to improve it to the point that they would contribute money to buy the site and pay to make upgrades to it to really make it great? Ad revenue over the long term could help replenish the initial out of pocket cost. Rather than 2 admins and 3-4 additional screeners, what if a group of 30 people ran the site? Rather than 1 screener judging whether a photo gets on, make it 2 out of 3? Maybe once a person gets 100 photos on the site and shows they know what they're doing, make a provision that they can add rejected photos to their portfolio up to 10% of their current number of accepted shots? So with 305 shots on the site, if a shot of mine gets shot down, I have 30 slots of photos I can put that reject in. That keeps the quality high, while still allowing those who are totally in love with a certain shot to add it anyway. Just some thoughts.
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