Old 03-04-2010, 05:27 PM   #1
pderekh
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Default Help! I can't get out of wedgie-land. Need Comp advice

I can't seem to get out of the wedgie mold. Here are some of my favorite rejects. I would apprecaite any critical comments to help me see where I'm missing in terms of composition, etc. to be able to take interesting shots are turn PEQ's into "accepted" photos. Thanks!

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=825305061
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=787892&key=0
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=787749&key=0
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...key=1246082310
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=651291864
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Old 03-04-2010, 05:40 PM   #2
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First reject: could you have gotten closer to the bridge like this?

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It looks like you have a more interesting scene down there than I did. The blurred trains under a signal bridge are not working for you. Not to ask a stupid question, but do trains not run there in the daytime? I know you really want a shot of that bridge in the database, understandably so. But the night time stuff isn't working so far. Grab a day time shot and go from there.
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Old 03-04-2010, 05:46 PM   #3
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Paul has the daytime shot in, many times.

Paul, keep working on retaking the first shot, you will get it.

No advice re streaks, not my thing.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:33 PM   #4
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First reject: could you have gotten closer to the bridge like this?
What he said. A little closer, maybe a little wider (or vertical). Clipping off the roof of the waiting room, and the train, is hurting the shot.

(I can't believe that bridge is still there.)


As for the streaks, there is quite a lot of ambient light in the images, the result being that the railroad aspects don't 'pop out of the darkness.'
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:37 PM   #5
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Clipping off the roof of the waiting room, and the train, is hurting the shot.

(I can't believe that bridge is still there.)


As for the streaks, there is quite a lot of ambient light in the images, the result being that the railroad aspects don't 'pop out of the darkness.'

hadn't considered the fact the train and "station" is clipped.

There have been rumors(?) the bridge is being replaced soon.

As for the streaks, will go to ISO 100 and use the CPL. Maybe I could go the opposite way and bring in the lights!
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:04 PM   #6
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#2 should be in the database.
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I personally have had a problem with those trying to tell us to turn railroad photography into an "art form." It's fine for them to do so, I welcome it in fact, but what I do have a problem with is that the practitioners of the more "arty" shots, I have found, tend to look down their nose's at others who are shooting more "mundane" shots.
Railroad photography is what you make of it, but one way is not "better" than another, IMHO. Unless you have a pole right thought the nose of the engine! -SG
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:08 PM   #7
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I like #1 and #2, the only thing with #2 is the colors, try to make some adjustments so you dont end up with an orange sky. Snow + clouds + sodium lights screw up many an a night shot attempt
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:19 PM   #8
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don't see anything wrong with this one, except maybe needs to be rotated clockwise to straighten the middle of the signal bridge

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=787749&key=0

As for breaking out of the wedgie mold, trying is 50% of the battle and you're already doing that... #1 is a nice attempt, and you've gotten some good advice on what to do next time. Don't expect it to be an overnight thing... it takes a lot of time, and a lot of failed shots, so enjoy the process!
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:45 AM   #9
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I don't think railpics accepts many streaking light shots anymore.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:42 AM   #10
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I'll re-shoot #1 and see if I can get the train in better view, not just the front of the locomotive. I was intrigued in this case by the snow on the railing. I tried a vertical crop- it wasn't PEQ'd

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=788105&key=0
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:44 PM   #11
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I tried a vertical crop- it wasn't PEQ'd

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=788105&key=0
But you can't really fix obstructions. One of your major weaknesses that I see isn't what you shoot as much as it is what you submit. Be nice to the screeners. Don't keep giving thm the same previously rejected shots.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:55 PM   #12
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I don't think railpics accepts many streaking light shots anymore.
They do accept them still-
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. Maybe they only like "scenes" whereas I'm trying to highlit the signal bridge.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
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One of your major weaknesses that I see isn't what you shoot as much as it is what you submit.
Can you explain in more detail what you mean?

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Be nice to the screeners. Don't keep giving thm the same previously rejected shots.
I'll try to be nice-at least there's SOME feedback, unlike submitting to Trains mag! I've had PEQ shots that I've re-done and been accepted. 90% of my rejections now are PEQ's. There's a fine line b/w PEQ and accepted!
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:59 PM   #14
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Many, being the key word, in what he actually said. They need to be done right. You're having color issues, some composition issues, too.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:11 PM   #15
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The BNSF orange drives me crazy sometimes. every once in awhile, I just can't get it to come out right. Sometimes I change the orange constantly and then realize it's the yellow. The paint fades horribly and can be different between EMD/GE and different orders. arrrghhh!

Still trying to understand how to compose to get away from the wedge. The first picture is an example of that. Will be going back today at lunch and see if I can get low enough to keep the train from being cutoff.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:16 PM   #16
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Still trying to understand how to compose to get away from the wedge. The first picture is an example of that. Will be going back today at lunch and see if I can get low enough to keep the train from being cutoff.
a) honestly, I'm not sure there is much to say beyond spend more time looking at non-wedgie pix on RP. Lots of examples. One key for you given what/where you shoot is not to just stand next to the main - walk away in one direction or another. Hard to avoid wedgies given where you have been standing.

b) lower and closer - if you get closer the gaps get larger so you can fit the entire train and station.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:25 PM   #17
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a) honestly, I'm not sure there is much to say beyond spend more time looking at non-wedgie pix on RP. Lots of examples. One key for you given what/where you shoot is not to just stand next to the main - walk away in one direction or another. Hard to avoid wedgies given where you have been standing.

I'd like to see a non-wedgie category for easy searches! By walking away do you mean more perpendicular shots?
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:41 PM   #18
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I'd like to see a non-wedgie category for easy searches! By walking away do you mean more perpendicular shots?
Not necessarily, although that is certainly one approach. And you have done that from time to time. By walking away I mean simply getting to a non-wedgie angle - whether elevation, perpendicular, not-quite perpendicular, whatever. It is more of a think of looking around and seeing what is important in the scene.

And it can be done trackside too - it is just being in a non-wedgie frame of mind. The following is not a great shot but it is a trackside non-wedgie.

Image © Janusz Mrozek
PhotoID: 298945
Photograph © Janusz Mrozek


Here are two simple ones - just grabbing a few metra shots. Hardly any deviation from trackside at all, actually, but more interesting.
Image © GregoryHitchcock
PhotoID: 293148
Photograph © GregoryHitchcock

Image © Steve Schmollinger
PhotoID: 289522
Photograph © Steve Schmollinger


You have done some of this, they show up sometimes among your many wedgies. Just do more of it and less of your standard stuff.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:40 PM   #19
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Im not sure how that second shot is any more interesting than a standard wedgie, J . I wouldve rejected it if i was a screener. Its a pretty common angle with poor lighting that he tried to save with shadow highlight.
I personally think the signal bridge shot is far more interesting, especially the one with the snow and green streaks.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:50 PM   #20
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Still trying to understand how to compose to get away from the wedge. The first picture is an example of that.
Long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and railfans subscribed to things called 'magazines' with names like 'Trains' and 'Railfan,' a wise old Shaman with the curious name of 'Jim Boyd' used to write a monthly column called 'Camera Bag,' in which he would talk about the process of photography - not only mastering the technology (with curious names like 'Panatomic-X' and 'Kodachrome 25'), but learning to 'pre-visualize' the photo you're trying to take.

You're not going to improve by simply going out, shooting something, and hoping for the best. The step you're trying to take requires learning to pre-visualize the finished image - to 'see' it in your head - and then figure out how to turn it into pixels.

You've done that with your beloved signal bridge, but not with the County Line Road shot (well, not completely).

Quite honestly, learning pre-visualization isn't easy to do alone. It helps to hang around and shoot with other photographers who already know how, talk about the process ("here's why this angle is better than that . . . "), and iterate. Personally, I'd ask Paul Hoffman (see below) to hang out and share a few tips.

But if that's not feasible, the database can be a good teacher.

Before going out again, spend a good hour or two this weekend looking through the database here, studying the photos, and coming to an understanding of WHY they are better. Analyze them. Focus on the details (like not cutting off the roof), notice the commonalities of the approved photos and where yours are different.

For example, streaks - notice that you're shooting up with a wide angle, and most of the approved images tend to be longer focal lengths. Write down ALL the ways that your shot is different from the ones that got approved.

Once you've spent some time comparing details, pick a particular photo, and go out with the specific goal of copying that photo - not for the purpose of getting it approved, but for the purpose of learning how to compose that particular shot. Print out your selection, print out the EXIF data if included, and take it with you. Learn the thought process that resulted in that particular approved photo: figure out where the photographer stood (and, therefore, WHY he chose to stand there), what time of day he chose (and therefore WHY he chose that time), what focal length (and therefore WHY), etc.

Once you've managed to copy the shot, try to make it better, or try to replicate it somewhere else. Apply the mental steps that go into composing the shot. Then pick another photo in the database and do it again. And again.

While you're learning these thought processes, you'll figure out that's still not enough. You'll learn that some shots are possible only at certain times of the year, which teaches you (1) that the sun isn't always on the same path, and (2) to develop patience and plan in advance, sometimes months in advance.


Make your goal "becoming a more creative photographer," not "getting a non-wedgie in the RP database ASAP." Because if you do become a more creative photographer, the approvals will follow naturally.

So, for example, type "Hinsdale" in the search. A few possible 'homework assignments':

Image © Paul Hoffmann
PhotoID: 307080
Photograph © Paul Hoffmann


Image © Chris Starnes
PhotoID: 13689
Photograph © Chris Starnes


Image © Cascade Bruce
PhotoID: 44522
Photograph © Cascade Bruce


Image © Paul Hoffmann
PhotoID: 315445
Photograph © Paul Hoffmann


Image © Paul Hoffmann
PhotoID: 308072
Photograph © Paul Hoffmann



"Highlands:"

Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 191770
Photograph © John Ryan


Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 192104
Photograph © John Ryan


Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 281111
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)

(OK, this one is graduate-level course work )

Last edited by John Craft; 03-05-2010 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:32 PM   #21
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Long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and railfans subscribed to things called 'magazines' with names like 'Trains' and 'Railfan,' a wise old Shaman with the curious name of 'Jim Boyd' used to write a monthly column called 'Camera Bag,' in which he would talk about the process of photography - not only mastering the technology (with curious names like 'Panatomic-X' and 'Kodachrome 25'), but learning to 'pre-visualize' the photo you're trying to take.
I honestly don't know how anyone got better in film days-one of the big reasons I switchedto digital last year. What can I say, and Joe's figured this out, I'm impatient.

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You're not going to improve by simply going out, shooting something, and hoping for the best. The step you're trying to take requires learning to pre-visualize the finished image - to 'see' it in your head - and then figure out how to turn it into pixels.
I thought at the time of the article on the C&I about a year and a half ago in Trains, that it was crazy to "picture" and idea in your ahead and then wait for a year to get it. I'm doing more proprtionately more intentional photography now than ever.

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Quite honestly, learning pre-visualization isn't easy to do alone. It helps to hang around and shoot with other photographers who already know how, talk about the process ("here's why this angle is better than that . . . "), and iterate. Personally, I'd ask Paul Hoffman (see below) to hang out and share a few tips.

Image © Paul Hoffmann
PhotoID: 315445
Photograph © Paul Hoffmann


Image © Paul Hoffmann
PhotoID: 308072
Photograph © Paul Hoffmann
Are you saying I'm already on my way there! I'm trying to help me get better! Janusz, are you available Saturday? Would love to hang out with you and Travis at Lake Forest if I'm able to go

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For example, streaks - notice that you're shooting up with a wide angle, and most of the approved images tend to be longer focal lengths.
The timing is pretty close for something like these:

Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 191770
Photograph © John Ryan

Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 192104
Photograph © John Ryan


I do like more of my streaks lately, so I'm happy with how my technical prowess has caught up with my creative desire, still would like to give the signal a big sendoff in RP

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Once you've spent some time comparing details, pick a particular photo, and go out with the specific goal of copying that photo - not for the purpose of getting it approved, but for the purpose of learning how to compose that particular shot. Print out your selection, print out the EXIF data if included, and take it with you. Learn the thought process that resulted in that particular approved photo: figure out where the photographer stood (and, therefore, WHY he chose to stand there), what time of day he chose (and therefore WHY he chose that time), what focal length (and therefore WHY), etc.

Once you've managed to copy the shot, try to make it better, or try to replicate it somewhere else. Apply the mental steps that go into composing the shot. Then pick another photo in the database and do it again. And again.
I've done this when going to new locations, there's not as much in the seciton of the racetrack that I haven't tried to copy, so I'm creating those shots myself.

In fact this one was "copied" by someone else recently, but with foreign power which was nice to see.
Image © Paul Hoffmann
PhotoID: 307080
Photograph © Paul Hoffmann


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While you're learning these thought processes, you'll figure out that's still not enough. You'll learn that some shots are possible only at certain times of the year, which teaches you (1) that the sun isn't always on the same path, and (2) to develop patience and plan in advance, sometimes months in advance.
I have printed out the sun charts and have been working on the sun angle. only so much time! refer to my first comment about patience-will continue to work on it. Already have some ideas for next winter. This is is the first time in my life I'm disappointed in losing nighttime hours!

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Make your goal "becoming a more creative photographer," not "getting a non-wedgie in the RP database ASAP." Because if you do become a more creative photographer, the approvals will follow naturally.
excellent advice, thanks. It's good to conintue to remember it's not just about RP


[/quote]

Been working on this one, as recently as yesterday

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Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 281111
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)

(OK, this one is graduate-level course work )
Most of my wedgies lately have been of the signal work at Naperville or are because I'm trying to understand the BNSF orange or are intersting consists.

Thanks again John-some great advice and confirmation of what I'm already doing. If you're ever in Chicago, look me up!
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:34 PM   #22
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Personally, I'd ask Paul Hoffman (see below) to hang out and share a few tips.
...
So, for example, type "Hinsdale" in the search. A few possible 'homework assignments':

Image © Paul Hoffmann
PhotoID: 307080
Photograph © Paul Hoffmann
Very sound advice, John, except that you are apparently unaware that "P"derek"H" and "P"aul "H"offmann are one and the same!
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:46 PM   #23
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Part of the issue here, Paul, is misdiagnosis on your part. You take lots of non-standard-wedgie type shots. They do get lost in the volume of wedgies you take. But you know how to do it. If you are unsatisfied with the proportion of such shots in your portfolio, take fewer wedgies and more of other kinds of shots. You are there, to some extent.

Your problem with the bridge shot is just a problem with a shot, not a problem with being stuck in wedgie-land.

The night streak shots, that is a separate category. That does not fall under your misdiagnosis of being stuck in wedgie-land. That is just needing to learn and practice a new technique.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:21 PM   #24
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"P"derek"H" and "P"aul "H"offmann are one and the same!


Well, that puts a whole different spin on things, don't it?

It doesn't look to me like 'pderekh' is stuck in Wedgieville at all! Nice work!
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:26 PM   #25
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I'm going to throw in my two cents on this.

First of all Paul, having just taken a quick look at your shots I definitely disagree with your assertion that you're stuck in a "wedgie rut." That roller bearing panned shot was especially nice. However, as long as you think you're in a rut (and I've had the same thought myself lately) nothing any of us says is going to change that.

Secondly, maybe this is stating the obvious but have you tried simply getting away from the track, find a nice open spot, and try some broadsides? (Yes, I'm aware how much of a PITA it is trying to find an open spot in the suburbs.) Just poking through the last day or two yields some examples:

Image © Matt Weldon
PhotoID: 316155
Photograph © Matt Weldon


Image © James Belmont
PhotoID: 316131
Photograph © James Belmont


Image © Frank Jolin/Railfan60
PhotoID: 316051
Photograph © Frank Jolin/Railfan60


Finally, I have to agree with Janusz that the rejection on the bridge shot is a problem with the shot, not the shooter.
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