Old 10-17-2009, 07:53 PM   #26
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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.
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:07 PM   #27
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:58 PM   #28
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I was in 2 minds whether to submit this one as its a little bit different in terms of composition and lighting

Image © Stephen Dance
PhotoID: 300686
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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.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:27 PM   #29
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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.
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Old 10-18-2009, 12:20 AM   #30
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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?

Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 300527
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com


Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 300529
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com


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!

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.

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Old 10-18-2009, 03:23 AM   #31
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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:
Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


to shots like these:
Image ©
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Photograph ©


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Old 10-18-2009, 05:17 AM   #32
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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:

Image © Bryant Kaden
PhotoID: 126459
Photograph © Bryant Kaden


And one taken back in August:

Image © Bryant Kaden
PhotoID: 295469
Photograph © Bryant Kaden


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!
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:59 PM   #33
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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...
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Old 10-19-2009, 02:51 AM   #34
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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.

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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.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:08 AM   #35
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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.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:57 AM   #36
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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.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:59 AM   #37
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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.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:29 AM   #38
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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.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:09 PM   #39
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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
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:09 PM   #40
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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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Old 10-19-2009, 01:54 PM   #41
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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.
Yes, if I would have recognized my photography problems on my own. The site has pointed them out for me over and over and over again in the beginning.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:15 PM   #42
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:38 PM   #43
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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.
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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.
Hmm...did Michael Jordan improve on his own? Did Tiger Woods improve on his own? I guess we should just scratch the entire concept of teachers and coaches as well, since everyone is capable of improving on their own, right?

And I don't think anyone is saying they improved solely on rejections from RP. But many people can certainly give credit to RP and the people involved here for their improvement, me included.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:02 PM   #44
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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.
Correction noted!
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:25 PM   #45
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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.
No easier way to be prompted into rethinking your work that some honest criticism dished out by someone safe behind a computer screen. That and looking at what others are doing and borrowing from their experience. Without feedback, it's really hard to expand beyond the comfort zone that we often fall into... not everyone blazes trails, but many will follow others down their path.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:36 PM   #46
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And I don't think anyone is saying they improved solely on rejections from RP. But many people can certainly give credit to RP and the people involved here for their improvement, me included.
Right on, Jim. RP is like having a coaching staff. They can point out the errors that I'm making, show me examples of work that meets a higher standard and even give me tips on how to do it better. BUT, I still have to go out, scout the shots, pick the days and times, compose the shots, expose them properly and postprocess them into decent images. All of the advice and assistance will be for naught, if I don't put it to good use.

A word on J's comment about "wading".....

I'm not a huge fan of common power roster shots or 3/4 wedgies either, but guess what? There apparently are legions of people who are. I can't count the number of times I've looked at the "Most Popular" list for a given day and seen a standard wedge or a roster of some non-descript diesel sitting at the top of the heap. In many cases, these shots have topped some really artistic stuff. Based on this, I think wading is going to continue to be a fact of life for most of us. RP is so successful because it presents a wide variety of railroad imagery. If a given individual's tastes are more limited, one has to wade a bit. The shot categories (night, snow, steam, wreck, yard etc. etc) do help some with wading. Perhaps some additional categories are in order to make the pools more shallow.
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:38 PM   #47
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I'm not a huge fan of common power roster shots or 3/4 wedgies either, but guess what? There apparently are legions of people who are. I can't count the number of times I've looked at the "Most Popular" list for a given day and seen a standard wedge or a roster of some non-descript diesel sitting at the top of the heap. In many cases, these shots have topped some really artistic stuff. Based on this, I think wading is going to continue to be a fact of life for most of us. RP is so successful because it presents a wide variety of railroad imagery. If a given individual's tastes are more limited, one has to wade a bit. The shot categories (night, snow, steam, wreck, yard etc. etc) do help some with wading. Perhaps some additional categories are in order to make the pools more shallow.
Yes, I don't want to play that down either, I shouldn't explicitly or implicitly denigrate wedgies. I characterized it as "minor leagues" in order to get to the better stuff, showing my own preferences, but there is also a different audience for whom it is major league.

I do think part of the issue for certain parts of the anti-RP crowd, those who look for what they call art and don't see it, is that those shots make the artsy stuff disappear or very hard to find. Because of that they put down RP as not being "best" when in fact RP does try to be "best" both in semi-artsy and in wedgie, and then presents them in one forum so the former in particular get downed. So that is an access issue and a perception issue; if you can't find it easily, one can easily reach the false conclusion that it is not present.

I say "semi-artsy" because RP's artsy focus is on the representational and there are lots of other dimensions to "art".
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:03 PM   #48
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Smile Wedgies can be good

Let's not denigrate wedgies too much. A good wedgie can be just as creative and artsy as any other perspective. The "creative" sunset/sunrise glint shots can be just as much a cliche as any wedgie. The issue is more one of "roster" shots versus wreck shots versus whatever. Roster shots are of great interest of many folks, and obviously wreck shots are an overwhelming favorite if hits mean anything, and I do think they help pay for this place. Somebody earlier suggested creating categories, to make "wading" easier. Great idea, but like many other good suggestions (hidden gems, etc.) it adds complexity and work to the few folks who actually have to sort through all the submissions.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:15 PM   #49
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Cool Don't lump us ALL together...

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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.
Well, I'll be the first to tell everyone that this "lifelong foamer" has learned from the legions of fast, unbiased and honest criticism given by many. As a matter of fact, I seem to remember acknowledging that very fact more than once here about a certain twenty-something's advice and guidance about digital sharpening and workflow. I also seem to remember defending that twenty-something's workflow when it came under invective-laced fire from other twenty-somethings. And I also remember looking back at a few submissions that I made back in the days of a Olympus C3031 and have since removed them because they were in fact, sub-par.

"Twenty-somethings" don't have a monopoly on the new-fangled knowledge though, and there are a few here (and elsewhere) that border on noses so high in the air that I'm suprised they can walk up to the tracks. Yes, there are those "lifelong foamers" that are just simply resistant to change just because it's change. Hardly anyone likes change, and when you've been used to a vastly different media for most of your life, it's hard, expensive and humiliating to learn most if not everything over again. And I suspect (just a hunch) that some or most of you "twenty-somethings" see and hear the likes and opinions of older guys who are "sloped" in thier views, and fall prey to the same quirk of human nature that older ones suffer from, lumping them all together just because of age.

Which is utter bullshit on both generations.

I'll take constructive criticism from anyone, I don't give a flip if it's Warren Calloway, Nick or Chase. I don't worship names; I abhor that. Those of you who know me know that I think railfan elitism is a cancer that needs to be cut out, and unfortunately, it looks like many of the "twenty-somethings" are keeping the blood line healthy, carrying on the same traits fostered by their elders. Sad.

I too have learned lots from lots here. I also learned that not everyone is an original nuts and bolts roster guy. I was. I have many on here, but for the MOST part, they are ones where everything is just right and I captured them as works of art, and display THEM (not the photography) as works of art. But even that has evolved. My last little history of posting here has included much more train photography and not so much roster photography. I will tell you that it is SOLELY because of the many, varied submissions from ALL classes of photogs here. I now only post rosters on another site that also has a screening process. They belong there, and everything else that requires more knowledge and flare belongs here.

Summing up, just don't be so quick to think all of us older folk are all the same, some of us are gracious and thankful to learn from the likes of those who were in diapers when we were in our "prime".

(That's a compliment)

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Old 10-19-2009, 08:22 PM   #50
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Wedgie = Basehit
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