Old 02-07-2015, 03:33 PM   #1
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Default Street Scene, Too Dark

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...38&key=4585252

Existing light. I think it is reasonable representation of scene.

Like to hear some thoughts.

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Old 02-07-2015, 04:04 PM   #2
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Easily lightened w/ gamma and contrast- just be sure the sky stays black.
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:43 PM   #3
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Easily lightened w/ gamma and contrast- just be sure the sky stays black.
I already lightened and darkened sky and have worked on this quite a bit, not out of box. ????
My thoughts
1) hard to tamper down the pixel bloom on the nose
2) at 1600 and already increased exposure noise will increase, there are already artifacts around the nose area in the sky.
3) at some point it is no longer what it is and becomes something that it isn't just to get accepted if that makes any sense.

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Old 02-07-2015, 05:07 PM   #4
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3) at some point it is no longer what it is and becomes something that it isn't just to get accepted if that makes any sense.

Bob
I'm firmly in your camp there Bob. I took one look at this and thought it was exactly what *night* looks like to me, but this is RP and they like all their dusk/night/dawn shots to be way lighter in appearance than reality. It's something that's stuck in my craw since day one and I blame it all on that Link feller and his ilk with their unnatural way of depicting things at night way back when. Ohh, I know I'm stepping on some tender toes here but I don't really care. I believe night is dark (except for midsummer in Polar regions) and is should be depicted that way. Unfortunately Link and all the sheep who followed along bleating happily is his footsteps are in the majority here, so you know what you've gotta do!
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:41 PM   #5
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I like to use "Auto" whatever as a proofer. It's not always accurate but in this case, "auto-levels" brightens the scene ever so slightly yet it makes for a more appealing result - it basically left the yellows, but brightened the whites of the houses and snow, while at the same time, made the headlight really snap.

If you have Photoshop, or something similar with "select color range", you can sample the headlight, invert the selection and brighten everything else.

Shadows and highlights is a last resort, it will bring more overall light to the scene, but make sure to keep your blacks.

/Mitch
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:59 PM   #6
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I don't have much experience with processing night shots, so can't help you there, but seems to be leaning right to me.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:05 PM   #7
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I'm firmly in your camp there Bob. I took one look at this and thought it was exactly what *night* looks like to me, but this is RP and they like all their dusk/night/dawn shots to be way lighter in appearance than reality. It's something that's stuck in my craw since day one and I blame it all on that Link feller and his ilk with their unnatural way of depicting things at night way back when. Ohh, I know I'm stepping on some tender toes here but I don't really care. I believe night is dark (except for midsummer in Polar regions) and is should be depicted that way. Unfortunately Link and all the sheep who followed along bleating happily is his footsteps are in the majority here, so you know what you've gotta do!
I am sympathetic to the argument, but I also know that in urbanized areas dark is not at all dark, skies are very dark gray and not black, and sometimes the gray isn't that dark. City light brightens the sky, to a notable extent even when there are no clouds.

My kids have absolutely no clue what the milky way is all about.

My first issue with the shot is the color. I know aritificial light is not white but boy, that snow looks awful, looks like someone took a B/W and intentionally added an unattractive shade of sepia.
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Old 02-08-2015, 03:03 AM   #8
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Ok, for now I took easy way out and went with plan "B", an earlier train.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=518071&nseq=0


Will try to apply some ideas given and work on the original. Thanks, Bob Jordan

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Old 02-08-2015, 07:52 PM   #9
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A night shot rejected because it is "too dark?" I'm shocked! This is an excellent example of photography that has advanced beyond the norm at railpix. Might be time for you to begin moving away from thinking of yourself as a "railfan" photographer and start seeing yourself as more of a fine arts photographer.


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Old 02-08-2015, 08:09 PM   #10
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I think you pushed the camera too far into iso land, and the image quality tells the story. I'm also pretty sure that at least 3 screeners at RP fully understand night photography, Kent. I would have rejected the first version as well, and added PIQ to it. I also would have rejected the 2nd version strictly for IQ. I'm mean when it comes to portraying the darkness, however.

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Old 02-09-2015, 06:09 PM   #11
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This is an excellent example of photography that has advanced beyond the norm at railpix.
Can you post some example images of this "norm" that this pic has advanced beyond?
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:08 PM   #12
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I think you pushed the camera too far into iso land, and the image quality tells the story. I'm also pretty sure that at least 3 screeners at RP fully understand night photography, Kent. I would have rejected the first version as well, and added PIQ to it. I also would have rejected the 2nd version strictly for IQ. I'm mean when it comes to portraying the darkness, however.

Loyd L.
Loyd is spot on with all points here. . . the image quality of the first one is awful, and that's more than enough to turn me off from it. Nevermind the other technical nuances.

As for the comments about Link and those that have been happily "bleating on in his footsteps"... the things I could say, but I'll simply take the high road.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:19 PM   #13
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As for the comments about Link and those that have been happily "bleating on in his footsteps"... the things I could say, but I'll simply take the high road.
You were the first person I thought of when I read that. What, now using a flash to illuminate a subject at night is unacceptable?
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:48 PM   #14
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You were the first person I thought of when I read that. What, now using a flash to illuminate a subject at night is unacceptable?
Generally only to those who are jealous of the ability to do so, or lack the requisite understanding of the technique. But that's based only on my experience with the "day walkers"...
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:28 PM   #15
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Generally only to those who are jealous of the ability to do so, or lack the requisite understanding of the technique. But that's based only on my experience with the "day walkers"...
When I grow up, I want to be just like Sean Hoyden.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:59 PM   #16
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When I grow up, I want to be just like Sean Hoyden.
Lofty goal, but keep working at it... you'll get there.

I should note, that it would be quite a step backwards... but hey, I'm not one to get between someone and their dream.
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:52 AM   #17
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Can you post some example images of this "norm" that this pic has advanced beyond?

Go to "Shots uploaded today", any day, and pick 3 from any 5.


Kent in SD

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Old 02-10-2015, 12:48 PM   #18
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Go to "Shots uploaded today", any day, and pick 3 from any 5.


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Oh, I thought you were referring to night photography "norm" on RP. How about some examples of that on RP which this rejection has advanced beyond?
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:30 PM   #19
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Oh, I thought you were referring to night photography "norm" on RP. How about some examples of that on RP which this rejection has advanced beyond?

Find your own. I'm not going to embarrass anyone by singling out specific photos.


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Old 02-10-2015, 04:53 PM   #20
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I'm firmly in your camp there Bob. I took one look at this and thought it was exactly what *night* looks like to me, but this is RP and they like all their dusk/night/dawn shots to be way lighter in appearance than reality. It's something that's stuck in my craw since day one and I blame it all on that Link feller and his ilk with their unnatural way of depicting things at night way back when. Ohh, I know I'm stepping on some tender toes here but I don't really care. I believe night is dark (except for midsummer in Polar regions) and is should be depicted that way. Unfortunately Link and all the sheep who followed along bleating happily is his footsteps are in the majority here, so you know what you've gotta do!
Your portfolio is much more sheepier than mine.

Death to boring photography!

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Old 02-10-2015, 11:45 PM   #21
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By now you guys may or may not have noticed that I occasionally like to make extreme statements to either help make a point or just to entertain myself watching other peoples' reactions, and sometimes a bit of both! Regardless first let's get something straight; I am a creature of the night. I have been a creature of the night since the end of the '60s, when I made my first forays into the workforce. Since that time I have put in over a couple of decades worth of graveyard shift, trying to avoid days as much as possible. Even to this day, coming up to my fifth year of retirement I still tend to stay awake at night and sleep away the day. So I know what night looks like, in the city and in the sticks. I know the Aurora Borealis and the Milky Way, I have a love/hate relationship with mercury and sodium vapor lighting. Incandescent and fluorescent also, but more because that's the line of work I was in for the last 25 years of my working life. It is because I know the night so intimately that I developed a dislike for certain types of imagery depicting the night. I'm not a stranger to flash, having had a couple of studio units along with umbrellas, diffusers, reflectors and all that jazz back in the '80s for doing portraiture and weddings - a (side)line of work I was more or less forced into by demand of others. I finally refused to do any more of it because, while I did enjoy the technical side I (surprise, surprise) just don't like people all that much. Judy says I'm a lot like Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men, but I'm pretty sure I had it in me long before that movie came out. Hence my affinity for working night shift. Although we were scheduled to rotate shifts those of us who stayed on nights traded shifts in order to do that. It was a different life and we were a different breed. We didn't just venture into the night to be "cool", we lived it because it was in our blood.

Another thing about me, I don't like squash or sweet potatoes. People have tried to force me to like squash and sweet potatoes (yams) for 60 years, but I still don't! Judy and I used to spend a week or two each summer at a resort that had a noted chef (don't remember his name because I'm not into that sort of thing). I was told that I would like his butternut squash and sweet potatoes. I did not. I didn't want to offend him, but I still didn't eat the stuff after the first bite. So my point is, you can't make me like something I don't, no matter how good at growing or cooking the damn yams you are. It's not that I don't try, it's just not in my constitution. And it's not that I'm jealous of your gardening and/or culinary skills either!

My main concern is that we get force-fed artificially lit or overexposed night/dawn/dusk images here because that is RP's preference. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not my cup of tea and the alternatives are not given equal due. Anyone who spends enough time here on this forum has seen countless examples of photographers who had shots rejected for underexposure saying "Well, that's what it looked like in real life." I enjoy viewing those rejected shots and think they have a place on the database. In the country night is about muted colors, highlights and shadows. In the city it's about multiple sources and temperatures of light, and the blending or the battles of those sources and colors. To my eye flash is too harsh and directional, even with multiple flashes. It was not my intent to call out any one photographer. Loyd, Sean you guys have some phenomenal work there, as do Knapp and Burkholder. It just happens that some of it doesn't appeal to me personally. I don't want to trivialize the skill and effort put into it but I do want to see RP opening their horizons to encompass more naturally illuminated images with exposures that represent the dark of night.

As for the photo in question - yes it does have some quality issues but I don't think they're insurmountable. There's also a yellow cast to the snow where it's lit by sodium vapor illumination. I'm used to snow (and most everything else) appearing yellow under sodium vapor - and not just because that's "where the Huskies go"! Bob stated he thought it as a reasonable representation of the scene. I'm inclined to agree.
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Old 02-11-2015, 12:20 AM   #22
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Lofty goal, but keep working at it... you'll get there.

I should note, that it would be quite a step backwards... but hey, I'm not one to get between someone and their dream.
The only problem with your photography Sean is that you simply do not share it with the RP community enough!

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Old 02-11-2015, 12:23 AM   #23
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I can understand about the yams / sweet potatoes - BTW, yams are not true yams!

http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-d...f-mouth-211176

But butternut squash????? I "discovered" butternut squash a few months ago in terms of it being something I can make at home (I've always loved butternut squash soup in a restaurant). I have it all the time! Tastes vary ...

I hear you on the night light. I am a big fan of Tom Nanos' night photography for that reason, more subtle. I would not say that the "bank of flashes" stuff is bad, not at all, but I favor the work with less light. I do see that, over time, people have been cutting down on the intensity of the light from the flashes.
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Old 02-11-2015, 02:07 AM   #24
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I can understand about the yams / sweet potatoes - BTW, yams are not true yams!

http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-d...f-mouth-211176

But butternut squash????? I "discovered" butternut squash a few months ago in terms of it being something I can make at home (I've always loved butternut squash soup in a restaurant). I have it all the time! Tastes vary ...
Dang grocery stores! Still don't like 'em no matter what they call 'em!

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I hear you on the night light. I am a big fan of Tom Nanos' night photography for that reason, more subtle. I would not say that the "bank of flashes" stuff is bad, not at all, but I favor the work with less light. I do see that, over time, people have been cutting down on the intensity of the light from the flashes.
I have noticed that trend also, and I do find it somewhat more palatable to my tastes.
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:04 AM   #25
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In the city it's about multiple sources and temperatures of light, and the blending or the battles of those sources and colors. To my eye flash is too harsh and directional, even with multiple flashes. It was not my intent to call out any one photographer.

I've been doing flash shots for over nine years now (just got home from another chase,) and ambient light night shots since about 1993. I enjoy all of it. There are two things that I like about using flash: (1) it's more of a challenge than day (2) I love the stark, harsh look I get. During the day I am stuck with the light I am given, and have to work around it. At night I'm given a blank canvas, pretty much. I have considerably more control over content, and most importantly mood. I generally use as little light as I need to set the mood, but sometimes that's still a LOT (I have >10,000ws along with me.) Out here in the West the things I photo tend to be either very big (grain complex three blocks long) or distant (bridges over wide rivers.) I love to do reflection shots in water, and for that I generally need big pow-pow-power to pull off with enough DoF. Generally I am using just enough flash to separate my subjects from the surrounding blackness. My running theme has mostly been "trains emerging from the night only to quickly disappear back into the darkness." Lately I've been shooting 4x5 sheets of HP5 at night, and that requires enough flash to give me f8 at ISO 800. Even with snow, that's a LOT of power! As far as I know, I'm the only one out there still shooting trains at night with 4x5. All types of photography are personal preference, of course. I'm really not trying to please anyone else; just mainly trying to challenge myself. If someone likes my shots I see that as a bonus.

I see daytime foamer photography as similar to antelope hunting. The idea is to move fast, cover a lot of ground, and you generally need to get off several shots on the run. Night photography is more like duck hunting. You need a strategy on where to place the decoys, note the wind direction, pick a good spot, and be prepared to sit for hours in the cold. I actually enjoy both, but duck hunting is just a bit more challenging for me. And besides, I do my best working sitting around, casually drinking a good root beer while waiting for something to show up.


Kent in SD

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