Old 12-07-2016, 05:50 PM   #1
John Russell - NZ
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Default What is wrong with cloudy day photos?

It seems that there's not a lot of hope for cloudy day photos (or slightly back-lit or side lit photos) - even special trips with heritage units for which one needs to accept whatever weather is on the day. I have had this photo and others rejected before yet I see so many others make it in - even a few of mine which prove to be among the most popular. How much light is enough? I have had photo rejection for not enough light on the nose where there is distinct grab iron shadow on the nose. This photo has been more popular on Flickr.com than most of my sunny shots. I guess it's just screener preference. But is there any editing enhancements recommended for such photos?

Sorry, the link to photo rejection does not work (nor can it be found in rejected photos under my profile - this is now also typical.) So instead I paste the rejection reason from notification and attach the image that was submitted.

Photo ID 1538423 was rejected from the database.
Railroad: Pahiatua Railcar Society
Locomotive: RM

Reason(s) for Rejection:

- Lighting (Cloudy): Cloudy day shots of common/standard power, as well as cloudy images of common/standard angles and scenes, are generally not accepted.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...23&key=3656435
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Old 12-07-2016, 05:51 PM   #2
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Your link has expired.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:33 PM   #3
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The "interestingness" of the content needs to outweigh the negative of the less-than-ideal lighting. A very subjective call on the screener's part. Of course, you can play with highlights/shadows, contrast and saturation to tip the balance in your favor.
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Old 12-08-2016, 09:12 AM   #4
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I have edited the original post attaching the exact image rejected which was in last 24 hours (so is not an expired link.) By the way, are others experiencing photo rejection links not working like this? Very few do for me and I suspect that might be a tactic of at least one screener to deter appeals/re-submissions.
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Old 12-08-2016, 09:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
The "interestingness" of the content needs to outweigh the negative of the less-than-ideal lighting. A very subjective call on the screener's part. Of course, you can play with highlights/shadows, contrast and saturation to tip the balance in your favor.
The "interestingness" might be the issue with this subject. I do recall all but one image of this railcar being rejected - including sunny shots so it may be that the screener really doesn't like it. Anyway they should just say that it is not interesting rather than it's too common etc. As far as photo editing is concerned I steer clear of Lightroom because of "grain." I shoot RAW, adjust highlights etc and convert in Canon DPP, edit and resize JPG in Photo Shop Elements and sharpen in DPP. If anyone wants to demonstrate what they can do, the full size image can be downloaded from Flickr.com: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139637...posted-public/

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Old 12-08-2016, 01:30 PM   #6
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The "interestingness" might be the issue with this subject. I do recall all but one image of this railcar being rejected - including sunny shots so it may be that the screener really doesn't like it. Anyway they should just say that it is not interesting rather than it's too common etc. As far as photo editing is concerned I steer clear of Lightroom because of "grain." I shoot RAW, adjust highlights etc and convert in Canon DPP, edit and resize JPG in Photo Shop Elements and sharpen in DPP. If anyone wants to demonstrate what they can do, the full size image can be downloaded from Flickr.com: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139637...posted-public/
I can't speak to the other rejections as I have not seen them or the reasons they were rejected. The shot in question - and I think I can say this, John, you have hundreds of shots on RP and elsewhere and obviously know how to take a picture - is dull, lifeless. The light is as flat as light gets, and photography, after all, is the capture of light. The scene is barren other than the one tree, and I consider it not a train shot as much as a roster shot. RP holds roster shots to a much higher standard than scene shots. For that matter the tree is poorly placed, and the shot is imbalanced left to right. In general the non-train part of the scene lacks interest. Were it to make it on RP it would descend to the lowest part of your range of images here.

In other words, don't think anymore about "rescuing" this image for RP. Work on a better one and go back and retake this train if you can. You have done much, much better, and have done so many, many times.
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Old 12-08-2016, 01:49 PM   #7
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Hi John,

A couple of quick comments:

How long ago was the photo rejected? Typically, rejected photos are only held in the data base for 7 days, so the links will stop working and the shots will disappear from your rejected photo list after that time. If you are finding that the photo and link disappeared quicker than that, well that is curious indeed. I haven't been submitting much lately (too busy!!) so I can't say I have any recent experience with it. Occasionally, some features on RP do malfunction and it has been taking a while in some cases to get them working again.

With regard to the "Cloudy" rejection, I think that the usage is hit and miss. My understanding has always been that this rejection is typically applied for "Common Power", meaning that the standards are less strict for historic or unusual equipment. I have lots of cloudy day images in the data base, so my view is that if I can do it, anyone with reasonable processing skills should also be able to do it. I have no formal training on LR or PSE and I use both. My only training was at the "School of Hard Knocks" and even I have been able to sneak a fair number in.

In the case of this image, I agree with Janusz that it doesn't pop at all. It does look rather flat. In LR, I'd tell you to pull the "Lights" slider back a bit in the Tone Curve and see what that does. Perhaps some clarity would also help. I might also crop it tighter, since there's not much else of significance in the image and you want to emphasize the subject. Still, it may be a tough sell, particularly if you have ever argued with the RP Staff on other similar images.

I am curious about your comments regarding Lightroom and "grain." I use Lightroom all the time and would like to hear some more about your experience and why you believe that other software is better. I personally have been pretty pleased with LR and I find that I can now readily process images very quickly with it.
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by KevinM View Post

I am curious about your comments regarding Lightroom and "grain." I use Lightroom all the time and would like to hear some more about your experience and why you believe that other software is better. I personally have been pretty pleased with LR and I find that I can now readily process images very quickly with it.
Like Kevin, I process almost entirely in Lightroom, and I learned through lots of trial and error. I'm also curious about your observation of LR's introduction of "grain". Are you applying any Noise Reduction> I add quite a bit after sharpening, but I am processing slides, which may present challenges different from those of pure digital images.

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Old 12-09-2016, 06:49 AM   #9
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I can't speak to the other rejections as I have not seen them or the reasons they were rejected. The shot in question - and I think I can say this, John, you have hundreds of shots on RP and elsewhere and obviously know how to take a picture - is dull, lifeless. The light is as flat as light gets, and photography, after all, is the capture of light. The scene is barren other than the one tree, and I consider it not a train shot as much as a roster shot. RP holds roster shots to a much higher standard than scene shots. For that matter the tree is poorly placed, and the shot is imbalanced left to right. In general the non-train part of the scene lacks interest. Were it to make it on RP it would descend to the lowest part of your range of images here.

In other words, don't think anymore about "rescuing" this image for RP. Work on a better one and go back and retake this train if you can. You have done much, much better, and have done so many, many times.
Thanks for your honest opinion. Even if I could make the 700-mile trip over and over until I get the sun right for it, I doubt any shot would be accepted. If the sun was out last time it would have been too high. Per photo caption (which was pasted from Flickr image,) we are talking about a "mothballed" line that sees 3 or 4 trains a year. Just as well I'm not that precious about it. The point of this example is I don't see it making any difference whether heritage unit or not so it may just be simply personal preference. I cropped the image from what it is on Flickr.com as I predicted a composition or "too much dead space" rejection if I didn't. I agree it would be a hard sell even if cropped tighter - especially with my rejection history!
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Old 12-09-2016, 07:24 AM   #10
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Like Kevin, I process almost entirely in Lightroom, and I learned through lots of trial and error. I'm also curious about your observation of LR's introduction of "grain". Are you applying any Noise Reduction> I add quite a bit after sharpening, but I am processing slides, which may present challenges different from those of pure digital images.

Doug Lilly
Thanks Doug. I have not personally used Lightroom but I had some of my images processed in it by others and was shocked by what appears to be grain when looking at images even at 100%. I experimented processing RAW images in PSE 11 but had what looked like the same issue (though not nearly as much). Noise reduction didn't make a noticeable difference so I went back to using Canon DPP to edit RAW. I take a minimalist approach - optimizing white balance, removing any color cast and basic highlight/ shadow fine tuning. I probably need some serious tuition because I don't seem to get past the error stage with anything much more than this!
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:45 AM   #11
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Hi John,

How long ago was the photo rejected? Typically, rejected photos are only held in the data base for 7 days, so the links will stop working and the shots will disappear from your rejected photo list after that time. If you are finding that the photo and link disappeared quicker than that, well that is curious indeed. I haven't been submitting much lately (too busy!!) so I can't say I have any recent experience with it. Occasionally, some features on RP do malfunction and it has been taking a while in some cases to get them working again.

I am curious about your comments regarding Lightroom and "grain." I use Lightroom all the time and would like to hear some more about your experience and why you believe that other software is better. I personally have been pretty pleased with LR and I find that I can now readily process images very quickly with it.
Thanks Kevin and all your comments and encouragement. I adore your stand out photography.

Now to answer: most rejections do not appear in my profile list or have a working link. I suspect settings are at play as daily upload limit was halved "due to a high number of rejections". I did ask earlier about this and so far nobody else says they have this issue which came into effect many months ago. This time I did get a working link for another [easy fix] rejected photo.

I agree with your comments about the rejected image and if not for the rare opportunity would not have even bothered taking some of the shots that day.

As far as Lightroom is concerned, I'm not saying other software is better - only that in my experience I have had issues with what looks like grain. It's perhaps a matter of competence but a good reason for me to avoid using it!
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:50 AM   #12
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"...daily upload limit was halved "due to a high number of rejections".
Paying member and they cut your uploads???
Talk about biting the hand that feeds them!
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Old 12-09-2016, 02:20 PM   #13
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Paying member and they cut your uploads???
Talk about biting the hand that feeds them!
The whole point of elite is to have unlimited uploads.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:06 PM   #14
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The whole point of elite is to have unlimited uploads.
So what is half of unlimited?

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Old 12-10-2016, 02:31 AM   #15
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"While RPElite members normally enjoy unlimited submissions, occasionally we are forced to limit this benefit due to a high rate of rejections. You will still continue to enjoy the other benefits of RPElite membership." I thought that all Elite members were subject to an upload limit due to the workload of screeners (the word occasionally being used) and "a high number of photo rejections." It seems it is 10 for most but mine is 5 per day and it appears that it could be set to anything the admin wanted. I don't know whether other Elite members are all affected or whether admin(s) single out members with what they consider a high rate of rejection. My photo rejection rate is probably a lot less than the 70% average in spite of screener bias. Ultimately less than 10% fail to be accepted because of my persistence with re-submission and that is why I suspect the changes are punitive. I don't have a problem with the limit but I do with the reason and lack of notification and that Elite membership is still advertised as being unlimited. Other benefits that are promoted such as Elite lounge forum are elusive or non-existent! If anybody has ever found a way into the Elite lounge or the very exclusive Elite Premium let me know because I can't get an answer from admins. Screen dump of my photo upload limit from profile:
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Old 12-10-2016, 02:46 AM   #16
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Way back when I wondered about the Elite forum, wondering who used it, how often. One never hears about it, I guess I though it was like the submission guidelines, something written a decade ago and untouched since. I would guess that if one can still sign up for Elite today it is because no one ever bothered to turn off the functionality, just as many things are not bothered with.
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Old 12-10-2016, 03:09 AM   #17
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I signed up for Elite subscription in 2013 within days of joining RPN because I was restricted to 2 uploads a day. I would expect that anybody uploading more than 2 photos a day would be an Elite member i.e. a subscriber. If this is not so then we are dealing with something a bit more serious than strange here. The Elite subscription is still fully functional as I have just joined for a year instead of paying monthly. I received this PayPal receipt, a RPN acknowledgement message, and to my surprise that photo upload limit has disappeared. That does seem to support my theory that it was punitive in the first place.
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:36 AM   #18
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And there's Trainspo.com if RailPictures.Net doesn't like your photo. I have been on this site almost as long as RPN. And now that photo responsible for this thread is too... https://trainspo.com/photo/78480/

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Old 12-10-2016, 01:25 PM   #19
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Not a fan of the cloudy day rejection but I assume they have a range of number photos per day they prefer and the various rejections help keep photos in that range????

Also when you think of the preview photos I'd guess people are less likely overall to click on somewhat grey, darker, flat images than ones with pop like.

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Also, am an elite member but rarely submit more than one a day, I hate the rejection note and don't want to deal with more than one at a time.
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Old 12-10-2016, 03:39 PM   #20
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Have to wonder how many "elite" members they have...

And wonder if the same people still use AOL for internet access.
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Old 12-10-2016, 06:37 PM   #21
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I signed up for Elite subscription in 2013 within days of joining RPN because I was restricted to 2 uploads a day. I would expect that anybody uploading more than 2 photos a day would be an Elite member i.e. a subscriber. If this is not so then we are dealing with something a bit more serious than strange here. The Elite subscription is still fully functional as I have just joined for a year instead of paying monthly. I received this PayPal receipt, a RPN acknowledgement message, and to my surprise that photo upload limit has disappeared. That does seem to support my theory that it was punitive in the first place.
I was elite in the spring of 2014 for 3 months and for 1 month just a few months back, both times because I had quite a backlog of photos I wanted to get added to the database. In both instances I had unlimited uploads the entire time.... that was the whole point of me using elite, albeit temporarily
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Old 12-11-2016, 02:08 AM   #22
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Not a fan of the cloudy day rejection but I assume they have a range of number photos per day they prefer and the various rejections help keep photos in that range????

Also when you think of the preview photos I'd guess people are less likely overall to click on somewhat grey, darker, flat images than ones with pop like.
I'd be inclined to agree but sometimes the color pops in the cloudy day shots and some folks even prefer them. The image rejected is admittedly not one of my best but is a close up shot with good color, looking good in a thumbnail. It's a very rare historic vehicle which simply isn't so interesting to the screeners, perhaps just too foreign for US. The point is that "interestingness" is perhaps more important than great lighting for such photos for viewers. My photos of this railcar on Flickr.com vary greatly in lighting but not popularity. On trainspo.com, where 3 screener votes are needed for acceptance, the RPN rejected photo is nearly as popular as a sunny shot of same vehicle also posted 2 days ago and as popular as a long ago posted photo my RPN forum avatar is from: https://trainspo.com/photo/78239/

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Old 12-11-2016, 05:59 PM   #23
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I signed up for Elite subscription in 2013 within days of joining RPN because I was restricted to 2 uploads a day. I would expect that anybody uploading more than 2 photos a day would be an Elite member i.e. a subscriber. If this is not so then we are dealing with something a bit more serious than strange here. The Elite subscription is still fully functional as I have just joined for a year instead of paying monthly. I received this PayPal receipt, a RPN acknowledgement message, and to my surprise that photo upload limit has disappeared. That does seem to support my theory that it was punitive in the first place.
I'm not an elite member, nor have I ever been, but I have always had a 10 submission limit.
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Old 12-11-2016, 06:31 PM   #24
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Thanks Jim. That's interesting. Perhaps there are honorary Elite members. Or maybe only overseas members have to subscribe to be unlimited? Do you get the "20000 women" advertising? I think the admins need to clarify what is going on because it certainly doesn't appear that it's an equal opportunity site here. BTW, no difference in popularity between the sunny and not sunny images in my test posting on trainspo.com and virtually none on Flickr.com either - just to get back to the context of original post. It seems Jean-Marc is right after all.
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Old 12-11-2016, 10:18 PM   #25
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Thanks Jim. That's interesting. Perhaps there are honorary Elite members. Or maybe only overseas members have to subscribe to be unlimited?
Hi John,

No, there is nothing sinister about Jim's 10 upload limit. Lots of us have that same limit.. When the site first opened in the early 2000's everyone started with a 10 upload limit. That practice continued until late in the decade. At one point, Admin began discussing reducing the limit for those who had high rates of rejection and they ultimately began to enforce that practice. Eventually, with lots of new people joining and starting to blitz the upload queue with sub-par work, Admin placed a limit on all new members. That's when they also started to offer Elite Memberships for those who wanted more.

At least as of right now, those original members who managed to figure out the "RP Recipe" without feeling the need to blitz the queue, appeal every last rejection or send nasty e-mails to the Admins still have the 10 shot limit on uploads. I personally never abuse it. I think the max I have ever done was about 7 shots, and that was probably just once. I rarely upload more than one a day and lately, I have just been too busy to find the time. Hopefully, that will change as we approach the holidays.
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