Old 10-27-2015, 03:16 PM   #1
JohnJ
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Default Cloudy Day Blues

Well, this wasn't entirely unexpected, but a hoped-for acceptance devolved into the dreaded common power/cloudy day rejection. Amtrak ran a foliage special over the old Boston & Maine west end last weekend, a rare event indeed, and tons of railfans, including me, were out in force. Of course, just before the arrival of the train at Hoosac Tunnel and for the rest of the weekend, clouds moved in. I'd hoped the historic nature of this event would mean a little leniency on the cloudy angle, and sure enough, a fair number of shots have been accepted from that day under cloudy conditions. But not mine.

Any tips on how I could improve this one? I'd hoped the fact that no sky is visible would tip the scales in my favor here.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...97&key=5505641
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Old 10-27-2015, 03:50 PM   #2
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The shot just doesn't look good, it isn't a pleasing version of cloudy. I am speculating here, so bear with me and maybe someone else will chime in with a better perspective. I see a shot where the dark end can't get any darker, you can't loose more detail in the trucks. I see a shot where the bright end can't get any brighter, I already think the face of the engine and the boards on the bridge are a little bright or "glowy". If I had this shot in my software I would mess with the midtone contrast slider (PS Elements, in the same drop down as shadows and highlights). These thoughts may not help, sorry.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:52 PM   #3
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What J said plus the foliage is muted by mist or exhaust or something. Needs more saturation to make the colors pop - it is fall after all. Given all that I still don't understand what makes this one "more special" to warrant inclusion:
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wds View Post
...I still don't understand what makes this one "more special" to warrant inclusion:
Image © Colin Graham
PhotoID: 551826
Photograph © Colin Graham
Exactly.

The answer could be: different screener, but patrons and viewers will correctly see it as inconsistencies in policy. This is one area where ALL the screeners should be on the same page.

And, again... it's a rare and unique event. The BEST railroad photos on the net do not have to be the prettiest pictures - as witness to all the wrecks, Darwin's, roster and news shots.

/Mitch

PS - I'd darken the brightest brights (via highlights filter) and jack up the saturation and give it another go. A very slight vignetting might even help.
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman View Post
...The BEST railroad photos on the net do not have to be the prettiest pictures...
Amen to that!
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:49 AM   #6
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If you can, do not make the train the complete main focus of the photo, see if you can add some of that nice fall color, whether that means loosening up the crop or adjusting the train down a little in the frame, use that color if you can! I would up the color temp a little, cloudy days need a bump in that, and it will help the colors pop. Don't be afraid in the future to have some cloudy sky when shooting trains surrounded by fall color, nice color can really make it a non-factor.

A trio of personal examples from this fall:

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All of these were taken on oppressively cloudy days.
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Old 10-28-2015, 02:13 AM   #7
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As Kyle stated, we need to see more of the scene. With the colors popping like that, it's a shame you didn't go wider. And what J said about the nose of the loco is spot on. It's a bit too bright and needs to look blacker like the should-have-been-rejected photo posted above. If you can tone it down a little and maybe boost the saturation in the fall colors a little, you'll have a really nice image (not that it isn't already, but a few little tweaks can really make it pop).
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Old 10-28-2015, 02:22 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the feedback, much appreciated. I could definitely go wider on this as it is cropped to some degree. Overall, I was looking for advice for future cloudy day shots, or perhaps a different shot from the same day. I've had bad experience in the past re-editing and re-uploading different edits of the same shot here, but that's a story for another day.

There is nothing more infuriating than reading a weather forecast that calls for sunny skies, driving 120 miles, and having these clouds handed to you by Mother Nature. As they say, it is what it is, and I enjoyed 'fanning the West End, a place where I've spent very little time. I'll be back under better conditions, but sadly not with the Amtrak train unless they repeat this excursion on this line next fall - not likely.
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Old 10-28-2015, 11:15 AM   #9
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Clouds aren't a bad thing, and during the fall, in my opinion, a sunny sky can in fact be detrimental to the foliage and colors. Like the others said, show more of the scene and you should be GTG.
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Old 10-28-2015, 01:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Clouds aren't a bad thing, and during the fall, in my opinion, a sunny sky can in fact be detrimental to the foliage and colors. Like the others said, show more of the scene and you should be GTG.
Agreed. Clouds can actually be your friend in the fall, especially if you have some amazing colors along with a train moving in the opposite direction of the sun.
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