Old 01-31-2021, 03:48 PM   #1
bbrant
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I've been dinged for several composition shots lately and I wanted to get some second opinions on the composition because, other than the typical poor and inconsistent screening/our site, our rules, our right to put on what we want, I'm not seeing anything wrong with them.

https://www.railpictures.net/viewrej...34&key=8871714

https://www.railpictures.net/viewrej...39&key=8680898

I'm guessing they want something tighter like maybe only part of one of the number boards rather than scenery.

https://www.railpictures.net/viewrej...84&key=2754123

How is this awkwardly positioned?!? I've had many personal shots accepted and I've seen numerous others with this kind of "awkwardness" on here. Both rightly so because it's NOT awkward. The screening, particularly a particular screener, is shameful - not that I'm saying anything that hasn't fallen on the admins deaf ears in the past.
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Old 01-31-2021, 05:29 PM   #2
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Well take this with a great grain of salt because I have been submitting photos here for just a month and more than half got rejected, but it's been a while since I had a composition problem. I did learn in my short time here that screener comments are canned and sometimes you have to guess what they are really about.

I would crop all three of your photos differently, here is how:

NS 4252 at Cresson: I would crop tighter on all four sides, a bit on top because of the grey sky, a bit on the right because of the featureless trees, more at the bottom & right because the lower left corner is just empty track.

NS 1809 at Cresson exiting Gallitzin tunnel: I think this picture is cropped too tightly. It feels like the bridge cuts the image in half and you don't have a good view of what's above/behind it. If your original picture was wider and you could include the tops of the trees and more of the arch and/or abutment of the bridge, I think it would look better.

CSXT 3460 at Rockwood: I would crop top (too much sky), left and a bit at bottom. And reduce highlights.
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Old 01-31-2021, 07:36 PM   #3
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Brian,

You need to pay more attention to the ROT when cropping. All three images has issues with the lead unit being too close to center either horizontally or vertically, with the two NS shots as the worst offenders. Here are crops that should be compositionally acceptable to the screeners.

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Old 02-01-2021, 12:26 PM   #4
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Doug & 18 316 - Thank you for the repilies.

I've been going back more towards the center (but not dead center) because off centered stuff for the ROT was dinged for awkward composition or too loose.

I'm starting to believe it's a crap shoot on what the screeners are looking for.
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Old 02-01-2021, 02:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bbrant View Post
Doug & 18 316 - Thank you for the repilies.

I've been going back more towards the center (but not dead center) because off centered stuff for the ROT was dinged for awkward composition or too loose.

I'm starting to believe it's a crap shoot on what the screeners are looking for.
My thoughts:
Shoot a little wide to start with but keeping composition in mind. Selecting good locations and where you shoot from. When using crop tool they give you the line markers for rule of thirds. Get rid of the dead space from shooting a little wide..

Problem for photography and RP's is you can start shooting only with RP's in mind. This can be a big mistake. RP's rules are RP's rules, it is not necessarily good photography. I got caught up in that and made a costly mistake with a contest.

I'd say shoot what you like. Pick the ones that fit the RP's mold and submit those. Find other outlets for other shots you like. Forget the others.

Just my thought but find a method that helps.

Bob
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Old 02-01-2021, 03:08 PM   #6
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Brian,

You need to pay more attention to the ROT when cropping. All three images has issues with the lead unit being too close to center either horizontally or vertically, with the two NS shots as the worst offenders. Here are crops that should be compositionally acceptable to the screeners.
Agree with these comments, all of these rejections are heading towards the center, when the best (at least for RP and in general) composition would be to have the nose of the lead unit at the ROT intersection point. Being close to center but not dead center tends to feel more awkward. If you're doing something centered, usually you want to be dead center and have a good reason for composing that way.
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Old 02-01-2021, 04:18 PM   #7
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Doug & 18 316 - Thank you for the repilies.

I've been going back more towards the center (but not dead center) because off centered stuff for the ROT was dinged for awkward composition or too loose.
I don't understand how you can be centered AND observing ROT - they're mutually exclusive. Like Joe said, if you can't envision it in the viewfinder, shoot loose and get dead space out when you crop, observing ROT when you crop.

I also agree with Joe that ROT is not an absolute for RP, but there have to be other elements of interest in the image to justify the deviation. Those elements are not present in your three examples, just dead space. Balance is the key when not observing ROT.

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I'm starting to believe it's a crap shoot on what the screeners are looking for.
It's not a crap shoot, but you're letting them get in your head. Compare my crops with yours, and it should become clear why these submissions got dinged on composition. All of them can be redeemed, but taking a more analytic look before submission will reduce the number of rejections, and maybe boost your confidence.
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Old 02-02-2021, 04:04 PM   #8
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It's not a crap shoot, but you're letting them get in your head. .
I think it's safe to say that because when I'm in post processing, I have a tendency to think to myself "how does RP want this" far too many times. I haven't had a chance to compare the shots you cropped vs what I submitted but I plan to.

Thank you to everyone who replied, I appreciate the feedback.
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Old 02-02-2021, 07:12 PM   #9
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I'm a little late to the party, but here's my $.02:

The ROT is more of a guideline than a hard, fast rule. Unfortunately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and when you're asking to post images on someone else's site, they become the beholder. . In MOST compositions, an ROT placement of the subject will be most pleasing to the eye.

With respect to the 3 images that Brian submitted to this thread, the first and third were clear examples of cases in which a tighter crop and an ROT subject placement produce the nicest composition. In the case of the first and third, I think that Doug's proposed crops would do the trick.

The second image is a problem for me. Yes, I see clearly that subject placement is not ROT in the original submission, but I'm not a huge fan of cropping in big-time on the left, leaving an overhead arch to nowhere. I prefer to include some support for that arch, showing the support pillar under the center of it. I also like seeing the old tunnel portal in the background. I might have used a subsequent frame (if you have one) in which the train is a bit closer, so we can keep some of these other elements.....or at least the support pillar for the arch, and still have something that's at least close to ROT. So I guess in the case of the second image, I would not use that frame.

Not sure how diesel fans shoot, but when a train goes by me, I typically burst the last second or two. With steam engines, we typically care about rod positions (rods-centered looks goofy), but those extra frames also sometimes give me composition options, if my original idea doesn't measure up. The nice thing about digital is that I can always delete anything that doesn't work out when I am done with post. Just like with a good golf swing, I have taught myself to follow through on a run-by. Sometimes, the frame you end up using is not the one you originally envisioned.
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Old 02-02-2021, 10:06 PM   #10
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Not sure how diesel fans shoot, but when a train goes by me, I typically burst the last second or two. With steam engines, we typically care about rod positions (rods-centered looks goofy), but those extra frames also sometimes give me composition options, if my original idea doesn't measure up. The nice thing about digital is that I can always delete anything that doesn't work out when I am done with post. Just like with a good golf swing, I have taught myself to follow through on a run-by. Sometimes, the frame you end up using is not the one you originally envisioned.
Wholly agree with you here, with digital frames are as close to free as you can get, and you never know when something looks different after the fact and you end up with a shot completely different than what you planned.
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Old 02-03-2021, 04:31 PM   #11
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The second image is a problem for me. Yes, I see clearly that subject placement is not ROT in the original submission, but I'm not a huge fan of cropping in big-time on the left, leaving an overhead arch to nowhere. I prefer to include some support for that arch, showing the support pillar under the center of it. I also like seeing the old tunnel portal in the background. I might have used a subsequent frame (if you have one) in which the train is a bit closer, so we can keep some of these other elements.....or at least the support pillar for the arch, and still have something that's at least close to ROT. So I guess in the case of the second image, I would not use that frame.
I agree with your assessment - I was just trying to work with the images as presented. The root of the problem here is that the bridge is a distraction, and takes away from the composition. My immediate thought was that the place to be was on the right bridge abutment (always look for a little elevation), because it appears that there's a chain link fence that prevents shooting from the bridge. Apparently I was mistaken:

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Old 02-03-2021, 05:14 PM   #12
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because it appears that there's a chain link fence that prevents shooting from the bridge. Apparently I was mistaken:

They actually have big long official made cutouts on the bridge specifically for railfans. I think about 8 inches tall and a few feet long spaced along the bridge with trim pieces around the chainlink.
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Old 02-03-2021, 05:20 PM   #13
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They actually have big long official made cutouts on the bridge specifically for railfans. I think about 8 inches tall and a few feet long spaced along the bridge with trim pieces around the chainlink.
I haven't been there in a long time, and they are not evident in Brian's photo. but I am familiar with similar accommodations at the west end of Enola yard.
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Old 02-04-2021, 01:23 PM   #14
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I was able to re-crop the Rockwood shot like Doug suggested and got it accepted. The Gallitzin tunnel shot I'll probably keep for my personal files. I tried another shot from there and was rejected for common power/cloudy day because the train was in the shadows.

Thanks again everyone for the replies/feedback.
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