Old 04-24-2008, 01:26 PM   #1
millerm
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Default "Poor Image Quality"?

Hello everyone--

I've been trying to submit this and I've run out of ideas to fix it. It looks perfect on my screen but apparently it's not.

1st submission (unedited) - "Poor Image Quality"
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...5&key=78147975

2nd submission (minimal sharpening, contrast & brightness adjusted) - "Unlevel Horizon"
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=658705888

3rd submission (straightened, re-cropped previous) - "Poor Image Quality"
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=603487080

I also asked several people (before this forum account was active) about the 3rd one and he thought it looked ok too so I tried an appeal and got the following response:
Your appeal for photo id 513781 has been processed and has been rejected.
Admin Comments >> Not sure of the problem here but the image quality is well below what we are looking for. Sorry
"image quality well below what we are looking for"? What's the standard here?

I'm to new submitting things here so I'd really appreciate any suggestions/critiques, I even tried putting it on a LCD monitor from work hoping to see defects I couldn't on my laptop screen but didn't see any myself. I have Photoshop Elements 5 for editing.

Thanks!
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:35 PM   #2
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The second and third are way, way oversharpened. The first and second were not level, but you fixed that. What settings are you using for the sharpening?
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Old 04-24-2008, 03:23 PM   #3
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Other than what JRMDC said, I just don't the angle here would work for this shot because of the wires running acros the middle of the frame.
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:20 PM   #4
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To sharpen the original, I used Photoshop "Adjust Sharpness" for "Gaussian Blur" at Amount=100% and Radius=2.0
Although I would have expected over-sharpening to be "overprocessed" not "poor quality" though.

I didn't think it needed any sharpening personally but since it was marked "poor quality" I figured that was about the only thing I could think of as I'd already balanced everything I could think of.

As for the wires that Tgranville mentioned, they are the last of the old catenary system (or it's remains) so there's not much I can do about them no matter which way I look. I'll have to look but I know there are other pictures from that location or the next bridge up.

I'm supprised nobody has mentioned the fence at the left -- around what's left of the old Virginian station that burned there in Roanoke.
[edit: btw, I tried one where I cropped out that fence and got "bad angle"]

Last edited by millerm; 04-24-2008 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millerm
To sharpen the original, I used Photoshop "Adjust Sharpness" for "Gaussian Blur" at Amount=100% and Radius=2.0
Although I would have expected over-sharpening to be "overprocessed" not "poor quality" though.
Radius = 2 is way, way too strong. Try 0.6 for starters (and maybe back off the amount down to 75 or so). I'm not familiar with Adjust Sharpness for Gaussian Blur; how is that different from Unsharp Mask, which I think is the conventional method? (My suggested setting are for the use of Unsharp Mask and I am assuming that your method uses values of similar magnitude.)

The shot is so badly oversharpened that it can be confusing as to what happened, but clearly it is way off so it got bad quality.

Quote:
I'm supprised nobody has mentioned the fence at the left -- around what's left of the old Virginian station that burned there in Roanoke.
[edit: btw, I tried one where I cropped out that fence and got "bad angle"]
That seems to be a minor issue, and in general when you get quality rejections, that is what people will comment on first. As far as composition, I'm not a fan, and I wonder whether a vertical crop will get rid of some of the uninteresting fringe (especially on the right) and make more sense of the middle.
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:04 PM   #6
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Before you spend too much time working on this - with the goal of eventual acceptance, what are you trying to depict in this photo ? I see a lot of dead space filled with clutter on 3 of the 4 sides, loaded coal hoppers (yawn....) and the back of a locomotive in the shadow of the adjacent hoppers. Overall, a boring photo.
A nice scene here might be to align the right edge of the photo with the metal pole and wait until you get the loads departing (like you have shown), while an inbound train of empties is arriving, with the power over in front of the station.
It might not happen the first time you try, or even the second, third or fourth. Eventually, you'll get it and you'll have a nice photo that tells a story about the function of this yard.
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:29 PM   #7
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I must admit, I'm an extreme beginner when it comes to Photoshop, I only got it the end of last year. I've taken a semester of black&white photography and read a book on digital photography technique so I have a rough idea what the tools are for but not exactly where to begin. I'll have to read up some more on unsharp mask.

I used to use MS Photo Editor (part of office 2002) for editing so I'm more familiar with it's tools which are extremely basic.

I'll go along with over-sharpened, maybe when I get home I'll try running a 0.6 sharpen on the original like you suggest and see what that looks like.



As for the objective of this shot, I thought it was somewhat interesting looking down the track perfectly in line with the track (sighting down the top of the cars). Maybe it's just not worth submitting but I thought it was interesting...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rpalmer
A nice scene here might be to align the right edge of the photo with the metal pole and wait until you get the loads departing (like you have shown), while an inbound train of empties is arriving, with the power over in front of the station.
It might not happen the first time you try, or even the second, third or fourth. Eventually, you'll get it and you'll have a nice photo that tells a story about the function of this yard.
Often I feel like I'm wearing a location transponder, as soon as I arrive with my camera and scanner, everything stops...nomater how long I wait, as soon as I leave, then I start to hear lots of chatter and things begin rolling again, by which time I'm late to be somewhere else...
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:56 PM   #8
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In my humble opinion, this shot will never make it to the database because of the composition. Forget learning Photoshop until you compose a good shot first. For instance, this shot is really busy, but there's nothing that draws the atttention of the viewer, nothing that makes me want to look at the shot. The focus can't be the engine sitting there because it's partially in the shadows. It can't be the cut of coal cars because, well, they're just a cut of coal cars.

If you want to practice post processing your shots, go ahead. But don't do it with the intention of getting this one in the database.


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Old 04-24-2008, 09:40 PM   #9
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Im not trying to sound like a jerk when I say this, But the photo is not RP Quality and work on the photo wouldnt make it any better.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NSFan14
Im not trying to sound like a jerk when I say this, But the photo is not RP Quality and work on the photo wouldnt make it any better.
Thanks for the input, the one thing I would like to know with a comment like this is what can I do better. If I don't know why it's not up to quality it's impossible to get any better.

I guess I see it as "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"...I see some shots on here that I think are incredible. Then I see others and I wonder why on earth anyone would care about it.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millerm
Thanks for the input, the one thing I would like to know with a comment like this is what can I do better. If I don't know why it's not up to quality it's impossible to get any better.

I guess I see it as "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"...I see some shots on here that I think are incredible. Then I see others and I wonder why on earth anyone would care about it.
Maybe a new camera? The quality is poor. Either you need a better camera or you dont have your setting set right.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:43 AM   #12
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I know it's not the camera...It's a Nikon D50 DSLR.

This shot was at
6MP, f/8 1/250sec, 42mm
1:25 PM

These, of corse don't look as good as my 6MP original but that's somewhat of a side-effect of downsizing it to post here.


Again, WHY is it poor. What aspect? Focus? Contrast? Exposure?

Last edited by millerm; 04-25-2008 at 02:45 AM.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:58 AM   #13
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Somewhat unrelated but maybe relevant in another forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rpalmer
A nice scene here might be to align the right edge of the photo with the metal pole and wait until you get the loads departing (like you have shown), while an inbound train of empties is arriving, with the power over in front of the station.
I won't pretend to know about the ops there but the NS Winston-Salem line runs past Virginia Western Community College (I go there) and as best I can guess that trains come and go on the same track in that area of the yard. I completely agree that this would be awesome to see but don't think it's likely.

The one in the picture is actually is going backward (away from my camera). It backed to past a switch and stopped as if it was going to then head out on the NS Winston Salem line. I was hoping to catch it leaving and again past the college but I finally had to head home, it sounded like they were having issues with the brake pressure as they added more locomotives.

Last edited by millerm; 04-25-2008 at 03:00 AM. Reason: Forgot to check spelling
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millerm
Again, WHY is it poor. What aspect? Focus? Contrast? Exposure?
It is just not the best shot, as in its the back side of the GE cant see the power on the train on the right side. shot in high sun thats 10 am to 3 pm, the light is flat and not pleasing. Not that you didn't try and its not saying your a bad shot. Just this one didn't work out. I am having a go around right now trying to get one in and i know what i am doing, so as a new guy don't get to beat up about it you will get in with a shot, if you don't give up.
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milwman
It is just not the best shot, as in its the back side of the GE cant see the power on the train on the right side. shot in high sun thats 10 am to 3 pm, the light is flat and not pleasing. Not that you didn't try and its not saying your a bad shot. Just this one didn't work out. I am having a go around right now trying to get one in and i know what i am doing, so as a new guy don't get to beat up about it you will get in with a shot, if you don't give up.
Thanks, that info is REALLY helpful. I'll have to try and get out earlier, andy later and I'd be shooting directly into the sun to get anything worthwhile.

I'm sure I could find something if I really wanted to, I've got thousands of rail picures on cd's back to 2002 and I'm always taking more when I can.

I may let this one go, I'm going to try cropping/tuning it some and see if I can make it look better first. I wish I could make one of these work but I think they're beyond hope.

Last edited by millerm; 04-25-2008 at 03:15 AM.
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millerm
I know it's not the camera...It's a Nikon D50 DSLR.

This shot was at
6MP, f/8 1/250sec, 42mm
1:25 PM

These, of corse don't look as good as my 6MP original but that's somewhat of a side-effect of downsizing it to post here.


Again, WHY is it poor. What aspect? Focus? Contrast? Exposure?
If you have a Nikon D50 and it looks like this then your not resizing your stuff with the right program. I resize my photos with Irfanview and it works great.
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NSFan14
If you have a Nikon D50 and it looks like this then your not resizing your stuff with the right program. I resize my photos with Irfanview and it works great.
I haven't heard of that program but I used Adobe Photoshop Elements Image>Resize>ImageSize and it's set to 300px/inch, "scale styles", "constrain proportions" and "resample bicubic".

I may have to read up some more on resizing with photoshop too but the loss from resizing is negligible compared to poor adjustment or bad judgment, which I think is much more likely.
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Old 04-25-2008, 12:37 PM   #18
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Ok, I thought about what everyone has said and I'd like to get some opinions on this one last try before I give up on it.

I still think it's an interesting angle to look down the top of the cars as they roll out but I don't want to waste time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Here's what I came up with:
http://members.cox.net/millermmail_w...201cropped.jpg
(the only thing I ran over this is basic autoenhance so it will not be perfect)

All comments and criticism are welcome, all I ask is that you explain why you think it is or isn't bad so I know where to do better in the future.

Thanks everyone!

Last edited by millerm; 04-25-2008 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Bad URL
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:51 PM   #19
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Well look at what's on here now for photos, and i don't think you will see much that is framed like that. As you shot more you will see shots in your mind,
And you will get shots in. One thing you will find out it takes a lot of time, to get the shots you want, As getting a train and the light is what it is about, then framing the shot to. As far as that shot i would give up getting it in, sorry it just isn't working.
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:18 PM   #20
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It certainly does not work for RP.

Which is not to say don't do it if you like it. But, if you want the focus to be on the tops of cars, make it a shot that somehow highlights the tops of cars. Here you have two basic issues that prevent that from happening, in my view:

1) major distractions from the "tops of cars" story. Chopped off fragment of an engine. Chopped off fragment of a bridge. A pile of ties. A post. When I look at this shot, I don't think "tops of cars," I think messy, messy pointless shot.

2) uninteresting "tops of cars" story. Frankly, engines are inherently interesting, end of trains are somewhat interesting, can be greatly so at times, but in general cars are much less interesting. Unless you make them so! You did not. A shot of a string of cars in plain light with plain perspective says "boring." Sorry, but it does, at least to me. It may require changing your position, changing what you focus on, etc. It requires much more effort at composition than does a shot of the front of a train.

I think that, from this vantage point, a "yard" story is the best bet. The arrangement of cars and engine this time around were not especially interesting, from a composition point of view, but that doesn't mean don't go back and try another day. I suspect a vertical will be the best way to go but hey, I've never been there.
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:38 PM   #21
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Thanks, I'll try and keep this in mind next time I'm out.
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