Old 06-04-2007, 03:40 PM   #1
Kevin W-S
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Default How do you screen?

I have submitted a couple of photos today.

The first got rejected and I adjusted as per the comments and resubmitted. I guess this is OK? The second got rejected too - and they were my best! Never mind! Will try again when I get something else worthwhile.

Am interested in the process. I am assuming that the vetting is done manually? How many people involved? How many screened a day on average? Percentage rejections?

Having asked the questions, let me also say I have been through a number of the rejection threads to try and get a feel for what is going on, and I am amazed with the patience shown, and the help! A lot of the comments have certainly helped me!

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Old 06-04-2007, 04:41 PM   #2
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I admitt I can be a little OCD with the screening process when one or more of my photos is in the queue. I like to know a roundabout percentage of the shots that got in compared to the number of submissions. One time recently I was #81 and by the time my shot got in, less than 20 ahead of me were accepted.

Not that this has anything to do with what you just asked.


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Old 06-04-2007, 04:43 PM   #3
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I believe there are 3 or 4 screeners.
Hundreds of photos are screened a day, and upwards of 85% are Rejected.
Here's an old shot of the screener's interface, but it gives you the gist:
http://www.railpictures.net/forums/a...ntid=105&stc=1

P.S. link us to your rejected photos, maybe we can help you improve it for next time?
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:28 PM   #4
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Thank you for the screenshot of the screeners interface. Thanks also for the offer of help.

Actually I am not quibbling!

My first was rejected due to

- Scan (Dirty): Visible dirt or dust on scan.
- Underexposed

It was a bit underexposed, so I fixed this. The dirt I think was maybe the shadow or two of objects in the mist. Fixed that and resubmitted.

Second reject as below:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=379914&key=0

This time -

- Too Much Compression: Using too much JPEG compression when saving pixelates the image.
- Poor Image Quality: The technical quality of the image needs to be improved.

Compression - well, the photo was taken early in the morning and the ISO was very slow, so it was pixelated to start off with a bit. I have tried using noise reduction tools (Noiseware and PSP), but I think there are limits to this - the photo started to look terrible.

Given all the above, the Poor Image Qquality comment then speaks for itself! Never mind, I still like photo - it may not be 100% but at least it is mine!

The second picture -

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...key=1027109213

Too Much Noise/Grain: Noise is the digital equivalent of grain.

his photo is a scan from film (I think ASA400) - taken a whilw ago. Yes - I agree it iis grainy. I am just nervous about the "noise" software - I do not like the results! I reworked the above with Noiseware (on the low noise setting) and got this (see attachment). But is this any better?
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin W-S
Am interested in the process. I am assuming that the vetting is done manually? How many people involved? How many screened a day on average? Percentage rejections?
Kevin,

You're correct that all screening is done manually. Typically there are around 400-500 photos screened daily, and an average of 20-25% 'make the cut,' so to speak.

I've attached an updated screenshot of the screening page (the other one posted was very, very old) so that you can get a better idea of what we're seeing when we screen.
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File Type: jpg rpscreening.jpg (162.4 KB, 1033 views)
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:50 PM   #6
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Thank you Chris - much appreciated.

I now have a clearer understanding of how it works - for a moment I thought it may be partly automated! At least now I am reassurred that the human eye has had a look!
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:23 PM   #7
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Thanks for the screenshot, Chris!
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:37 PM   #8
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Kevin, the first shot is very nice! Sorry to hear that maybe the original has poor quality - is it a scan? - and I hope there is a way to start over with the original and maybe get it better and accepted. I'd also suggest cropping a bit from the right side to get better balance.

The second shot is not only noisy but hazy and not well lit. The haziness MAY improve with some "local contrast enhancement" - do an unsharp mask with parameters 20/60/0 in addition to your sharpening. But ultimaltely, I suspect the poor light kills the shot regardless of how much you improve the noise problem.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:29 PM   #9
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Do screeners screen their own shots, or does another screener have to screen them? Just wondering.
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Old 06-04-2007, 09:51 PM   #10
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Here's some more info on who's who and what's what:

http://www.railpictures.net/us/
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:13 AM   #11
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Thanks for the screener's shot Chris, interesting.
I was thnking when I saw the older one that you should lose the scroll bar and replace it with check boxes - looks like that issue was fixed!

Is the photographer's name blacked out when you screen or is that just done on the screen shot? I'm thinking someone might be thinking - they just don't like me!

I would've figured that comments to photographer would be used more often, I may have seen it once out of over 160 photos submitted. I suppose a Screener's Choice is it's alternative? Chris, have you considered a place for the screener to leave a comment during screening, as opposed to going back to the photo, or would that give away who screened it?

Thanks for the insight!

/Mitch
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CNWFreak
Do screeners screen their own shots, or does another screener have to screen them? Just wondering.
Screeners can't screen their own photographs. Nor can they screen their friends' photographs, as this would be a conflict of interest.
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Old 06-05-2007, 01:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman
Is the photographer's name blacked out when you screen or is that just done on the screen shot? I'm thinking someone might be thinking - they just don't like me!
No, it's not blacked out on the screening page. Ideally, there wouldn't be any indication as to who the photographer is, but the copyright bar is applied to the large photo at the time of upload, so it could be found there anyway.

I like having it included on the screening page because, at least in my experience, I don't give photos from long-established photographers/uploaders as much 'attention' while screening as I do photos from others. It's not that I "don't like" anyone; it's more that, as I've screened over the years, I've developed a feel for those photographers who really 'get it,' and I don't need to spend 1-2 minutes analyzing every aspect of each photo they upload.

You (and many others) fall into that category, Mitch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman
I would've figured that comments to photographer would be used more often, I may have seen it once out of over 160 photos submitted. I suppose a Screener's Choice is it's alternative? Chris, have you considered a place for the screener to leave a comment during screening, as opposed to going back to the photo, or would that give away who screened it?
I would like to use the comments to photographer box, but again, sometimes it's very difficult to interrupt the screening 'rhythm' when going through hundreds of shots to leave a personal comment. I do it when I'm really awestruck by a shot, but I use the field a lot more to offer more insight into a rejection that I feel may not be clear just using the automatically-generated text that accompanies a tick of any rejection box.
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Old 06-05-2007, 01:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Callufrax
Screeners can't screen their own photographs. Nor can they screen their friends' photographs, as this would be a conflict of interest.
What decides who a screener's friends are, out of curiosity?

Also, I noticed the "banned" check box on the screen. Is it just the admin who can ban members or can any screener do it if someone double-uploads or abuses a feature or guideline?
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Old 06-05-2007, 02:09 AM   #15
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With regards to what Chris Kilroy said about screening known photographers. Based on a rejection I get I can usually tell who did it, some of the time! But sometimes shots get in I think might get rejected, then like today I had a shot I thought would get it, got booted for high sun which it wasn't at 3pm when it was taken, appealed it and then got rejected for being crooked. Basically I think the screener knows my work and was telling me to pass on it without saying it. Looking at the reviewers screen I'm surprised anything gets in! LOL

I would also say with the consistency that exists here there is also some inconsistent screening too, or maybe call it lax at times. Like the other day when I noticed blatant backlit or high sun shots approved. I'm not bitching and glad they hold me to high standards, but it shows they're only human at times with letting some shots in that shouldn't get in, then they reject shots that should never be rejected. I'm sure it all works out in the end.
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Old 06-05-2007, 03:59 AM   #16
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I noticed on the top right of the new screener's menu something a bit disconcerning Dave....

/Mitch
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Old 06-05-2007, 04:07 AM   #17
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^^^Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:46 AM   #18
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JRMDC - thanks for the input. I will relook the first photo - I also have a couple of similar shots and will go throuhg them carefully.

Re the second shot - the hazyness is the fog/muist/drizzle.That is what it was like. Are we saying here that clear weather shots are generrally prefered.

Point taken on the other apects raised.
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Old 06-05-2007, 09:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin W-S
Re the second shot - the hazyness is the fog/muist/drizzle.That is what it was like. Are we saying here that clear weather shots are generrally prefered.
Yes. Clear weather, or rather, clear light, is preferred. There is a rejection category that says something like "common, ordinary power in bad light are not considered," can't remember the exact phrasing. Basically, if you can reshoot it another day, it will be rejected.

Fog/mist/drizzle is perfectly acceptable if the photo makes use of it to establish an interesting mood or feel. Yours is just blah.
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Old 06-05-2007, 01:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Yes. Clear weather, or rather, clear light, is preferred. There is a rejection category that says something like "common, ordinary power in bad light are not considered," can't remember the exact phrasing. Basically, if you can reshoot it another day, it will be rejected.
Yes - it says something to the sense of "Common angle cloudy day shots of common/standard power are generally not accepted." It also mentions that that can include shots where the lighting is not at its worst, but could be better. This is most commonly when the sun is shining but it somewhat filtered by clouds, which really is a pain when you have a perfectly sunny day and out of the blue (no pun intended ) a small cloud that is hardly noticeable moves over the sun and filters the light just enough to spoil a shot.
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Old 06-05-2007, 01:48 PM   #21
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Other than cloudy sky, the other common rejection for weather-related issues is high sun (which you probably saw me commenting about in the other forum). It has been discussed about "high sun" hours, in which the sun is too high in the sky to cast light on the trucks of locomotive/cars in shots, so, even on perfect, sunny summer days, that issue arises. While I'm not the greatest at working around it, I've found some ways that seem to work.

1 - Use something distracting to help compose the shot. It will take the distraction off of the dark trucks, like this.

Image © Carl Becker
PhotoID: 189326
Photograph © Carl Becker


2 - Take a shot similar to a normal 3/4 wedge but zoom in as far as you can and take the shot at a distance. It will look poorly cropped but if you have enough megapixels you can crop the shot on the computer and it will look great. This shot here was originally a poorly cropped, unlevel portrait shot that was soft and looked quite terrible. [The wind out there was terribly strong and was blowing the camera around so bad I could hardly shoot.] See the original shot in the attachment, unmodified except for being sized-down.

Image © Carl Becker
PhotoID: 189327
Photograph © Carl Becker


3 - Use a curve to take the shot. Shoot when the locomotive is face-on enough that you can see the train trailing away and the darkness on the side is not the "attention-grabber".

Image © Carl Becker
PhotoID: 188568
Photograph © Carl Becker
Image © Carl Becker
PhotoID: 187106
Photograph © Carl Becker


4 - Shoot a face-on style wedge with more of an "environment". Don't let the high sun take away from the fact that you can see an entire scene of what is going on.

Image © Carl Becker
PhotoID: 189324
Photograph © Carl Becker


These aren't the only ways, and they do not always work. Sometimes, even though you have little hope for a shot because of high sun or other similar issues, you should just take it and just hope for the best (which in this case, I did!).
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Old 06-05-2007, 01:57 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Becker
This is most commonly when the sun is shining but it somewhat filtered by clouds, which really is a pain when you have a perfectly sunny day and out of the blue (no pun intended ) a small cloud that is hardly noticeable moves over the sun and filters the light just enough to spoil a shot.
This can be quite unnerving for me. Happened the other day a couple of times and it really pissed me off. When I spend time, energy and most importantly, FUEL, on getting to the right crossing to get that perfect shot I've been waiting for, and a cloud moves in front of the sun JUST before the train arrives, it makes me want to pull out what little hair I have left.


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Old 06-05-2007, 02:05 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
This can be quite unnerving for me. Happened the other day a couple of times and it really pissed me off. When I spend time, energy and most importantly, FUEL, on getting to the right crossing to get that perfect shot I've been waiting for, and a cloud moves in front of the sun JUST before the train arrives, it makes me want to pull out what little hair I have left.


I agree, word for word.
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Old 06-05-2007, 02:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
This can be quite unnerving for me. Happened the other day a couple of times and it really pissed me off. When I spend time, energy and most importantly, FUEL, on getting to the right crossing to get that perfect shot I've been waiting for, and a cloud moves in front of the sun JUST before the train arrives, it makes me want to pull out what little hair I have left.
And its usually reserved for occasions when the locations and/or motive power are unlikely to be visited or seen again.

Visited a spot years ago on holiday that I wanted to get a shot of with a loco hauled passenger train. Sun had been out all day. Got in position an hour before it was due; 30 secs before it arrived, cloud - train goes by - sun comes out and doesn't go in again all day. Never did get another chance.
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:11 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
This can be quite unnerving for me. Happened the other day a couple of times and it really pissed me off. When I spend time, energy and most importantly, FUEL, on getting to the right crossing to get that perfect shot I've been waiting for, and a cloud moves in front of the sun JUST before the train arrives, it makes me want to pull out what little hair I have left.


The thing I hate even more is when I wake up bright and early to go out. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and kids everywhere are moaning and groaning about the pain of having to attend school. I go out and get to the tracks with beautiful lighting and a beautiful blue sky...except there are no trains within 30 miles of me. So I wait...and wait...and wait. While I'm waiting, a quite literally wall of clouds appears in the distance...and a train usually calls a signal 25-30 miles away a few minutes later...the race is on! The train's headlight will round the curve as the clouds draw dangerously near. As the train approaches, I raise my camera and start getting my settings ready...when suddenly, the entire scene goes dark! I don't even bother with the shot due to pure anger, watching as the train passes the next crossing down in perfect lighting. And, to rub it in my face, a fleet follows that train in the overcast light. That, my friends, is an average day for me!
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