Old 01-03-2013, 02:39 PM   #1
GetYaTrainOn
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I took this last week with my favorite p&s and it was promptly overturned with a nice range of rejection reasons.

I realize that I will most likely not be able to bring it up to railpictures' standards. Regardless, I would appreciate some tips on how to make it a better photo so I can get some practice in with GIMP, and maybe next time I have something better to work with I'll have a better shot.

Help a novice out!

Thanks.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...74&key=7314388
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:51 PM   #2
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You are using a film P&S of unknown quality; this is a file generated by the machine that processed the film. I suspect the image quality in the file is simply not up to snuff. But you can do better by sharpening the shot - It appears that you have not done that at all, yet that is essential for pretty much every shot you take. You need to brighten the shot also.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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First of all, welcome to RP!

I'd really like to see the original, out-of-the-camera version. I think you overdid the edit a bit. As it is, it looks like those Instagram photos that some of my Facebook friends keep posting all the time.

There is too much contast. You can roll it off easily with GIMP.

I don't really see the underexposure, the snow looks nice and white on my screen. I guess you can brighten it a little.

As for blurriness, there is not much you can do. What was the shutter speed for this one?

Also, next time, get a bit closer to the action -- if you were to fix the aforementioned "problems", you would probably get a "bad cropping" rejection, because the photo is generally a bit loose on all sides.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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JRMDC, thanks - I will play around with sharpening it and see how that looks.

Magicman, thanks! Glad to be here. I've attached the file as it came to me on the CD from the lab. I don't know the shutterspeed because it's automatic, but it was taken on ISO 400 film, so I doubt it was all that slow. Blurriness is probably more to do with lens and scan quality and that I had to crop it quite a bit. And like you said I'd probably have to take it even tighter.

I definitely would have gotten closer but I was standing at a grade crossing and didn't want to encroach off the road.

I took it with a Lomo LC-A, which I have been told is the camera that without which, we would not have instagram. We may have to agree to disagree on the merits of a cheap, quirky camera, but I have taken some of my favorite pictures with it. I have a Minolta SRT 101 that needless to say serves a different purpose.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:49 PM   #5
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the image quality is lousy. They are looking for "professional" type photos.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:51 PM   #6
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Here's a version with a closer crop, some sharpening (tough to tell if I overdid it but I like that!), and the contrast turned down a little. Reducing the contrast appears to give it a blue-ish color cast. It's worth noting that in the rejected version, I turned the saturation down a lot - not so much in this one.

I really have very little experience with this. This might be a good time to ask if anyone knows of a good book/blog that serves as a reference for post-processing.

Hatchetman, Yea, like I said I figured it's not ever gonna be up to snuff, but I also figured I could use this a learning opportunity.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:04 PM   #7
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Your processing results look fine relative to the equipment you are using. Until you use higher quality equipment, you are going to be facing processing limitations.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:16 PM   #8
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Your processing results look fine relative to the equipment you are using. Until you use higher quality equipment, you are going to be facing processing limitations.
That's promising - thanks! I'll check back in with some pics from my other camera.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:13 PM   #9
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You certainly don't need pro equipment for RP-worthy photo, but you're pushing the enveloppe quite a bit here with the LC-A. For what it's worth, I like your photo. It has the old school feel that some people like from using older equipment, but for RP, I don't think such equipment will be able to produce satisfactory results.

If you are serious about posting your material here, you should get a nice used 12MP-ish DSLR. You should be able to find one with a kit lens for about 250-300$.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:27 PM   #10
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We may have to agree to disagree on the merits of a cheap, quirky camera, but I have taken some of my favorite pictures with it. I have a Minolta SRT 101 that needless to say serves a different purpose.
I might be inclined to shoot with the Minolta. I don't know much about either of your cameras, but the image quality of the amtrak shot is rotten compared to what the screeners here want. A quick look of shots taken by that camera on Flickr indicates a lot of folks do odd things to the shots in post processing which, to me, means they're going "artsy" upon realizing the badquality of the images overall.

And, sorry, but bad quality is bad quality. Even though one of my all time favorite shots was tkane in 1996 by a POS 35 mm camera that I paid about 40 bucks for, I still see the shot as what it is -- a neat shot taken by a sub par camera that will never see the light of day outside the box I keep it stored in.

A search on the Minolta shows a slew of shots *of" the Minolta and also shots taken by a guy who obviously has a "Baby Got Back" fetish going on, but that's neither here nor there.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:02 PM   #11
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I, for one, love Instagram, Lomography, camera phones and the whole "hipster" movement of photography. It is bringing in thousands of new people into the wonderful realm of cameras and images. (And many are using film!) Some of the images are truly a new way of looking at familiar subjects and for that reason alone, I think the movement has great validity.

I think therefore it is cool that you went out in the snow with your image device and took a picture of a train. I particularly appreciate the original image. While the train equipment is recent, the look suggests a much older date and thus is suggesting something unreal.

Images should not be about what camera did you use. That like asking a chef what stove or pan they used. In the end, it is what the picture is about and does it mean anything to you.

And my final thought about using inexpensive cameras, comes from one of the best photographers, Eugene Smith. "I didn't make the 'rules', so why should I follow them?"

All that being said, to get on to RP consistently, you will need to upgrade your camera to something in the APS-C or DX sized sensor range so you can create the high resolution images RP's aesthetic demands.

Both Instagram and RP approach photography differently and both are equally valid. But one does not work with the other.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:18 PM   #12
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And my final thought about using inexpensive cameras, comes from one of the best photographers, Eugene Smith. "I didn't make the 'rules', so why should I follow them?"
One should be careful when quoting W. Eugene 'round here Dennis, his views on things gave him a rep as being difficult and bothersome.
...'course then he went and shot "The Walk to Paradise Garden" and all was forgiven!
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:42 PM   #13
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I'm with Dennis and love the original out of the camera image!

This suggests that there is something really wrong with me, or, more likely, something really right.

Trying to "make" this work for RP by extensive editing is going about it all wrong. It is what it is and as is, works superbly. It's an actual out of the camera as captured authentic image from a time long ago (yet recent) sans the artificial processing. I agree - it's got a classic and timeless look.

To attempt to "fix" it would be like using a Lens Baby and later attempting to fix the softness, lol. it might be passable, no more, but to what end?

I'd appeal - reason: "Right!", lol. Explain the type of camera and it's shooting style.

Now, had you shot this WITH a modern camera and unintentionally got that result, that's another story. The fact that you used the camera perhaps without the intention of getting that very result casts some legitimacy on the rejection but it's not too late to change your story, lol. Go for it - it's a great look! And the RP audience could stand a little history /culture lesson.

/Mitch

PS - The retro version, introduced in 2005 and still available is quite a pricy camera at $200 plus dollars.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lomo_LC-A
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:20 PM   #14
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Maybe I missed it in the thread, but perhaps no one has noticed, the file he got from the lab was 200kb! And only a 1.6MP file! Files I upload to RP are generally 0.7 MP (1024x683 or what have you) and around 1000kp. So he has 1/5 the info and covering over twice the pixels. Bad news.

One solution may be, for next time, have the lab provide a higher resolution and not compressed file. 200kb is just never going to cut it for RP quality. So I think it isn't a film vs. digital issue, it is making the wrong selection at processing time.

Back in the day, when I was still on film but digital was here, the lab offered two levels of resolution and I chose the lower one. So if I want to do anything with those shots, I will have to re-scan the negative. Perhaps fortuitously, those shots are generally awful.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:37 PM   #15
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Wow - thanks for the compliments on that shot!

I would be pretty pleased to get some pictures up here, but it's a secondary goal for now. I can't invest in a DSLR right now, and I find film really satisfying. I have some better quality pictures - I think - taken with my Minolta that have been rejected too, so I was pretty confident that this one wouldn't make it. But I submitted the Lomo one for much the same reason that I think people try to get iphone pictures up.

Dennis, I used to turn my nose up a bit at instagram but I've come around, couldn't agree with you more. It can only bother you if you let, no one's forcing you to look at em, and more people taking pictures can't be a bad thing.

Mitch, mine happens to be an original and I bought it at a yardsale for $2, then paid $60 to have the shutter fixed. You're absolutely right - putting lipstick on a pig (albeit a pig with its own merits) isn't worth it, and it's generally not my style. Like I said I just kinda wanted to see if I could get a lomo pic up, and practice my post-processing a bit. And as much as I appreciate your support, I don't know if I wanna stir the pot too much with an appeal.. from what I've gathered, you wanna keep those for when you think you've really got a case.

Joe, let us see that shot from 1996. Maybe it's not gonna make it onto RP either, but if you like it then it's probably worth sharing somehow. No need to tuck it away because it's not "pro".

Sorry for the plug but here's an imgur album of other pictures from my LC-A for an example of pics that aren't too "artsy", to use Joe's description. (although some might have a little too much saturation in hindsight): http://imgur.com/a/I9hF4#0

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:39 PM   #16
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I'd appeal - reason: "Right!", lol. Explain the type of camera and it's shooting style.
I dunno, Mitch. I'd have serious reservations about encouraging any new RP Member to appeal anything....unless his name was Mike Danneman. Mike had a tad more experience than the average noob.

Seriously though, there have been a lot of new folks who joined RP, submitted a slew of non-conforming material and then appealed everything. Before they even got their feet wet, they ended up being limited down to 1 upload a day and had their appeal capability permanently revoked. As far as I know, no one has ever....ever gotten that back.

As a new guy, choose your submissions carefully, don't beat dead horses, and forget appealing. Until you have a good, technical understanding of what RP wants, you don't want the screeners to remember your name.

[If I can succeed on RP, you can too. I joined as a total noob 5 years ago. I now have 843 shots in the data base, and I haven't received anything like 200 total rejections in that time.....and my stuff's not that great. I have appealed about a dozen times in the last 4 years and been successful in all but one case. What are the secrets? Send in a few, well-chosen scouts before you send in the army. Pick your battles carefully. Retreat when outnumbered. Live to fight another day!]
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:41 PM   #17
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Maybe I missed it in the thread, but perhaps no one has noticed, the file he got from the lab was 200kb! And only a 1.6MP file! Files I upload to RP are generally 0.7 MP (1024x683 or what have you) and around 1000kp. So he has 1/5 the info and covering over twice the pixels. Bad news.
Ah yes very worth pointing out. I had this roll processed at CVS cause I'm home for the holidays and the only other place that processes film sends it out, takes ~2 weeks to get it back. When I'm at school I go to a professional lab and get much better scans, or my flatbed gives me OK resolution from negatives, even if things come out a bit wonky sometimes.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:13 PM   #18
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I took a wander over to:
http://imgur.com/a/I9hF4#0

NIce! Most I liked, a few I really liked. My fav was "Red Hat-White Tree's."

Not only do you have an eye for composition, you also have the even lessor understood eye for light. These are precious things, don't let them get away from you. Develop them as fully as you can.

As they stand, you are not doing what RP is looking for. You would have to learn RP's way in order to get on.

RP's view of the world is very conservative photographically. And quite rigid. It may not be for you. But if you use it a tool or a benchmark in perusing railroad photography, you may just find it to be extremely helpful and gratifying. I know I did.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:18 PM   #19
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[If I can succeed on RP, you can too. I joined as a total noob 5 years ago. I now have 843 shots in the data base, and I haven't received anything like 200 total rejections in that time.....and my stuff's not that great. ]
"and my stuff's not that great."

Will you STOP that!

You work is some of the best here. Clean, colorful, consistent, interesting and historically informing. It is always a treat to see your work Kevin.

Now cut it out!
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:30 PM   #20
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I dunno, Mitch. I'd have serious reservations about encouraging any new RP Member to appeal anything....
If it was a rejection without merit, sure.

Now this one was uploaded as you imply. Best as could be expected, full of unintentional "flaws", but, it still has merit as an example of an authentic capture utilizing unique equipment resulting in a unique look. No different then utilizing a lens baby or fisheye so long as there is no(longer) the intent to change the intrinsic character to poorly represent a different look.

Catch would be an incentive by too many patrons to simulate that look using modern equipment to which I might suggest that admin only allow "this" look to be accepted out of camera without the use of in camera pre-edits.

/Mitch

PS - Kevin; Dennis is correct, quit it! Your work is plenty good and quite exceptional.

PSS - Dennis; While RP may be conservative, it's always refreshing to see someone push the boundaries now and then. Conservative is the guideline, not the rule. Many images that do not always follow that bias have made it through. On the other hand, there needs to be some kind of conformity /consistency lest we have illustrations and artificially created images in the mix. There has long been talk about a sister site for that kind of material which I assume would be incredibly popular. In the mean time, maybe it's best not to mix NASCAR with Forumla 1 on the same track. Still- the linked original out of the camera image would suit either site perfectly.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:18 PM   #21
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Images should not be about what camera did you use.
Well, in terms of RP, when that camera can't produce images within the current quality standards, then yes, it can and will be about the camera. Now, if they decide to start accepting Instagram-style images, then it will certainly fall within the poor quality of images that Instagram promotes.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:08 AM   #22
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Your processing results look fine relative to the equipment you are using. Until you use higher quality equipment, you are going to be facing processing limitations.

Can't take snow shots with a crappy camera?

Um, where have I heard that before....

Perhaps you should go invest in a digital point and shoot camera, or an SLR.

There is a reason most of the photos on Instagram look the way they do.

And if there is anything time has shown me, it is that instamatic cameras suck.

So why pursue suckiness, just to hang with the Instagram crowd?

The big problem with your image, is there is no blue, just grey and black.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:24 AM   #23
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Lightbulb Bad processing is as bad as a lousy camera.

My question to the hipsters is his:

If you are going to go and use vintage equipment, why not use old stuff that was good, instead of models that were crap when they were introduced?


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Ah yes very worth pointing out. I had this roll processed at CVS cause I'm home for the holidays and the only other place that processes film sends it out, takes ~2 weeks to get it back. When I'm at school I go to a professional lab and get much better scans, or my flatbed gives me OK resolution from negatives, even if things come out a bit wonky sometimes.
Something that was true 20 years ago that is no doubt true today - if you have your film processed and printed by a discounted lab (like Walmart, CVS etc.) it many times will look subpar.

When I shot film, I paid extra to have it done by a small lab that took the time to look at each print.

CVS doesn't do that.

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:36 AM   #24
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I did not realize the shot was film! Fun! Virtually all the shots in my Flickr stream are film. Scanning is a big problem. I've beaten my head against the wall trying to get film shots accepted here, eventually giving up even trying anymore. Couple of thoughts:

1.you can get fabulous old film equipment cheap. Much better quality than Lomo and cheaper
2. Medium format (120 film) scans OK at home on a flatbed. 35mm not so much. Nikon made great 35mm film scanners, but those are long discontinued. They sell for like $5000 used. Photogs with great vintage film shots often had those scanners.
3. Certain films scans better than others, Ektar scans very well
4. In the long run, digital is much cheaper than film if that matters to you
5. Good luck, if you want to get film shots accepted here, you are going to need it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:42 AM   #25
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Images should not be about what camera did you use.
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Well, in terms of RP, when that camera can't produce images within the current quality standards, then yes, it can and will be about the camera. Now, if they decide to start accepting Instagram-style images, then it will certainly fall within the poor quality of images that Instagram promotes.
Jim, I was just waxing poetic about photography in an ideal sense when I said "Images should not be about what camera did you use."

On RP I certainly agree that to obtain the look RP likes, you are required to get a certain type of camera.

More loosely-based-on-this-thread-random thoughts...

Photography has always been about arranging the numbers. (i.e 50mm, f/2.8, ISO 200, D700, 18MP, etc) However when you actually look at the image, it is not literally in numbers. Since I don't care what the image was made on, the question then becomes what does the image look like? Is it good? I.E. does it give me pleasure, does it move me?

Therefore if a "poor" image quality shot is made interesting because of computer "window dressing" and it moves me rather than pains me, I then feel/think that image is valid.
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