Old 03-09-2016, 01:42 PM   #1
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Comments? Putting aside the backlit - but comments welcome on whether I should bring up the shadows, or even darken them - what do you think of the balance? Too much separation between tree and train?

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Old 03-09-2016, 01:47 PM   #2
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Really, what it needed was about 3,000ws of fill flash. If you use a recent Nikon, you can try lightning the shadows in NEF. It quite possible the scene fooled your meter. I might have shot it with about +2 stop exp. comp.



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Old 03-09-2016, 02:02 PM   #3
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Thanks, Kent. The scene may very well have fooled me in post processing, but it did not fool the meter as I properly exposed so as not to blow highlights. I can easily bring up shadows, that's not a Nikon/NEF thing, that's universal.
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Old 03-09-2016, 06:53 PM   #4
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The engine seems to be lost in the woods.

I often stood on the dark side of the tracks. It doesn't always work out.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:59 PM   #5
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Hi J,

First and foremost, this wasn't a great scene. If the backlight had been more on the Engineer's side, and there was some illumination on that side, I think the shot may have worked better. Unfortunately, the sun was too high and just slightly on the Fireman's side. It basically means you have dark trees, a dark bridge, a dark train and nothing really illuminated except the sky. There really wasn't a great shot on the other side either.

The texture in your snow looks OK, but there really isn't much texture in the dark regions of the image. Some shadow reduction (with appropriate other adjustments to prevent the contrast from going to hell) might make it better, but with all of the comments, it just doesn't seem like the screener was particularly close to liking it. Not sure what to tell you about the composition. I don't know if I would have cropped this much differently, although I don't know what you had to work with.

We've had better days, J. Between the too many people, the unexplained delays, the brake malfunction, and the copious steam leaks from the engine, the take from this particular day wasn't all that stout.
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Old 03-09-2016, 11:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
Thanks, Kent. The scene may very well have fooled me in post processing, but it did not fool the meter as I properly exposed so as not to blow highlights. I can easily bring up shadows, that's not a Nikon/NEF thing, that's universal.

You're probably aware the LCD on the back of the camera only shows the histogram for jpeg, and isn't really accurate? You can often add at least +1 stop to pull the left side of the histogram up to get more shadow detail without blowing highlights. I mention Nikons because they have a couple more stops of dynamic range to deal with this.

If you haven't done so already, try shooting a similar exposure sometime and bracketing -1, 0, +1, +1.5, and +2 in RAW and then play with the exposures to see what you can get. Compare that to the jpg histograms. I found there's more latitude on the right side of the histogram than I thought there might be. As a bonus shadow noise is greatly reduced.


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Old 03-10-2016, 02:14 AM   #7
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Kent, a good point. However, regardless of that, what was recorded on the chip did get processed in such a way that the tonal span of the file appears in a 0-255 range. So even if I underexposed a full stop, I adjusted in post-processing. Were I off by that amount, I would surely have lost detail in the shadows. However, your issue is with the appearance of the final jpg uploaded to RP, which did go all the way to complete white. However, the shadows were left dark, for sure. A redone shot is in the queue, which means we may or may not see an outcome tomorrow, and at any rate, probably after I to go bed.

I considered holding it until morning, but getting ready for work, it is easily to overlook something like an RP upload so I just wanted to get it done.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer View Post
You're probably aware the LCD on the back of the camera only shows the histogram for jpeg, and isn't really accurate? You can often add at least +1 stop to pull the left side of the histogram up to get more shadow detail without blowing highlights. I mention Nikons because they have a couple more stops of dynamic range to deal with this.

If you haven't done so already, try shooting a similar exposure sometime and bracketing -1, 0, +1, +1.5, and +2 in RAW and then play with the exposures to see what you can get. Compare that to the jpg histograms. I found there's more latitude on the right side of the histogram than I thought there might be. As a bonus shadow noise is greatly reduced.


Kent in SD
So are yous aying it's a good idea to underexpose?
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:38 AM   #9
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So are yous aying it's a good idea to underexpose?
I think Kent is saying - "Get to know your camera"!

Interesting - the idea that the histogram displays the JPEG and not the ACTUAL file... the RAW. This recently came to my attention. You gotta wonder why the camera companies would do such a thing. Keep in mind, this being the case, your in camera settings will also effect the histogram (brightness... contrast, ect.,).

And, yes (Denns, you hear that?), Kent suggests you have much more latitude when using a camera that has a Sony sensor, like Nikon vs Canon. Hopefully, this will change with the introduction of the 5D's replacement.

Janusz - here's the question I like to pose to anyone posting "bad" pictures (lol). What is it YOU like about your shot? Sometimes, I think we get enamelered in simply presenting something different - but in the end, you have to ask yourself - did it work? Is there merit? Do I actually like it?

There are backlit scenes that simply are made to be backlit. Others that work well enough. Your's seems forced. It's a bit "muddy" and opaque. Ask yourself what makes a good backlit shot and then ask yourself if those features exist in your shot.

As for composition - oddly, I am OK with it - but not the darkness of the image. Ironically, when brightening the image up, I am not OK with it. The dark and bright areas that help balance the shot are lost when brightening the shot. Now - you could try this - best bet I saw in quick edits - JUST bring shadow detail back to ONLY the engine. Hope you don't get too much Canoise. Lol.

My first impressions - your mileage may vary!

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Old 03-10-2016, 08:39 AM   #10
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Now poor image quality. For a while I did no see anything at all - and in general I don't have good antenna for PIQ. Now I wonder if it is what I think is flare above the first car behind the tender. Or is it the white outline on the right side of the top of the plume directly above the engine? I'm not sure.

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Old 03-10-2016, 08:42 AM   #11
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Mitch, it was definitely too dark. Of course I didn't see it when I first worked it. Funny how that happens.

As for the image overall, I just ... like it. I think I did hack too much off the right side as I like it a lot more now - just see the follow-up reject in my post above. Wider is definitely better. But I can't put my finger on it, and it may very well be another instance of liking a shot just because it is mine.

PS: is this what the Mitch lifestyle is like, up at 3:30? In my case a broken A/C unit, combined with freakishly hot early March temperatures - over 80 today! - meant an uncomfortable bedroom.
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Old 03-10-2016, 01:20 PM   #12
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It's just too dark, the front of the locomotive is almost completely indiscernible due to darkeness
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Old 03-10-2016, 02:09 PM   #13
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1. But I can't put my finger on it, and it may very well be another instance of liking a shot just because it is mine.

2. PS: is this what the Mitch lifestyle is like, up at 3:30? .


1. I once found a gorgeous spot on Kauii after a long hard hike. The air smelled of flowers and the sea, the warm sunshine fell on my skin, and my wife and I had a little picnic there. It was a wonderful place! I took some photos. When I got home and was going through all the shots, I didn't really like any of the "picnic spot" photos. They were all sort of bland and none stood out. I think sometimes when we are out enjoying ourselves in the moment, we are using all of our senses and not just sight. Only sight is captured by a camera. I've also come to think that most of an image's appeal comes from it's pairing with our emotion. When we look at our own photos we can recall that emotion, but someone else looking at it can't. That's where the real skill comes in--the ability to create a photo that shows how we felt.


2. Getting up at 3:30am? A couple of months ago I was out in the western half of South Dakota chasing an RCPE train. It was supposed to come by at 8pm. I finally got my shot a little after midnight. It was a 4+ hour drive home...... I quietly closed the door, walked barefoot up the stairs, slipped off my clothes and began to gently slide into bed next to my sleeping wife. She woke up enough to ask, "Why are you getting up so early?" I replied, "Getting up? I just got home!" In the dark I could hear her rolling her eyes before she turned and rolled over to go back to sleep.


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Old 03-10-2016, 05:08 PM   #14
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most of an image's appeal comes from it's pairing with our emotion. When we look at our own photos we can recall that emotion, but someone else looking at it can't. That's where the real skill comes in--the ability to create a photo that shows how we felt.
A huge weakness of mine. When I get a "winner" it is basically because I stumbled onto something, and then got the technical aspects right.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:40 PM   #15
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Interesting point Noctfoamer! I like the advice someone gave to not bother to upload any new photos. That way you can make better choices about what will work or not work for an audience and actually see the deficiencies in the photos. Not hat I follow this advice but seems like I only get a picture accepted weeks or months after the shooting date. So I should follow it. And so can you!
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:11 PM   #16
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This looks like a processing job for Kevin Madore.
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:19 PM   #17
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Here's a simple edit using the original rejection, and I believe it could be improved so much more with the raw file.

Click image for larger version

Name:	janusz.jpg
Views:	121
Size:	823.5 KB
ID:	9114
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:29 PM   #18
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Here's a simple edit using the original rejection, and I believe it could be improved so much more with the raw file.

Attachment 9114
It definitely looks like it'd be a pretty easy recover in Lightroom with the original RAW.
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:08 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
Here's a simple edit using the original rejection, and I believe it could be improved so much more with the raw file.

Attachment 9114
JimThias great work with the edit. This is precisely what I was going to suggest doing. IT's as simple as turning down the highlights a lot.
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:16 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
Here's a simple edit using the original rejection, and I believe it could be improved so much more with the raw file.

Attachment 9114
Hi Jim,

If I weren't sitting in the terminal at Midway right now, I'd post a thumb of a shot that I took at the same time/location as J's shot. Mine is definitely processed more heavily. I also had the advantage (according to Mitch Goldman) of shooting with a Nikon. I actually thought about posting to RP....until I saw that J was getting rejections for the compo. J probably saved me from my first RP reject in over 2 years. When I get back from this little Flanger trip, I may give it a whirl.
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Old 03-11-2016, 02:40 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
Here's a simple edit using the original rejection, and I believe it could be improved so much more with the raw file.

Wow. That's your solution right there. Send all your shots to Jim first.


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Old 03-11-2016, 02:52 AM   #22
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Jim, I should have waited for you! That's a really interesting take. I'm not sure I agree with what was done, it might be a bit too big a step from the scene I remember. But I see its attractions. I redid it also, and got this:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...31&key=3320166

The more I've worked on it, the more I like it. I might pick it up again in 6 months or a year.

Notice the rejection - I've never seen this before, but note that I don't upload that often and don't repeat on one shot as often as I did here. On the other hand I've never seen a message like this discussed in the forum. Anyway, I've been uploading for the 9pm screen over the last few days with this shot so probably the same person every time. I got a personal message, a very helpful one - kudos to the screener. The relevant sentence:

Quote:
Backlit (Nose): The nose of the lead unit is too dark due to backlighting.
* NOTE: One or more of the reasons for rejection listed above cannot be corrected. We respectfully request that this image not be resubmitted for consideration.
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Old 03-11-2016, 02:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
Here's a simple edit using the original rejection, and I believe it could be improved so much more with the raw file.

Attachment 9114
Very nice, Jim! Please send me pertinent details here or by IM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
If I weren't sitting in the terminal at Midway right now, I'd post a thumb of a shot that I took at the same time/location as J's shot. Mine is definitely processed more heavily. I also had the advantage (according to Mitch Goldman) of shooting with a Nikon. I actually thought about posting to RP....until I saw that J was getting rejections for the compo. J probably saved me from my first RP reject in over 2 years. When I get back from this little Flanger trip, I may give it a whirl.
Go for it, Kevin! I might give mine a go again in a year, if I still remember it. Bummer, as the shot has been growing on me.
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Old 03-11-2016, 04:03 AM   #24
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J, it was nothing more than some simple tweaks with the shadow/highlights tool in CS5 and a slight bump in vibrance. I did however do a little spot masking of the snow in order to keep it close to the original (toning down the highlights made the snow look much dirtier, especially the area directly in front of the loco).

After looking through Kevin's gallery and the many backlit steam shots he has, I'm sure he can knock it out of the ballpark. Or would that be the roundhouse?
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Old 03-11-2016, 08:08 AM   #25
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J, it was nothing more than some simple tweaks with the shadow/highlights tool in CS5 and a slight bump in vibrance. I did however do a little spot masking of the snow in order to keep it close to the original (toning down the highlights made the snow look much dirtier, especially the area directly in front of the loco).

After looking through Kevin's gallery and the many backlit steam shots he has, I'm sure he can knock it out of the ballpark. Or would that be the roundhouse?
Great work Jim! That's precisely what I was going to recommend although I didn't even imagine the vibrance bump. Great move.
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