Old 04-10-2008, 07:14 AM   #1
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Default oil or acrylic

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...230900&nseq=25
Who else thinks this is a painting?
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:13 AM   #2
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Here is the photo for those who don't want to click and wait!
Image © Matthew Hicks
PhotoID: 230900
Photograph © Matthew Hicks
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Everywhere West
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...230900&nseq=25
Who else thinks this is a painting?
I don't think it looks like a painting, but rather use of the "shadow/highlight" feature.
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Christopher Muller
I don't think it looks like a painting, but rather use of the "shadow/highlight" feature.
You are right about the shadows/highlights, but in this case it does look like a style of painting that I have seen many, many times, generally low quality reproductions.

No offense to the shooter, the shot is nice, albeit overprocessed in my opinion.
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:54 PM   #5
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Way over the top, i vote to pull them both off. Edit Its fine art work, just way to much lighting of the shadows and burning in the clouds, looks fake, needs to tone it down. Its a back lit shot, and the save didn't work, The truck side frams are not black now there gray.
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
You are right about the shadows/highlights, but in this case it does look like a style of painting that I have seen many, many times, generally low quality reproductions.

No offense to the shooter, the shot is nice, albeit overprocessed in my opinion.
Agreed

(Additional characters required to reach minimum length required to post, even though I used far more than needed to explain the additional characters in the first place)
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:38 PM   #7
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I think it would be neat to have a overprocessed (altered) section for photos. That pic would fit along with like selective color. The down fall would be that they would start to turn into more art then a photograph and people really would take rejections the wrong way.

Image © Matthew Hicks
PhotoID: 230900
Photograph © Matthew Hicks



These two look similiar to me.

Image © Jean-Marc Frybourg
PhotoID: 211665
Photograph © Jean-Marc Frybourg



I mean no disrespect to either photographer.
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by travsirocz
These two look similiar to me.
Agreed. Jean-Marc's pic looks a bit off; either we discussed it here in the forum before or I was discussing it in email with someone.
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:52 PM   #9
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I don't see the problem with eitehr photo and neither did the 14,426 folks who looked at Jean-Marc Frybourg's shot apparently. I also don't like how the forum members sometimes take to calling out other photographers. I suppose sometimes it has it's place, but often it looks like jealousy run amuck. I'm sure that's not the case here. But tell me, how would you guys like someone posting your photo here and saying along the lines of, "This looks fake here. Don't you think there's been some trickery involved?"


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Old 04-10-2008, 04:25 PM   #10
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I think both look good but my eye tells me there is something a miss. I just know that railpics has strick guidelines that they follow and I think it would be nice to bend the creativity rules a bit with a new menu option and those pics would fit the bill as very good examples.
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
I don't see the problem with eitehr photo and neither did the 14,426 folks who looked at Jean-Marc Frybourg's shot apparently.


Joe

AND the 2 awards!!!!
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
I don't see the problem with eitehr photo and neither did the 14,426 folks who looked at Jean-Marc Frybourg's shot apparently. I also don't like how the forum members sometimes take to calling out other photographers. I suppose sometimes it has it's place, but often it looks like jealousy run amuck. I'm sure that's not the case here. But tell me, how would you guys like someone posting your photo here and saying along the lines of, "This looks fake here. Don't you think there's been some trickery involved?"
This is a considerable over-reaction, Joe, I think. First of all, I was one of the 14,426, probably more than one as I probably looked at it several times over a period of days. Besides those on this thread, I know of one other person who had a similar observation. We all clicked, I suspect we all enjoyed looking at the image, yet we had a reaction that was - IN PART - negative. That's a small handful, but then we don't know anything about the thousands of others who also clicked, besides you.

As for "calling out," are you saying that negative statements about some part of an image placed on RP are simply not acceptable? Please explain under what conditions you think it is OK for people to express criticism. I am not being rhetorical here. Honestly, I simply have no idea where you draw a line and why you think some of us have crossed it. Please explain.

As for jealousy, well, maybe you think you see how a situation "looks" but that is really just your imagination guessing as to what is in other people's minds. In my experience, that's a technique with low accuracy.

Finally, fake/trickery, I see none of that being raised here. Its a matter of disagreement over processing (well, OK, one can use the expression "looks fake" sometimes, but sometimes one uses that in terms of unrealistic, not falsified). So why did you use those terms?

Joe, I think open discussion is good, and I think disagreements are informative. Perhaps you are someone who does not have the same tolerance for disagreement, or for critical response. Or perhaps only when you disagree with the criticism.

Feel free to trash any of my shots that you feel deserve it.

I just don't understand you.

J
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:43 PM   #13
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I don't see heavy use of the shadow/highlight tool as fakery or trickery, but the question is, how much exceeds RP's limit and where is the line to be drawn? I suspect it's pretty fuzzy and varies from screener to screener. Both Matt's and Jean-Marc's shots are pleasing and artistic, but both tend toward a painterly look. Part of that is a function of the fact that digital can only show 255 levels of brightness, so when the shadow tool (or HD) is used heavily, the dynamic range of the dark portions of the picture are greatly reduced. This gives it the slightly translucent look that we associate with water color paintings.

Jean-Luc's photo has the look of a hand tinted B&W, but just last night a friend of mine showed me a photo he took in South Africa back in the 1980's (on film) that had exactly that same look and feel. The pink colors just after sunset can give a photo that look. Without having been there, I can't say if Jean-Luc's photo accurately reproduces what he saw or not.

I have been at Morant's curve and Matt's picture is taken from the dark side, but there was no sun that day and if the sky was lighter overhead (the dark clouds are in the distance) the side of the train might well have looked like that. The shadow detail has clearly been opened up, but whether it is too much is up to the individual beholder. I like the shot. I like the location too!

Image © Michael F. Allen
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Photograph © Michael F. Allen

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Old 04-10-2008, 06:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
I also don't like how the forum members sometimes take to calling out other photographers.


Joe
Don't know if thats me this time but my point is, if he did a good job i would not see the lines of his maskings and black is still black, and the clouds have a halo around them? Its a nice photo that didn't work for me, as it is now.
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
This is a considerable over-reaction, Joe, I think. First of all, I was one of the 14,426, probably more than one as I probably looked at it several times over a period of days. Besides those on this thread, I know of one other person who had a similar observation. We all clicked, I suspect we all enjoyed looking at the image, yet we had a reaction that was - IN PART - negative. That's a small handful, but then we don't know anything about the thousands of others who also clicked, besides you.

As for "calling out," are you saying that negative statements about some part of an image placed on RP are simply not acceptable? Please explain under what conditions you think it is OK for people to express criticism. I am not being rhetorical here. Honestly, I simply have no idea where you draw a line and why you think some of us have crossed it. Please explain.

As for jealousy, well, maybe you think you see how a situation "looks" but that is really just your imagination guessing as to what is in other people's minds. In my experience, that's a technique with low accuracy.

Finally, fake/trickery, I see none of that being raised here. Its a matter of disagreement over processing (well, OK, one can use the expression "looks fake" sometimes, but sometimes one uses that in terms of unrealistic, not falsified). So why did you use those terms?

Joe, I think open discussion is good, and I think disagreements are informative. Perhaps you are someone who does not have the same tolerance for disagreement, or for critical response. Or perhaps only when you disagree with the criticism.

Feel free to trash any of my shots that you feel deserve it.

I just don't understand you.

J
This is a problem I have with this frum lately. It goes from trying to give and get advice to whacking each other over the head instead. Some folks here take themselves way too seriously. The shot was accepted. Deal with it. Matthew did not come here asking for us to comment on his shot. Yet someone brought it here and basically said that he either faked the photo too much or over processed it. I think that's wrong.

With my thread a week or two ago, I accepted those comments because I asked for them. I didn't agree with them, but I took them with a grain of salt. I appreciated them, in fact. Now does that sound like someone who "does not have a tolerance for disagreement?" Now we have another thread (remember the one a few months ago looking out the window of a train?) where people are calling for the shot(s) to be taken off the database.


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Old 04-10-2008, 07:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
Matthew did not come here asking for us to comment on his shot. Yet someone brought it here and basically said that he either faked the photo too much or over processed it. I think that's wrong.
OK, simple difference of opinion as to what is acceptable to discuss. I think it is acceptable to discuss any photo in the public realm. I understand that 99% of what is discussed here starts with requests for comment, but I have no problem with the other 1%.

Quote:
Now does that sound like someone who "does not have a tolerance for disagreement?"
Fair enough. You are expressing your opinion over what is acceptable to discuss here, you are stating your view of RP social mores, which differ from mine. I apologize for that part of my statement.

Quote:
Now we have another thread (remember the one a few months ago looking out the window of a train?) where people are calling for the shot(s) to be taken off the database.
I don't see a problem with someone expressing their opinion that a shot should not have been accepted in its present form. I personally did not call for removal. But a call to take something off from the database is either a) a literal statement, with which one can disagree but I don't see how it is such a horrendous, offensive, or otherwise undesirable statement that it should be scorned. Or b) a rhetorical statement, of how strongly one feels about something, which I don't have a problem with either.
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
Some folks here take themselves way too seriously.
Undoubtedly I am one of those in your target hairs. Maybe the primary one! I take things seriously while enjoying life and in other ways taking a light approach. I am not a bad person for doing any of those. "Deal with it."

Quote:
The shot was accepted. Deal with it.
Please explain what is wrong with critiquing an accepted shot.
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
I don't see the problem with eitehr photo and neither did the 14,426 folks who looked at Jean-Marc Frybourg's shot apparently.
Joe, it's a beautiful scene, but just a little over-processed. There's nothing wrong with pointing that out. The fact that none of the 14,000+ who viewed it and said nothing about it in the comments means NOTHING. A recent, VERY unlevel POTW with NO comments about it being unlevel, and a recent #1 PCA with no comments about the obvious cloned removal of wires in the sky goes to show that stuff like that either gets missed by the common eye, or no one wants to step up and say something. Again, nothing wrong with these images, they just need a little different tweaking.

I also think JMF's shot looks overprocessed now as much as I did the first time I saw it. The fact that some people feel both of these shots have an overprocessed looks takes NOTHING away from the composition or the beauty of the image. And I can guarantee you both of these images COULD be processed in a way to make them look more "real."

And the ONLY thing I'm jealous of is the fact that these photographers have access to such wonderful scenery. Someday I'll make the trip....someday...
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:05 PM   #19
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The first shot is an example (in my opinion) of making lemonade out of a lemon, albeit not real lemons, but lemon concentrate.

My guess is that the photographer spent many a-month preparing for a voyage to that legendary location, only to show up and have it be cloudy.
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:20 PM   #20
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Cool Shadow/highlight tool

As anyone who has followed my photographs knows, I am a big user of the shadow/highlight tool, for example:

Image © John West
PhotoID: 145040
Photograph © John West


Like all the manipulation tools shadow/highlight can be used or abused, but in the end it is a huge judgement call. Honestly, for my taste, in the image that is the subject of this thread I think the tool was used in a fairly heavy handed manner, say compared to Michael Allen's somewhat similar but (for me) much more elegant image. But that is a matter of taste.

RP has widened its sights considerably since I joined. We're seeing much more creative pictures than two years ago. In my mind that is really good. Whether this one pushed the boundary too far....obviously at least one screener did not think so.

I'll go with the screener.
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John West
As anyone who has followed my photographs knows, I am a big user of the shadow/highlight tool, for example:

Image © John West
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Did you mean "flanger" in that photo description?
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:59 PM   #22
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Did you mean "flanger" in that photo description?
Thanks. At least I got it right on the linked photo of the caboose!
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:01 AM   #23
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The photographer is now back from his 9-5.
Thanks to the vote of support from Joe!
For the record, it's an HDR shot, and I decided to fiddle around with it in photoshop to see what I could do, and I really liked the result, so I decided to upload it here. Let's just say I'm not suprised many people think it's too manipulated! I am, however, someone who believes that photos can be edited to somewhat beyond reality, though not too far.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccaranna
My guess is that the photographer spent many a-month preparing for a voyage to that legendary location, only to show up and have it be cloudy.
Either that, or he left home at 11:30, caught a grab shot of the train going the wrong way in bad light, came home, and started messing around with PS
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:14 AM   #24
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Default Oh boy.

A word on "trickery" ...

There's a certain reaction, both on this forum and in the mainstream railroad press, to react to the notion of Photoshopping an image as some unholy perversion of the laws of nature. "Trickery" is a word often used to describe manipulation of an image. What some of these people seem to forget that digital photography represents an evolution of technique. Back when digital was in its infancy, a lot of film users dismissed digital as a "fad." The expectation was that digital would be a parallel technique to film photography, much as a bus is a parallel technology to a car. These individuals were comfortable with film, and expected to shoot it forever.

We now know how that worked out. When my grandmother, known for her allegiance to things simple, cheap, and practical, came to me touting her new digital camera (it was simple, cheap, and practical), I knew that film was doomed. There are a number of photographers who still shoot film. It seems to me that the majority of railfans have stuck with their film, though I never see any film in my job as a news/sports/events photographer. These railfans have taken something of a "bunker mentality" towards the advance of digital photography. In some cases, I've seen logic and phrases more commonly associated with the gun lobby ("Out of my cold, dead hands!") to describe their allegiance to film. In other cases, these film photographers have lashed out at digital photography (and perceived "trickery") as the gateway to hell.

"Manipulation" and "trickery" are just the natural evolution of artistic expression. The ability to adjust an image post-exposure is nothing new. Darkroom "manipulation" and "trickery" has been going on since the beginning of photography. For the last 150 years, this manipulation happened in the darkroom. Digital photography, the refinement of Photoshop, and the high penetration of personal computers has brought the ability to adjust a photograph to everyday snapshooters. Now it can happen anywhere.

I wasn't around when color film first came out, but I understand that there was a strong negative reaction from the longtime B&W photographers, who tended to regard the new color film technology as a gimmick. We know how that worked ... most people shoot color today, but there are a few dedicated and artistic individuals who continue to shoot B&W exclusively. I think time will show the introduction of digital photography in the same context. Most people will shoot with digital, while a small minority will continue with film. Because digital is so new to us as a photographic community, we haven't yet established the guidelines for what constitutes acceptable behavior.

I see the problem with "manipulation" and "trickery" to be twofold. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Trains Magazine recently announced that they would only be accepting RAW files and "unaltered JPEGs" because they were fearful of what they did not understand and unwilling to trust their long-time contributors to do the right thing. No, they didn't present it as I worded it, but that's what they meant. It's imperative to present news or documentary photography in as straightforward a light as possible. That means no manipulation. But at what point is manipulation acceptable?

O Winston Link, the most famous railroad photographer, was no stranger to "manipulation." One can easily spot dodging, burning, and even the compositing of multiple images into a single shot. Link wasn't recording an event for a magazine, he was capturing an era for future generations. And when we look back on the "good old days," our vision is almost always selective. Just like everyone thinks there was little sexual promiscuity in the 1950's, our perceptions are shaped by what we want to remember. Link understood this fundamental distinction, and it's what structured the execution of his N&W project. As an accomplished product photographer, his N&W work was an extension of his day job. He was selling a product, and that product was nostalgia. He consciously and deliberately manipulated the scenes he captured, be it through posing individuals and props or later in the darkroom. His results speak for themselves.

(And for the record, taking a night photo of someone polishing a headlight on a steam locomotive doesn't make you Link. You really don't want to hear what I think of photo charters, because I'll lose at least half my friends here.)

The second problem with "manipulation" is execution. Not everyone is able to recognize where to stop. Excess manipulation results in a caricature of photography. There is much to be said for a moderate approach here.

Comments on this specific photo are as follows. I did not scroll down to see who took it, nor do I want to know. My remarks are in no way meant to insult the photographer. That said, this shot is a disaster. There are several different regions of the image that all display different ranges of contrast. As has been pointed out before, the trucks have turned an odd shade of grey and are speckled with noise. There is also an overarching issue of white balance. Both the snow and the lettering on the locomotive show an unnatural blue tint. This may be due to the fact that the blue saturation was jacked way up (note mountains and windshield). There is an abysmal lack of contrast in the trees in the foreground, but the trees in the background look better. What about those blotches in the river? And those clouds? Add to that the fact that the shot is unlevel ... and I just can't understand why this made it into the database. There's real great potential for this image to be a stunner, but not with the current execution.

Manipulation is a good thing when it comes in the form of little tweaks to an already-strong image. Manipulation isn't a crutch to lean on; nor is it a substitute for genuine talent. There is much to be said for restraint and much to be said for upholding the original feel of the image.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:27 AM   #25
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Quote:
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The photographer is now back from his 9-5.
Thanks to the vote of support from Joe!
For the record, it's an HDR shot...
If the train was moving, it's not a true HDR shot. HDR is created using two or more exposures taken by the camera, not ONE exposure manipulated to look like several exposures in photoshop, and then combined. Just a little nitpick, but I just wanted to make sure you knew that.
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