Old 09-27-2016, 04:03 PM   #1
John West
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Cool Changing tastes

I noticed this was a Screeners Choice this morning.

Image © Temuulen.B
PhotoID: 590673
Photograph © Temuulen.B


It is certainly an interesting image but seems to be a good example of how the new "tools" associated with post processing are affecting our taste in photography. In the old days I would have described it as (grossly) over processed. Not right or wrong, just a matter of changing tastes I guess.
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Old 09-27-2016, 04:38 PM   #2
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It's not a style I care for but I respect that it is a reasonable thing to do. Whether it is a sign that RP is broadening its standards, we will see.
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:46 PM   #3
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Funny, just before reading this I sent a link to the photo to some friends with the comment "Process much?" I really don't have a problem with people who know the tools (and I darn sure don't) creating such scenes, but this has to be infuriating for those holding back on HDR and other highly-processed images to comply with the rules, or submitting them and getting rejected for doing so.

I guess it's just the airline side of my brain that wants to live in a world of standard operating procedures...
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:56 PM   #4
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It is Mongolia so I think of it in the context of a somewhat mystical place, perhaps a different reality so willing to judge it by that standard. Wasn't there the photo of the camels in the mud, (Mongolia?), where do you see that?

But there certainly is the problem, is this a new standard to be met.

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Old 09-27-2016, 08:09 PM   #5
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Whenever I see processing like this it makes me really want to see the non-processed image for comparison. I love the look of this image and I think it's borderline for the overprocessed rejection.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
Whenever I see processing like this it makes me really want to see the non-processed image for comparison.
I would love to see it too. But i'm not one to criticize when it comes to heavy handed photoshop, so...

Quote:
I love the look of this image and I think it's borderline for the overprocessed rejection.
I mean, it's not like that one shot from several years ago which looked like batman universe. I'm sure you know which one i'm talking about.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:47 PM   #7
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I love photography because it captures what I saw, and for that reason I avoid HDR and/or heavy manipulation of the shadows/highlights sliders. Even when a photo really needs it, I will stop at the moment that it stops looking real.

This is a gorgeous image but it doesn't look real. It's a painting done with a camera and Photoshop in my mind. Just personal opinion.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troy12n View Post
I mean, it's not like that one shot from several years ago which looked like batman universe. I'm sure you know which one i'm talking about.
This one?

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Old 09-27-2016, 10:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
This one?

Yeah, that one... one of the most ridiculous photos ever accepted here. Even moreso than my "train outpacing it's reflection" shot which got on. At least that was a real shot. Or 2 real shots anyway.
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:31 PM   #10
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None of this is right or wrong, just personal preference, and the only preference that counts when posting here is the screeners'. But it does make defining the guidelines for submission a bit more challenging.

And there is a whole spectrum of variations. I have made major use of the shadow/highlight tool to save some of my old ng. pix such as

Image © John West
PhotoID: 193341
Photograph © John West


producing a watercolor effect.

A bunch of photogs have adopted the habit of punching up the saturation with often excellent results (and some I don't particularly like).

So where do you draw the line.

My biggest problem with the initial image in this thread is the loss of detail, it lacks sharpness, which may be related to the processing or perhaps was a problem with the sharpness of the original.
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:07 AM   #11
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I fully admit that I heavily use ALL of the sliders available to me, including heavy doses of Shadows & Highlights. My goal is to take full advantage of the dynamic range my cameras offer and attempt to make the images look as close as possible to what my eyes actually saw. Over the years, I have developed a real distaste for steam engine photos that are just dark and muddy, with not much detail in the running gear. Just as a photo with overdone shadows and highlights doesn't look real, neither does the dark, muddy look. Even at high noon in June, my eyes can still see details in the running gear on a steam engine, even when it is back-lit. I try to strike a balance, but I admit that the journey still continues.

Here's one that I posted today...maybe just a tick too bright:
Image © Kevin Madore
PhotoID: 590668
Photograph © Kevin Madore


And here's what it looked like coming out of the camera:
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Old 09-28-2016, 06:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troy12n View Post
Yeah, that one... one of the most ridiculous photos ever accepted here. Even moreso than my "train outpacing it's reflection" shot which got on. At least that was a real shot. Or 2 real shots anyway.
Actually, his shot is more real than yours as he did not add or remove anything. I like the shot - though it did not belong on RP according to the barries others have ran into.

As for the image John linked - I'm OK with it. There's obviuosly a lot of processing but far from crossing the line - there are much worse examples in the database. The fact that there are no real dark shadows makes it work - as if the photo was taken while a stray cloud filtered the the light in parts of the image. It does not necessarily glow nor have obvious halos.

For those "wanting in"on HDR for an RP post, I'd suggest blending your HDR back into the original to an acceptable point of realism.

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:16 PM   #13
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Off-topic? sorry for my Wanderings?
Not sure how many have dug into this or maybe everyone just knows but this a Trans-Siberian excursion train. There are travel agent sites for the train but the photo link is to a facebook page for an agent leading photo train and other tours of Mongolia. As a promotion the photo certainly works well.

Not going to recount all what I read, anyone can dig into it but one interesting sidelight is a major stop listed is Yekaterinburg. It is a major Russian city but also the site of execution of Czar Nicholas II and his family. This has now become a major site for the Russian Orthodox Church and a big tourist draw in Russia. One of my favorite finds is an old Life Magazine with an photo of the children dressed in their court clothes. Similarhttp://www.businessinsider.com/roman...2011-12?op=1/#)

The article dug into the claims of a woman to be Anastasia, under the legend that the youngest daughter was spared or somehow escaped. Looking at old Life Magazine and the B/W photography I can't help but think what we lost.
Much younger one of my historical interests was the Romanov's. One of the values of photo like this is not just the image but it leads me down other paths.

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Old 09-28-2016, 04:37 PM   #14
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Anyone have any idea what kind of processing was actually done to the image in question? It seems like there's some kind of 'style' tone-mapping rather than just adjustments of sliders. It looks very similar to the style in many of Ilya Semyonoff's photos. I don't say that as a bad thing, I'm merely curious as to how it's done.
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Old 09-28-2016, 07:36 PM   #15
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When I look at the image that started this thread, I don't see it as grossly overprocessed at all. It may be heavy on the shadow reduction, and a bit light on the contrast, but it does not look abused to me, and I suspect that it could probably be duplicated using only Lightroom without any fancy plug-ins. If I had the raw file, even a hacker like me could probably do it. Lighting is key and I don't see any seriously-challenging light here at all.

I have seen far more aggressive processing accepted here.
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
When I look at the image that started this thread, I don't see it as grossly overprocessed at all. It may be heavy on the shadow reduction, and a bit light on the contrast, but it does not look abused to me, and I suspect that it could probably be duplicated using only Lightroom without any fancy plug-ins. If I had the raw file, even a hacker like me could probably do it. Lighting is key and I don't see any seriously-challenging light here at all.

I have seen far more aggressive processing accepted here.
Well, "abuse" is the completely wrong way to think about this shot. This show does not attempt to be fully representative. It is a style, as a previous poster points out. I view this processing as aggressive - whatever in the world that means, how is that defined! - but with intent to represent a style rather than, say, just to recover from bad light. Not seeing any sign of shadowing on the train or from the tree, merely a cloud shadow on the hillside, I am thinking the light was not great in the foreground.

I am not a fan of the contrast, and I am not a fan of the style in general. But that his his style and I respect that. It isn't a one-off, it is what Temuulen wants to do with some of his shots, apparently.

Image © Temuulen.B
PhotoID: 580366
Photograph © Temuulen.B
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Old 09-28-2016, 09:44 PM   #17
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In no way was I trying to suggest there is anything "wrong" or "abused" in that kind of style. We're talking about art. But what is interesting, to me at least, is how what is acceptable for RP is changing (which is not necessarily bad). The stylistic differences are very substantial, not subtle. And the new styles are sufficiently "mainstream" to not just be accepted into the data base, but become screeners choices.

"The purpose of our website is to display genuine, authentic photographs of trains and railroad related scenes. Bearing this in mind, digital manipulation of photographs (beyond standard post-processing techniques such as levelling, sharpening, dust removal, etc.) is not permitted on photographs submitted to RailPictures.Net." That says to me that a photograph ought to look like a photograph. But of course what looks like a photograph, and what looks like something created in a different medium (is Photoshop a medium?} is a continuum...where do you draw the line.

I would boldly suggest that some of the pix accepted these days are "manipulated" well beyond anything that most folks (at least old geezers like me who used to work in a dark room) would consider normal photography.

Not bad, just different and interesting. The fact that some of it I like, and some I do not particularly like is really irrelevant.
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:19 AM   #18
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A wonderful quote from Richard Steinheimer that sums this up so well. Bear in mind, he said this in 1992:

"Looking ahead a few years, new digital still cameras will produce images on computer screens that will be indistinguishable from those created by video camera. This suggests to me that computer image processing will divert the main flow of photography away from the direction most of us are now going---off towards a brave, new world of artistically idealized and commercialized images more concerned with bold symbolism than reality."
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
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In no way was I trying to suggest there is anything "wrong" or "abused" in that kind of style. We're talking about art.
I was quoting Kevin, not you. For that matter, Kevin, I believe, didn't mean abused in the sense of wrong, he meant it in the sense of "heavily worked over."
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
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A wonderful quote from Richard Steinheimer that sums this up so well. Bear in mind, he said this in 1992:

"Looking ahead a few years, new digital still cameras will produce images on computer screens that will be indistinguishable from those created by video camera. This suggests to me that computer image processing will divert the main flow of photography away from the direction most of us are now going---off towards a brave, new world of artistically idealized and commercialized images more concerned with bold symbolism than reality."
Very interesting. I sounds as if Dick had some pretty good insights into the future.
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:20 AM   #21
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Quote:
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I was quoting Kevin, not you. For that matter, Kevin, I believe, didn't mean abused in the sense of wrong, he meant it in the sense of "heavily worked over."
Understood, but I wanted to make it clear my original post was not critical of the style, but simply a commentary on an interesting stylistic transition.
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:21 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
I was quoting Kevin, not you. For that matter, Kevin, I believe, didn't mean abused in the sense of wrong, he meant it in the sense of "heavily worked over."
Yes, that's correct. A few folks had implied that the image looked heavily edited and therefore unrealistic. When I look at the photo, I don't see it as that far off from what the eye would have seen. In fact parts of it, such as the sky at the top, look rather normal to me.

One thing to bear in mind is that it is not just aggressive and indiscriminate use of the sliders that can make an image look "off" or even strange. Excessive selective edits can have the same effect. I personally try to avoid selective edits, if at all possible. Most of the stuff that I post is done just with global adjustments using sliders.

Now, if you want to talk abused, let's take a look at some of the sunrise and sunset shots that we see posted on RP. Many of them remind me more of the atmospheric nuclear testing that went on in the 1950s, than they do of the actual sunrise or sunset.
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:59 AM   #23
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Quote:
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I fully admit that I heavily use ALL of the sliders available to me, including heavy doses of Shadows & Highlights. My goal is to take full advantage of the dynamic range my cameras offer and attempt to make the images look as close as possible to what my eyes actually saw.
Yup, I'm guilty of that once in a while too. Exhibit A:

Image © Jim Thias
PhotoID: 565481
Photograph © Jim Thias


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Old 09-29-2016, 04:23 PM   #24
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I've seen far worse.

I have shifted towards applying 'additional' editing to my photographs over the last 3-4 years mainly because it pay$ too. The clientele seem to want it, and I'll be happy to provide it.

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Old 09-29-2016, 05:30 PM   #25
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Quote:
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One thing to bear in mind is that it is not just aggressive and indiscriminate use of the sliders that can make an image look "off" or even strange. Excessive selective edits can have the same effect. I personally try to avoid selective edits, if at all possible. Most of the stuff that I post is done just with global adjustments using sliders.:
Since Kevin is a skilled post processor, I hope selective edits don't get a bad rep. I use them all the time. Almost every image. But like so much else it is not how you do it, it is how much you do it, or perhaps how well you judge theresults. In a way it is like composition, you need to develop an eye for what works and what doesn't. And of course part of what works is a matter of personal style and preference. Some folks who post here have developed very distinctive styles and it is fun seeing how they interpret things.
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