Old 08-09-2008, 01:38 AM   #1
troy12n
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Default First Attempts - technical questions

I am really new here and to photography in general. I wish I would have learned photography when I first started railfanning in the 70's. Anyway, I recently spent a day on Sand Patch and the Pokey, and for the most part got bitten by the "no trains due to heavey MoW work" bug, which was unfortunate. I got a couple good (at least I thought so) shots, and all were rejected !

I wanted to post them here for future advice on the technical merits.

#1 - This one was rejected for being Blurry, although I really dont see that
- for this one I am kind of at a loss, I dont see it being blurry

#2 - This one was tagged underexposed, unsharpened and composition/balance
- I agree on the underexposed, but what do they mean by composition / balance. Is it the power pole and pile of ballast??

#3 - Rejected for the locomotive being too far away?
- I have several shots of this scene, but I though this one was the best with the lead locomotive pretty much square to me, I had the entire viaduct in the frame and you can see the railcars behind on the curve. I could crop out a little on either side maybe, but this is a question of what the screeners are looking for, total composition of the scene or a closeup of the locomotive. I have another shot I may try to submit where the locomotive is right up on me, but you see a whole lot less of the background, which MAKES this location in my opinion

#4 - This one too far away too
- This one I maybe tried to get too artsy. I had a train on a curve (locos and cars visible) I have a siding heading off to the left, some cars on a siding in the background, and a hi rail truck. Some definite rule of thirds stuff here. Definetly a lot going on, but again, what do they consider better, a closeup of a loco or a nicely composed scene. I was thinking of cropping out the hirail truck and resubmitting.

#5 - Composition / Balance? I was half expecting high sun, but not composition
- This one blows my mind. Other than the ratty looking scotchlight decals on the front of this C40-8, I though this one was pretty good. Not perfect lighting, but good enough, and they didnt complain about lighting

#6 - Backlit and poor image quality
- Poor lighting, yes. Poor image quality? come on??? Help me out on a suggestion on this one. I cant help lighting, so I can understand the rejection on those grounds, but if the lighting was ON, what am I missing here? I dont understand the poor image quality comment

Last edited by troy12n; 08-09-2008 at 04:37 AM.
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Old 08-09-2008, 01:47 AM   #2
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Some seem pretty close

1) more sharpening, also a bit more contrast, and if you can get the train a bit further from the left side I think that would be better

2) yes, it looks dark - given it was a sunny day, even a cloud should not make that background look so dark. Sharpen more. Comp/bal here means you put the subject dead center in the shot, try a "rule-of-thirds" approach

3) no point in having the train so far back when there is nothing in the foreground of interest. Also, you have the train dead center, try a "rule-of-thirds" approach

4) the foreground is insufficiently interesting to have the train so far back. Also, you have the train dead center, try a "rule-of-thirds" approach. Also undersharpened

5) you have the train dead center, try a "rule-of-thirds" approach. Also undersharpened a bit
- BOY, this is easy when I can cut/paste the response to each shot!

6) A HA! something new. RP does not like dark noses, put this one aside.

Some or most of these you can fix up, I think. Good luck.
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Old 08-09-2008, 03:05 AM   #3
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I like the first one myself, I agree with J that it needs to go left some more, and a little contrast and sharpening as well. I attached an edit to give you sort of an idea. I added a little more saturation as well, colors seem a bit drab, I use selective sharpening instead of sharpening just the whole image I do the train. Seems to be a better way because you can oversharpen easily if you do the whole image.
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Old 08-09-2008, 03:30 AM   #4
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I am really working these in photoshop, although I totally suck at photoshop. I think I have revived a couple and am going to resubmit 4 out of 5. Anyone recommend good web tutorials on photoshop. I borrowed Photoshop CS3 from work, and am using that. I have heard of lightroom too, which I have been told is kind of like a "light" version of photoshop.

I definetly now see some of the flaws in a couple of these images, mostly the empty foreground, which I did not consider at first, should have done some cropping before I even first submitted.
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Old 08-09-2008, 03:34 AM   #5
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1. the best checks for blurriness, are the numberboards, and the ballast. The numberboards are a bit fuzzy, lacking a dark black solid definition. the ballast doesn't have alot of definition either, just looks like a white pile.

2. What Janusz said

3. To make this shot better, you should find a way to get some elevation (i.e. a hill, dirtpile, stepladder, etc) and allow the train to come around the curve more. The elevation would allow this, and not have the train block most of the view of the bridge in the background.

4. The dark, out of focus siding lead isn't doing alot for me, nor is the half a truck on the left.

5. I'd almost try a vertical composition there. The left side is too wide, and a bit bland to include it.

6. Dark nose is a pretty effective killer of standard compositions on RP. The dark hillside behind the locomotive doesn't allow the scene to pop for me. This place would also be a good "climb a tree" area, so you could include some more of the creek and bridge.

Just a word of advice when fanning the Pokey. The NS cops run around down there like a snot nosed bull looking for a fight. I'd be very hesitant to spend much time that close trackside, unless you've got a connection..

Congrats on getting to spend some time trackside on two great lines!

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Old 08-09-2008, 04:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troy12n
I am really working these in photoshop, although I totally suck at photoshop. I think I have revived a couple and am going to resubmit 4 out of 5. Anyone recommend good web tutorials on photoshop. I borrowed Photoshop CS3 from work, and am using that. I have heard of lightroom too, which I have been told is kind of like a "light" version of photoshop.

I definetly now see some of the flaws in a couple of these images, mostly the empty foreground, which I did not consider at first, should have done some cropping before I even first submitted.
I use CS3 for sharpening, and if I overexpose an image, it has a great gamma correction tool. I use Lightroom for all of my main editing, its a great program. Just play around with photoshop thats how I learned to use it, its pretty easy once you figure it out.
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:35 AM   #7
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Ok, I edited and resubmitted 5 of them, and got 5 new rejections

#1 - Bad Cropping
- Thought I fixed this up quite a bit, not sure what bad cropping means

#2 - did not resubmit

#3 - Bad Cropping
- Again, ??

#4 - Bad filename (??) I will resubmit this, but not sure what they mean by this, I used the exact same filename with no special characters
- Cut quite a bit out of this one from before, also sharpened it

#5 - Bad Angle and Bad Cropping
- I dont get the bad angle or references to bad cropping, are there guidelines here? Is it the aspect ratio or the fact that its not typical 3x5 type dimensions?

#6 - Bad Lighting (backlit) and soft
- I thought I fixed this one up quite a bit, guess this one is a lost cause...
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:49 AM   #8
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Number one looks good, maybe too close to the first hopper? Im not sure, maybe someone else could elaborate. Number six, I dont see as soft in my eyes, naturally you cant fix bad lighting. Usually they will give you the ''overprocessed'' rejection when you try to use shadow or highlight tools. Number four looks good to me, its probably how you named your file, if your using Lightroom it always puts (1 of 1) after the file name. That can mess you up so be sure watch that. Number 3 I like maybe take some more off the left that could be it. Number 5 I dont really see bad angle, I dont understand cropping in this one either. It could be that the way it was cropped made it look like a bad angle. They are all good shots imo.

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Old 08-09-2008, 10:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troy12n
I have heard of lightroom too, which I have been told is kind of like a "light" version of photoshop.
The "light" version of PS is PS Elements, more than capable enough.

Lightroom I have not used personally but I understand its specialty is the inspection and processing of large volumes of images, such as what a pro would shoot. As some railfans take a large volume of shots on one day, they are also interested!
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:41 AM   #10
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1: the train needs to be further from the left edge. If your original has the train that close to the left, I think this is a lost cause

3: in this case I think that it means rule of thirds, even though it says bad cropping rather than composition/balance. The nose of the train is right in the center. Try cropping the left over to the pier, even though you lose part of the bridge structure. While you are at it, crop the right edge just a smidge to get rid of the two tufts of foliage that are above the rest of the green

4: maybe appeal and, in your remarks to the screener, tell them you used a standard file name

5: all I see is a need for rule of thirds, everything is in the center, so I'm not sure what they mean

6: no light on the nose, I think you need to set this one aside, sorry. It's a nice shot, but it just doesn't fit one criterion that is particularly stressed by RP; they just don't like ordinary compositions without light on the nose
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