Old 11-11-2011, 03:14 PM   #1
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Default "Blurry"? What????

You know, I don't think I've ever bellyached on this forum about a rejected shot, but I think I'll do so today. I don't upload as many shots here as I once did, because I don't get out as often, and I don't have the interest I once did (in the site, or railroad photography).

This is obviously a panned shot. It's supposed to have quite a bit of motion blur---because that's the nature of the beast. Also, one should realize only a small portion of the subject will be sharp, because of the plane of movement as viewed by the camera. OK----enough of that, here's the shot:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=985646&key=0

Sure, it's not tack sharp at the center point of where I shot (the sand dome, where the engine's number is painted)---but it's surely good enough to pass the mediocre bar of acceptance for RP.net. To me, the overall effect is effective----and shouldn't that be the goal of creative photography?

Not happy today....(well, at least in terms of this photo; the rest of life is more important).
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:29 PM   #2
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Yeah, I feel your pain. Sometimes I wonder why I bother. But by forcing myself to adhere to their standards, I've had to learn more about processing then I ever would have otherwise.

There is not a mediocre bar of acceptance here, it's just a sometimes rigid (sometimes not) set of rules you have to follow. Like your shot in question....unusual cropping you have there. Not something you see often here. I'd be interested to see whether they accept it (I think you can sharpen the non-moving parts).
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:39 PM   #3
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dunno......
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:56 PM   #4
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The subject is not as sharp as it could/should be. Also, the image looks a bit dark overall.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:09 PM   #5
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Personally speaking, I'd be happy to say that was my blurred shot.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:53 PM   #6
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Like your shot in question....unusual cropping you have there. Not something you see often here. I'd be interested to see whether they accept it (I think you can sharpen the non-moving parts).

The sweet spot where the image is sharpest does look narrow, but the soft areas aren't terrible. I have seen pans that were softer get accepted. I'm wondering if the crop didn't contribute to sinking this one. Most pans either show the whole locomotive and some limited surroundings, or they go really tight and show the running gear with some surrounding components. Cropping forward of the first set of drivers and clipping the whistle may have been seen as awkward.

When submitting photos of this particular engine, you might want to exercise extra discretion and make sure you show it off in the best possible way.....cuz your Screener may be the guy who was on the throttle!!!
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:55 PM   #7
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Ron, I would have to say I agree on the rejection.

1. It is too dark.
2. The locomotive is going away.
3. The cab is cut off.
4. The sanddome is not the most interesting part to look at.
5. The rest of the locomotive is blurry.

Add all these together and they legitimately kill the shot.

To to get the entire locomotive sharp in a pan, you need to be further away and at a longer focal length so you are at an equal distance from all the parts you want in focus. When you are too close only a very narrow angle (such as the sanddome) will stay the same distance and thus be in focus.

Broadsides and head on shots are easiest to get sharp, coming on and going away shots are much more difficult.

I have been there many times loving one of my shots but not seeing the flaws.
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:24 PM   #8
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I clearly agree that "blury" is no reason to reject the image. I suspect the real reason is the screener just didn't like the image, which I can understand (but not necessarily agree with) for the same kind of reasons Dennis cited above. One of the weaknesses of the screening process is there seems to be a reluctance to just say....hey, I don't like the image. I think the real issue is composition.

I would tend to cut the image some slack because I'm a steam lover, but I get the impression the screeners don't much care for steam, maybe partly because they are younger. I am amazed at the boring three quarter front views of look alike diesels that make it in (roster shots at best, but often with boring environments) while much more interesting steam shots get rejected for relatively minor deficiencies. But maybe that reflects todays "readership" age profile. Us steam junkies are a shrinking minority.

I like to shoot diesels, but except for a FEW good roster shots, what makes a diesel shot interesting is scenery, unusual lighting or perspective, or people.

Sigh....guess I'm getting old.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:02 PM   #9
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What John said.

Particularly the part about the biggest fan base here being diesel fans.

The vast majority of images submitted are documents of hardware rather than artful interpretations of the railroad scene.

However, I just look at the POTW, SC and PCA's to see collections of the greatest artful yet documentary railroad images anywhere.

So in the end, RP still works for me.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
Particularly the part about the biggest fan base here being diesel fans.
Regardless of the fan base, the image is still dark, poorly cropped and blurry. Those are all reasons for rejection. Fix those three things, and maybe it gets on.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:58 PM   #11
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Guys,
Thanks for the comments.

These kinds of shots are clearly hit or miss---and whether or not this one is at one extreme or the other is clearly subjective. Would I change the crop, or anything substantive about the shot (maybe lighten it a bit---but not much)? Absolutely not!

We can't be bound by convention all the time. Sure, there's more of the locomotive in the full scene (yes, including the engineer )----but this is how I wanted it cropped, for my own artistic reasons. If others don't like the crop, I can certainly accept their judgement, as this is pure subjectivity.

It's not good to be a whore to all the conventional "wisdom" of what constitutes a "good" image----"blurry," "unlevel," or whatever. Anyone who stubbornly applies those rules is a mere child in the world of railroad imagery. I would suggest some review of great images from the '30s, '40s and '50s for educational purposes.

If someone didn't push the envelope of things, where would we be? Answer: still sitting the dark in some cave, hoping someone might discover fire one day. If you came back to the same RP.net site 30 years from now, and folks were still submitting the same three quarter sunny day wedge shots (yes, I had a few acceptable wedge shots from yesterday's steam trip, but what value are they to society?), where would the "progress" be? "Nothing new or different should ever be attempted for the first time."

I did sharpen this bad boy just a bit (against my better judgement) and resubmitted it. That one (and another shot) have been stuck in the queue as 1 and 2 for five hours now. This means there's a group screener decision constipation caused by the "what are we going to do about THIS??" question. I've had to endure such time outs several times in the past while they review the play from the booth. Sometimes that happens whether I throw the red flag of appeal or not (usually I don't...).

Again----RP.net is never a really high bar. It's a base level of mediocrity in railroad photography. My shot is as mediocre as the next guy's, so that's why I was a little irked by this rejection. And---for what it's worth, I don't normally whine on this forum about such things, as it really doesn't matter. My wife is facing back surgery on Tuesday and most of this week has been consumed in MRIs, CT scans and x-rays to prep her. On a scale of 1 to 10 these past few weeks, RP.net certainly doesn't even register.

This may not mean much---but after I reboarded the train yesterday, I went through my shots to see if I had captured anything I liked. I pulled that one up, and did this particular crop. I then showed the image on the back of my Nikon to my seat partner, who said, "WOW....that's a very cool shot!" It was Jim Wrinn, editor of Trains Magazine. I guess that's why I still favor print media over internet posting of choo-choo pictures.

Thanks again for the comments, folks!

RF
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
What John said.

Particularly the part about the biggest fan base here being diesel fans.

The vast majority of images submitted are documents of hardware rather than artful interpretations of the railroad scene.

However, I just look at the POTW, SC and PCA's to see collections of the greatest artful yet documentary railroad images anywhere.

So in the end, RP still works for me.
Right after my post I noticed that some recent "front page" stuff was pretty good. I started to edit my post then decided what the heck. No question some great stuff gets in. My beef is when I thumb through the "newest additions" and see the routine stuff that is accepted. WAY to many boring three quarter front views. And then you see some of the stuff that has been rejected (often for nitpicking or totally irrelevent reasons) and it makes you wonder what the screeners are thinking. It's not that it doesn't work, I have a bunch of pix posted here, but it really does get frustrating.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:11 PM   #13
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Maybe RP.net should launch a "short line" section for three quarter wedgies----and just forward those things to that site. The really creative shots could be featured in a "main line" data base, which would obviously be the premiere site.

I do agree John---the site is littered with mediocre stuff (and I know, because a big percentage of it is mine!).

There has to be a way to push the envelope, guys----rather than continue this way. What would the Beatles' legacy had been had they continued to crank out tunes like "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," or "Hard Day's Night" (all good tunes mind you)? They would have fizzled out about the end of 1966. BUT----the next year they built on the success of their Rubber Soul and Revolver albums (which were transitional) and issued "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"---one of the greatest musical accomplishments of the the rock era. You see....the Beatles "grew" as artists, and the last three years of their work as a group made them the gold standard of popular music. They did it through innovation, change, creativity, and musical genius----not by playing "She Loves You" forever, and turning old and gray by playing in a traveling British Invasion Tribute Show in LaGrange, Georgia, Jackson, Tennessee or Fort Collins, Colorado.

How can RP.net find ways that encourage contributing photographers to grow as artists rather than continue along as clueless drones and "me too" copycat photographers who are just cranking out "train pictures" along the same arcane and never changing or shifting "rules"?
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:32 PM   #14
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I hear your pain, Ron. There are two issues

1) recognition for what is here. There is lots of interesting stuff on this website, artsy wise. It gets lost in the chaff. Consult my "commented upon" set. Ah, wait, there is no way for you to see those ...

I am tempted to start a companion website that links solely to RP shots that I want to feature. That would fix the problem! Except for the presence of wedgies with CR leaders ... (and maybe, just maybe, hard to believe, but maybe others won't agree with my tastes ??????? )

2) Stuff that does not get there but should. And not just the noses half in shadow, a personal peeve, but all sorts of creative dimensions. I guess I don't get upset at RP for this because a) I don't get upset, even keeled, b) RP does a nice job combining what I will call "minor leagues" and "major leagues" in terms of shot interest, which should not go away. I do think that RP creates a venue where people - if they choose, they don't have to and no judgment against if they don't - can progress from a more basic level of photography to a more advanced. If RP doesn't or perhaps can't accommodate a yet higher level, well, that is too bad but there is a baby/bathwater issue here.

As for your shot, Ron, blurry is not what I would have chosen to reject on, but I would reject for composition/balance, the shot just doesn't have a good vibe to it. I think there is a shot that is more tight on the rods and such, or one more loose (steam = leave room for the plume! leave room for the plume!) but your shot does not work for me, and I speak as someone who loves the creative stuff and wishes there were more of it on RP, even if I have trouble getting there myself. This is not the exemplar by which to judge RP's acceptance of creativity. Just a bad rejection reason.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:42 PM   #15
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As for your shot, Ron, blurry is not what I would have chosen to reject on, but I would reject for composition/balance, the shot just doesn't have a good vibe to it. I think there is a shot that is more tight on the rods and such, or one more loose (steam = leave room for the plume! leave room for the plume!) but your shot does not work for me, and I speak as someone who loves the creative stuff and wishes there were more of it on RP, even if I have trouble getting there myself. This is not the exemplar by which to judge RP's acceptance of creativity. Just a bad rejection reason.
Oh...I wouldn't care if this shot were accepted or rejected all that much, because my life doesn't revolve around such things. If I redid the shot, I would likely crop it tighter on the running gear primarily. And, if you don't like it---I certainly can respect that viewpoint. I think I was just a little irked that it was dismissed so out of hand. This may sound very arrogant, but if I like a shot I've taken, and upload it----I expect it to be accepted. I should have enough sense to know if it's good enough or not (maybe I don't, always---but I should know by now). If it's rejected, I usually just mumble something irreverent and go on with my life.

I have never taken a railroad photograph that everyone loved----but neither has anyone else.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:52 PM   #16
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Well, Ron, sometimes I forget about the difference between my tastes and those of the RP screeners, but usually if I get a reject I look for something I overlooked in submitting.

As for "dismissed out of hand," I guess I can't tell whether the screener is dismissing casually or after substantial consideration. All I get is the "no".
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:00 PM   #17
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As for "dismissed out of hand," I guess I can't tell whether the screener is dismissing casually or after substantial consideration. All I get is the "no".
Most photos are screened very casually, and either accepted or rejected without deep thought (I know...). To be sure, photos either make a favorable impression on a person immediately---or not. It's not as if a shot will grow on you if you stare at it for several minutes.

"Dismissed out of hand" is an accurate description of the screening process at RP (when a shot is rejected, that is).
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:02 AM   #18
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Most photos are screened very casually, and either accepted or rejected without deep thought (I know...). To be sure, photos either make a favorable impression on a person immediately---or not. It's not as if a shot will grow on you if you stare at it for several minutes.

"Dismissed out of hand" is an accurate description of the screening process at RP (when a shot is rejected, that is).
Well, I respectfully disagree. Ultimately all I can rely upon is my experience with my own shots and those I see in the forums. As in most cases I see the screeners give a "right" answer, of some sorts, and according to one set of general, imprecise criteria, I can only say that, if it is "dismissed out of hand", it is in practice a reasonably effective proxy for dismissing on a principle.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:20 AM   #19
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Well, I respectfully disagree. Ultimately all I can rely upon is my experience with my own shots and those I see in the forums. As in most cases I see the screeners give a "right" answer, of some sorts, and according to one set of general, imprecise criteria, I can only say that, if it is "dismissed out of hand", it is in practice a reasonably effective proxy for dismissing on a principle.
It's not a matter of agreement or disagreement----what I described is how it's done, so it's pure fact. "Dismissed out of hand" suggests there generally isn't a great deal of pondering involved in making a decision. If a shot is rejected, they just click on the reason listed of those on their computer screen---be it "unlevel," "blurry," "too dark," or whatever. "Dismissed out of hand" (my term) says a screener pulls up a shot to be screened, and immediately thinks, "I like this one," or "I don't like this one." The next step is to pick a reason. Sometimes it's obvious (poor exposure, out of focus, too dark, or whatever)---but sometimes it's pure subjectivity.

This isn't a long or complicated process requiring great wisdom, photographic skills or an understanding of the fine arts (or even railroading for that matter)----screeners normally run through these things like a dose of salts through a widow woman.

Now----I'm not telling you this out of a sense of disagreement over how the process is done. In fact, if I were a screener (and obviously I'm not----nor do I wish to be), that's how I would do it. I can see a photo and in a nanosecond tell you if I like it or not. Most people can.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:27 AM   #20
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Wow - really, Ron?

OK - Caution! You are about to enter the No Spin Zone, lol.

I am going to agree with Dennis here, which is interesting in itself as he is one known for taking similar compositions, many of which do not necessarily fit my envelop of comfort, however, a few do and do so very well.

Here's the question: What is it about this shot that you like?

Why does the crop work for you? What is appealing to you in capturing only the sand dome somewhat sharp? When I "go abstract", I attempt to lead the eye more prominently to a specific scene (go tighter where it is sharp).

I see the image as dark, going away, cut off (whistle and cab), with a distracting element (the diagonal blur by the nose) and sharp(est) on part of the scene that does not carry any weight in the scene.

I'm being blunt - but constructive in describing to you where our "takes" on the scene diverge.

Now, those are only my own thoughts - but, again, I would be very curious to hear what it is about this shot that "works" for you and why? Especially since Janusz couldn't yield some light (he's successfully shown me the light on a shot or two that I had not seen).

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Old 11-12-2011, 12:32 AM   #21
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And, yes, blurry was a poor rejection selection on the part of the screener - an issue that creates a lot of unnecessary aggravation to many, I'm sure. I'd have to assume the screener was objecting to the blur where he thought the scene demanded sharpness, aka, the nose /number board. PEQ (another vague rejection) was a better choice, ie, material we do not wish to publish.

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Old 11-12-2011, 12:43 AM   #22
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Guys,
Basically I think I'm in a poor frame of mind this evening. My wife is facing some serious back surgery, I feel like crap myself, and I'm just not in a good humor. After selecting a shot I liked and having it summarily rejected for what I considered a lame reason, I was ticked off. I should have let it go.

I think I'll let a long time elapse before I bother posting anything to RP. I've been finishing up an article on the ET&WNC for Classic Trains, plus scanning old N&W images for a friend's book project. I have a speech in Louisville next Friday evening (for the annual Kentucky Railway Museum banquet), and a short thing I'm sending to Railroads Illustrated. I have many things to occupy my time, hobby-wise. However, sometimes one feels a bit insulted and not respected----but I also think I've made a mountain out of a mole hill.

I'll drink a cold beer, see if I can find a rerun of "American Pickers" on the History Channel and chill out on this topic. Life's too short----and I'll be 64 in January. Having an opinion about RP (ANY opinion) is not worth a bucket of warm spit.

Thanks....
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:48 AM   #23
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It's not good to be a whore to all the conventional "wisdom" of what constitutes a "good" image----"blurry," "unlevel," or whatever. Anyone who stubbornly applies those rules is a mere child in the world of railroad imagery. I would suggest some review of great images from the '30s, '40s and '50s for educational purposes.
This is the second time I've seen you point out "unlevel" when criticizing those who take an issue with particular "rules" of photography. It's pretty well known here that I'm probably the most anal about unlevel train shots. However, that didn't start with railroad photography. In fact, it was long before that with landscape photography. Being a member on perhaps one of the biggest photography forums on the web and constantly seeing the pros say "level it" when referring to landscape photos perhaps made me hyper-sensitive to unlevel shots. That has carried over into all forms of photography for me, especially my job (real estate photography).

I don't think it's asking TOO much for someone to learn to level their shot in whatever photo editing program they are using. I myself am horrible at holding the camera level, no matter how hard I try, so I have to fix nearly every picture I take. It generally only takes a few seconds, so I don't understand why others can't make the effort.

Having an issue with unlevel images has nothing to do with railroad photography with me, but it just happens that I apply that level of perfection and expectation to pictures of trains.

A good image is still a good image even if it's unlevel, but why can't it be a good image that is ALSO level?

All that being said, I think the "203" on the locomotive in your pic looks just fine. The only issue I have with the image is the whistle cut off. Other than that, I think it's a fine shot.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:56 AM   #24
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Guys,
I should have let it go. ...I also think I've made a mountain out of a mole hill.
If in fact you think the screener was wrong to summarily dismiss the image, you were right to test the waters, so to speak, and throw it on the forums for input.

You only voiced your confusion on the issue - that's far from a mountain of a mole hill.

Still curious if you disagree with the screener and some of the thread followers on this one (and why), but won't press you for an answer : )
Who knows, maybe there's something I don't see. I've seen stuff in some
of my rejected photos that others do not, that's for sure!

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Old 11-12-2011, 01:08 AM   #25
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Ok, help a new guy out. Can someone post or give me a link to a dreaded "3/4 wedgie" shot so I can make sure I know what you are talking about? I have an idea, but I've been known to be wrong a time or twelve... Thanks!
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