Old 07-11-2013, 01:43 AM   #1
tytrain
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Default Teach me how to see high sun

So here's the deal. I get, in my head, what "high sun" is. Harsh shadows from a high-angle sun, usually in summer, in the middle of the day. Cool.

Here's a photo I took (rejected by RP for high sun too long ago to link the reject).

I can look at my watch and see high sun in this photo. I took it in June at, like, noon. But when I look at the photo itself, I can't see the high sun. The sun was behind a thin cloud, so all of the clues I "know" to look for (shadows on the side of the rail, grabirons, etc.) aren't there - or are they?

Any advice? I'm looking to get better at not wasting RP's time. I'll keep taking photos for myself, but when I have one good enough to share, I'd like to be able to recognize it.
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:13 AM   #2
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I was once told a test for high sun is to look at your shadow. If it's shorter than your actual height, you have high sun.

Looking at your pic, notice how there is no shadow except just under the train? That's a tell tail mark of high sun.

Also, remember RP is not to fond of cloudy day pictures either.
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:19 AM   #3
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The poor lighting comment which precedes the high sun part of the rejection is more relevant for your shot, as you were fornicated by a cloud. As Greg typed, the shadow test is a good way to judge a high sun situation.

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Old 07-11-2013, 02:19 AM   #4
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Does it make me a train geek because I recognize that was taken in Dolton?

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Old 07-11-2013, 03:56 AM   #5
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If the screener wasnt being lazy they would have hit it with a more accurate cloudy rejection. Looking at your own shadow as Greg said is a good measure, as are grabiron shadows. Checking the rail shadow is also a good method but some people still can't comprehend that you can have a shadow on the rail without it being high sun. It is a good judge of how the light angle will be though high sun or not, in low sun if theres a shadow your best be shooting head on or find a new spot.
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:28 PM   #6
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Does it make me a train geek because I recognize that was taken in Dolton?

Yes.

Thanks everyone - the "height of your own shadow" sounds like just the sort of handy trick that should help me out.
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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Shadows on the rail sides is the best way to see high sun, or bad shadows, and you can see it without a train being present, or without even getting out of the car.

In your picture, it was either too cloudy, or the sun too high to cast shadows on the ground near the signs or up right objects on the left side of the picture.

However, I think the screener's beef is obviously the deep shadows on the wheels and on the plow.

If you were to "tone map" (single frame HDR) you could probably fix that problem, as long as you don't loose image quality.

Caveat - high sun does not always have something to do with the sun, rather it is more a shadow issue.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:19 PM   #8
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Two quickest gauges I use are, I look at the sides of the rails for the shadow from the rail head... if it is half way down the side of the rail, I know I've got high sun. Seccond thing is, as you already agreed you like, I look at my own shadow... is it shorter than me or longer than me? Shorter than me, I will try to shoot down on the train from a higher location - or maybe go do smoething else and wait for the sun to go down some. The railhead shadow trick is the better guage, by the way... but both are useful.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:21 PM   #9
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Two quickest gauges I use are, I look at the sides of the rails for the shadow from the rail head... if it is half way down the side of the rail, I know I've got high sun. Seccond thing is, as you already agreed you like, I look at my own shadow... is it shorter than me or longer than me? Shorter than me, I will try to shoot down on the train from a higher location - or maybe go do smoething else and wait for the sun to go down some. The railhead shadow trick is the better guage, by the way... but both are useful.
All very good advice that I agree with. Just one other thought though, in my home area I usually will take the "don't bother" advice through the middle of the day (or at least "don't submit the results to rp.net") but while out on long road trips or with neat stuff I'll try different things or take the shot anyway, even if it's just for myself. Going high (overpass or whatever) is often a good way to deal with high sun harsh light in that regard. Sometimes when I get a shot I rather like that doesn't fit the usual model here but I think is good on its own merits I may give it a try anyway like this one:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...12&key=7092905

I think the composition/crop reject is silly. The backlit isn't a problem for me since it also adds the neat shadow of the train itself alongside the train snaking up the big river, but to each their own. It's not "fixable" for here though, so I'm done with that. MEH.

As to the original shot, you could really work it in photoshop to make it look like you didn't get cloud effed but why bother? It's obvious you were.

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Old 07-11-2013, 09:39 PM   #10
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As to the original shot, you could really work it in photoshop to make it look like you didn't get cloud effed but why bother? It's obvious you were.

Regards,
Michael
Thanks for your advice/input as well, it's all very helpful. As for this shot, it's perfect for me (entire train in the shot, switcher & caboose included!) and I also completely understand why RP doesn't want it.

As for the photo you linked - I love that spot! I stumbled upon it quite by accident on a trip just to hike those trails - walking out into that view by chance was an incredible experience. I had my camera on me so I took a shot of an eastbound - which RP rejected since it was "going away". I enjoy your catch here too - good one!
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:02 AM   #11
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Lightbulb High Sun

High sun shots work sometimes such as here.

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 441475
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography




HDR'd it to get rid of some of the shadows.

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 435109
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography




The plow is black anyway.

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 434768
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography



Be far away...

Image © EL ROCO Photography
PhotoID: 430618
Photograph © EL ROCO Photography
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:00 AM   #12
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Geez, I don't get some of you guys. I'd rather get a high sun shot than no shot at all... and I still shoot film, for God's sake!

-Jacques
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Sometimes when I get a shot I rather like that doesn't fit the usual model here but I think is good on its own merits I may give it a try anyway like this one:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...12&key=7092905
Whoa...that is REALLY unlevel.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
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HDR'd it to get rid of some of the shadows.
And how do we do that? Please explain the method if possible. I was looking some way to eliminate few tree shadows in the following High Sun shot.

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Photograph © Lalam

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Old 07-12-2013, 03:19 PM   #15
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Geez, I don't get some of you guys. I'd rather get a high sun shot than no shot at all... and I still shoot film, for God's sake!

-Jacques
I'll shoot high-sun, backlit wedgies if that's where I'm standing - but I won't upload it here.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:20 PM   #16
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Lighting conditions suck and the sky is full of noise.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:21 PM   #17
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And how do we do that? Please explain the method if possible. I was looking some way to eliminate few tree shadows in the following High Sun shot.
It is done with a computer program.

It comes with some of Canon's software.

PhotoShop does it and there is a program from Topaz.

Google "HDR" and all sorts of options will pop up.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:39 PM   #18
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And how do we do that? Please explain the method if possible. I was looking some way to eliminate few tree shadows in the following High Sun shot.

Image © Lalam
PhotoID: 442948
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If you have photoshop, use the clone tool. Although I think you are wasting your time trying to do that on that image.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:46 PM   #19
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Thank you for the inputs. Will find out & try to learn HDR imaging. I think that can be used only in case of stationary trains.

Last edited by lalam; 07-12-2013 at 05:49 PM.
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