Old 03-23-2009, 10:42 PM   #1
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Ah, the reject room... it's been a while.

I'm curious as to anyone's thoughts on this recently rejected image.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=297862234

It's surely not my best work ever but I think it's "good enough for RP" and would go a step further and say it has some appeal, specifically to transit fans, NJT and corridor fans especially. It is also the only photo in the database with this angle (inclusion of the office building in full).

The reason for reject was "Poor lighting (Cloudy): Common angle cloudy day shots of common/standard power are generally not accepted". I know peace and harmony reside within judgement of an individual photo's own merits rather then a comparison of others, but...

Image © John E Durant
PhotoID: 276998
Photograph © John E Durant


Image © Mitch Wahlsten
PhotoID: 276995
Photograph © Mitch Wahlsten


Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 273695
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)


I personally like the contrast of the clouds in my image as well as the non-overcast blue patches of sky.


Thoughts? I re-edited and brightened the image as much as I could without clipping the whites but have not officially "appealed" the rejection.

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Old 03-23-2009, 10:55 PM   #2
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Ya know what - on further review - it's the reject reason that is at issue. It's not that it's cloudy so much as the fact that perhaps there is detail lacking within the subject.

Maybe if cloudy images and /or overcast images are acceptable, the reason "Poor lighting" would suffice and admin could drop the rest of that line.

I'll see if I can make an attempt to bring some detail out of the shadows in a pleasing way.

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Old 03-23-2009, 10:59 PM   #3
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Personally, I do like the image and think the building and clouds are appealing, yes.

Would I have included it in the database were I a screener? Yes.

Would I fight for it if it were mine? Maybe.

Would I be proud of it if I took it? Definetely yes.

Not sure that there is any more manipulation to do to it though. I'd give it an appeal and see if it gets in that way... It's certainly worthy of that. I like the suburban NJ mid-level architecture with the NEC hectic track and the nice coloration of the sky and the electric motor...

I don't think any of the three images you compare it to are comparable though.

Durant's image is sunny.

Wahlsten's image is of the new A1A units, which while about to become common power, are still a curiosity.

AB2's image is of a unique meet.

Your image (which I really like, don't get me wrong) is of something that happens once every 30 minutes.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks View Post
I don't think any of the three images you compare it to are comparable though.

Durant's image is sunny.

Wahlsten's image is of the new A1A units, which while about to become common power, are still a curiosity.

AB2's image is of a unique meet.

Your image (which I really like, don't get me wrong) is of something that happens once every 30 minutes.
I did not search back far but I'm sure I could find plenty of cloudy day /overcast day images and that was the ONLY comparison I was making.

The one thing that I initially overlooked was the clarity of details in the above three images. Though cloudy and overcast, the detail in the nose and trucks and surrounding areas is there.

As for my image - if I can tease it a bit, I'll resubmit but I've been to that station a few times and rarely time it with contrasting clouds - it's always solid blue skies or a dull overcast!

/Mitch
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:09 PM   #5
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Or do something unique to it and do a zoom pan at that angle.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:28 PM   #6
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Your horizon is also unlevel.

The one condition that I really refuse to shoot in is cloudy lighting where blue sky is showing. It's the absolute worst kind of light. Shadow detail vanishes, the sky is overblown, and everything has an ugly blue tint. I'd sooner shoot in a thunderstorm than deal with that.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman View Post
It's surely not my best work ever but I think it's "good enough for RP" and would go a step further and say it has some appeal, specifically to transit fans, NJT and corridor fans especially. It is also the only photo in the database with this angle (inclusion of the office building in full).
it has appeal for transit, NJT, and corridor fans just like any RRPA shot of such a subject presumable would. It doesn't matter, it does not meet the standard and is a classic "can get it on a better day so won't take this one" sort of shot.

As for the angle, there are still gazillions of locations across the country, continent, world, whatever, that don't have a shot in the database. This is hardly a one-of-a-kind unique-situation shot that must be included because unrepeatable. Just shoot it again or find someone else in the area to do so.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:54 PM   #8
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I'm occasionally a fan of cloudy day lighting too. Heck, there are plenty of railroad situations in which clouds are an advantage.....like one particular steam operation we both know of down your way.

I'm just guessing that in this particular shot, the dark platforms...and the fact that they occupy significant portions of the shot....are what tipped the balance. The rest of the shot is nicely lit. In the other examples you cited, the lighting is pretty even. Andrew's comes closest to having a dark area on the side of the closest train, but as Charles pointed out, he's nailed a meet....which is tough to beat!

Hey, fix it the best you can and appeal. It's not like you've been clogging up the Screener's in-boxes lately.
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:02 AM   #9
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Why the other ones got accepted and yours didn't:

1) Conrail
2) Brand new units on their first revenue run
3) (2)

Yours? New Jersey Transit?!? And there you have it...
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:02 AM   #10
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I need remedies for these two rejected shots.

To be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with the Amtrak one:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=126617779


http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=478427196
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlev View Post
I need remedies for these two rejected shots.

To be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with the Amtrak one:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=126617779


http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=478427196
You might have wanted to start a new thread, but since Mitch's questions have seemingly been answered: they both have motion blurr on the pilot. Not as much with the AMTK shot, but it's still there. That's probably a killer.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlev View Post
I need remedies for these two rejected shots.

To be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with the Amtrak one:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=126617779

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=478427196
I can't offer remedies, but I will point out a couple things to help you improve your post-processing techniques: These shots were taken on the same day and with the same composition, but have vastly different color (did the light change that much between shots?) and both are unlevel by different amounts (though the AMTK shot only needs just a touch of CCW rotation).
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:41 AM   #13
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I like the lighting in your NJT shot, although I think the cropping leaves too vacant space much on the right.

I've long been critical of the wisdom and consistency of the common/cloudy rejection. For example, I just got this one hit for it (no contest as to the other two rejection reasons)

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=806811705

I get that cloudy day shots all to often are badly exposed, but that's not the case with the lighting situation here (and indeed, I could see it getting an over-exposed rejection). I think the time has come for railpictures to reevaluate this whole cloudy/common thing.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I get that cloudy day shots all to often are badly exposed, but that's not the case with the lighting situation here (and indeed, I could see it getting an over-exposed rejection). I think the time has come for railpictures to reevaluate this whole cloudy/common thing.
I don't agree. The issue is not that cloudy day shots are badly exposed. The issue is that a cloudy day shot that is properly exposed has uninteresting light. Remember that this rejection generally applies to common ordinary wedgie-type compositions. The kind of shots that can be retaken on a nicer day. The kind of shots that are blah.

Shots that aren't common in terms of subject matter and composition get more latitude. I think the overall approach is reasonable, although there have been images discussed in there forums that looked, for lack of a more precise term, nice enough. I think it is a good principle for culling shots.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:57 AM   #15
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Mitch:

I think you got it after mulling it over. Poor lighting, period. Now maybe if you had Knapperized it with several remote flash's (assuming they would still be there when you were finished), you could have lit up the shadows on the left side of the image.

That would have helped the lighting, but for me the image is a "streak" shot for you. Electric trains just generate (pun intended) no interest for me!
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:17 AM   #16
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I don't agree. The issue is not that cloudy day shots are badly exposed. The issue is that a cloudy day shot that is properly exposed has uninteresting light.
See, I disagree with that as basic premises, especially in terms of my shot I referenced. I can see how not everyone cares to see a blownout zone 6 to zone 10 sky (though for me, how I reacted to that is entirely dependent on just about everything else about the photo), but the sky in my Oakland Yard shot is hardly blown, and in my mind, extremely interesting.

I know if someone else had shots with that lighting situation it would get me looking, even without two SD40s.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:19 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamD View Post
I like the lighting in your NJT shot, although I think the cropping leaves too vacant space much on the right.

I've long been critical of the wisdom and consistency of the common/cloudy rejection. For example, I just got this one hit for it (no contest as to the other two rejection reasons)

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=806811705

I get that cloudy day shots all to often are badly exposed, but that's not the case with the lighting situation here (and indeed, I could see it getting an over-exposed rejection). I think the time has come for railpictures to reevaluate this whole cloudy/common thing.
I'm on your side with this issue. Nice sunny shots impress when you start photographing but as you get better and realise that railroading is a 24 hour, all weather operation many accept the challenge to shoot in all light. To be honest I click on maybe 1 in 100 sunny wedgie shots, they just bore me and yet RP seems to have no problem putting umpteen sunny days shots of the same trains at the same places, Cajon pass, Steins Hill, a particular bridge in Florida. One of my all time favorite rail pics (page 98 TRAINS 100 Greatest) would be rejected for sure on RP.

Your photo is very nicely exposed, all the more impressive because you didn't blow the sky out which can be easy to do on overcast days, it is certainly better exposed than this "sunny day" shot that was accepted.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=274801&nseq=5

I've stopped submitting since I realised that by and large RP is a repository for "nice" pictures as distinct from "good" pictures. The open cab door policy is another one, in the real world cab doors get left open, an open cab doesn't ruin a photo
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:28 AM   #18
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Remember that this rejection generally applies to common ordinary wedgie-type compositions. The kind of shots that can be retaken on a nicer day. The kind of shots that are blah. Shots that aren't common in terms of subject matter and composition get more latitude.
For once I agree with you, J. It seems like most people don't read the whole rejection reason. It got rejected because it is a poorly lit typical scene. This means that someone can go out on a sunny day and replicate the shot.

In Mitch's case, I can head out to New Brunswick any sunny afternoon and nail that shot. In my opinion, the shot would be even better if the train was running one track over, so the platform doesn't block any part of the train.

And Mitch, I thought you were better than to make comparisons to other shots. That's for newbies to do.

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Old 03-24-2009, 02:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlev View Post
I need remedies for these two rejected shots.

To be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with the Amtrak one:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=126617779


http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=478427196
Bad news. The remedy is a reshoot. Try a faster shutter speed to avoid the blur. Your photo also has a look reminiscent of too much compression. If the camera-original photo was sharp, your post-processing routine might be at fault.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DelmonteX View Post
... Now maybe if you had Knapperized it with several remote flashes ...
Congratulations, "Knapperized" is the word of the week. I can only imagine the chaos that would result if someone tried to set up flashes and light stands in a situation like that.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:39 AM   #20
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For once I agree with you, J.
Hmm, I hadn't noticed your wayward views and your obstinacy! I'm glad you have taken the first step toward the (ahem) light.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:51 AM   #21
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I'm on your side with this issue. Nice sunny shots impress when you start photographing but as you get better and realise that railroading is a 24 hour, all weather operation many accept the challenge to shoot in all light.
Well, there is a difference between getting proper exposures in all light and getting interesting, well photographed shots in all light.

Quote:
To be honest ... rejected for sure on RP.
So true.

Quote:
Your photo is very nicely exposed, all the more impressive because you didn't blow the sky out which can be easy to do on overcast days
Getting the image technically exposed properly is not the same as getting an interesting image. Mitch's shot is a station wedgie with a modestly interesting background, where the light and what he did with it did nothing to enhace the shot, to create a mood, a response by the viewer. It is just a reasonably exposed reasonably composed overcast day shot.

Sam's shot has the compositional advantage of two trains but the light is dull and the dull light is not used to create a response by the viewer. As for the sky being, quoting Sam, "extremely interesting," that is a matter of taste and my personal opinion is that a bit of darker/lighter variation isn't much to hang a hat on and the sky isn't a prominent part of the image anyway.

Quote:
I've stopped submitting since I realised that by and large RP is a repository for "nice" pictures as distinct from "good" pictures.
Yes, there are lots of "nice" pictures, and/or boring well-lit wedgies on RP. A majority of the shots. Part of the business model, I think. It is a weakness of the site as far as my tastes go, but I don't see any way around it and it has the advantage of encouraging participation by lots of people, a small fraction of which move on to shooting better stuff. And the ads pay for my free access to the "good" shots!

Quote:
The open cab door policy is another one, in the real world cab doors get left open, an open cab doesn't ruin a photo
I agree completely.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:02 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by cblaz View Post

In Mitch's case, I can head out to New Brunswick any sunny afternoon and nail that shot.


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That just encourages formula photography which is hardly conducive to good photography. It is just a matter of personal preference to say that sunny is better than cloudy/overcast.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:13 AM   #23
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Getting the image technically exposed properly is not the same as getting an interesting image.
Agreed, though I think we may have very different standards for "interesting." Also, do you really think that cloudy shots of the new GEVOs is that interesting? Maybe if they didn't look like every other GEVO it would be, but without being told they're the ones with the exotic wheel arrangement, it leaves me cold, cloud or shine.


Quote:
Sam's shot has the compositional advantage of two trains but the light is dull and the dull light is not used to create a response by the viewer. As for the sky being, quoting Sam, "extremely interesting," that is a matter of taste and my personal opinion is that a bit of darker/lighter variation isn't much to hang a hat on and the sky isn't a prominent part of the image anyway.
I really think it was the foreground clutter that killed that shot (that and the tricky horizon which I tried four different rotations on before finally finding one I felt confident enough into submit). As for the sky, I agree more variation between light and dark could have helped it, and was I working on that photo for my flickr I would have upped the contrast, but Railpictures tends to like low contrast, no matter the lighting situation. What I found interesting about that light was that it was sort of storm lighting without the sunlight, which is not so common, at least where I'm from in the mid-west (maybe that isn't as rare a lighting situation as it seems to my flatlander eyes).
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:26 AM   #24
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...yet RP seems to have no problem putting umpteen sunny days shots of the same trains at the same places....a particular bridge in Florida...
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:31 AM   #25
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That just encourages formula photography which is hardly conducive to good photography. It is just a matter of personal preference to say that sunny is better than cloudy/overcast.
Photography is first and foremost about capturing light. Yes, there are lots of types of light that are more interesting than sunny, such as dawn and dusk, moonlight, fog, falling snow, etc. But in the ranking, I and I think most photographers would put cloudy/overcast at the bottom and sunny a few steps higher. It is personal preference, but it is also the case that for most personages overcast has little to offer. Sunny offers strong light. Not always the best light, and certainly harsh mid-day sun has trashed as many shots as heavy overcast, but still, it's light!

Which is not the same as saying it is not possible to shoot an interesting shot in overcast conditions. It is, but generally speaking it will not be the light that makes it so but rather some other aspect of the image.
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