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Old 04-02-2021, 05:14 AM   #6
br_railphotos's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Eastern Iowa
Posts: 53

Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Saturation is always a tough call, as it can depend on a number of things, such as whether or not you are using a calibrated display. I am amazed that I got away without using one for many years, but if you really want things perfect, it does make a difference.

In this case, I think that both contrast and saturation may have played roles. Generally speaking the image looks pretty good. The things I notice are that yes, some of the containers and the locomotives do have a bit of a "candyland" look to them. Not sure what editing software you are using, or what settings you used, but backing Saturation and Vibrance off a bit would probably improve the situation. WRT contrast, the place where I really notice it is the line between the grass on the hillside and the farm field just beyond. That line is glowing a bit. Sometimes it happens that most of a frame will appear to be properly exposed, but one element (sand, plants, a light-colored building) will be too hot....and it's an eye-grabber. Since I use Lightroom, I would create an Adjustment Brush that knocks the exposure and/or contrast back a bit, then paint that effect into the hot spot. I just recently bought a little tablet, that allows me to use pen-pressure to tell Lightroom how "thickly" to paint that effect in. It works great.

Unlike a lot of images that get rejected, this one should not be hard to fix. I saw the low-res updated edit that you posted, and I think it looked better than the original. It's an interesting shot and a nice change from the endless parade of diesel wedges that we see every day...

Actually, I do use a color calibrated display, tuned with a Spyder4Pro. My eyes are/were the problem here, me thinks.

As far as editing, I use LR/ACR, then fine tune in Photoshop, if needed. Resize for RP in PS, always.

In the low res re-edit, my ACR saturation/vibrance sliders are actually to the negative, so, as I suspected, most of the saturation came from the contrast/curves adjustments made.

I certainly see where you are going with the "candyland" cars. Especially those "ONE" cars (hot pink), which really are colorful. If you've ever seen them in person, you'll know how bright those are. If not, well, they would be easy to perceive as..."fake." Now, the red cars do seem a bit bright and saturated, I'll admit. In the re-edit, I pulled the overall saturation and vibrance down a bit. Then I selectively pulled and tweaked the greens, yellows and reds. I also pulled the luminance down on the reds a bit.

Per the glowing edge between fields, thanks. That should probably be addressed.

Originally Posted by Mgoldman View Post
I like the original though I wonder how it compares to what your eyes saw? Your photo likely looks "better" than real life which depending on how much an exaggeration there is, can be perfectly acceptable.

I like to use "Auto - contrast, tone, and color" just to proof my final rendition. Sometimes that will tell you if you strayed to far off from reality. In this case, auto tone added some contrast, removed some saturation but mostly got rid of the neon greenish grass in the foreground, took some yellow cast out and added some brown to the foreground. Not all of that was appealing, however.

Photoshop has a "fade last action" menu item with a slider, or you can paste the before over the after and blend accordingly. Or... you can selectively adjust what you don't like and keep what you do like. Another Photoshop option is "selective color" so you can adjust say, just the yellows in the grass. Or use a desaturation brush as needed.

In short - check out the "auto" options as a proof, and then blend back or edit *only* the offending issues (say, a dark shadow, for instance - they are always darker then they look, aren't they?)


Thanks for your suggestion on auto as a proof. I suppose there are much more technical ways to check proper saturation in PS, but "auto" is simple to do, as a simple check. I like to remove all color (B&W), let the eyes adjust, switch back to color. This will immediately reveal any off colors that the eyes have adjusted to. But, saturation can still be missed. Good idea, indeed.

FWIW, in regards to the re-edit: Auto in the ACR filter wants to add a bit of saturation, pull down exposure. Auto color in PS wants to remove some saturation. Ha!

As for your first question: Yes, the original submission does look slightly "better than life." My second photo (re-edit) looks pretty close to what one would have seen that day, in person. Again, this was after a fresh rain, so the scene was quite vibrant, overall.

Just to explain the color differences in the fields, we have three different subjects. Closest to the train, we have a lovely dark green corn field. To the right of that, a recently cut hay/alfalfa field. Closest to camera, we have pasture with grass beginning to seed.

After the initial suggestions, I did a final tweak of colors. Additionally, I tried a similar crop to what Bob suggested. Well, the screeners didn't mind the color aspect of the resubmitted image, apparently. But, the photo was rejected again; this time, for composition.

So, now I'm not sure where to go with this image. Do I resubmit the updated re-edit, with original framing? I HAVE had them reject a photo for "blur" once, only to be rejected a second time for composition (too loose). Seems they don't always list all of their gripes right off (but sometimes they do!?), which makes the submitter's job a lot more difficult. Each screener likely has a different "taste." Ugh.

Suggestions/opinions appreciated. Below are the final re-edits. One with the original crop (not listed as a rejection reason). The other with an updated crop, which positions the train right about 1/3 from bottom. I had to deviate from a 3x2, opting instead for a 14x9 aspect ratio.

Original framing:
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_1581 Small.jpg
Views:	27
Size:	1.61 MB
ID:	9883

Updated crop:
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC_1581 Small Crop.jpg
Views:	32
Size:	1.37 MB
ID:	9884

Thanks fellas. I'm leaning towards the newest crop, but..This one has been tricky!!!


P.S. Feel free to further critique the colors, if needed.
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