Old 07-21-2011, 04:33 PM   #1
firemanbeetle
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Default Poor Image Quality

I'm not quite sure what the "poor image quality" rejection means. With enhanced brightness, contrast and sharpness, the rejection was the same. any suggestions?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=532428653
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=331514181
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...key=1067788568
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=950442&key=0

Thanks for any comments!
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:44 PM   #2
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Cropping's not the best around that curve, high sun in all those pics, and the quality of image itself is not too pleasing..
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:44 PM   #3
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It means that the overall quality of the image is (too) poor.

You're not seeing that these pictures are pixelated very badly?

What camera did you use to shoot them, and what software are you using to process them?
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:59 PM   #4
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lots of noise, bad lighting, 3 is soft, i think you may get some bad cropping as well.

what ISO did you have the camera on?
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:34 PM   #5
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Hi Steve,

Yes, there are multiple issues with these shots. The Screener didn't mention them all because the image quality issue is pretty obvious. There are a number of things that are possible causes:
  • What ISO setting are you using? 100 or 200 is best. Don't go higher in sunny weather.
  • If shooting JPEGs, is your camera set up for the largest file with the highest resolution possible? If not, it needs to be. Use the full resolution of your camera.
  • When editing, are you working on the full size file? There's not much point in editing a reduced size version.
  • If editing a JPEG, are you completing all of your edits before saving? JPEG is a lossy format. You essentially stomp on it every time you save it. Save it too many times and it will really lose image quality. The lower the resolution file you are using, the more quickly you will see the problem. If you cannot complete your editing in one session, it is best to save the files as TIFFs or other non-lossy file formats. Yes, they are huge, but you can save and re-edit those as many times as you like. Better yet, shoot and edit in raw, because most programs do non-destructive edits on raw images. If you get disgusted, you can always go back to square one with a push of a button!

Aside from image quality, as the other folks have mentioned, you need to shoot with better lighting. Some of these shots are either side-lit or back-lit. For pictures of common, everyday diesel locomotives, RP wants front-lighting (sun DIRECTLY behind the photographer) and pictures shot when the sun is low in the sky (before 10 AM and after 4 PM). Times may vary where you live. To give yourself a chance, you need to chase your trains in the early morning or late afternoon/evening.
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Last edited by KevinM; 07-21-2011 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:36 PM   #6
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Steve,

Let me also add to the advice that has been offered, that you generally don't want to let the camera frame cut-off the train. Frame your shots so the the train disappears in the distance, or is cut-off by an object that is in the frame.

This is not an absolute rule, and it should by thrown out when shooting the side of the train, but it's still a good rule of thumb to keep in mind.

Regarding the lighting, take a look at the shadow thrown on the side of the rail by the railheads. If that shadow is half way down the rail or more, you are either in a high-sun or poor lighting direction situation. In the summer months, you can avoid this by shooting only until 10AM and then not again to 4PM (these times become less restrictive the futher you are from June 21 - and are not restrictive enough for the days right arond June 21).
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:32 PM   #7
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#1,2 and 4 are oversharpened, #3 is soft, they all have "lacking" composition and lighting.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:03 AM   #8
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I wake up around 6am, do trains until about 9:30, then take a nap till 4.

At least high sun precludes the hottest parts of the day.

As we get into the fall, it will become almost non-existent. Someone here actually defined the minimum length of a shadow before high sun becomes evident, but i don't remember where it is.

Everything else said here is spot on.

www.suncalc.net and http://photoephemeris.com/ are great tools for planning a day of shooting trains to determine the best places to get good sunlight.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:40 AM   #9
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I think the rule is if your shadow is shorter than you, it's high sun.
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks View Post
I think the rule is if your shadow is shorter than you, it's high sun.
Thank goodness I'm tall!
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks View Post
I think the rule is if your shadow is shorter than you, it's high sun.

That's a pretty good rule of thumb, Charles. When your shadow is the same length as your body, that's a 45 degree sun angle. When the sun is below 45 degrees in elevation, the vertical surfaces are receiving more direct light than the horizontal ones. Remember, for the most part, the subjects of our photos are (relatively) vertical surfaces, and direct lighting on those is what we are seeking. Although you can get OK shots at 45 degrees sun angle, I have found that you really want 40 degrees and below for the best images.

For folks who are still struggling with the concept of high sun, try taking a photo of a person in a room, using only ceiling-mounted lighting that's directly overhead or nearly so. The top of the person's head is brightly lit, but their face looks dark. Pop open the flash on your camera and shoot the same pic and BAM! What a difference! That difference is DIRECT LIGHT from the flash. It works the same way with the sun. When the sun gets more than 45 degrees above the horizon....halfway to being directly overhead....the tops of your trains are getting better light than the sides. At mid latitudes, high sun is most problematic from about 2 months before the summer solstice until about 2 months after. Outside of that 4-month period, the high sun period each day is shorter.

Interestingly enough, folks who shoot aerial pictures, WANT to shoot between 10 AM and 4 PM. From their perspective (on board an aircraft, looking DOWN) the surfaces they can see are better lit during what the ground-pounders consider to be high sun hours.

Sooooo......if you want the premium railfan experience, go out and chase from 7AM to 10AM, then head for the airport!
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Last edited by KevinM; 07-22-2011 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Interestingly enough, folks who shoot aerial pictures, WANT to shoot between 10 AM and 4 PM. From their perspective (on board an aircraft, looking DOWN) the surfaces they can see are better lit during what the ground-pounders consider to be high sun hours.

Sooooo......if you want the premium railfan experience, go out and chase from 7AM to 10AM, then head for the airport!
Depends at what altitude you're shooting from
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:44 PM   #13
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Thanks for the comments, everyone. Points taken.
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