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-   -   Hmmm, I'm not the only one thinking they're odd/off... (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17690)

bigiron 04-09-2016 05:34 PM

Hmmm, I'm not the only one thinking they're odd/off...
 
OK, I saw a few different shots the other day catching up on things and was surprised by several shots that seem out of kilter and just processed into unrealistic shots and more like a "painted shot and deferred from starting a thread but now seeing the comments on two of the pictures I do wonder how the followers feel on this new more accepted view of shots?

[photoid=572268]

[photoid=572334]

[photoid=572173]

To me they just seem way over processed and out of context to what the real scene would look like, but the screener/s are accepting them and it begs the question as to are my eyes that off to the oddness of the appearance of these photos? They seem to have a muted overall softened look and it contradicts the notion when shots get rejected from a soft/under sharpened look. Just puzzled like others are and thought it was worth some discussion. To be clear, they are interesting shots but their final look seems out of place for what Railpictures normally accepts. These would be better suited for the artsy interpretation site others have suggested in the past IMO.

Thanks for input either way...Rich

miningcamper1 04-09-2016 06:37 PM

The third looks like an "Orton effect" image (a process I coincidentally googled a couple days ago).

magicman_841 04-09-2016 07:29 PM

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p...psvo9ey0ky.png

RobJor 04-09-2016 08:50 PM

Well I noticed right away and was going to private message on first two but when I made an off hand comment last time I got all chewed out. The third I can accept in the context of where and what and it is; for me a very pleasing image from maybe a little mystical area.

But the first two I just hoped that would be the end as I don't like looking at it and if it became a norm, sorry????


Bob

John West 04-10-2016 12:28 AM

We seem to be entering an era where "over processing" to achieve some kind of artistic effect is acceptable, even desirable. This is not bad, just different. I have done a similar thing when post-processing older underexposed slides, in order to "save" them. For example

[photoid=193341]

In my case I call it the "Ted Rose Effect", because it makes the image look a bit like one of his water colors.

Photoshop and similar apps offer all kinds of options to "improve" images and not surprisingly photogs are finding ways to use them. The effects can be striking. In a way it is little or no different than using backlighting to achieve artistic effects.

But obviously what works and what doesn't is in the eye of the beholder. Some of it I like, some I don't, and some times what is good in small amounts becomes uninteresting when used routinely.

bigiron 04-10-2016 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John West (Post 188018)
We seem to be entering an era where "over processing" to achieve some kind of artistic effect is acceptable, even desirable. This is not bad, just different. I have done a similar thing when post-processing older underexposed slides, in order to "save" them. For example

[photoid=193341]

In my case I call it the "Ted Rose Effect", because it makes the image look a bit like one of his water colors.

Photoshop and similar apps offer all kinds of options to "improve" images and not surprisingly photogs are finding ways to use them. The effects can be striking. In a way it is little or no different than using backlighting to achieve artistic effects.

But obviously what works and what doesn't is in the eye of the beholder. Some of it I like, some I don't, and some times what is good in small amounts becomes uninteresting when used routinely.


John, I agree to your thoughts somewhat, but in your photo the scene still looks somewhat in it's natural state and you are also dealing with an older slide. I like others, would like to see what the original shot looked like before the editing to give a sense of how much things are being pushed or changed in the processing.

I started the post as it seems we are headed down a new road and because some screeners (maybe one) are letting these go I just wanted to see the followers take on this angle of acceptance. I will add that since some are getting by the possibility of more weird shots crossing the eyes of the screeners will increase and that will be part of the growing pains with others looking for their artsy shots to make the cut.

Also, thanks for showing your picture which I never saw and being a Deere man I like the new/old 2 cylinder tractors being hauled! :) The money they catch today is rather steep if they are decent.

Rich

Joe the Photog 04-10-2016 08:19 PM

Another idea is that we all learn to take our own shots andprcoess them as we seem fit and learn to STFU when it comes to other people's shots when they don't ask for "help." Remember, not your website, not your problem.

You can thank me later.

RobJor 04-10-2016 08:53 PM

Or we can just let people discuss things like photos???? on the
"Railroad Photography Forum" and if we don't like it just ignore them??

Bob

Pkwlsn 04-10-2016 09:05 PM

The first shot here is the only one that really bothers me. All I see is the 'painterly' HDR tone-mapping applied. It seems like a real lazy way to process an HDR image. The second one is a little more subtle. Ilya's photo is definitely highly processed, but I do enjoy the mystical quality that it gives the scene.

ShortlinesUSA 04-11-2016 12:44 AM

Joe, normally I'd agree with you, but supposedly highly processed shots such as HDR are "off limits" here at RP.net, yet some of these slip through and some examples are pointed out here. We have some very talented contributors here who would happily submit "photos that aren't what they seem" every day, but respect the rules of the site and don't bother.

Personally, my preference would be a solid ruling either way on whether the site would accept highly processed photos, or reject them as a whole, but consistently one way or the other. I really think that's all the original poster is trying to point out.

troy12n 04-11-2016 01:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe the Photog (Post 188021)
Another idea is that we all learn to take our own shots andprcoess them as we seem fit and learn to STFU when it comes to other people's shots when they don't ask for "help." Remember, not your website, not your problem.

You can thank me later.

Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed! :shock:

John West 04-11-2016 01:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ShortlinesUSA (Post 188026)
Personally, my preference would be a solid ruling either way on whether the site would accept highly processed photos, or reject them as a whole, but consistently one way or the other.

I think the problem is not "highly processed" in and of itself. The problem is the resulting image. Some of my old slides get a lot of processing to make them look like....old slides, just slightly less crappy old slides.

A better example is back lighting. When I first came here back lighting was a real no-no. But eventually about everyone accepted that fact that some back lit images were really nice, just different from a well lit wedgie.

It boils down to taste, what somebody thinks is a good or at least interesting image. I'm not sure we can define that in terms of processing. Indeed, I'm not sure we can define it at all. Which of course is the reason for a lot of the discussion here.

bigiron 04-11-2016 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe the Photog (Post 188021)
Another idea is that we all learn to take our own shots andprcoess them as we seem fit and learn to STFU when it comes to other people's shots when they don't ask for "help." Remember, not your website, not your problem.

You can thank me later.

Joe, I figured I would get some heat but as John commented later it is not the idea of the shot but the resulting image and what most believe to be the standard on their site. Man, this is a forum and since the question was asked in the comments section in one of the pictures I went ahead and wanted to hear thoughts on the forum as it was designed for contributor interaction.

You don't know if you don't ask and I asked and like I said before "these are interesting shots" but the outcome is a bit confusing. People are conversing on the matter so chill a bit..

Rich

bigiron 04-11-2016 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ShortlinesUSA (Post 188026)
Joe, normally I'd agree with you, but supposedly highly processed shots such as HDR are "off limits" here at RP.net, yet some of these slip through and some examples are pointed out here. We have some very talented contributors here who would happily submit "photos that aren't what they seem" every day, but respect the rules of the site and don't bother.

Personally, my preference would be a solid ruling either way on whether the site would accept highly processed photos, or reject them as a whole, but consistently one way or the other. I really think that's all the original poster is trying to point out.

Thank you Derrick and one major point I was getting at which some seem to not pick up in the print!

Thanks again, Rich

KevinM 04-11-2016 01:20 PM

Wow. So much to comment on in this thread.... Where to begin?

I think that if you've been an RP contributor for a lot of years...8 in my case, you cannot help but notice that the standards for acceptance have morphed quite a bit over the years....in both directions. In the beginning, the quality of some of the stuff that was accepted absolutely pales in comparison to what would be considered good today. Then, for a good while, things got really tight. If you shot a diesel wedgie on a cloudy day, your chances of getting that on were slim and none. Today, I think that the site owners give quite a bit of latitude. Instead of enforcing hard and fast rules, I think they look at each image and ask the questions: Does it meet basic technical standards and is it interesting enough that people will want to look at it? The process isn't perfect, but we get to see a lot more shooting and editing styles than we used to, and I think that's a good thing.

As for heavy processing/editing, I think you see it for several reasons. In some cases, it may be intentional, and the photographer is going for a particular look that may well be painting-like. In other cases (like mine), the photographer was shooting in a very difficult lighting situation and the heavy editing is necessary to render a usable image.

[photoid=572684]
I'll be the first to admit that shots like this one are pretty heavily edited. This image was shot on a dreary, cold day that featured freezing rain. ISO was above 800 all day....3200 max. It was an event, so I didn't have a choice to pick a nicer day. I had to balance the exposure for the bright sky above and the dark conditions in the woods, then use almost every slider in LR to get it looking as much as possible like my eye saw it....and that was the goal. I wasn't trying to make it look like a painting and I hate it when I see comments to that effect, because in my mind, they're telling me I failed. Perhaps 30 people took shots of this scene from various angles. I have yet to see anyone post anything publicly and perhaps that's an indication that others found it difficult as well.

As for the three shots posted in the OP, I agree with Mathieu's assessment that the first shot probably features liberal use of the clarity slider....whether intentional or not. I would not have used that much. When you get much above +50, clarity makes everything glow like it was nuked.

In Greg's shot, I might grab the "Lights" slider and bring it back a tad. That one also has more clarity than I like.

I rather suspect that Ilya was going for a particular artful look. If you examine his work, this image is not atypical. I think he knows his way around LR or PS and he's developed a style. I might edit the shot differently, but I am glad that RP chose to accept it as Ilya intended it.

troy12n 04-11-2016 02:33 PM

^ I have no issues at all with that shot you just linked. Most people wouldnt.

Pkwlsn 04-11-2016 08:28 PM

Kevin, that is a beautiful shot. I can only imagine the dark mess that the raw file began as. That is a photo to be proud of.
That gives me an idea. It'd be interesting to have a thread where we can share some of our best edits. And by that I mean a place to show what you had to start with and what you created from it side by side.

Mgoldman 04-11-2016 08:36 PM

As response #18, I'll keep this short and to the point:

I think we all know the difference between recovery, enhancement and psychedelic.

I'm glad RP has sometimes at times for a time become more flexible but some additions to the database cross a seemingly distinguishable line. Not that those images are poor, but simply out of place within a database of PHOTOGRAPHS.

Still - It's often what's not accepted vs what is that frustrates most. You can scroll past what you don't like but not what's not accepted.

Rich - interesting discussion. Thanks for "taking the risk" in posting to the RP forums. And for your civilized retort.

/Mitch

JimThias 04-11-2016 09:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigiron (Post 188014)
OK, I saw a few different shots the other day catching up on things and was surprised by several shots that seem out of kilter and just processed into unrealistic shots and more like a "painted shot and deferred from starting a thread but now seeing the comments on two of the pictures I do wonder how the followers feel on this new more accepted view of shots?

[photoid=572268]

Hence my comment on the photo:

Quote:

Posted by Jim Thias on April 7, 2016
Can you post a link to the unedited version? Would be interesting to see how much processing was done to this.
And Greg's response:

Quote:

Posted by Greg Grice on April 10, 2016
The photo is processed more than I wanted to but was done to meet guidelines. As commented above, it does actually look like a painting which I kinda like. When I get the photo to my site, I'll be sure to post a link.

JRMDC 04-11-2016 09:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevinM (Post 188032)
As for heavy processing/editing, I think you see it for several reasons. In some cases, it may be intentional, and the photographer is going for a particular look that may well be painting-like. In other cases (like mine), the photographer was shooting in a very difficult lighting situation and the heavy editing is necessary to render a usable image.
...
I had to balance the exposure for the bright sky above and the dark conditions in the woods, then use almost every slider in LR to get it looking as much as possible like my eye saw it....and that was the goal. I wasn't trying to make it look like a painting and I hate it when I see comments to that effect, because in my mind, they're telling me I failed.

Kevin, I think there is a middle ground and it starts with what I will call a more generalized meaning of "painting." I do think you have gone somewhat down the line toward "painting-like" in some of your shots - not this one - but that isn't the same thing as trying to make something look like a painting. Processing an image is really interpreting the scene, especially in terms of tonality, color, and contrast. You don't intent to make something painting-like, for sure, but you do want it to be "like my eye saw it."

I contest that statement, at least in its literal form. For example, looking at your image here, I suspect - and I have not been to this particular RR and certainly was not standing next to you - that the scene didn't look like your image. You enhanced it. You introduce some color intensity and tonality that I am pretty sure was not there. You made it, I think, not what your eye saw but rather what your eye/brain felt you wanted it to look like. And it's a great job! But - strictly speaking! - it's not realism. I'll call it adjusted realism, or enhanced realism, because it is fairly close to documentation and much different from something much closer to painting-like. Which you on other occasions, in my view!, have drifted toward, put more than one toe in the water, but certainly not approached closely.

CSX1702 04-12-2016 01:10 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Attachment 9141



In all seriousness, my thoughts are somewhere along the lines of Joe's. And also that RP never does anything right apparently. They're wrong when they're too strict and they're wrong when they're not strict enough. :lol:

Mgoldman 04-12-2016 01:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CSX1702 (Post 188041)
In all seriousness, my thoughts are somewhere along the lines of Joe's.

So in that same respect, would you also tell everyone to STFU if they posted observations made should a NASCAR event find the winner had been allowed to participate using equipment barred by others - because it's NASCAR's event and not your event? If at the last minute, the winning contestant on "American Idol" was the prettiest girl vs the best singer because it's their event and they can do what ever they want? Maybe a news paper falsely reports the news but that's OK because you don't run that paper, they do?

In the long run - perhaps you are right. The patrons will decide based on what they see as to whether the site is popular or fades. I spoke with quite a few members at last week's Center for Railroad Photography & Art conference who, unlike you and Joe, did just as you and Joe recommend -they STFU, and then left. Personally, I see enough positives to remain a patron and to that extent, like Rich, I'd like to see improvements to this site which in turn might encourage a greater number photographers, especially those well revered - old and new to patronize the site rather then simply being told to STFU.

/Mitch

KevinM 04-12-2016 02:53 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 188039)
I contest that statement, at least in its literal form. For example, looking at your image here, I suspect - and I have not been to this particular RR and certainly was not standing next to you - that the scene didn't look like your image. You enhanced it. You introduce some color intensity and tonality that I am pretty sure was not there. You made it, I think, not what your eye saw but rather what your eye/brain felt you wanted it to look like.

Hi J,

Parker Wilson was spot-on when he speculated that I started with a raw image that was a "dark mess." It was indeed. As noted, I had to balance getting as much exposure as I could in the dark areas, without killing the sky. As it turned out, I think I could have shot it even brighter and not come close to making the sky unrecoverable. That's a live and learn thing.

Take a look at the attachment. This is a JPEG, but I exported this from the unedited raw image, so you can see what I started with. Obviously, this is not how my eye saw it. It was mid-day (albeit cloudy and rainy), and I could see tons of detail in the trees and in the train. When the locomotive went by, I could see the details in the valve gear and vacuum brake system. Good luck seeing those details in the image as-is. In fact, this image looks MUCH worse than the JPEG that I saw on the back of my camera. It didn't look half bad. Unfortunately, Adobe does not speak Nikon Picture Controls, and Lightroom pretty much butchers .NEF files when they open. I don't start from scratch. I start from WORSE than scratch. I have tried Capture NXD and the files do open looking better than on Adobe, but they still don't look like what I saw on the back of my camera, despite what Nikon claims.

In your post, you implied that I somehow "juiced" the image. Well, yes, I applied the very same amount of Clarity (+35), Vibrance (+15) and Saturation (+12) that I apply to every raw image that I process. Considering what the .NEF file looks like, those are not exactly extreme adjustments. If the colors in the boxcars or the locomotive look "too bright", I will remind you that this museum stores all of their sweet pieces indoors. With the exception of Car 65, which spends the summers on the Wiscasset waterfront, their stuff does not weather like the Colorado Narrow Gauge Equipment, which stays outdoors all the time. If the locomotive glistens, it should. It just emerged from a 10-year restoration. The boiler jacket is an iron oxide finish that reflects like a mirror.

The only extremes applied here are exposure, shadows and highlights. I agree, it does not look perfectly real. I occasionally do see cloudy day images where someone hit on the right combination and it does indeed look real. Unfortunately, I suspect that Mike Danneman probably won't want to share his magic pixel dust with us. He does seem to have the combination nailed.

But I stand by my original statement. I wasn't trying to make this image look like some dream train. I was indeed trying to make it look as real as I could.

John West 04-12-2016 04:28 AM

Seems to me there are two things at work here. One Kevin was taking an image that did not look good as originally exposed and processing it into a serviceable, actually a very nice, image. This is conceptually very similar to what I do with my old poorly exposed slides. I think Mitch used the term "recovery".

But at the same time, and I think this is what Janusz is getting at, Kevin has adopted a style of imagery that is very bright, saturated, and contrasty. In film terms one might call it the old Kodachrome saturated look taken a step farther. A few of Kevin's images almost have a glow in the dark golden halo, at the risk of perhaps exaggerating a bit. In most cases it is very attractive, indeed I have (unsuccessfully) tried to replicate it occasionally. But this is where we get into the gray area of realism versus art. Mitch called it "enhancement".

Kevin is pushing the boundary, and I think this is good. And he gets away with it because he is talented. But others may try similar things with less success. It makes setting rules difficult.

CSX1702 04-12-2016 08:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 188042)
..rather then simply being told to STFU.

This is why I said "somewhere along the lines of" Mitch. I would never tell anyone to "stfu" or use an acronym like that because I'm not a teenager anymore. I say similar because I believe that to some extent we should just let it go. Not to discourage discussion on it but I think we can all agree that photography should not be about conforming to one website's standards.

But that wasn't my original point. RP seems to be damned if they do and damned if they don't. I've seen people complain that they are too strict and then if they loosen up their standards a little bit, someone makes a thread calling out so called "subpar" shots. I will admit to have participated in that thread but I have since changed my views on doing so and would apologize to whoever I did call out if that thread was still here. But that's why I don't think this website is ever going to be what it once was. Because if they change whatever sent former contributors away, there gonna tick someone else off.

I believe that these pictures are not a result of RP letting in bad pictures, but rather accepting that there are other styles of editing a picture of a train out there than what is typical here. That I do think will help the site overall.


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