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Old 03-18-2018, 12:29 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by spacetrain1983 View Post
Earlier today I got this shot of a westbound BNSF manifest that was rerouted over UP's Nampa Sub. Cropped it, brightened it, downscaled it, submitted it, and rejected... for being cloudy. However, this photo was very much taken in full sunlight, so that rejection does not make much sense to me. However, I am aware there are other problems with it. For example, yes, the cropping is way too tight. However, the image came out of the camera with the boundary on the right being that tight - I really need to get a second tripod. Also, it may be a bit noisy/low quality, particularly at the right side of the image. Thoughts? I've also attached the original file - straight out of the camera except for being 50% original size due to file size - for experimentation purposes.
Attachment 9593
Hi Spacetrain,

A few comments:

- When shooting, it is really important to see the WHOLE viewfinder. As you compose the shot, you need to be looking right, left, up and down, to ensure that there is some space around the subject. In this case, unless what you are showing is cropped heavily on the right, you did not leave enough room for an acceptable composition for RP. For that reason alone, I'd put this one aside.

- As others have noted, the image is underexposed by quite a bit. Assuming that you shot it in raw, the proper way to correct that is with the exposure slider in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom. The limit on that is probably about 2-2.5 stops. Any more than that and the resulting image probably won't look very good. If it is a JPEG, brightening it enough to make the exposure look correct will probably get you a PIQ rejection.

- I highly suggest shooting manual exposure and if your camera won't let you do that, get one that will. Nowadays, you can get older DSLRs used for pretty inexpensive prices. Get a camera that will let you pick the settings. Being limited by your equipment will just frustrate you to no end. For bright sun, set your ISO to 200 for decent image quality. Set your aperture to f/8 for good depth of field. Then try 1/640th on the shutter. That will get you close. Use 1/500th if the sun is a bit filtered by cirrus clouds. Use 1/800th if the sun is really harsh. Those are just rough numbers, but they will get you close.

You can use a tripod if you want, but for daytime pictures, a tripod is a boat anchor, unless you are shooting a really long lens (> 200mm). I shoot hand-held all the time.

Shoot. Assess your work. Decide on what adjustments to make. Then shoot again with those adjustments. Keep trying. I maintain that anyone can get technically decent digital photos, if they put their mind to it. It is not rocket science.

My RP stuff is here.

Link to my Flickr Albums. Lots of Steam Railroad stuff there from all over the US.
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