Old 06-05-2008, 02:11 AM   #1
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Default This shot defies RP's photo standards .

I might get a thrashing for starting this thread but honestly feel that many out there must have the same sentiment seeing questionable pictures get in after many of their own shots are rejected for numerous reasons. We all have had rejections that make us scratch our head and most will learn from those flaws and avoid submitting similar photos again but at the same time many are pushing the envelope to get that new look.

It's obvious that RP has a set of standards that it follows to a degree and it certainly makes for a high quality site but at the same time there are some shots that get in that seem to go beyond the "human element" aspect of judging. It is these shots that create more submissions of shots that screeners will reject on a regular basis but when one views shots on the database similar they feel their shot has a chance too and IMO creates a credibility issue with the standards.

I usually don't bring up other shots in a negative fashion, but seeing this is a person that is part of the crew I just wonder how a "crew" member shot can get in that has rejection qualities and other potentially better shots get the ax from submitters.

The below shot has a train engine that has no part of the wheels showing and really is rather incomplete in the shot which alone defies the normal logic for RP. Even though the fence was included to frame and set the tone of the shot it creates such a dominating image that adds to the "foreground clutter" that most of us would see on our submitted shot for a rejection. Add in the fact it is raining and really no special merit to the shot seeing there are over 50 in the database already, I honestly wonder how this gets in and others posted looking for answers don't?

Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 237986
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)


Andrew, you have so many creative and high quality shots in the database with a good "eye", I respectfully challenge you why this one didn't just be kept for your personal collection? Maybe someone else screened your photo, but in all fairness I see some wavering standards at times and it has to create others to second guess what is acceptable and not, IMO.


Ok, I'm ready for the wrath of the forum now..

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Old 06-05-2008, 03:05 AM   #2
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:15 AM   #3
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Hilarious, Jim!

As for the shot, I'm not a fan, but not in the mood to get into even a friendly debate over it or over RP. Too long a night. And the Penguins just lost the Cup final. And I have no power so at the moment I am in a loud, loud sports bar trying to get a project done.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:01 AM   #4
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That looks like one of the backyard scale trains.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
You gonna share? There are no FREDs and appears no doors to close.


The shot has a train... an artistic shot... normal RP "standards" far from it... does that make it a bad shot... no way. Should it be shared here noting the RP standards... my decision is still in the air (and doesn't hold any water anyways).

Last edited by Christopher Muller; 06-05-2008 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:31 AM   #6
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I have often wondered whether some of the screeners get buddy points for being on the crew as well. Having said that, I have not come across many photos taken by the RP.Net Crew that I think would have been rejected from the database.

Personally, I like those types of 'arty' shots and would like to see more of them in the database. Photos with more human element in them would be good too.
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:16 AM   #7
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That's some good stuff their! Made me laugh.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:04 AM   #8
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Well I like it....
Framing is an art that has escaped me.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:38 AM   #9
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It could be framed better. If he moved closer to the fence he would have more train visible. I think the focus should be on the locomotive as well. Right now its kind of a picture of the fence with a train in the background.

Not a big deal.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:42 AM   #10
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Its a mood shot, they will get in at time's, if there in the MOOD LOL
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigiron
I might get a thrashing for starting this thread but honestly feel that many out there must have the same sentiment seeing questionable pictures get in after many of their own shots are rejected for numerous reasons. We all have had rejections that make us scratch our head and most will learn from those flaws and avoid submitting similar photos again but at the same time many are pushing the envelope to get that new look.
You answered a lot of the questions posted later in your thread with that last sentence. I may be a screener but that doesn't mean I don't take or submit photos that push the envelope. Would I complain if they were rejected definitely not because I understand why a fellow screener found a flaw. Now lets get to the good stuff.
Quote:
It's obvious that RP has a set of standards that it follows to a degree and it certainly makes for a high quality site but at the same time there are some shots that get in that seem to go beyond the "human element" aspect of judging. It is these shots that create more submissions of shots that screeners will reject on a regular basis but when one views shots on the database similar they feel their shot has a chance too and IMO creates a credibility issue with the standards.
The standards set for screening photos here are not set in stone which is why they are known as 'guidelines' not rules. I hope my submission does in fact lead to the submission of more shots that don't follow the guidelines because there are many, many more types of styles that have not been tried. Does that mean they are all going to get accepted automatically? No way. Screeners look at a shot and the first question they ask themselves is "is this photo technically acceptable?" Is the exposure correct, color, size, cropping etc. Now the focus goes towards the message or what the photo is saying and how well the photographer relays their message to the viewer. This is the part where many people think they have done a good job but in fact fail because they are not looking at it through someone elses eyes just their own. Bad idea. Before I submitted the photo in question I shared it with 4 trusted photographers which happen to be [brutally] honest friends. 2 liked it and 2 found flaws with the composition and overall message. Well, I needed to break the tie so I uploaded it and waited to see what the 5th person had to say (screener). He obviously got what I was going for or liked it for one reason or another. Note: I didn't put a comment to who reviewed my shot to see if it 'passed' on its own merit.

Quote:
I usually don't bring up other shots in a negative fashion, but seeing this is a person that is part of the crew I just wonder how a "crew" member shot can get in that has rejection qualities and other potentially better shots get the ax from submitters.
As I have said before my shots are always welcome to be brought up and critiqued or even torn to shreds since I am only seeing one side of the image. It sounds like you think rejection reasons are some sort of checklist that the photo must pass in order to make it into the DB which is hardly true. RP sells itself as being the best railroad photos on the net which means a wide variety of style, composition, use of light, etc. One reason the screening system works (although some may argue that) is because all of us are open to anything and everything regardless of our own personal styles or likings. "Potentially better shots" is a very subjective term and goes along the lines of "well, I don't understand why this boring wide angle, broadside shot got in while my interesting 300mm telephoto didn't." This is putting ones own personal photographic preferences above looking at the photos for what they are in terms of how they sell themselves on subject alone. On to the photo itself!

Quote:
The below shot has a train engine that has no part of the wheels showing and really is rather incomplete in the shot which alone defies the normal logic for RP. Even though the fence was included to frame and set the tone of the shot it creates such a dominating image that adds to the "foreground clutter" that most of us would see on our submitted shot for a rejection. Add in the fact it is raining and really no special merit to the shot seeing there are over 50 in the database already, I honestly wonder how this gets in and others posted looking for answers don't?

Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 237986
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
The wheels are there but I think the train is out of focus enough that you cannot make out details like where the drivers are. They are there although the very bottom is obstructed by a slight hill (not the fence). This brings up the question of how much of the wheels need to be shown to make something acceptable or just clutter. What about a girder bridge? or tall weeds on a shortline/branch line? Each case is unique and in this case I felt fitting what I could of the locomotive in between the fence would clearly show what it is without being distracting as it isn't the main focus of the photo. The problem with the critique of this photo is that it is from a "train-shot" point of view rather than of the train as PART of the image. I don't really know where you stand on the rain whether you think it should be rejected automatically because rain=clouds or whether you think it is an enhancement. I went for this angle for a number of reasons with the rain being the main reason. This was the second and last runby at this location and I had gone for a more in-the-box angle for the first which turned out dark and dreary (you can't tell it's raining) so I figured making the train the secondary subject would allow the DoF to pick up the rain. Annoyed with the photoline setting up way to close to the tracks, I wanted to shoot up the street, I had to look for an alternative or the fence. The amount of photos of one particular subject or locomotive has no effect on whether a shot should be added or rejected and cannot be compared to the one in question. Technically, that is unfair unless it is from the same location/same day/same angle. Mine is different than the other 50 which I think helped its case while others who like the styles of the other photographers may feel differently which is again not fair to do.

Quote:
Andrew, you have so many creative and high quality shots in the database with a good "eye", I respectfully challenge you why this one didn't just be kept for your personal collection? Maybe someone else screened your photo, but in all fairness I see some wavering standards at times and it has to create others to second guess what is acceptable and not, IMO.
As I already said, I added it to see what the reaction would be and it turns out it isn't that popular with the RP audience which is okay by me. Being that it is a tank engine, making it large in the frame didn't make sense to me so I used the fence to make the small engine seem even smaller. As for someone else screening my photos, 100% of the time. No one can see everything there is to see in a photo especially the photographer who took it so it is vital for a second or third pair of eyes to review it. Let's go over the guidelines not standards again...1. cloudy - seeing the rain is a big plus I think and puts the viewer in the scene rather than just looking at a dark image 2. wheels cutoff - you may not be able to tell its an 0-6-0T but you can tell its a steam engine and you can make out necessary details such as lettering and shape 3. fence as foreground clutter - the fence is not obstructing any pivotal parts of the image such as the middle of the boiler or nose of locomotive. The fence is also the primary subject which seems odd on a railroad photo site but its been done before with wackier objects than a fence but in those cases it worked as did this. I not only second guessed this particular shot but triple, quadruple guessed it, but I tested the waters and didn't get bit. Maybe I won't be as lucky next time, maybe I will, either way I will grow as a photographer not whine about how unfair the screener was.

Quote:
Ok, I'm ready for the wrath of the forum now..

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Old 06-05-2008, 05:09 PM   #12
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I was standing about 20 yards from where the shot in question was taken.

Let me set the scene.... About 40 of us had just climbed off a nice, dry train into a steady, soaking rain. The ceiling and visibility were coming down and just about every square inch of landscape that didn't have vegetation on it was rapidly becoming a mudhole. As the train crew backed up for the first run-by, a couple of ad-hoc photo lines formed on the either side of the track. Everyone struggled to find a decent spot that wasn't risking being hit by the train or fouling anyone else's shot.

This was only my 4th photo charter, so I was still kind of a new guy at this. Having met some of the participants on other charters (several contribute here), I was well aware of what these folks can do with a camera....so as I stood there waiting for the run-bys to begin, I took a look around to see what THEY were doing. Most folks were huddled in one of the photo lines, with a few stragglers here and there. To my right, I see a young guy in a dark rain jacket and ballcap wander off BEHIND a fence to the right of the photo line. Looking for shelter maybe? Giving up on this dark, rainy scene? Answering the call of nature? I later learned that the guy I'm talking about was in fact RP's own AB(2).

Facing a challenging situation like this is where you notice the greatest difference between....as BigBassLloyd once put it....railfans with cameras and photographers who take railroad pictures.

Me? I was standing there with the crowd, struggling to keep my equipment dry and fiddling with the exposure settings HOPING I might be able to take an acceptable picture.

Andrew? He already had a frame around his.
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:25 PM   #13
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I'm not a fan of this shot for two reasons. First of all, I find it quite imbalanced. The fence takes my eye and runs it down to the right to a zone of blurred emptiness. In general there is a lot of interesting stuff on the left (besides the obvious, the grasses that serve as additional framing on the left margin). The train is cramped. It isn't distant, the way trains are in such shots sometimes, it is close but cramped.

As for the day, I can see the streaks of rain on the train but I feel like I have hunted for them rather than their being presented to me.

So, overall it is a fence shot (nothing wrong with that) with a train jammed in somewhere. The composition just doesn't move me. One opinion, as always.

BTW, whenever I think of framing internal to the shot I always think of this one. For some reason I always remember it as a fence but it isn't:

Image © Daniel Putz
PhotoID: 158458
Photograph © Daniel Putz
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:40 PM   #14
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I know the below photo's dont have a fence or obstructing foreground clutter, but it shows that RP does accept rainy day shots if done tastefully. I personally dont have a problem with Andrew's shot being in the database as it was creative and that all important parts of the engine are shown.

Image © WalterS
PhotoID: 236205
Photograph © WalterS


Image © WalterS
PhotoID: 236207
Photograph © WalterS


Image © WalterS
PhotoID: 236212
Photograph © WalterS


Image © WalterS
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Photograph © WalterS
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:56 PM   #15
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Gee, Walter does the sun ever shine in Cass?

Or is that only when you've got six choo's steamed up?
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:28 PM   #16
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Photo charters in general don't impress me, it's like listening to Hendrix's greatest hits and then saying its like seeing him play at Monterey.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dump The Air
Photo charters in general don't impress me, it's like listening to Hendrix's greatest hits and then saying its like seeing him play at Monterey.
Jim, you got any popcorn to share?
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dump The Air
Photo charters in general don't impress me, it's like listening to Hendrix's greatest hits and then saying its like seeing him play at Monterey.
I have never been on a charter so I do not have any experience but they do remind me of hunting on a game farm with guide to point out the game. Anyways, even with the guide and a lot of game you can still come home empty handed. So it is what you make of it. I just enjoy the fast moving trains with only a chance for a few shots and its gone. I do enjoy a chance to set up and try a few angle too, just the rush isn't there.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dump The Air
Photo charters in general don't impress me, it's like listening to Hendrix's greatest hits and then saying its like seeing him play at Monterey.
Clearly you're tuning into the wrong station
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dump The Air
Photo charters in general don't impress me, it's like listening to Hendrix's greatest hits and then saying its like seeing him play at Monterey.
I agree. There is no 'catch' or luck involved in a photo charter.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dump The Air
Photo charters in general don't impress me, it's like listening to Hendrix's greatest hits and then saying its like seeing him play at Monterey.
Place fish in barrel, cock hammer, pull trigger. Repeat.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Photo charters in general don't impress me, it's like listening to Hendrix's greatest hits and then saying its like seeing him play at Monterey.

Word up, my homey.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:28 PM   #23
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Mike, Travis,

I'd agree that doing a photo charter is a bit like shooting ducks on a game farm....but for steam fanatics, it's all we have. We can't just go down to the local rail spur and blast away every day after work, and we could easily spend a whole vacation chasing and never get as many shots as we will on a one-day charter.

Why steam? The history, the rarity, and the character of these machines all play into it. If they were animals, they'd be on the endangered species list. Nearly all of the survivors are unique. Unlike everything else these days, you can't start one by turning a key. They create a spectacle just by being themselves.

A photo charter is an not only an opportunity to take lots of pictures of these impressive machines, but also a chance to socialize with other folks who enjoy them as well.

I guess one has to be a steam fanatic to understand.....
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:10 PM   #24
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Word up, my homey.
Wha???


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Old 06-05-2008, 10:18 PM   #25
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To Mike and Mike,

Mike(s), come to a charter, with me, Pete, John, ANDREW, and prove to me (us) that we will all get the same shots.

Look at Andrew's creativity with the PM#1225 (Night Barn, Speed Blur), look at John West capturing the scene as if it was taken with Kodachome 25 in 1940, then look at Michael Allen's backlit images - or Pete catching a GG1 IN A MUSEUM that looks like the real deal - a shot NO ONE managed to capture as uniquely.

And secondary - a lot of us missed the steam era - this is a great way, if not the only way to (re)live it and experience it.

Try it.

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