Old 01-11-2010, 02:31 AM   #1
KevinM
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Default Cropping Advice?

Folks,

This shot was bagged for bad cropping and size issues.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=769930&key=0

The size issue is easy to fix, but I'd like to hear any suggestions you might have for the crop. This shot is already heavily cropped, due to the presence of a distracting bridge shadow in front of the train. A small piece of that shadow is visible and in my mind is probably why it was canned. Unfortunately, cropping it out leaves the subject way too close to the bottom of the picture.

I have frames with the train further back, but they show so little side detail that they are uninteresting IMHO.

While I thought the shot was OK, I'm not at all hard-over to get this into the data base. After all, it's a DISEASEL for God's sake. I have some new equipment, I needed a target and there were no steam engines handy. If it's fixable, I will resubmit. If not, I will probably chuck it and anything else Amtrak.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:33 AM   #2
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C-mon rookie, you know we cant view queued images.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
C-mon rookie, you know we cant view queued images.
Had that problem fixed before you even hit the ENTER key there Walter.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:09 AM   #4
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:43 AM   #5
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The objects left and right of center are fairly ugly to me. In the area of the train, you have 3 dominant "background" objects, all of which have one thing in common - they are vertical. Try a tight vertical crop, with the train just a bit further back (to fit in the suggested area). You'll support the natural framing and get rid of the distracting sides at the same time. There's still a fair amount of clutter (mainly the wires) but I think it's your best bet.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:55 AM   #6
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Looks to me like you have run into RP's anti-square sentiment, one that you tried to anticipate by including needless space on the left. Not enough to make the shot into a 5:4 ratio which my rough experience here tells me never to square off further (in either vert or horiz). This one would work well for me as a square and I am disappointed RP doesn't go for that.

(I do understand that most compositions will work better non-square and I wonder if that sentiment is in part a simple desire to avoid a lot of screening pain.)

A vert could work; I'm not a fan of the tight version of it above (understanding that the engine placement is arbitrary because an earlier frame is intended).

Also, don't think you are even close to level, signal and smokestack both tilting left, only the right side line pole is vertical and it would look better the other way around.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:57 AM   #7
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That pole on the right is a killer. It would be better to clone out or if RP accepted square pictures.

My take. (After 8 tries)
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:05 AM   #8
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How about something like this?

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Old 01-11-2010, 04:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
That pole on the right is a killer. It would be better to clone out or if RP accepted square pictures.

My take. (After 8 tries)
Great minds (or something) think alike! Too bad I was also playing around on Facebook and let you beat me to the post!

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Old 01-11-2010, 04:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnohallman View Post
Great minds (or something) think alike! Too bad I was also playing around on Facebook and let you beat me to the post!

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Old 01-11-2010, 12:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diamond D View Post
In the area of the train, you have 3 dominant "background" objects, all of which have one thing in common - they are vertical. Try a tight vertical crop, with the train just a bit further back (to fit in the suggested area). You'll support the natural framing and get rid of the distracting sides at the same time. There's still a fair amount of clutter (mainly the wires) but I think it's your best bet.
Thanks Nick. I did consider going vertical, but with this frame at least, it just moved the dead space to the bottom and raised the ugly spectre of that bridge shadow. I didn't consider using an earlier frame, only because I would have lost what little side detail I had on the train. I will experiment with it though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Diamond D View Post
The objects left and right of center are fairly ugly to me.
Nick, you've hit on one of several important reasons why I don't generally bother with current railroads (you guys have probably noticed I shoot mostly vintage equipment). The trains and the ROWs in my corner of the world are just plain UGLY! I posted the scene you see because it was an open curve, with decent light and some skyline (of sorts) in the background. Of the three railroads that share the line, Amtrak is the only one that appears to ever clean its trains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
Looks to me like you have run into RP's anti-square sentiment, one that you tried to anticipate by including needless space on the left.
Bingo. That's why I went with the 4:5. In retrospect, I should have gone tighter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
Also, don't think you are even close to level, signal and smokestack both tilting left, only the right side line pole is vertical and it would look better the other way around.
I did put the grid on it initially and thought it was closer than your assessment. I just checked it again and found that .6 deg cw is about as much as I would go. Any more and the signal would be leaning right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
That pole on the right is a killer. It would be better to clone out or if RP accepted square pictures.
Hmmm. Not sure why that pole should be a killer. Poles and railroads just seem to go together. It neither obstructs nor shadows the train. All in all, I am more inclined to go with your crop (similar to Jon's, but less square) if I decide to resubmit.

Thanks all for the suggestions. As noted, I'm not a fan of the railroads around here. Not many curves, cluttered, graffiti-splattered ROWs, north-facing locomotives, dirty consists.....yuck! Perhaps snow shots would hide all of that. Anyway, I was just looking for some ways to work on my skills until I head west in less than a month to shoot some REAL trains...the kind that belch smoke and steam.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:25 PM   #12
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I'm with Kevin on the pole. Why go to the trouble of cloning it it? Then he'd have to slone the power lines out, too. Poles generally don't bother me as they are a part of the scene. To each their own though.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog View Post
I'm with Kevin on the pole. Why go to the trouble of cloning it it? Then he'd have to slone the power lines out, too. Poles generally don't bother me as they are a part of the scene. To each their own though.
Hard to describe the images problems in one word.

Killer in the sense that the pole is the most difficult aspect to deal with in this frame.

The pole forces the composition of the frame into a more square aspect. There is no way to avoid it with the pole.

If you cut off the pole, you have ugly wires in the frame hanging in mid-air which was worse in my opinion.

Or something like that...
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:26 PM   #14
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The pole does not bother me at all.

Kevin, the shot is 940x787, that is more square than 4:5; 940x752 is what you want.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
The pole does not bother me at all.

Kevin, the shot is 940x787, that is more square than 4:5; 940x752 is what you want.
Hi J,

That's odd. I used the PSE 8x10 crop frame and didn't alter the proportions.
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:04 PM   #16
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715 x 636.

It is less cluttered but the wires AAGGHH!!

In general I like poles too but here it's the height that forces the composition to the square. (Maybe vertical IS the way) I'd like a shorter pole and wires on the right for better balance but then the ugly buildings would show up.

Kevin, thanks for telling us the reason's we don't see anything modern from eastern MA. I'll be sure to exclude it from future expeditions!
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:20 PM   #17
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I think the wires are an argument for keeping the pole on the right rather than trying to exclude it . . .

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Old 01-11-2010, 05:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnohallman View Post
I think the wires are an argument for keeping the pole on the right rather than trying to exclude it . . .

Jon
Agreed. That's why I kept them in on my first suggestion. The second one I posted shows how it does not work without the pole.

Home with a cold so maybe I'm not 'spressing myself dood tud-aa...
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:20 PM   #19
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Kevin, thanks for telling us the reason's we don't see anything modern from eastern MA. I'll be sure to exclude it from future expeditions!
Dennis, you're entirely welcome! Always glad to provide some tid-bits you can't find in a Triple-A guide.

Seriously, while I'm not a fan of modern equipment, I do look at tons of pictures that folks post here and I am constantly amazed at how they are able to find beautiful scenery and colorful trains. We have beautiful scenery here in New England too....just not in the vicinity of the working railroads. I have used Google-Earth to look for potential spots, but what you see in that Amtrak reject is one of the better ones.

As for trains, at least Amtrak appears to wash theirs now and then. The MBTA trains look pretty beat, but at least the locomotives are painted purple! Worst of all are the freights....I won't name the carrier, but I swear that the only paint that ever gets applied to their equipment is by...uh...3rd parties in inner city railyards. As I look through RP, I don't see a lot of shots from this area. As noted, snow shots may be something I could try as the low visibility will make some of the graffiti, wires, ugly buildings and hastily discarded debris less obvious.
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