Old 10-10-2006, 02:09 AM   #1
a231pacific
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Is it just me, or are the shots getting better?

Today, I scrolled down through 90 shots and only saw about 20 standard boring wedgies! There were plenty more 3/4 shots, but they either had great scenery in them or interesting framing (Chris Starnes Gate City shot is an example) or unusual or interesting units or paint jobs. Lots of nice scenic shots and plenty of interesting framing. Maybe it's the fall colors, but maybe folks are starting to take a few steps outside the box. Maybe the screeners are helping it along!

I see that John Ryan, who recently complained that RP doesn't recognize creative photography, got 1st People's Choice! Certainly the screener's choices are creative these days. I hope this keeps up. It makes scrolling through the new additions a real pleasure!

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Old 10-10-2006, 02:30 AM   #2
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Thanks Michael. The standard element of the "railfan photo" is something that will probably never change but every little bit of progress is a good thing.

Thanks for the plug too
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:45 AM   #3
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I think one reason there are so many "standard wedgies"in the railfan circles, not just RP, is that they are quick and easy. Over the weekend, I uploaded ten shots from the last week and, yeah, there were some wedges in there. But it's very hard between looking for a job and finding one and spending time with the family in another town and then the whole fanning without a scanner thing to set up for shots.

The two exceptions to this are from a nearby park where you walk a half mile to the trestle, then sit around on a park bench to wait for a train.

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


The first shot was rejected for poor lighting, so I cheated, converted to b&w and played around with the brightness and contrast. The second shot was rejected at first due to Bad Angle. I'm pretty sure it was because the second unit is cut off. I'm not sure I realized how close I was to the bridge in trying to frame it broad side to get the park bench down below.

One thing I like to try to do when shooting wedgies it to shoot them wide

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


All four shots linked here were with my Super Wide 10 to 22 mm lens on my Canon 300D. Since I'm back working for a living as a TV news photog, I expect my shooting for fun will subside somewhat again.


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Old 10-10-2006, 03:38 PM   #4
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Joseph Hinson said:
Quote:
I think one reason there are so many "standard wedgies"in the railfan circles, not just RP, is that they are quick and easy.
True, but why post them then? Why not just post good stuff that you had to think about and work for, like your first two shots? At least your wedgies had cross bucks or a derail sign in them to add a bit of interest, but so many others are just a couple of units with a train trailing back that could have been taken anywhere on any day by anybody and no one could tell the difference.

When I scroll down the new additions list, I'm looking for shots that say "Look at me!" and more often than not, they are by people like Ron Flanary, Andrew Blaszczyk, Mitch Goldman, John Rice and James Belmont. There are a number of other, equally good, photographers that I didn't mention because they don't post as many shots as the ones I've named, so please don't be offended if I didn't mention you.

Continuing my original post, if anything, today is even better. There were a bunch of creative and intersting shots posted late yesterday and today. There are names I don't recognize showing great work and even some regulars who seemed to have stepped their game up a notch or two!

Let's keep it up!

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Old 10-10-2006, 03:49 PM   #5
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I agree. Things have been improving dramatically, particularly in the last few weeks. I find it more and more difficult to decide on who to give my PC votes to!

As for my own shots, I've so far only have three on RP.net. Some of my others may get in, but so many of them are just boring wedgies.

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Old 10-10-2006, 05:05 PM   #6
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Hey, we all take wedgies! As Joe said, they are easy and sometimes we don't have time to hike into a good spot, or drive a long way to a great location. I just don't post them, unless it's a sunset shot, or a particularly neat locomotive consist or there are some interesting elements in the shot, like signals or such. Like RP says:
Quote:
...we endeavor to maintain a database of the highest quality railroad photography on the web, for viewers from all around the world.
So when my own shots aren't the best, I just keep them for my own enjoyment!

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Old 10-10-2006, 05:15 PM   #7
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Yup. Pretty much the same here, too. I have a website full of wedgies, and other mediocre shots, which I'm happy to have. Not having my own transport often means I don't get out of the city area that much. So, the bulk of my shots tend to be in urban settings.

Then there's the British weather!
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Old 10-10-2006, 06:29 PM   #8
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Michael - I agree. Having just returned from a few days away I have taken a lot longer to peruse the latest offerings than is usual. One thing stands out, how come the fall colours are in full swing in the States, whereas the trees are still green in the UK at present?
With regard to wedgies, I am guilty as charged though I always try and take care with angles, background etc.
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Old 10-11-2006, 12:30 AM   #9
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Here's what peeves me off though... southern Indiana is NOT conducive to scenic shooting, so I do what I can. However, when I finally get that decent shot, there is always 1 flaw that will keep it off RP.
Take a shot from sunday for example...


My favorite shot of the day, but the stupid branch kills it.
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
One thing I like to try to do when shooting wedgies it to shoot them wide

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©
Wow ... I never shoot wedges that wide anymore. The subject almost always tends to be too close to the edge of the frame and results in a bad cropping rejection.

One of the widest wedges I've ever shot was this one.

Image © Louis Becker
PhotoID: 148524
Photograph © Louis Becker


Since then, when shooting wedges, I stick to the more face-on approach.

Image © Louis Becker
PhotoID: 160892
Photograph © Louis Becker

Image © Louis Becker
PhotoID: 160893
Photograph © Louis Becker


It just seems to work the best (for me at least) as far as cropping is concerned.

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Old 10-11-2006, 01:53 AM   #11
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Well, I started to play the unscenic card too. South Carolina m,ay have some interesting lines, but it's not China, Africa, Colorado, California or even Pennsylvania. Sometimes you have to work with what you have to work with. I'm trying to find a time when I can get back to the trestle, but I don't see it happening for weeks now.


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Old 10-11-2006, 04:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Save The Wave
Here's what peeves me off though... southern Indiana is NOT conducive to scenic shooting, so I do what I can. However, when I finally get that decent shot, there is always 1 flaw that will keep it off RP.
Take a shot from sunday for example...


My favorite shot of the day, but the stupid branch kills it.

What you need to do is kill the branch!!!
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Studogg120
What you need to do is kill the branch!!!
That is a great shot. The branches/bushes in the foreground really kill it though.
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Save The Wave
My favorite shot of the day, but the stupid branch kills it.

Photoshop it out.

It's digital, which means it's easy, unless you're one of those that feels like erasing a simple shrub is altering the fabric of time.

Where to me, it's erasing an eyesore from an otherwise nice photo, with a different angle from the norm.

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Old 10-11-2006, 04:58 AM   #15
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In regards to the fall color question, not all areas are in "full bloom." Me and my friends just went on our "Fall Color Tour" this weekend, and the results were interesting. While in Naperville and Highlands, there was relatively little fall color, no more than 30 miles away, Argonne, Lemont, and Lockport had a lot more apparent color. It was quite perplexing.
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:05 AM   #16
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Okay, enough wedgie bashing! I'll break the Group Think and stand on the side of the Wedgie! Believe it or not, there are those of us out there that actually (gasp!) like them.

Just because people upload them doesn't mean they're not any less of a railfan or any less of a photographer or any less creative...they're just shooting what they like. And that's the name of the game in this hobby...
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Old 10-11-2006, 10:29 AM   #17
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you need to get a branch filter.....lol, doesnt that always kill you though? always something there to mess up a great photo
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Old 10-11-2006, 03:30 PM   #18
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Ween,

Don't get me wrong, I like wedges too, just not hundreds and hundreds of absolutely identical ones! The 3/4 wedge is the natural railfan view. That's what we see when we stand beside the tracks and watch a train coming towards us, but when we watch a train go by, we turn our heads, we follow it and we get different perspectives. I'm just in favor of more perspectives in our photography.

Ryan Parent's POW shot could be considered a 3/4 wedge shot, but it's a whole lot more. Why crop out the scenery and show only the locomotive when taking rail photos? Sure, shoot a few tight shots to emphasize the power, but try some variety. Even you guys who complain that there is no scenery in North Dakota, or South Carolina must have a few cross bucks, signals, barns, lineside industries, fall trees, etc. to include in your shots. Heck, put your kid or your railfan buddy trackside and include him or her in the shot once or twice!

Yeah, western shooters have the advantage with fantastic scenery, but Chris Starnes, Ron Flanary and Andrew Blaszczyk sure put up some good looking photos taken in the east! They post wedge shots too, but not a steady diet of them. Try some other view points, you might find you like them!

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Old 10-11-2006, 03:46 PM   #19
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Wedges have their uses. I like wedges, too. But it's not always too difficult to get a different perspective. Make use of the surrounding environment. Include the tree that's to the left of the of the field of vision. Or, better still, climb up the tree, if possible, and get a different angle. Elevation is a good tool, whether you bring it with you or use what's already there.
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Old 10-11-2006, 03:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Okay, enough wedgie bashing! I'll break the Group Think and stand on the side of the Wedgie! Believe it or not, there are those of us out there that actually (gasp!) like them.

Just because people upload them doesn't mean they're not any less of a railfan or any less of a photographer or any less creative...they're just shooting what they like. And that's the name of the game in this hobby...
Ween,

I don't think anybody is condemning anyone for liking wedgies. There is nothing wrong with shooting a wedge angle, in fact, trains DO lend themselves to that particular angle, because it's EASY. I think we can agree that the wedge angle is probably the most fundamental or basic angle in rail photography.

However, RP.net proclaims itself on being "The Best Railroad Pictures on the 'Net", not the Easiest produced. As long as RP keeps accepting what I consider to be the REAL "common power/common angle" photos people will be less and less willing to experiment. Of course that does make it considerably easier for those of us that like to do the unusual photos to stand out in the crowd.

I mean GOD FORBID my latest shot of a NS TRASH 9 or CSX GEVO get rejected because I wanted to try something new, I couldn't live with myself.

This is human nature at work, we do what we can to be accepted to what is percieved as an exclusive club (RP.net). When the plateau is finally reached, laziness takes over in many people and they do only the bare minimum to get their photos in the database which is: Well-lit, ground level, 3/4 wedgies.

Occasionally some of them will transgress the 3/4 wedgie plateau, and maybe even move up to an overpass. But having 500 photos of wedgies in as a photographer shows one thing, a lack of creativity and ambition. If they are shooting what they like, that's fine, it is a hobby. But if I'm a screener? Is that justification for accepting a photo? Because the guy likes it? No sir.

Yes, RP.net is a database or repository of train and rail-related photos. However, it also claims the the title of "The Best". By doing that, it has also made it's own bed and has set for itself the high expectations of photographers and railfans alike.

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Old 10-11-2006, 05:33 PM   #21
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Comment for Studogg120,

Admiring your photo, here what i would do next time, the shot is awesome but needs different light, make sure you take it when you have a good light directly behind you. Try moving closer, take tree trimmers and hack that bush out of there, trust me the railroad wont mind. Or just go up to it and smash it down with you feet. Take some steps to the left so that pole isnt in the shot, very distracting. That should do it. Its great work but there is always a next time.
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Old 10-11-2006, 06:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoydie17
Photoshop it out.... unless you're one of those that feels like erasing a simple shrub is altering the fabric of time.


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Old 10-11-2006, 10:59 PM   #23
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Quote:
But having 500 photos of wedgies in as a photographer shows one thing, a lack of creativity and ambition. If they are shooting what they like, that's fine, it is a hobby. But if I'm a screener? Is that justification for accepting a photo? Because the guy likes it? No sir.
That bolded part is what you're not getting, and it is an assumption that is totally false. Another part of the hobby is the capturing of history trackside, capturing a certain unit/train/something else at a certain moment in time regardless of angle of the shot or amount of creativity or ambition that went into it. It's not all about the photographer and how 'good' he or she is at using the surroundings.

And as far as RP making the claim it's the "Best Railroad Photos yada yada yada...," why is it okay to exclude the statement "Best Wedge Shots Online" from that concept? Regardless of the number of them in the database, they still have to include the same basics as any other shot (lighting, exposure, framing, focus, etc., etc., etc.). Just because it's a wedge, doens't mean it's an automatically accepted.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:49 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
That bolded part is what you're not getting, and it is an assumption that is totally false.
I'll agree to disagree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
And as far as RP making the claim it's the "Best Railroad Photos yada yada yada...," why is it okay to exclude the statement "Best Wedge Shots Online" from that concept? Regardless of the number of them in the database, they still have to include the same basics as any other shot (lighting, exposure, framing, focus, etc., etc., etc.). Just because it's a wedge, doens't mean it's an automatically accepted.
You make it sound like I'm telling people not to submit wedge angled photos. Not the case, I'm simply stating my point of view, which is that wedge angles are the easy way out in rail photography. Maybe I just hold my work to a higher standard, maybe it's my work that's sub-standard, that will be judged by history in 10 or 20 years, not in forums that people will have forgotten about 6 months from now.

I'm simply suggesting that EVERY wedge a person takes doesn't need to be uploaded to RP.net or any website for that matter. If wedge photos are the only thing a person chooses to shoot, so be it. It is a free country, but those people haven't any right to be upset or disappointed when their photos don't stack up against those in print, or selected for some sort of recognition on a website.

And this makes a great segway to my point stated many months ago when I said that the ever-dreaded "personal collection" is used inappropriately by many here to describe photos that don't qualify for RP.net inclusion.

When I hear the term "personal collection" used synonomously with the bad photos, I want to toss my camera out the window. I personally pride myself on keeping a "personal collection" of work that that you'll only see if you come to a slide show that I'm participating in or when I put stuff in magazines. I like to think of them as my "ace in the hole".

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Old 10-12-2006, 12:11 AM   #25
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Quote:
It is a free country, but those people haven't any right to be upset or disappointed when their photos don't stack up against those in print, or selected for some sort of recognition on a website.
I totally agree with this statement.

Bottom line that we can walk away from this discussion with is this:

Shoot what you like. After all, you know best what 'does' it for you when it comes to the hobby!
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