Old 05-08-2008, 01:30 PM   #1
Joe the Photog
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Default What makes this one different?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=520981&key=0

What makes this one different from any other abandoned shots in the database cush as the following?

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Aside from the obvious differences in subject and vantage point, what makes these three better than the rejected one?

For those of me keeping score at home, I'm O for my last 15.


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Old 05-08-2008, 01:51 PM   #2
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I'd say that the area of focus is less clear than in the three you linked.

Speaking of abandonment shots, I was fond of this one, but the screeners were less so:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...key=1083266887

(The rejection is for bad cropping; on appeal, the screener mentioned that it probably should have been poor esthetic.)
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog

Aside from the obvious differences in subject and vantage point, what makes these three better than the rejected one?

For those of me keeping score at home, I'm O for my last 15.
I guess I would say, not very precise, but the rejected shot is a bore and the others are interesting. Well, the first two - the third is just plain shot of a track receding into the distance, right down the center, nothing of interest on either side. I've started to think of those shots as "roster abandonment shots" and I personally don't place much value in them.

Anyway, the switchstand pieces (upon first glance, I was thinking knuckles) are covered over by weeds and the entire shot has an undefined messy feel. Lumps of metal, barely seen. Sure, there is a connection to the track in the background but that connection is made too much by the knowledge in one's mind and too little by the photograph. It's just not an interesting composition.

One could argue that the covering weeds are evoking some sort of lost glory, but their formlessness and plain light results in no emotional response, at least not with me.

In general, stuff in the weeds doesn't work well for me; I didn't bother submit the attached shot, and would not have submitted it even had there been light on the nose. The knuckles are buried in the grass, not enough presence. Same thing here, to my eye.

As for 0 for 15, you must be pushing the limits, a good thing. Although I don't care for this particular push.
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:40 PM   #4
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This one

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=938698645

compared to

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


And this here one

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=520994&key=0

compared to

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Not that I'm saying every similiar shot is exactly the same. The last comparision has some obvious lighting differences. But it got kicked for PEQ. Perhaps they should word that rejection differently. Instead of, "Poor Esthetic Quality: This rejection reason means that the photo is of low esthetic qualities, or is simply not the type of material we are wishing to publish." Maybe instead it should be "This is simply not the type of material we are wishing to publish." Makes more sense to me thn PEQ which, of course, is always subjective.

As for the abandoned shot that started the thread, the points made above are granted to a certain extent. What I was hoping to capture was the switch stand in the foreground with the old tracks in the background. It either works for you or it doesn't and I guess in the grand scheme of things, whatever.


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Old 05-08-2008, 03:50 PM   #5
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Joe, I tend to agree regarding the word "poor." Granted, going out of your way to preserve a person's feelings is not the best way to critique photos--there ARE some standards that any reasonable person can use to say that some material is simply not good, after all--but I think the word "poor" throws people when, subjectively, some photos are simply not what the screeners are looking for in an RP submission.

PEQ has an "or" in it--poor esthetic quality OR material we don't wish to publish--but I think a lot of people tend to focus on the word "poor" first. So RP doesn't want the shot I posted above to be part of its database--oh well! That's fine. There are lots of other venues out there to showcase work, and I do know that my sunset shot above has received a number of compliments when I've displayed it in those venues!
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:09 PM   #6
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The first one, I like it, maybe you just got the wrong screener, and I got the right one.

Image © Janusz Mrozek
PhotoID: 173477
Photograph © Janusz Mrozek


Hmm, I've got to get back to trying those, haven't done it in a while.

The second one, my main issue is that background fence, which is distracting, in the sense that I find it odd and take a moment to figure out what it is, which takes away from the switchstand. A more neutral background and I'd be a fan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
Not that I'm saying every similiar shot is exactly the same. The last comparision has some obvious lighting differences. But it got kicked for PEQ. Perhaps they should word that rejection differently. Instead of, "Poor Esthetic Quality: This rejection reason means that the photo is of low esthetic qualities, or is simply not the type of material we are wishing to publish." Maybe instead it should be "This is simply not the type of material we are wishing to publish." Makes more sense to me thn PEQ which, of course, is always subjective.
Well, I think you are splitting hairs, well, or maybe not. There is one category of rejection that spans what are really two different concepts. I agree that the rejection would be more informative if it was split in two. But then, both categories are subjective, except I think there would be a sense that "low esthetic qualities" comes across different than "we don't want it." So I see your point now, and I would go for splitting that rejection category into two.

Quote:
It either works for you or it doesn't and I guess in the grand scheme of things, whatever.
In reading my critique, keep in mind that, while I did try to evaluate it in terms of my general sense of what makes a good shot, I am in general not a big fan of abandonment shots so maybe I have a bias. But I would like to hear your explanation of why it works for you, it would be good to learn a different view.
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:45 PM   #7
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I think the issue with the first one is cropping. You've got way, way too much dead space on the bottom.

I really dig number 2... if it's possible to shoot with the light over your right shoulder, I'd give that another go.

0/15 is bad times...
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:21 PM   #8
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Wohoo! 1/16!

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Photograph ©
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:10 PM   #9
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I like your first two. I don't care for the third or the rejected photo. I don't see a main subject in the rejected photo besides a lot of weeds. The one ottergoose showed of yours that must have just got in, I like. I think tall weeds do me in. Travis Dewitz
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:17 AM   #10
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I'm going to go against the grain here and say that out of Joe's three accepted shots in the first post, the third appeals to me the most. For some reason, close ups of switch stands and the like just don't interest me as much as a shot of old abondoned rails disappearing into nature. The light and colors are GREAT on that shot, and I enjoy looking at the foliage growing up and "swallowing" the rails. For me, a shot like that sparks my imagination, while the others...not so much.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:13 PM   #11
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Hope you don't mind me jumping on your thread, Joe, but I have the same topic for one of my own photos. Your 1/16 shot is awesome BTW.

This one was taken the same week as these 2:
Do this one look familiar?
Image © Kevin Ashbaugh
PhotoID: 209204
Photograph © Kevin Ashbaugh


Image © Kevin Ashbaugh
PhotoID: 209946
Photograph © Kevin Ashbaugh


I'm not seeing the difference in the three photos to understand the PEQ.

Just sharing this one. I see that it can be improved, and future attempts will be made. I was as low as I could get without actaully laying on the ground and having a soiled uniform for the rest on my 24. This is the oldest date stamp that I have seen in person. I also found a 1925 near Erie, PA.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:03 PM   #12
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Kevin, here is what I see. I'm not a fan of the rejects, and I am of the accepted, and I see huge differences between them.

On the first one, there are blah parts that are too strong and interesting parts that are deemphasized and even misconstrued. The main thing is the pile of spikes. Why blur them out? Especially given that, according to your caption, they are an important part of the story. Second, the top third, the weeds, is doing little for the picture, yet you give that area a lot of space.

On the second one, your shot is two rails going across the frame. It is a pure documentation shot; I see no artistry in it, no interesting compositional elements, no interesting light. It's just a picture of the side of a rail. If I were not to know the timing and was just shown the three shots, I would say the second rejected one is when you first started taking pictures and the two accepted are the photographer you ended up being.

I love the good stuff! The accepted shots have interesting forms and textures. The contrast between rail and leaves is very nice and there is a sideways T with the rail versus the tie and spike. The other has a dominant shape, the lock, in the lower middle, an interesting parallelogram, and contrast between the dark left and brighter right. The diagonal, not quite vertical, line on the right is a nice element. Cool rough surfaces contrasting with the smoother body of the lock.
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Old 05-10-2008, 03:20 AM   #13
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Thanks for the comment Janusz,

Guess it took a 3rd pair of eyes to explain the problem of the spike shot. I was actually experimenting with my camera on that hike (new then). I'll have to take a look at the trip shots when I get home Tues. to see if I have any with the spikes in focus. I'm cutting out of work for the last 8 of my shift to go home and sleep, then getting out of Dodge for the weekend early in the AM. Back to work again Monday AM for another 24 hr. shift. I also think that it might be a little "too sepia/saturated?", which won't be a problem since it is actually a color photo that I converted. I was thinking that the too sepia might have been the PEQ reasoning.

As far as the 1915 rail stamp shot, I meant that I will have ample oppurtunity to re-take the shot, not re-work that photo since I work up here 6 out of 8 weeks on a rotation. I was just sharing it since the thread had Joe's 2 rail stamp shots in it. AB2's photo below says that his is the 2nd oldest. What's the oldest stamp photoed in the DB? I couldn't seem to find it.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:01 AM   #14
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I decided to submit this one (which I wasn't extremely fond of, to tell you the truth) after following this thread: http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=521575&key=0

No surprises--it's been rejected for PEQ. I'm sure I'll hear that the rail in the lower left corner is too distracting, leads off the photo, goes nowhere, etc., etc.--but, honestly, in the spirit of this thread, I don't think it is THAT different from other similar abandonment details I've seen.
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Old 05-10-2008, 02:39 PM   #15
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It's funny what a few days will do for you. I look at the switch stand shot I shared first now and think, "I uploaded that?" I'll go back and retry it. At this point, I may not to wait until fall or winter next year. The one from the industrial area may need to be shot in cloudy weather or from the opposite vantage point. The sun will never be over my right shoulder as first as I know.


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Old 05-10-2008, 02:40 PM   #16
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As far as the oldest rail stamp, I believe I've seen one from 1898 in the database. Personally, the oldest I've seen is 1910.


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Old 05-10-2008, 02:46 PM   #17
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Oops. Should have clicked on AB(2)'s shot first. Now that's some old rail. I wonder if Mitch Goldman rmembers when they laid it.


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Old 05-10-2008, 06:25 PM   #18
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Trumped by one year

I found some rail dating from 1896 at Mittersill in Austria last summer. It is on a narrow gauge line (if that counts!) which was officially opened in 1898 - so it really has been there right from the start.
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
It's funny what a few days will do for you. I look at the switch stand shot I shared first now and think, "I uploaded that"
Agreed... perhaps Nick McLean can study that next... "The Psychological Motivations of Submitting Crappy Shots: The 'I swear it looked better yesterday' effect." It could cover the often overlooked impact on the screeners, who are often cut little slack by the greedy, corporate, profit driven admins of Chris^2. It could also look at the ego damage associated with rejected shots (1-4 rejections is damaging, up to 10 is heart breaking, and more than that scatters your ego along the right of way).
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:24 AM   #20
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Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 213510
Photograph © Travis Dewitz


Here is mine from 1898.
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Old 05-11-2008, 04:04 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
Agreed... perhaps Nick McLean can study that next... "The Psychological Motivations of Submitting Crappy Shots: The 'I swear it looked better yesterday' effect." It could cover the often overlooked impact on the screeners, who are often cut little slack by the greedy, corporate, profit driven admins of Chris^2. It could also look at the ego damage associated with rejected shots (1-4 rejections is damaging, up to 10 is heart breaking, and more than that scatters your ego along the right of way).
Cute. Although I never said the shot(s) I submitted were crappy.


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Old 05-11-2008, 04:09 AM   #22
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Here is my dad's, from 1887:

Image © Louis Becker
PhotoID: 169853
Photograph © Louis Becker


I believe that is the oldest rail currently on the site...

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Old 05-11-2008, 05:52 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
Cute. Although I never said the shot(s) I submitted were crappy.
Neither did I. I had several pieces of digital feces that I had produced in mind when I thought of the title - no offense intended - your shots were certainly not crap.
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