Old 03-27-2016, 10:46 PM   #1
spacetrain1983
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Default Golden hour shot of BNSF yard power...

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Yesterday evening, I caught this BNSF unit in Bend, Oregon. It's a backlit image, but it's also sunset, so I don't know if it would have a chance. I've done all the editing I can with Microsoft Office 2010's photo editor (brightening and leveling). Image taken through a fence.
By the time I was able to get to the other side, the glowing gold of dusk had dulled. But this is the shot I got:
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Which one has a better chance of being accepted?
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Old 03-27-2016, 11:16 PM   #2
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I'm not an expert with regard to RP standards for contemporary equipment, but my sense is that neither image is likely to make it as-is. In the case of the backlit shot the locomotive is way too dark. The image needs some judicious application of shadows & highlights in order to bring out some details in both the locomotive and the clouds. Even with the best of editing however, I think it is still a long shot. The locomotive is cut off and the sky is not really that interesting.

The other shot is also dark. It is essentially a roster shot, but it's not a "clean" roster shot....meaning there are other things in the frame that really don't add to the interest.

Suggestions:

-I'd keep these two in your personal collection. I would not submit them to RP. You want to submit shots that have a higher probability of success.

-Forget the sunrise and sunset stuff for now. Go for brighter, early morning or late afternoon light that will give you a fighting chance. Look for "clean" scenes with no ugly clutter in them. Try not to cut off the equipment or the train with the frame if you can avoid it. Stay away from backlit until you master your camera and editing.

-Find a more capable editing program. Some of the freebies are OK if your images come out of the camera looking great, or if your standards are not high, but if the image is not perfect, the more simple editing programs just don't have the tools to help you.
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
I'm not an expert with regard to RP standards for contemporary equipment, but my sense is that neither image is likely to make it as-is. In the case of the backlit shot the locomotive is way too dark. The image needs some judicious application of shadows & highlights in order to bring out some details in both the locomotive and the clouds. Even with the best of editing however, I think it is still a long shot. The locomotive is cut off and the sky is not really that interesting.

The other shot is also dark. It is essentially a roster shot, but it's not a "clean" roster shot....meaning there are other things in the frame that really don't add to the interest.

Suggestions:

-I'd keep these two in your personal collection. I would not submit them to RP. You want to submit shots that have a higher probability of success.

-Forget the sunrise and sunset stuff for now. Go for brighter, early morning or late afternoon light that will give you a fighting chance. Look for "clean" scenes with no ugly clutter in them. Try not to cut off the equipment or the train with the frame if you can avoid it. Stay away from backlit until you master your camera and editing.

-Find a more capable editing program. Some of the freebies are OK if your images come out of the camera looking great, or if your standards are not high, but if the image is not perfect, the more simple editing programs just don't have the tools to help you.
I agree with Kevin, both have basically no chance of being accepted.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:07 AM   #4
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Yep, chose to submit neither image. However, I submitted two others from the 24th.
First one: Alco S2 cab, rejected for PAQ:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...94&key=4656935
Second one: CBR GP30, rejected for being too dark and having bad composition. The darkness I can see, but the bad composition... I took the photo with this composition because I wanted to show the reflection of the unit as well.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...89&key=3751817
What do you think?
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:27 AM   #5
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That second shot is framed so that the locomotive is smack dab in the center. That's a big no-no for RP. They're very strict on the 'rule of thirds'.
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Old 03-28-2016, 02:08 AM   #6
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I don't see either cutting it here. It's great that you're trying new things though, and I certainly encourage you. I was faced with a similar situation last week but went the opposite direction with a train waiting for another to clear. I waited for astronomical twilight, and then instead of trying to lighten it, I deliberately darkened it. I liked the result much better. It's much more moody. I like "moody."

https://www.flickr.com/photos/968260...posted-public/


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Old 03-28-2016, 03:29 AM   #7
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I don't see either cutting it here. It's great that you're trying new things though, and I certainly encourage you. I was faced with a similar situation last week but went the opposite direction with a train waiting for another to clear. I waited for astronomical twilight, and then instead of trying to lighten it, I deliberately darkened it. I liked the result much better. It's much more moody. I like "moody."

https://www.flickr.com/photos/968260...posted-public/


Kent in SD
Thanks for your advice. On the second one I'll crop it some to better comply with the rule of thirds.
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Old 03-28-2016, 03:34 AM   #8
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You have to get with the RP program a bit more, on the second one. Besides the subject being centered ...

The sky is really bad, the upper right is just a big bright bleah. Just does not work. And it looks weird relative to the left side, as though it were blown out and then you cut the highlights down. Once it is blown out, not much one can do in post processing.

But also, that yellow thing on the left edge. And a bit of coupler. That's just sloppy. The details matter to RP. Sweat the details.
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Old 03-28-2016, 04:50 AM   #9
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The GP30 shot could work with some adjustments, I think the biggest problem is the blown out white sky. If you can fix that and crop some off the left then it might get in. Cloudy shots are always a gamble though, no consistency about them.
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Old 03-28-2016, 05:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacetrain1983 View Post
First one: Alco S2 cab, rejected for PAQ:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...94&key=4656935
A vintage Alco control stand gets PAQ.

Meanwhile, a flash shot of part of a flatcar with a new wheel gets Top of 24???

Image © Frank Orona
PhotoID: 570765
Photograph © Frank Orona


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Old 03-28-2016, 11:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
A vintage Alco control stand gets PAQ.

Meanwhile, a flash shot of part of a flatcar with a new wheel gets Top of 24???

Image © Frank Orona
PhotoID: 570765
Photograph © Frank Orona


The world has gone mad!
I know, right?
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Old 03-29-2016, 04:22 AM   #12
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Well, I appealed the shot of the Alco cab, so maybe by some stroke of luck it'll get in.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Well, I appealed the shot of the Alco cab, so maybe by some stroke of luck it'll get in.
Nope. Still rejected. And no admin comments either. Figures.
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Old 03-30-2016, 12:01 AM   #14
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Nope. Still rejected. And no admin comments either. Figures.
Admin comments on appeals are non-existent in my experience.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
A vintage Alco control stand gets PAQ.

Meanwhile, a flash shot of part of a flatcar with a new wheel gets Top of 24???

Image © Frank Orona
PhotoID: 570765
Photograph © Frank Orona


The world has gone mad!
Neither shot is particularly interesting. The To24 for the flatcar was puzzling wtf?
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Old 03-30-2016, 07:08 PM   #16
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The To24 for the flatcar was puzzling wtf?
You just answered your own question.

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Old 03-31-2016, 10:24 PM   #17
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Neither shot is particularly interesting.
Neither shot that got rejected? Like the Alco control stand/cab shot? Or the first two that I never submitted in the first place, of the BNSF unit?
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:59 AM   #18
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For all these years Frank has been submitting to RP it still baffles me how all that freight car stuff or random detail pics are accepted.

But I guess they like it! As the saying goes, if you can't beat em, join em.


Quote:
Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
A vintage Alco control stand gets PAQ.

Meanwhile, a flash shot of part of a flatcar with a new wheel gets Top of 24???

Image © Frank Orona
PhotoID: 570765
Photograph © Frank Orona


The world has gone mad!
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:23 PM   #19
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Ok, I found an image of the BNSF unit that shows both units, but still has the sunset. I gave it a go in GIMP 2.8 and this is what came out: Click image for larger version

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The original image: Click image for larger version

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Did I make the image worse by editing it? I changed the contrast, brightness, and lightness, until I got this.
Probably doesn't stand a chance anyways, but I thought I'd at least try.
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:42 PM   #20
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It most certainly is worse for RP purposes. The key thing is that you made it worse for your personal collection also.

First of all, you have lost tremendous amounts of cloud detail. The left side, tons of space that used to be clouds and now is solid blown out gray. Then the yellow above the right unit, what used to be various sorts of transition yellow is now one big bright blob of yellow. Looks like you juiced the color a bit too much also, although this monitor is not the best for evaluating that.

Your issue is not that the sky was too dark and needed brightening! Your biggest problem is that the original has a huge blown out area above the unit on the right. If you can't fix that - say, taking advantage of the extra exposure latitude in the raw file to reduce exposure in that area - then the shot is toast.
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Old 04-30-2016, 02:54 PM   #21
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It most certainly is worse for RP purposes. The key thing is that you made it worse for your personal collection also.

First of all, you have lost tremendous amounts of cloud detail. The left side, tons of space that used to be clouds and now is solid blown out gray. Then the yellow above the right unit, what used to be various sorts of transition yellow is now one big bright blob of yellow. Looks like you juiced the color a bit too much also, although this monitor is not the best for evaluating that.

Your issue is not that the sky was too dark and needed brightening! Your biggest problem is that the original has a huge blown out area above the unit on the right. If you can't fix that - say, taking advantage of the extra exposure latitude in the raw file to reduce exposure in that area - then the shot is toast.
In the end I guess it came down to where the camera was focused. I believe that the original image was taken with the camera focused on the locomotives, and then auto-exposure and all that stuff was responsible for the sky. I just looked through the L340's online manual, and I found nothing about manual exposure timers, just exposure compensation.
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Old 04-30-2016, 05:12 PM   #22
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In the end I guess it came down to where the camera was focused. I believe that the original image was taken with the camera focused on the locomotives, and then auto-exposure and all that stuff was responsible for the sky. I just looked through the L340's online manual, and I found nothing about manual exposure timers, just exposure compensation.

Exposure compensation is exactly what you want. I would have dialed in about -2.0 here.


Kent in sd
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