Old 10-15-2008, 10:40 AM   #1
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Default Why doesn't this photo appeal to others?

What's wrong with this picture? What is NOT appealing about it to you? It is in the DB, and it has had a few hits, but what can I do to make the next photo better?

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*This is not an attempt to get more views.*

Thanks for your input,
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Old 10-15-2008, 11:03 AM   #2
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Can't look at them all, and it's the UP. My ICE and other guys ICE don't generate much interest so i know how you fill but don't judge you photos by views. Your shot is fine, i like it.
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:37 PM   #3
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Your shot is fine. Lots of views is nice but isn't the only measure of whether a shot is nice.

As far as next time, it is a matter of taste. You have framed the train well into the scene so it isn't like you took a bad shot, it is very nice. (I might nit pick that it isn't level - the verticals in the train are not vertical.)
Next time I might a) find something more interesting than a formless blah bush to feature in the foreground, and/or b) find a spot that shows more of the stream - I like water in the shot.
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:50 PM   #4
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Put more emphasis on the scenery and curve, less on the shrubs in the foreground, and I think you'll have a winner. As others have said, it's a fine shot... sometimes they just don't get the clicks.

For example, this shot by Jim has roughly 300 clicks at the moment:

Image © Jim Thias
PhotoID: 255034
Photograph © Jim Thias


Why it hasn't received more, I don't honestly know.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:23 PM   #5
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Nick,

Thanks for pointing that one out. I've now added one more click and a comment. I used to canoe there back in high school. It was and is a nice river for train watching, although today it's mostly Amtrak during the day. Jim's shot is good, plus it brought back a real nostalgia rush for me.

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Old 10-15-2008, 05:12 PM   #6
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Verticals USUALLY don't do too well on RP. For this I am actually thankful because it got me out of the habit of taking roughly 30-40% of my shots that way. I shoot about 95% landscape and can always make it a portrait if I want.

Also, try to avoid putting the train in the center of the frame especially in a vertical crop.
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Next time I get ready to line a vertical shot up I will keep these pointers in mind.

Thank you for taking the time to read this thread and help me learn more about photography.
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
Verticals USUALLY don't do too well on RP. For this I am actually thankful because it got me out of the habit of taking roughly 30-40% of my shots that way. I shoot about 95% landscape and can always make it a portrait if I want.

Also, try to avoid putting the train in the center of the frame especially in a vertical crop.
Sounds like a) you are discouraging yourself from shooting verticals, just because it decreases the RP acceptance rate - that's sad! especially for someone with a lot of talent!

But that's your life, and what concerns me is b) that you implictly discourage others from trying verticals. That too saddens me.

BTW, as a second point of reference, I do not recall ever having a vertical where I submitted it and ultimately failed to have it accepted solely for composition issues.

Now, if by "doesn't do too well on RP" you mean views rather than acceptance, that may be true, but I don't shoot for views.

I do hope for them after submission, strongly!, but I don't hope for them at the time I am shooting.
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Sounds like a) you are discouraging yourself from shooting verticals, just because it decreases the RP acceptance rate - that's sad! especially for someone with a lot of talent!

But that's your life, and what concerns me is b) that you implictly discourage others from trying verticals. That too saddens me.

BTW, as a second point of reference, I do not recall ever having a vertical where I submitted it and ultimately failed to have it accepted solely for composition issues.

Now, if by "doesn't do too well on RP" you mean views rather than acceptance, that may be true, but I don't shoot for views.

I do hope for them after submission, strongly!, but I don't hope for them at the time I am shooting.
I agree with AB(2) and follow the same practice. The only time I shoot in vertical is when the shot doesn't work in landscape. It takes special circumstances for vertical shots to work and that's especially true in railroad photography were you usually need width much more than height in a shot.
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Sounds like a) you are discouraging yourself from shooting verticals, just because it decreases the RP acceptance rate - that's sad! especially for someone with a lot of talent!

But that's your life, and what concerns me is b) that you implictly discourage others from trying verticals. That too saddens me.

BTW, as a second point of reference, I do not recall ever having a vertical where I submitted it and ultimately failed to have it accepted solely for composition issues.

Now, if by "doesn't do too well on RP" you mean views rather than acceptance, that may be true, but I don't shoot for views.

I do hope for them after submission, strongly!, but I don't hope for them at the time I am shooting.
No, shooting doesn't revolve around RP, but you can pick up a tip or two along the way. Thats the point people miss when they love/hate the site.

In a way, I guess I am discouraging people from trying verticals because odds are that the situation doesn't call for it. Obviously, there are those shots that do call for it but you have to admit these come around far less than ones that require a landscape crop.

Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 81694
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
Oh, what I would give to go back in time with what I know now...that is the point I'm making.

Well, then you know how to successfully compose a vertical image...congrats. I've seen more often than not that people cannot do that.

The questions asked were: "What's wrong with this picture? What is NOT appealing about it to you? It is in the DB, and it has had a few hits, but what can I do to make the next photo better?" And I answered with a fact moreso than an opinion. Don't confuse the two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
I agree with AB(2) and follow the same practice. The only time I shoot in vertical is when the shot doesn't work in landscape. It takes special circumstances for vertical shots to work and that's especially true in railroad photography were you usually need width much more than height in a shot.
Exactly! I couldn't have explained it better myself.
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Old 10-15-2008, 11:18 PM   #11
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The problem is that there are a lot of situations where vertical works better, but is overlooked, simply because "train photography lends itself to horizontal crops." I also am a bit surprised to find out that horizontal shots "do better" than vertical crops. Unfortunately it's hard to do an analysis on that claim, or I would certainly try to come up with some numbers...

From a purely greedy standpoint of getting clicks, I've been thinking about how the thumbnail of a picture has to be interesting enough to get a view. A vertical shot will help your thumbnail stand out a little bit in a sea of horizontals.

Now for some shameless self promotion - here are my favorite vertical shots...

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:03 AM   #12
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After following this thread for a while, a couple things strike me as interesting. First is the issue of horizontal vs. vertical preference. Everyone shoots horizontals. It's how cameras are laid out, and it takes effort to shoot vertical instead. Shooting vertically provides the opportunity to get a different perspective on things, and to make pictures stand out from the horizontal norm. However, that's not to say that one should go overboard with vertical shots.

As far as the original photo is concerned, I think it may not be drawing that many views because the thumbnail doesn't have any features that particularly stand out. The colors are fairly plain, the composition is common (which is not to say bad, it's a fine photo), and the train is fairly far back in the frame, so it doesn't stick out either. There's nothing in the thumbnail to really grab someone and say "look at me". For those who take the time to look, though, its a good photo!

Jon
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnohallman
After following this thread for a while, a couple things strike me as interesting. First is the issue of horizontal vs. vertical preference. Everyone shoots horizontals. It's how cameras are laid out, and it takes effort to shoot vertical instead. Jon
What doesn't work is the photo fits the monitor badly with Vertical.
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Old 10-16-2008, 01:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
The problem is that there are a lot of situations where vertical works better, but is overlooked, simply because "train photography lends itself to horizontal crops." I also am a bit surprised to find out that horizontal shots "do better" than vertical crops. Unfortunately it's hard to do an analysis on that claim, or I would certainly try to come up with some numbers...

This vertical/horizontal issue is interesting. I'd guess that horizontal fitting a monitor more naturally helps (as was already noted). As far as analysis, from scanning through my limited collection I found that I have 8 verticals out of 157 pictures and I don't think I even tried vertical until after I had 50+ pictures on the site. Some have done well (even better than I would have thought) and others are lagging. I'm pretty sure on at least one or two of them I originally tried a horizontal crop and got dinged for "bad cropping" which led to a vertical crop re-submission & acceptance. Anyway, for my own "shameless self promotion" here's a sample:

The "best" from a view count standpoint:

Image © Michael Harding
PhotoID: 245821
Photograph © Michael Harding


Two more that did OK:

Image © Michael Harding
PhotoID: 252140
Photograph © Michael Harding


Image © Michael Harding
PhotoID: 244365
Photograph © Michael Harding


And a couple so-so ones (nothing stands out in the thumbnail which probably hurts):

Image © Michael Harding
PhotoID: 248296
Photograph © Michael Harding


Image © Michael Harding
PhotoID: 248034
Photograph © Michael Harding


I guess I don't generally look for "verticals" when out shooting, but sometimes the opportunity presents itself.

Regards,
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:10 AM   #15
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I generally will crop vertical if I think the shot will work better that way, with this one the horizontal crop there is just too much junk growing on both sides for it to work that way, even though there are more buildings I could include:
Image © Geoff Brozny
PhotoID: 251835
Photograph © Geoff Brozny


This one I kind of figured vertical was the way to go once I got up on this bridge, since this was a bit of a tight spot
Image © Geoff Brozny
PhotoID: 253551
Photograph © Geoff Brozny


Again vertical worked best
Image © Geoff Brozny
PhotoID: 247935
Photograph © Geoff Brozny

Image © Geoff Brozny
PhotoID: 246228
Photograph © Geoff Brozny

Image © Geoff Brozny
PhotoID: 246216
Photograph © Geoff Brozny

Image © Geoff Brozny
PhotoID: 245090
Photograph © Geoff Brozny

Image © Geoff Brozny
PhotoID: 229501
Photograph © Geoff Brozny


Because it is vertical will not make me not view the shot, what I tend to view daily depends on how much time I have, what I do not like though is having to scroll to see the whole picture, that is why I do not make the shots 1000 high.
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
In a way, I guess I am discouraging people from trying verticals because odds are that the situation doesn't call for it.
Fair enough.

Quote:
Well, then you know how to successfully compose a vertical image...congrats. I've seen more often than not that people cannot do that.
Pushing aside the sarcasm, which may or may not be intentional, it seems sort of silly to discourage verticals when the thread starts off with a nicely done vertical! I don't think verticals are that hard and I maintain my previous positions that people should not be discouraged from them (and certainly not the original poster!) and you should do more of them yourself.

On the other hand, as a screener, you see the bad stuff and perhaps you are saying that there there is a flood of bad verticals coming across your screen.

Quote:
And I answered with a fact moreso than an opinion. Don't confuse the two.
Again, fair enough; I didn't read what you said in your original first sentence in that way but it makes sense now. Your original second sentence is surprising to me and disappointing, I guess, but after all you are pretty darn successful so you are obviously finding a shooting style that works for you.

Regarding what Mike said, I certainly recognize that trains are long versus tall (in their entirety, from the side or wedge) so landscapes will predominate, but I don't think that the circumstances for verticals are all that special.
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:28 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
I certainly recognize that trains are long versus tall (in their entirety, from the side or wedge) so landscapes will predominate, but I don't think that the circumstances for verticals are all that special.
Over head Shots work with Verticals the best. The hard part is filling the frame right or cropping.
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
...but I don't think that the circumstances for verticals are all that special.
I do. In most verticals there is too much ground and too much sky. Only the middle half is of interest. It took a lot of bad shots of my own to finally realize this.
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
I do. In most verticals there is too much ground and too much sky. Only the middle half is of interest. It took a lot of bad shots of my own to finally realize this.
Ultimately we can disagree.

But I concluded after taking my own set of bad shots that I could improve my photography rather than limit my options. I won't say I have gotten there but I am still trying.
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Old 10-16-2008, 03:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Ultimately we can disagree.

But I concluded after taking my own set of bad shots that I could improve my photography rather than limit my options. I won't say I have gotten there but I am still trying.
A big part of the learning processing is figuring out what you did wrong.

I'm definitely still learning as well and I'm just trying to get a handle on this photography thing. I still take more bad shots than good shots.
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Old 10-17-2008, 02:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
I shoot in vertical is when the shot doesn't work in landscape.
Me too. I shoot in landscape when the shot doesn't work in vertical, too.
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Old 10-17-2008, 02:31 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
In most verticals there is too much ground and too much sky. Only the middle half is of interest.
I think this is true of a lot of photographs, especially for those who just take snapshots. The tendency, whether shooting verticals or landscapes, is to center the subject in the viewfinder and shoot away. In addition, I think a lot of people don't think to zoom in (or get closer to the subject) to fill up the frame. So the result is exactly what you describe, regardless of the orientation of the frame. The advantage of spending time in a forum like this, and submitting photos to this site, is it helps one to learn better composition.

Jon
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Old 10-17-2008, 04:09 AM   #23
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Well, on "Moonlighting," David wanted to get horizontal with Maddie, not vertical.!



I had to go back three or four pages in my RP portfolio to find a vertical of a train. The first one was takenfrom a helicopter. The second one was this one --

Image ©
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Photograph ©


It's one of my least favorite shots of mine. Then there's this one --

Image ©
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Photograph ©


which I think works much better with the plant and the sign there. I'm probably with Mike and (2) on the vertical v. horizontal issue. I shoot vertical when it is appropiate, but I find it's rarely the better option.


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Old 10-17-2008, 04:34 AM   #24
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Oddly enough, my most successful photo (so far) is a vertical shot . . .

Image © Jonathan Hallman
PhotoID: 253282
Photograph © Jonathan Hallman


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Old 10-17-2008, 05:07 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnohallman
I think this is true of a lot of photographs, especially for those who just take snapshots. The tendency, whether shooting verticals or landscapes, is to center the subject in the viewfinder and shoot away. In addition, I think a lot of people don't think to zoom in (or get closer to the subject) to fill up the frame. So the result is exactly what you describe, regardless of the orientation of the frame. The advantage of spending time in a forum like this, and submitting photos to this site, is it helps one to learn better composition.

Jon
I know I've learned a lot simply by looking at a hundred or so railroad photos a day on RP. However, I've learned the most simply by going out and taking photos and looking at them with an unbiased eye (something some people struggle with). I'm much more reluctant to think a photo of mine is good and consider it for future use than to discard it.

Here is an example of where a vertical works better than a horizontal. It's not perfect by any means, but the result is much better than what a landscape would give you. The problem I have with it is that there is that ugly gravel dominating the left half on the bottom. If it would have been shot in landscape there would a lot more gravel and some ugly poles on the right side. I would also have liked the locomotive to be a tiny bit more centered and higher up the frame, but the smoke would have covered up even more of the front of the locomotive at that point.

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