Old 12-23-2014, 04:43 PM   #26
J-M Frybourg
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I wish to re-visit the following suggestion:
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Originally Posted by J-M Frybourg View Post
ii) Think about how RPN can give more room to innovation and creativity in train photography.
Indeed, I believe that quite some of my rejections - and my further appeals on them - was about borderline classic vs. innovative ways of portraying trains. So it is quite natural that what is borderline raises rejections, appeals, and more importantly a need to establish a dialogue about pushing the boundaries of the "acceptability criteria enveloppe".
As Robjor rightfully said: "once you set criterion, rules, inevitably certain creativity suffers and a certain sameness can set in".
I also wish to comment on Mitch’ comment:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman View Post
Do not try to rationalize why a particular image did not meet the personal taste of one or two site administrators. It IS their site and that seems to be the most accurate characterization of the logic.
Is RPN really owned by the RPN founders and staff?
Today, RPN has become “the” reference web site for railroad photography. As a consequence, in some way, RPN has established itself as a major referee, judge and arbitrator of what is acceptable railroad photography vs. what is not.
Thus, indeed, it IS their site, but RPN has objectively earned kind of a responsibility.

Now, here is a teaching story about tradition vs. innovation in art:
Copied and pasted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism

In the middle of the 19th century, as Emperor Napoleon III rebuilt Paris and waged war, the Académie des Beaux-Arts dominated French art. The Académie was the preserver of traditional French painting standards of content and style. Historical subjects, religious themes, and portraits were valued; landscape and still life were not. The Académie preferred carefully finished images that looked realistic when examined closely. Paintings in this style were made up of precise brush strokes carefully blended to hide the artist's hand in the work. Colour was restrained and often toned down further by the application of a golden varnish.

The Académie had an annual, juried art show, the Salon de Paris, and artists whose work was displayed in the show won prizes, garnered commissions, and enhanced their prestige. The standards of the juries represented the values of the Académie, represented by the works of such artists as Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexandre Cabanel.

In the early 1860s, four young painters—Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille—met while studying under the academic artist Charles Gleyre. They discovered that they shared an interest in painting landscape and contemporary life rather than historical or mythological scenes. Following a practice that had become increasingly popular by mid-century, they often ventured into the countryside together to paint in the open air, but not for the purpose of making sketches to be developed into carefully finished works in the studio, as was the usual custom. By painting in sunlight directly from nature, and making bold use of the vivid synthetic pigments that had become available since the beginning of the century, they began to develop a lighter and brighter manner of painting that extended further the Realism of Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon school. (...)

During the 1860s, the Salon jury routinely rejected about half of the works submitted by Monet and his friends in favour of works by artists faithful to the approved style. In 1863, the Salon jury rejected Manet's The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe) primarily because it depicted a nude woman with two clothed men at a picnic. While the Salon jury routinely accepted nudes in historical and allegorical paintings, they condemned Manet for placing a realistic nude in a contemporary setting. The jury's severely worded rejection of Manet's painting appalled his admirers, and the unusually large number of rejected works that year perturbed many French artists.

After Emperor Napoleon III saw the rejected works of 1863, he decreed that the public be allowed to judge the work themselves, and the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Refused) was organized. While many viewers came only to laugh, the Salon des Refusés drew attention to the existence of a new tendency in art and attracted more visitors than the regular Salon.


Do you see the parallel with RPN, and the risks for RPN if a “web site of the RPN refused” would arise?

Some photographers, some very good photographers, have rejected or are rejecting RPN because they do not accept to be judged through the eyes of a tiny team of US individuals, whatever their qualities are. Blair Koostra (USA) RobinCoombes (UK), Gregoire Brossard (France) are just a few examples of what I consider good innovative photographers. They have stopped submitting, fed up to bounce against the walls of RPN classic photo admission criteria.

I often wonder whether some striking photos that I see praised elsewhere would make it to the RPN database. There is a diversity of judges, tastes, “admission criteria” out there in the world. I don’t like the idea of RPN establishing itself as the final judge of what is good taste and bad taste in RR photography.

The criteria for the Railroad Center for Photography and Art awards are certainly not the same as the RPN admission criteria.
Excellent and very creative Japanese railroad photography as seen in Japan Railfan Magazine and the likes, would not make it to the RPN database with the existing admission criteria.
Even Dick Steinheimer’ pictures: I think a share of them would be rejected (without prior knowing / viewing them and without knowing the name of the photographer).

ii /2) (re-visiting my above suggestion # ii )

In the interest of RPN, I suggest re-thinking creative photography and related RPN admission criteria to allow for less standard and classic images.
There has already been some limited progress in this direction. I encourage the RPN team to do more.

How to do that?
A good way to do that might be through creative photo meeting sessions (virtual meetings) with RPN staff, selected RPN contributors and some non RPN staff. In advance of the session, you / we would collect creative pictures obviously falling out of the current admission criteria, and then discuss why they are currently not acceptable, whether or not they should remain as such and why, and then conclude with improved admission / rejection rules.
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:59 PM   #27
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God Damnit I am glad you are here.
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I personally have had a problem with those trying to tell us to turn railroad photography into an "art form." It's fine for them to do so, I welcome it in fact, but what I do have a problem with is that the practitioners of the more "arty" shots, I have found, tend to look down their nose's at others who are shooting more "mundane" shots.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:09 PM   #28
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Maybe a separate website for sideways locomotives and out of focus switch levers?

Hey Sean Hoyden.. it's just a damn train photo son!

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Old 12-23-2014, 09:41 PM   #29
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I hope I can contribute something to this conversation, being a viewer rather than a contributor (mostly due to the cloudy/common power rejection and only 60 days of sun a year, though my photography is poor in general).

I agree with Jean-Marc regarding increasing international contributions. One of the things that is special about this website is that you can find pictures from all over the world. I have learned so much from viewing pictures outside of North America; things that I would likely have missed if I didn't view the site. However, there tends to be a lack of photographs from certain parts of the world, most likely due to the language barrier. I believe that there programs to translate things such as the captions; I do not know if they would work for RPN, but if they did, the site would be richer with photographs from areas such as China and Japan.

I've also played the game with fixable-fixable-fixable-killer rejections, and it is frustrating. I know how long it takes me to view the day's uploads, and it must take even longer for you screeners, who must look at the pictures that I skip, in addition to the rejections. Giving killer rejections first would help all of us.

Thank you very much for all of the effort that you put into this site, and for allowing me to comment on it.
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Old 12-23-2014, 09:47 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman View Post
3) Greater consistency - and appeals accepted on precedence.

4) "The Free Pass"
I'm not a fan of a free pass, though I do have a dog in this fight, lol.
Instead, why not set criteria upon which a patron earns greater leeway,
not with regards to technical issues, but instead, with composition and
subject. This would be for appeals only.

This can be number of years on RP, or any of the following - reaching a
set number of PC's, or reaching /maintaining a specific average views
per image statistic. And, BECAUSE it's "your site" and you can do what
you want, you can simply extend such an offer to established
photographers both new and current members. Simply make it a well
known that exceptions are in place for select members. This could be
done by using a different color font, a badge of some sort in the
photographer field or any method of your choice.

I'd LOVE to see the return of many of those who left and the great
photographers out there who hesitate to have their images nitpicked or
judged unacceptable.

So long as there is an established path for others to get the same
treatment.


/Mitch
Hi Mitch,

Here's my opinion on two of your suggestions... You (along with many of our contributors) are constantly seeking for a more consistent screening process, better explained rejection reasons, and an improved appeal process. We receive these same types of requests across the spectrum on a very regular basis.

Introducing a "free pass" or "highly valued contributors" program would not be a step in the right direction on increasing consistency and enforcing fairness across the entire spectrum. It would discourage new talent and create a headache with existing contributors. How could we determine who was worthy of entry into the program and how do we juggle subjectivity with photographers and images? It's a thin line and very much a grey area. I think you can understand and relate to where I am coming form.

Fairness is always the right path and increasing consistency across the entire spectrum remains the goal. Your recommended program is favoritism in disguise and I don't think that's a step in the right direct with concerning customer service.

Chase
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:44 PM   #31
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Thanks for taking the time to respond, Chase.

My thoughts are as follows:

As for consistency, what I ask is simple:
If an image similar to a current shot that is rejected exists, the older validated shot should serve as precedent. There can be a time span set as well, say a year back or a few months, ect. This would apply to cloudy overcast shots of regular trains, a shot not following rule of thirds, a similar abstract type of shot, foreground obstructions like bridge girders (in some cases) or fences, and even same a previous images, ect. You say you want to avoid the perception of favoritism yet this is one of the major causes (even if not intentional) of that perceived bias.

As for the "leniency pass", you ask the question that I provided the answer to; "How would you determine who is worthy". It could be based on average views per image after "x" number of images, or a set number of PC's or simply a perk of membership after "X" number of years. Sure it's "favoritism" but the path would be available to all so in reality, it's not. And it's simply good business to keep your good customers or entice new customers (patrons) that otherwise might not join. Those photographers - even if brand new, say Jim Wrinn were to come along, or it was day one and one of the well known and revered Danneman brothers elected to come on board - your site, your rules, a policy could fast track such folks with a proven or published /noted success. Bring these people on board! Again, this would not a be a free pass nor would it mean any changes on the first screening, assuming the team at RP were to come up with kinder and more constructive rejections. These "HVP's" would be identified by way of a small badge or similar in the "photographer field". A hyper link could even be provided to the policy /method to become such a member.

The main point is finding a way to keep good photographers posting and entice the best of the best to come into the fold. Anything else should be secondary. This of course would be in addition to making RP admin much more friendly to it's patrons - friendly, constructive and compassionate. Sometimes, it's not simply "what's in it for RP". This should be taken into consideration. There should be some give and take, mutual backscratching, ect. Or, lol - forget the leniency clause and just loosen the reigns. I like the leniency clause, however. Proven photographers should be the ones with the freedom to push limits (they've demonstrated they've progressed past the basics and have an understanding of photography).

/Mitch


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase55671 View Post
Hi Mitch,

Here's my opinion on two of your suggestions... You (along with many of our contributors) are constantly seeking for a more consistent screening process, better explained rejection reasons, and an improved appeal process. We receive these same types of requests across the spectrum on a very regular basis.

Introducing a "free pass" or "highly valued contributors" program would not be a step in the right direction on increasing consistency and enforcing fairness across the entire spectrum. It would discourage new talent and create a headache with existing contributors. How could we determine who was worthy of entry into the program and how do we juggle subjectivity with photographers and images? It's a thin line and very much a grey area. I think you can understand and relate to where I am coming form.

Fairness is always the right path and increasing consistency across the entire spectrum remains the goal. Your recommended program is favoritism in disguise and I don't think that's a step in the right direct with concerning customer service.

Chase

Last edited by Mgoldman; 12-23-2014 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 12-24-2014, 02:11 AM   #32
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I'll throw a few thoughts out there...

I'll put them into two categories, somewhat related, communication and irritation. Well, I won't divide them up but to some extent each addresses one or the other or both. Also, admin is a black hole, has been for a while. Some of the suggestions deal with that.

- state of RP report - some periodic feedback, say quarterly, saying what RP is up to, what is coming down the pike, what does admin view as something they are or intend to work on. Doesn't have to be a "REPORT", just some feedback as to what is going on. With some frequency, say quarterly.

- occasional state of screening report - for example, it would be really nice to hear what is discussed at the group screener discussions that I vaguely understand are held. What changes in screening criteria are being implemented, what criteria are getting looser over time and what tighter. Announcements that "X" (say, half-shadows on V noses) are now acceptable. Statements of what is being done to improve on screener consistency.

- maybe an occasional "this is why shot X was accepted" statement, perhaps responding to one of the "WTF" threads here on the forums. Another form of greater insight into screening expectations

- set and public policies - anyone who loses upload rights will get them back in X months (and then do it) or anyone who loses upload rights can do Y to get them back - anyone who appeals X shots in a month will be blocked - anyone who uploads X number of "bad" rejections will be blocked - something to clarify expectations and consequences, and not have people in the dark especially about the latter

- what do you see as your mission, and what do you see as your ideal? For example, the current criteria accept shots in the pretty-scenic / basic wedgie well lit / wreck / newsie even if not great / somewhat artsy interesting light categories, and exclude those in the mostly artsy category. Is that what you want to be? Do you want to encourage more or fewer shots in any of those categories?

- what do you see as your mission II - do you consider yourself a repository or a database also (and if the latter, fix the "&" problem!!! ) - what implications does that have for what changes / features you are going to implement

- RP has lost quite a number of excellent photographers in recent years, who have chosen not to deal with RP anymore. Does that bother you - are you trying to have the "best" rail images or is that just a catchy slogan? If it does, have you reached out directly to those photographers and found out why they left? Are you ok with that?
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Old 12-24-2014, 03:16 AM   #33
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I'll throw a few thoughts out there...



- set and public policies - anyone who loses upload rights will get them back in X months (and then do it) or anyone who loses upload rights can do Y to get them back - anyone who appeals X shots in a month will be blocked - anyone who uploads X number of "bad" rejections will be blocked - something to clarify expectations and consequences, and not have people in the dark especially about the latter
Banning members from uploading, or from appealing, or from the forum without warning does not engender warm feelings about the site!

BTW, I understand that HG would like to know when his "two week cooling-off period" is over.
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:26 AM   #34
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I'll throw a few thoughts out there...

I'll put them into two categories, somewhat related, communication and irritation. Well, I won't divide them up but to some extent each addresses one or the other or both. Also, admin is a black hole, has been for a while. Some of the suggestions deal with that.

- state of RP report - some periodic feedback, say quarterly, saying what RP is up to, what is coming down the pike, what does admin view as something they are or intend to work on. Doesn't have to be a "REPORT", just some feedback as to what is going on. With some frequency, say quarterly.

- occasional state of screening report - for example, it would be really nice to hear what is discussed at the group screener discussions that I vaguely understand are held. What changes in screening criteria are being implemented, what criteria are getting looser over time and what tighter. Announcements that "X" (say, half-shadows on V noses) are now acceptable. Statements of what is being done to improve on screener consistency.

- maybe an occasional "this is why shot X was accepted" statement, perhaps responding to one of the "WTF" threads here on the forums. Another form of greater insight into screening expectations

- set and public policies - anyone who loses upload rights will get them back in X months (and then do it) or anyone who loses upload rights can do Y to get them back - anyone who appeals X shots in a month will be blocked - anyone who uploads X number of "bad" rejections will be blocked - something to clarify expectations and consequences, and not have people in the dark especially about the latter

- what do you see as your mission, and what do you see as your ideal? For example, the current criteria accept shots in the pretty-scenic / basic wedgie well lit / wreck / newsie even if not great / somewhat artsy interesting light categories, and exclude those in the mostly artsy category. Is that what you want to be? Do you want to encourage more or fewer shots in any of those categories?

- what do you see as your mission II - do you consider yourself a repository or a database also (and if the latter, fix the "&" problem!!! ) - what implications does that have for what changes / features you are going to implement

- RP has lost quite a number of excellent photographers in recent years, who have chosen not to deal with RP anymore. Does that bother you - are you trying to have the "best" rail images or is that just a catchy slogan? If it does, have you reached out directly to those photographers and found out why they left? Are you ok with that?
I agree with all of the above and I fully support these suggestions.
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Old 12-25-2014, 01:31 AM   #35
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I think J and JMF have it covered.

And to ALL a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Mark.
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Old 12-25-2014, 03:25 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
Maybe a separate website for sideways locomotives and out of focus switch levers?

Hey Sean Hoyden.. it's just a damn train photo son!

Loyd L.
Don't use the Night Stalker's name in vain....
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Old 12-27-2014, 01:02 AM   #37
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Hi Contributors & Members,

On the behalf of our entire team, I would like to reach out and thank our contributors and members for another year of excellent photo submissions by our loyal community of railroad photographers. Your continued support of Railpictures.Net has helped us expand our quality controlled photo database, while allowing us to further network with one another, and continue growing as the BEST railroad photography database on the 'net. Thank you for making 2014 a special year for all of us.

As we look ahead to 2015, I want to reach out to our members for commentary on what ideas you would like to introduce to the table for improving your investment at Railpictures.Net in the New Year. In recent conversation with editorial, I would like to seek input on what you would like to see implemented or added in the New Year. This isn't related exclusively to the screening process or database entries, but more geared toward out-of-the-box and innovative ideas that can enhance the existing content of the website, while enticing new talent to join our community.

I have discussed one possible idea with editorial that has now advanced to the stage of public opinion and feedback. Railpictures has always featured a blog or a column-like segment of the website that allows contributors to submit short stories to editorial for posting. This content, especially in recent years has not been routinely updated because of lack of sufficient interest and contributions.

One thing I would like to potentially see added to the website is a blog/column that highlights a selected photographer each month. Our editorial team would select the "Photographer of the Month" in which his/her portfolio would be linked to a short manuscript that serves as a biography to he/she. I think this would allow us to profile some of our exceptional talent, while also helping expose his/her photography through our followers and social media presence. This standalone blog would also allow us to push and expose unique developments within the site, such as additions/revisions to the screening process and any other important announcements regarding the site and its screening process.

I would like to hear feedback on the proposition, as well as any innovative ideas you all think can potentially improve Railpictures.Net and our community. We are always looking for ways to improve the website.

Best,
Chase Gunnoe
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Chase!

I do not post on here often but check from time to time. I discussed this idea with my wife and we both agree that this is a fantastic idea and maybe it will allow us to get to know some of the people who contribute here, whether it's a handful of pictures or someone who has been at it a while.

So we think it's a good idea...

BP
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Old 12-27-2014, 03:24 PM   #38
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Is there any possibility of RP , on behalf of photographers, getting involved in direct sell of prints?
Railfans are among the cheapest people I know.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:02 AM   #39
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You know what niche of the photo market sucks? Railfans that attempt to sell photos to other railfans.

I sell tons of railroad related prints, but not to other foamers.

Loyd L.
This.

Until I started marketing outside of the railfan world, I couldn't make any money selling my prints.

Once I started aiming towards the non-railfan market, people started bringing money. It's been a wonderful supplement to my regular income, so much that I finally registered Night Stalker Photo Works, LLC in Virginia this past Fall.

If someone want to make money off their work, don't go through a middle man.
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:48 AM   #40
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I've been posting images on RP.Net since 2003 and I have no big complaints with the screening process. You either learn to adapt or you leave as many of my friends have done that have taken this too personal.

What I would like to see is a location for more creative photography that today does not meet the standards for the site. Why not add a link on the homepage to another database that allows for more creativity such as HDR photography, etc? Mainstream viewers that dislike non-standard images can enjoy the database as they do today, while others can choose to enjoy and learn from those photographers that push the limits.
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Old 01-07-2015, 06:44 AM   #41
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I've been posting images on RP.Net since 2003 and I have no big complaints with the screening process. You either learn to adapt or you leave as many of my friends have done that have taken this too personal.

What I would like to see is a location for more creative photography that today does not meet the standards for the site. Why not add a link on the homepage to another database that allows for more creativity such as HDR photography, etc? Mainstream viewers that dislike non-standard images can enjoy the database as they do today, while others can choose to enjoy and learn from those photographers that push the limits.
LikeThis?
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/511402

Bob, not mine! I guess just being down there is!!!!!!!
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:24 AM   #42
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What a contrast between these two NYC subway locations!

Image © Dennis A. Livesey
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Photograph © Dennis A. Livesey
Image © Greg Grice
PhotoID: 511402
Photograph © Greg Grice


Looks like the litter pickup and graffiti cleaning crews don't get to Times Square often.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:41 PM   #43
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Holy unlevel, Batman!
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:55 PM   #44
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Holy unlevel, Batman!
What he said...

It is a very compelling image just the same, but obviously lots of camera shake... suppose that can't be helped if you're as close to a speeding subway train as that individual likely was.
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:47 AM   #45
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Unlevel? Camera Shake? You talk about this photograph like it is a sunny-day wedgie, which it appears not to be. Loosen that belt and let that creativity fly!
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:02 AM   #46
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Greg's shot at the 42nd Street Shuttle Track 4 was taken from a walkway that thousands of New Yorkers utilize every day. I have used it myself and I always take a good look at the infrastructure changes to make this particular subway line straight instead of curved. It is probably the only place on the system where you can stand safely and legally in a subway tunnel rather than on a station platform. That probably is a lot of it's appeal.

The walkway is steel plate that can be removed for maintenance. Shooting hand held or illegal use of a tripod would likely result in some vibration from people walking by or the wind blast of the passing train.

I must admit while I always found this view fascinating, it has always looked pretty nasty and that's why I never shot here.

Way to go Greg!
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Old 01-08-2015, 02:21 AM   #47
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15 seconds, f3.5, iso 100. I'm gonna guess illegal tripod?

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Old 01-08-2015, 03:24 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
15 seconds, f3.5, iso 100. I'm gonna guess illegal tripod?

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Old 01-08-2015, 04:07 AM   #49
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Unlevel? Camera Shake? You talk about this photograph like it is a sunny-day wedgie, which it appears not to be. Loosen that belt and let that creativity fly!
Doesn't take more than a few seconds to level a photo. No excuse not to these days.

Sorry, but the unlevel nature of the image is a distraction to my eyes with all the leaning verticals.

Other than that little annoyance, very cool shot.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:23 AM   #50
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I am more with Blair here.

I do see the unlevel and maybe that takes away from my view of the shot but it's not a deal breaker for me. For Jim it is for it's well known how sensitive he is to this issue.

I do not see Loyd's issue with shake at all. Maybe its not the razor sharp it could of been but "lots of shake" I simply do not see.
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