Old 08-31-2018, 05:03 AM   #1
VGN800
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Default Too Dark?

I like to take shots at sunset, and every such shot I've tried to submit has been rejected for being "too dark".

I actually submitted both of these in January, so I can't link it from RP, but I'd just like some advice on how to get shots like this acceptable.


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Old 08-31-2018, 09:11 AM   #2
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Here they are after double rounds of shadow recovery. The second one probably needs significant trimming of the left side. Will these find favor here? Maybe.

Oh, and if the second was mine, I would make the signal lights red, but that would take some careful cloning or 'painting'.
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:58 PM   #3
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Definitely need to start from scratch and attempt to pull some more detail from the dark areas. You can also accentuate the sky and give it more pop.

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Old 08-31-2018, 01:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
Here they are after double rounds of shadow recovery. The second one probably needs significant trimming of the left side. Will these find favor here? Maybe.

Oh, and if the second was mine, I would make the signal lights red, but that would take some careful cloning or 'painting'.
To me the edit to the first shot looks washed out and overly bright. The original shot is a lot closer to what it actually looked like in person. Do you have the brightness of your monitor cranked way down?

The second one isn't as bad, and I agree with you about the color of the lights. I shot these at around f1.4, I suppose I could have cranked up the ISO a bit but much more and I would have had issues with noise. Part of the problem is my camera's dynamic range just isn't as good as I'd like.

Last edited by VGN800; 08-31-2018 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 08-31-2018, 02:35 PM   #5
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#1 is not a very good location. #2 is better. I don't think you want the train on top of you and then the trees block the sky outlining the top of the engine. Sorry but the train lights on #1 look too subdued.

So I'd scout out locations so when the opportunity is there you know where to go. Some background buildings, street lights help. Number 2 you have the headlights illuminating the snow, signals, so some positive elements.

With snow on the ground and light in the sky you should be able to eke out a little detail. No sure of your software but PS helps compensate for the lack of dyn range and alleviate noise.

I know this is totally cheating since you do not have this opportunity but to illustrate: I knew this location, watched for a late train schedule, drove in special and got lucky I was not screened by Metra only feet behind me and a heritage unit. Of course someone will tell me what is wrong with it, but i can live with that. Smile.

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Image © Robert Jordan
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Old 08-31-2018, 03:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by VGN800 View Post
The original shot is a lot closer to what it actually looked like in person.
Ummm...did you forget that RP rejected what it looked like in person? The loco looks like a dark blob against the dark trees. Same with the second one. You can't differentiate the loco from the trees. Neither will get on RP like that.

Oh, and my monitor? 99% of professionally produced photos look great on it, so it can't be far off (if at all).

Her's a color enhanced version of the first:
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Old 08-31-2018, 03:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
Ummm...did you forget that RP rejected what it looked like in person? The loco looks like a dark blob against the dark trees. Same with the second one. You can't differentiate the loco from the trees. Neither will get on RP like that.

Oh, and my monitor? 99% of professionally produced photos look great on it, so it can't be far off (if at all).

Her's a color enhanced version of the first:
Your edits were terrible on the first one. lol

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Old 08-31-2018, 03:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
Your edits were terrible on the first one. lol

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I await your version with bated breath!
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
Your edits were terrible on the first one. lol

Loyd L.
To be fair, there isn't much detail to recover in the shadows on the first shot.

I guess the lesson here is RP doesn't like dark sunset shots and I do, so we'll agree to disagree and I won't bother submitting them.

Last edited by VGN800; 08-31-2018 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
I await your version with bated breath!
And if he's willing to send me the full size RAW, you may. I wouldn't send a full size RAW to anyone, however.

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Old 08-31-2018, 04:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RobJor View Post
#1 is not a very good location. #2 is better. I don't think you want the train on top of you and then the trees block the sky outlining the top of the engine. Sorry but the train lights on #1 look too subdued.

So I'd scout out locations so when the opportunity is there you know where to go. Some background buildings, street lights help. Number 2 you have the headlights illuminating the snow, signals, so some positive elements.

With snow on the ground and light in the sky you should be able to eke out a little detail. No sure of your software but PS helps compensate for the lack of dyn range and alleviate noise.

I know this is totally cheating since you do not have this opportunity but to illustrate: I knew this location, watched for a late train schedule, drove in special and got lucky I was not screened by Metra only feet behind me and a heritage unit. Of course someone will tell me what is wrong with it, but i can live with that. Smile.

Bob
Thanks Bob, you make some good points. Part of the problem I have is the volume of activity around here is pretty low so if I want a sunset shot I pretty much have to take what I can get. Also obviously sunsets as nice as these are far from an every day occurrence.
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
And if he's willing to send me the full size RAW, you may. I wouldn't send a full size RAW to anyone, however.

Loyd L.
So here's my dirty little secret... These aren't stills, they're captures from 4k video. That obviously makes it difficult to fix them in post and is the primary reason the dynamic range isn't great. I'm thinking about getting an Atmos Ninja so I can record in something closer to raw (ie: prores 4:2:2) which will definitely help my ability to push the colors and lighting more when necessary. In the end though I'm in it for the videos, the stills are just a side benefit.
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by VGN800 View Post
To be fair, there isn't much detail to recover in the shadows on the first shot.

I guess the lesson here is RP doesn't like dark sunset shots and I do, so we'll agree to disagree and I won't bother submitting them.
Silhouettes against the evening sky do fine here, but the opportunities to shoot them in the East are somewhat limited.
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
Silhouettes against the evening sky do fine here, but the opportunities to shoot them in the East are somewhat limited.
True, damn trees are everywhere.
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:05 PM   #15
OBrian Harmon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
Ummm...did you forget that RP rejected what it looked like in person? The loco looks like a dark blob against the dark trees. Same with the second one. You can't differentiate the loco from the trees. Neither will get on RP like that.

Oh, and my monitor? 99% of professionally produced photos look great on it, so it can't be far off (if at all).

Her's a color enhanced version of the first:
Wow..that almost looks like a painting. Lol.
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Old 08-31-2018, 10:47 PM   #16
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I don't think it is fair to say Railpictures doesn't like dark sunset/sunrise shots but I do know that my reject rate for pictures I've submitted which meet this criteria is high. I would say just keep trying. Below are a couple of mine which made the cut.

Image © Robert Butler
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Image © Robert Butler
PhotoID: 314946
Photograph © Robert Butler

Last edited by mersenne6; 08-31-2018 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 08-31-2018, 11:19 PM   #17
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Wow..that almost looks like a painting. Lol.
If you can do better, let's see it!
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Old 08-31-2018, 11:29 PM   #18
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I suppose I'll take the bait, challenge accepted! For the record, my comment wasn't meant to seem like I was mocking the picture, I like them both, edit and original. Come to think of it, I've seen several pictures in the database that actually do look like paintings.
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Old 09-01-2018, 02:52 AM   #19
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Well if you really want to mess with it, here's the original full resolution version. Again, not raw, just a jpg.

https://i.imgur.com/L9SmeWf.jpg

edit: In fact, here's the original video: https://youtu.be/yhaYuA4eI9w?t=12m9s

The clip the other shot is from as well: https://youtu.be/K0gMsO_Heg0?t=3m17s

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Old 09-01-2018, 11:16 AM   #20
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Click image for larger version

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For my twopennorth that's what I've come up with.
Still somewhat dark but interesting. Would be rejected if I submitted.lol
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