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   Author  Topic: RailPictures.net  (Read 2812 times)
RobR
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RailPictures.net
 
« on: May 27th, 2005, 12:22pm »

Ladies and gentlemen,
 
The acceptance of photographs on RailPictures.net has become a mark of status in the world of railroad photography.  The downside of that, though, is that photographers naturally become angry when their submissions are rejected by RP.net.  Many photographs posted here have been rejected by RP.net, along with comments expressing the photographers' surprise and anger at the rejections.  I hope the following comments about RP.Net may help.
 
The goal of RP.Net is to accumulate a collection of railroad photographs that would be suitable for inclusion as illustrations in high-quality books and magazines.  This means that RP.Net isn't just looking for photographs of good trains, it is looking for good photographs that feature trains.  To be accepted into RP.Net, your photograph must be composed well, it must be well lit, and it must be sharp.  In addition, you need to take as much care with your photograph after you click the shutter as you did before you clicked it.  Use PhotoShop or something similar to make sure that your picture is sharp (but not too sharp; oversharpening is ugly), that the colors are pleasing, that brightness and contrast are appropriate, and so on.  
 
If RP.Net rejects your picture, think about the reason they gave.  Much of the time, when I look at an RP.Net reject and the reason, I agree with the rejection.  I know rejection hurts.  It hurts me when I get a shot rejected from RP.Net (and I haven't yet got one accepted!).  If they say cropping is bad, think about how you might change it.  Play with it.  If they say lighting is bad, try changing brightness or contrast, or play with the Curves feature of your image editing program, and see if you like the result better.  
 
Keep in mind that RP.Net gets hundreds of submissions.  The selectors do an admirable job of keeping up with the flood, but they're only going to have a couple of seconds to decide on your picture.  If it's not going to make an immediate impact, it's not going to get accepted.  Sometimes the selectors may not have a good idea of exactly why they don't like a shot, so they might choose a reason that doesn't really fit.  Or maybe they're just moving too fast and hit the wrong button.
 
Perhaps the selectors have a disproportionate number of their own pictures on RP.net.  There may be a couple of reasons for this.  First, they're all good railroad photographers.  Their shots may generally deserve to be there.  Second, maybe they do let some bad shots of their own through.  Why worry?  The bottom line is that it is their site.  Just do your best, learn as much as you can from RP.net and its selectors, and keep trying!
 
RobR
Moderator
 


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Rules about what makes a good railroad photograph have caused the loss of millions of great railroad photographs!
aXion23
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #1 on: May 27th, 2005, 3:04pm »

Well said, Rob.
 
on May 27th, 2005, 12:22pm, RobR wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Second, maybe they do let some bad shots of their own through.

 
Just to clear things up, a screener doesn't screen their own photos.


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RobR
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #2 on: May 27th, 2005, 6:58pm »

There is a lot of scope for fruitful discussion when people post photographs rejected by RP.Net here.  In order to make the most of the opportunity, I am making the following suggestion:  
 
Please start a new thread when you post an RP.Net rejection, and begin the subject line with "RP.NET".  But be prepared to receive criticism.  To be educational, both positive and negative opinions of photographs will be needed.  
 
When you see an RP.NET thread, please visit it and provide constructive criticism.  Be tactful, but don't say you like something if you really don't.  Often, it helps to note at least one good thing and one bad thing in a critique, especially if you don't really like the picture.
 
I will also be keeping an eye on the "Can You Believe This?" thread, and I ask you to do so also and provide criticism for any pictures there as well.
 
Thank you very much!
 
RobR
Moderator


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Rules about what makes a good railroad photograph have caused the loss of millions of great railroad photographs!
oldnamvet
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #3 on: Jul 22nd, 2005, 3:51am »

Railroad photography is an art form, and as such demands the best photos a photographer can take. He/she also has to have good equipment. A Canon EOS Rebel digital camera will take a much better picture than, say, a Kodak Instamatic will. Rejection isn't the end of the world, either. There are quite a few sites that will take photos, so just because your photo(s) was/were rejected by one site, it's possible that another rail photography site will accept it. Patience, perseverance and faith in one's self are a photographer's best friends, whatever the subject he or she is shooting.

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Steven_E
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #4 on: Aug 3rd, 2005, 12:47pm »

on Jul 22nd, 2005, 3:51am, oldnamvet wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Railroad photography is an art form, and as such demands the best photos a photographer can take. He/she also has to have good equipment. A Canon EOS Rebel digital camera will take a much better picture than, say, a Kodak Instamatic will. Rejection isn't the end of the world, either. There are quite a few sites that will take photos, so just because your photo(s) was/were rejected by one site, it's possible that another rail photography site will accept it. Patience, perseverance and faith in one's self are a photographer's best friends, whatever the subject he or she is shooting.

 
Hay oldnamvet:  Keep in mind that it is true that better equipment will result in clearer, sharper images, It's not the equipment that makes the photographer.
I've seen great images take with cheep equipment..............................Steve.


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Monongah Division Fan

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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #5 on: Aug 3rd, 2005, 4:26pm »

Steve;
 
  Could you show us a couple examples of "great" images taken on cheap equipment?  
 
  Thanks
 
  BM


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zwsplac
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #6 on: Aug 3rd, 2005, 7:50pm »

I had this little Minolta Point and Shoot that took some decent pictures. But I must disagree with you Steven_E, good equpment goes miles to help you take better pictures, ESPECIALLY FILM WISE!!! Buy only the best film if you shoot 35mm!

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Steven_E
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #7 on: Aug 3rd, 2005, 7:53pm »

on Aug 3rd, 2005, 4:26pm, Monongah Division Fan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Steve;
 
  Could you show us a couple examples of "great" images taken on cheap equipment?  
 
  Thanks
 
  BM

 
Monogah Divison Fan:  Ok, Ok, I'll change "great" to GOOD!  What I'm getting at is that it's not the equipment that make the Photographer.  It's his knolage and ability.
A person shouldn't feel he is any less a photographer because he/she is useing a polaroid instamatic or a use once and through away camera.  Anyway, glad you responded. It's fun to stur up a little dust now and then, just to get a resposne.
............................................................................................................Steve.


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Steven_E
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #8 on: Aug 3rd, 2005, 8:10pm »

Hay Zwsplac: glad you responded. Here is a question for you:  Was it the step up from the Minolta point and shoot that made you a better photographer or was the knolage you have gained over the years that made you a better photographer?
We step up as our knolage of the art  increases and we learn we can inhance our images with better optics, film,camera.  If I hand some one a ten thousand doller, state of the art camera (digital or film), does that automaticly make him a better photographer? Hope to hear from you again............................................Steve.


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Monongah Division Fan

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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #9 on: Aug 3rd, 2005, 8:10pm »

Steve;
 
  Actually, not to argue with you, but, I still cannot agree with your assessment.  
 
  It is not, in my opinion, JUST "knowledge and ability". The proper equipment and lots of practice, combined with a STUDY, or an AWARENESS, actually, of the light and other conditions for each shot goes a long way. I have seen people improve greatly in their photography by this method, mine included, and I have had folks who have SEVERAL hundred photos on Rail Pictures, since we are using that subject here, tell me that is the key to improving photography. Conversely, I have had folks who have ZERO on there tell me the exact same thing.
 
  Some small issues can be corrected with a program such as Photoshop, however, from what I have tried to learn, there is no substitute for KNOWING the circumstances around the shot, in the hopes of hitting it the first time.
 
  I am not trying to argue with you or create an issue with this. I do, however, believe that since we have quite a few younger members on this site, who may be just entering the hobby, that it is important that we have good quality information put out there and the whole story.
 
  I would invite readers of all levels to add their experiences and advice to this discussion, as well.
 
  It's not based, though, on HOW many pictures that you have on RailPicturesdotnet, rather it's that you are satisfied and "get something" out of the hobby, be it terrible, fair, good, or GREAT.
 
  Would you not agree that it is better to try and learn some of the time rather than to try and teach all of the time?
 
  BM


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Steven_E
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #10 on: Aug 3rd, 2005, 8:44pm »

Hello Monongah Divison Fan:
     The study and Awarness of light, subject mater, composition ect. is what I mean by "Knolage and Ability".  I am after any knolage that will make me abetter photographer.............................................................................Steve.


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Steven_E
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #11 on: Aug 3rd, 2005, 8:59pm »

[quote author=oldnamvet link=board=Photo;num=1117210960;start=0#3 date=07/22/05 at 03:51:06]Railroad photography is an art form, and as such demands the best photos a photographer can take. He/she also has to have good equipment.  
 
I was responding to what was said above.  "HE/SHE ALSO HAS TO HAVE GOOD EQUIPMENT".  I would not want a beginner think it is as simple as buying expensive equipment that will make them a better photographer.  
.............................................................................................................Steve.


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ranger101
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #12 on: Aug 4th, 2005, 1:17am »

Hi everyone,
     Just my opinion.  I have shot photographs since 1984.  A relative newcomer to the hobby in the context of experience.  I have medium format camera that renders details that put other cameras to shame.  However, I still take my best pictures with my old Minolta X 700 manual SLRS.  They were the first ones I learned on and I became comfortable with them.  I have a couple of autofocus cameras too, and I'm learning to love them.
     I believe that the only way to be great at photography is to actually go out and shoot film, lots of it.  If you have a digital camera, fill up the card that holds the images.  You have to make a ton of mistakes so you can learn from them.  A professional photographer once told me that on a 36 exposure roll of film, if he got 2 or 3 images that he was happpy with, then he considered it a good roll of film.
     The point is, how much does one want to put into the hobby,  do you want to have 3,4,5,6, cameras or do you want the disposable or polaroid  cameras.  Its an individual preference.  If a person is happy with the images from the disposabe cameras , then that is what they are happy with.  If they want to have 10,000 dollars in camera equipment, then thats their perogative.  It is what you put into hobby that gives you the enjoyment out of it.
     As for railpics.net, I have one and only one photograph on there.  I dont have a desire to submit anything else because I would rather enjoy my hobby than obsess over it.  Personally I've had over 50 rejections before my first acceptence.  Everyone of those rejections were 2 or 3 word phrases that were of no help to me understanding what I did wrong or needed to improve on.  Strive to be better at rail photography to please yourself, not some photodata base.
Tim


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Steven_E
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #13 on: Aug 4th, 2005, 2:24am »

Hay Ranger 101:  
         Just read your last post.  I agree, you have to shoot a lot of film to get that one good one.  Most of my rail photos are B&W done useing medium format Bronica SQAI.  That's all manual, useing a menalta light meter.  Color is with an old Canon F1, useally with a 100mm f4 lense , which is nearly as sharp as my Bronica.
I just started shooting around the mid 90's, so as experence is concerned, I'm a lot younger then you.  I just made the move from the "wet" Dark room to the digital darkroom last month. All images are negatives and have to be scanned. I have nothing posted, yet, but I'm working on that.  Mostly figuring out how to send the images.  I sent one to a friend and she called back on the phone and said to down load it would take 45minetes.  Somethings wrong there!  My gole here is just to find someone to talk photography for now..........................................................Steve.


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jdstew
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #14 on: Aug 4th, 2005, 9:36pm »

Truth be known, the whole idea of "acceptance" and quality change like the weather. The quality of a photograph often comes from within the practitioner and the viewer...it is communication after all.  
 
That said, I've studied art and photography (through graphics and physics) till I'm blue in the face. The Bottom Line: The more you change, the more you stay the same. Alternatively, consider Babe Ruth, he had a tremendous Athletic Talent...that was a trait untaught, but intrinsic.
 
Somebody stated equipment makes the photographer. Most respectfully, I Vehemently disagree!  
 
The mark of a GREAT artist isn't the equipment, but the result.


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JE Stewart
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #15 on: Aug 4th, 2005, 10:59pm »

Mr Stewart;
 
  I only went to college a few years and I am afraid I don't really get what you are saying....Yes, I am a hillbilly, sorry.
 
  But, using this picture from your website, as an example, is this art or a blurred photo?
 
http://smg.railfan.net/Daytrains/Images/Norka010.jpg
 
One mans photography may be another mans "art" to you, but to me I am a photographer not an artist, by any means, and have no desire to do much more than enjoy the hobby and take a few decent sharp, level, well lighted pictures of the thing I love most, trains. Anything above that I will defer to the "artists".
 
Thanks,
 
BM


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Steven_E
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #16 on: Aug 5th, 2005, 12:17pm »


Monongah Divison Fan:  Howdy!  It is my apinion that if your useing a camera, you are useing an artistic tool.  And if you consider your self a photographer, wether your shooting snap shots, or fine art photography, you are an artist. It is an expression of your view of the subject matter.  If your happy with your snap shots, then you are succesful at your persute of your hobby.  
Mr. Stewart's image is very different, but in my opinion shows good composition and feel, but very importantly, it gained your reaction ( nagitive or positive ), which art does.  You may or maynot like this, or other images seen on these sights.  But  I wish viewers would stop looking to see if it is their favorit location, locomotive,  or think it would be better if the angle was different or Conrail was pink instead of Blue, and start haveing a better understanding of compasition, lighting, leading lines,
what is distracting in the image, and what will bring our attention to the main subject matter,  and  to look at the images from the photographer's perspctive, we would have a better understanding what is excepted or rejected.  Of corse this is only my opinion and it is not intended or directed to any individual so please don't take offence.  Again, if your happy with your pictures, then your a succesful.
I agree that it is NOT the camera that makes the photographer,  but the eye and soul of the artest.............................................................................Steve.


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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #17 on: Aug 5th, 2005, 2:56pm »

Steve;
 
  While I was asking for Mr. Stewart's opinion, I will respond to your comments, in the meanwhile.  
 
  First, this example was intendend to elicit an answer to my question, and that was "Is this considered art or a blurry photograph?" I have no opinion one way or the other as to it's positive or negative effect on me, as it has none, it was merely an example to understand what Mr. Stewart was trying to convey in his post. Nor was I intending any judgement on his work, either positive or negative, as I too have a whole pile of photos that closely match the outcome of this one, some of which I think are not bad shots. That shot, in my opinion, would, under the rigid guidelines of say a RP, have no chance in the world of getting accepted. So, if that is the case, then are what RP accepts and posts ART or are they PHOTOS? But, that is my point, is it a "photo" or did he intend it to be an "art shot"? It happens to be my favorite railroad, but that has nothing to do with what I was commenting on, nor do I see it as any less of a "nice photo" because of what railroad or color locomotive it is. Therefore, you may have wanted to say "some viewers" and not "viewers".
Additionally, I have chosen to ask Mr. Stewart these points because I have seen many of his photographs, on several different sites, and felt he has enough experience to be able to offer an experienced commentary on this subject. Had I had the opportunity to see as many of yours, I may have asked you the same question.
 
  Next, nobody said anything about "snap shots". You are simply inferring, in my opinion, that what I take is "snap shots", and that as such, my work is simply pointing and shooting at random, regardless of any composition or thought to the conditions of the shot, and since you have not seen many of my photographs, if any, how are you qualified to make that conclusion? What I said was, "take a few decent sharp, level, well lighted pictures", and that does not constitute a "snap shot", at least as I see it. That type of photography takes a bit of awareness as I have previously said; to set up the shot in advance of taking it, when possible. Nor are my photographs any less "nice" if I choose not to call them "art", correct?
 
  I simply did not understand what he was trying to say, and I used an example of his work, at random, to ask, since he would know his intentions, preparation, execution, and result of this random shot, as it relates to him and his thoughts on the subject.
 
  I agree with you, in that it is not ONLY the camera that makes the shot, but I still submit that it is also, NOT only the eye and "soul" of the artist. It is a bunch of factors, even possibly a bit of good old fashioned LUCK that helps.
 
  No offense taken, and none intended.
 
  Brad


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Charlie_O
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #18 on: Aug 5th, 2005, 4:24pm »

on Aug 4th, 2005, 1:17am, ranger101 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
As for railpics.net, I have one and only one photograph on there.  I dont have a desire to submit anything else because I would rather enjoy my hobby than obsess over it.  Personally I've had over 50 rejections before my first acceptence.  Everyone of those rejections were 2 or 3 word phrases that were of no help to me understanding what I did wrong or needed to improve on.  Strive to be better at rail photography to please yourself, not some photodata base.
Tim

 
Ah, the voice of sanity.  Thanks Tim.
 
My track record at RP.net is about 1 outa 7.  My 70 acceptances cost me about 500 rejections.  What confuses me about their commentary is not so much the brevity of their rejections (I understand that they're swamped, and if a screener dislikes a shot, he just ascribes the most obvious fault to it). But for each shot I've had rejected, I've found a half dozen examples with the same flaw (or worse) accepted to the database.  
 
For example, a basic RP.net rule is "never photo from the dark side of the train...even if the sun is on the nose."  OK, I'll buy that.  But it took me only a minute to find a handful of accepted shots that featured that precise defect.  Granted, each had impressive background scenery to help it along...and granted they were good shots.  I just wonder, maybe if I cut and paste a big Rocky Mountain from a Coors beer can into the background of a shot from Philadelphia, would it help?
 
Ah, but here I am obsessing.   .
 
-Charlie


« Last Edit: Aug 5th, 2005, 4:25pm by Charlie_O » Logged

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Charlie_O
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Re: RailPictures.net
 
« Reply #19 on: Aug 5th, 2005, 4:45pm »

On another topic...
 
Does better equipment make a better photographer?  
Or at least better pictures?

 
That's a tough one.  Let's look at it this way... Could O. Winston Link (were he alive today) make a great photo using a disposable camera he bought at the local Gas-N-Sip?  Probably.  
 
And by contrast, could I, given all of Link's equipment, make a great work of art?  Probably not.  
 
So, as better sneakers do not make better runners, better photo equipment can only go as far as the person using it.  Great photographs (of trains or other subjects) depend on the artistic instinct and technical knowledge of the photographer as much as they do on the equipment being used.  
 
With that said, about 1 in 4 of my RP.net acceptances were taken with a point-n-shoot....while many of my rejections were taken with a higher priced SLR.  How can this be?  Beats the #$%! outa me. In fact, my RP.net acceptance ratio with the point-n-shoot is NO DIFFERENT than with the SLR.   Stymied you say?  Astounded?  Me too brother, me too.
 
Allow me to illustrate... the following links were taken with a Canon Elf (NOT the digital, but the kind that uses APS film)
 
 
Point-N-Shoot #1
 
Point-N-Shoot #2
 
Point-N-Shoot #3
 
Point-N-Shoot #4
 
Point-N-Shoot #5
 
Point-N-Shoot #5
 
Point-N-Shoot #6
 
Point-N-Shoot #7
 
And my favorite...
Taken with  a Kodak Brownie when I was 15 years old
 
-Charlie
 
PS - None of these images were heavily Photoshopped...only resized, given a slight increase in contrast, and sharpened.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


« Last Edit: Aug 5th, 2005, 4:51pm by Charlie_O » Logged

Some days, the most interesting person you meet is a river with a train running beside it.
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