JakTrax
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Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:17 pm

All,

I've not uploaded her for a long time but I still enjoy perusing the site from time-to-time, catching up with what's new, etc. I have, however, noticed a HUUUUUUGE drop in image quality lately - it's almost as though views and popularity are now way more important than taking the time to capture and edit a good photo! There have been two images in particular that have caught my attention this past couple of days, both for appalling levelling. They were both priority uploads (as they appeared on the banner) but, even so, the horizons are so obviously unlevel that re-edits should have been requested.

I'm not going to point them out and shame photographers but I (and others) are definitely seeing a sharp decrease in image quality lately. I understand that screening is voluntary but how can such glaring faults go unnoticed and/or unchallenged? I still read about petty rejections yet what I describe above seems commonplace. Voluntary work still requires a certain level of diligence - if this carries on I'm quite sure that a competing site will quickly overtake A.net as the leading player.

Also, there's a stiff increase in the amount of very poor images being passed off as 'creative', mostly by the accompanying photographer comments. Poor light giving little effect is not a substitute for 'creative'.

Anyone else care to comment? Are hits now more important than quality?

Cheers,
Karl
 
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airkas1
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:36 pm

Hi Karl,

Could you please advise me via PM which images you're talking about? I know of 1 case where the horizon was way off and I sent the photographer an E-mail to reupload the image (which was done and the image has been fixed now).

As mentioned in other threads, I more or less share your view on creative images and I decreativize a lot of images that are uploaded using the creative checkbox feature. You'd be surprised how many photos get uploaded as creative, but actually aren't (not counting the accidental creative uploads). I'm not really sure what you mean by image passed off as creative by accompanying comments, so I find it hard to comment on that. Could you give a generic example of such a case?

I'd rather have quality over hits, although I'm sure you understand that in some cases exceptions are made.
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:56 pm

Kas, when I say, "Passed off as creative by accompanying comments", I'm referring to the photographer's remarks, which will often state something like, "Superb dusk light giving an eerie glow" or something similar (when in fact it's nothing more than poor light being given an excuse). There is so much of this now, presumably because uploaders feel that mediocre images can in some way be redeemed by careful wording/categorisation. 10 years ago, 50% of these images would have been rejected.

The light in an image must create an extraordinary effect in order for it to even come close to 'creative'; what I see on the site lately is basically poor imagery dressed up with some almost-convincing spin.

It's bringing the integrity of the site down..... and people are noticing. People used to visit this site for the quality, not because they could see page after page of uninteresting shots passed off as something they're clearly not. This behaviour is only encouraging more people to upload poor images in the hope that someone at the site will see a modicum of 'creativity'.

To add, this isn't exclusive to A.net. It's happening everywhere: Facebook, Instagram, Flickr......

Karl
 
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airkas1
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:54 pm

I think I get what you mean by that, but the photographer is free to write whatever caption he/she wants, as long as it's not against the rules. So while it can be annoying, there isn't much to do about that. It also doesn't make a difference when screening, as the photo remark doesn't really influence the decision.

Many of the images we're talking about are likely to have undergone regular screening and haven't gone through the creative queue. The ones that have, can be found here: http://www.airliners.net/search?photoCategory=40 (I know there are some images in there that don't belong in the creative category, but we can't remvoe those :/ )
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:47 pm

Kas,

Not annoying as this site is of course free to do as it pleases. My point is that we are now seeing a culture in which everyone is suddenly a pro, and mediocre images are being touted as 'creative' by the photographer, when in fact the majority are opportunistic at best. The 'creative' rules are basically being bent by some to accommodate less-than-perfect images. Despite having little allegiance to this site of late, it would be a shame to see standards continue to slip.

The problem - which A.net has been complicit in creating - is that any public criticism of other photographers' work is considered bad form, yet in other branches of art public criticism is in fact encouraged and welcomed. If we put our images in a public place, for the world to see, we need to be prepared for any criticism it may draw. Aviation photography will always be subjective, but by stifling people's public opinions we are breeding a climate in which poor images will flourish under the false belief that they're actually good. In other words, without public criticism, how is a relative newcomer supposed to improve? I see it on Facebook all the time - atrocious images with hundreds and hundreds of likes and positive comments, leading the photographer to falsely believe he/she is doing everything perfectly.

Personally I'd rather improve following a few hurt feelings than be lead into a false sense of diligence and superiority.
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:16 pm

JakTrax wrote:
The 'creative' rules are basically being bent by some to accommodate less-than-perfect images.


The "creative" rules are about which images get tagged as creative in the database.

They have nothing to do with photographer remarks.

JakTrax wrote:
The problem - which A.net has been complicit in creating - is that any public criticism of other photographers' work is considered bad form, yet in other branches of art public criticism is in fact encouraged and welcomed. If we put our images in a public place, for the world to see, we need to be prepared for any criticism it may draw. Aviation photography will always be subjective, but by stifling people's public opinions we are breeding a climate in which poor images will flourish under the false belief that they're actually good. In other words, without public criticism, how is a relative newcomer supposed to improve? I see it on Facebook all the time - atrocious images with hundreds and hundreds of likes and positive comments, leading the photographer to falsely believe he/she is doing everything perfectly.


What other measure of "good" art is there except public approval? I have my own goals as a photographer, but if people like my photos, that's the ultimate gratification.

When I see art I don't like, I don't usually comment negatively. I just move on and look at stuff I do like.

Let's be honest - not everyone wants to be an artist. Some people just want to take photos and share them. Nothing wrong with that.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:03 pm

I never said the image remark influences the screening decision. The remark is more indicative of how people view their own images, rather than how screeners see them. But herein lies the problem: too many people elevating their work to unrealistic and immodest levels. Doesn't bother me particularly, I'm just commenting on what I see.

Moving on, Vik, you say that there's no greater measure of how good art is than public approval - are you saying that all these images I'm seeing on Facebook are in fact 'good' because they've got hundreds of views, likes and positive comments? With the advent of social media, and a new generation obsessed with 'hits', the measure of how 'good' a photo is certainly IS NOT public approval. Some so-called 'modern art' I see - like an unmade bed that was recently on display here in the UK - garners a staggering amount of public approval, but that doesn't mean an unmade bed is art (which it most certainly is not). Also, shouldn't the ultimate gratification be if YOU like your photos? If I don't like a photo, I don't go out of my way to let the photographer know my feelings, but I don't see too much wrong in linking a photo in a thread and asking why it made the database (providing it has a clear and obvious flaw). If a photographer got levelling wrong it's hardly disrespectful to bring it to light, even publicly. Like I say, if you display your work on the 'net, you should be prepared for any criticism (although that doesn't necessarily mean I'd be first to give it).

I'm an old hand at this hobby, and a pretty old hand on this website, and I've seen the quality slowly degrade (particularly) over the last few years. There are some lovely shots in that link shared by Kas above, but lovely/stunning shots aren't always creative by default. But there are also way too many in that link that are not anywhere close to being creative.

My criticism is aimed at aviation photography's current direction, which seems to be much more about hit-seeking and popularity than actually getting out there and taking the time and care to take a good photo. Like Kas says, much of what is seen in the creative queue is not creative, so we obviously have a problem with just how highly people regard their own work, even if it is very ordinary/average. Further proof of this faux elitism is the tirade of abuse often directed at those who shoot sunny side-ons (not here but those battles do frequently rage elsewhere).

If the site fails to maintain standards, the bar gets lowered, and the database is flooded with very mediocre images (as is happening a lot right now). Flickr is the best place if you 'just want to share pictures'. Sites such as this, with certain goals to aim for, should be a different kettle of fish. Basically, if you want to share your images here, you must conform to the standards required. Of course there's nothing wrong with just wanting to share a few images..... it's just that A.net is perhaps not the place for such a casual notion.

At the end of the day I don't care much what happens, because I still love the hobby as much as I ever did..... but I am seeing a fragmented community that is getting more and more competitive (and not in a healthy way) and, at times, vindictive.
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:57 pm

JakTrax wrote:
Moving on, Vik, you say that there's no greater measure of how good art is than public approval - are you saying that all these images I'm seeing on Facebook are in fact 'good' because they've got hundreds of views, likes and positive comments?


Apparently. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.

JakTrax wrote:
Some so-called 'modern art' I see - like an unmade bed that was recently on display here in the UK - garners a staggering amount of public approval, but that doesn't mean an unmade bed is art (which it most certainly is not).


Maybe it was art, maybe not. Doesn't particularly bother me either way. But obviously the public liked it for whatever reason.

JakTrax wrote:
Also, shouldn't the ultimate gratification be if YOU like your photos?


It certainly can be. But I assumed we were talking in the context of displaying photos publicly. When you get right down to it, we display photos so that others can see them.

JakTrax wrote:
If I don't like a photo, I don't go out of my way to let the photographer know my feelings, but I don't see too much wrong in linking a photo in a thread and asking why it made the database (providing it has a clear and obvious flaw).


I think we're all aware of that.

JakTrax wrote:
If a photographer got levelling wrong it's hardly disrespectful to bring it to light, even publicly.


But why not just send a PM to Kas? That's what I did yesterday, regarding a photo that was, as it happens, off-level. Why the need to post it in the forum?

JakTrax wrote:
But there are also way too many in that link that are not anywhere close to being creative.


I agree, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't have been added.

JakTrax wrote:
My criticism is aimed at aviation photography's current direction, which seems to be much more about hit-seeking and popularity than actually getting out there and taking the time and care to take a good photo.


That's a whole different discussion. It's an opinion I see in music circles as well.

Ultimately, aviation photography does not belong to us small group of A.netters. It belongs to the large group of people in the world who want to participate in whatever way, shape, or form.

JakTrax wrote:
Basically, if you want to share your images here, you must conform to the standards required. Of course there's nothing wrong with just wanting to share a few images..... it's just that A.net is perhaps not the place for such a casual notion.


But that's pretty much how I treat my sunny-side-ons. They're nothing special, they take very little time and effort to shoot and edit. But someone out there in the world might be interested, so I upload* them. Of course they generally conform to the site standards, but it's not particularly difficult. I spend much more time and effort on my low-light or long exposure stuff (a lot of which I don't upload* because it will more likely get rejected).



* This applies to my uploading habits in the past. I haven't uploaded to A.net at all in several months, and don't know if I will again. I have more fun uploading to another site that doesn't actually reject uploads. I take a lot of shots (high ISO usually) that can be difficult to edit to A.net standards, and I just don't feel like it anymore.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:34 pm

I agree, aviation photography belongs to no-one but the hobby is getting less and less friendly, and more fragmented. If new people want to join the community, we shouldn't be discouraging or stopping them, however many seem to be coming with an attitude different to that of the last generation. That attitude is 'look at me, look at me' and I doubt you could deny having seen it online recently.

Sunny side-ons take very little effort to take and edit in the digital world. Back on slide they were tricky because you had to get everything right first time, otherwise it just went in the bin. This kinda proves my point about the art being lost due to advancements in editing software; in fact I'm sure there was/is a product in testing that can correct motion blur (but not OOF blur). This basically means that a very poor shot will soon be editable into a technically perfect image. Not all bad as we all have images that we look back on and wish we'd upped the ISO or used a faster shutter, however it's making the next generation of photographers lazier and lazier. The flip side of this I guess is that better software offers more room to concentrate on other aspects of your photography - the less you have to worry about, the more 'daring' you can be. Still, the point remains: how can a blurry shot ever be a good shot, per se?

A lot of aspects of today's aviation photography seem to be about massaging egos if I'm bluntly honest.
 
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airkas1
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:56 pm

JakTrax wrote:
Like I say, if you display your work on the 'net, you should be prepared for any criticism (although that doesn't necessarily mean I'd be first to give it).

Sure you're open to criticism, but I would still prefer it that if people have issues with accepted photos, they contact the team. Because while you may write a thread in a decent way, others are not capable of doing so.


vikkyvik wrote:
JakTrax wrote:
But there are also way too many in that link that are not anywhere close to being creative.

I agree, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't have been added.

I agree with what Vik wrote. The ones that don't belong there slipped through for whatever reason. Nothing much we can do about that.


vikkyvik wrote:
JakTrax wrote:
My criticism is aimed at aviation photography's current direction, which seems to be much more about hit-seeking and popularity than actually getting out there and taking the time and care to take a good photo.

That's a whole different discussion.

Agree with Vik again. I've seen this happen on social media as well, but it shouldn't impact A.net that much. The only downside to this behaviour can be a disappointed photographer, when his/her photo gets rejected that others have praised. But in my belief, a photographer should be realistic about their own photos and look for ways to improve. There's so much to learn, but that will only happen if one is open to the idea.


JakTrax wrote:
Still, the point remains: how can a blurry shot ever be a good shot, per se?

Initially, never. But what if the editing software can fix a blurry photo to become a 100% sharp photo? Then the end result will be a good photo.


JakTrax wrote:
A lot of aspects of today's aviation photography seem to be about massaging egos if I'm bluntly honest.

In some cases, I would agree. But that's something that goes on on social media, outside of A.net and its control.
 
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cpd
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:33 am

JakTrax wrote:
I agree, aviation photography belongs to no-one but the hobby is getting less and less friendly, and more fragmented. If new people want to join the community, we shouldn't be discouraging or stopping them, however many seem to be coming with an attitude different to that of the last generation. That attitude is 'look at me, look at me' and I doubt you could deny having seen it online recently.


I think the helicopter spotting is a good example of that. It didn't become popular until more recently.

I don't like the idea of calling out other photos, the risk being that everyone starts doing so and then the downward spiral begins. What next, a report this photo for not being good enough? Which all the spotter cliques will then use against each other.

And you can't deny that there are spotter cliques. There have been for a long time too.

airkas1 wrote:
JakTrax wrote:
A lot of aspects of today's aviation photography seem to be about massaging egos if I'm bluntly honest.

In some cases, I would agree. But that's something that goes on on social media, outside of A.net and its control.


That's not a new thing. It's certainly happened for years where someone will complain about an image rejection and someone else will come along and quite rudely suggest "learn how to take photos", or something similar to that effect. That's not good. Is it really old style spotting anymore?
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:52 am

Chris, can't disagree with anything you say above. I'm not suggesting I'd personally publicly call out photos, however - I'm simply saying that, to me, it's a non-issue, and I wouldn't be bothered in the slightest if someone in this forum pulled up one of mine for criticism (for whatever reason). Re Kas' comments, though, I do think we're starting to see an impact on sites such as this one - it's clear to me that people are vying for views and that the hit counter is important to them. Everyone feels good about their photos getting viewed but for some people it's an obsession greater than aviation itself!

Like I say, it's not impacting me personally but I do think it's becoming an increasingly sad state of affairs as technology (and social media) progresses. I just thought I'd start this thread to see what other folks think. Ultimately, as long as people aren't affecting others, they are free to enjoy the hobby however the heck they like! I can't help but wonder with some, though, whether they are truly enjoying the hobby or just subconsciously working non-stop towards the goal of first to reach a gazillion hits - where does pleasure end and chore begin?
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:02 pm

cpd wrote:
I think the helicopter spotting is a good example of that. It didn't become popular until more recently.


A good example of "look at me" attitude? Or of spotting getting more fragmented?

That doesn't make sense. If I had the money, I'd go up in a heli over LAX once a month or so. Nothing to do with "look at me" or trying to get away from other spotters. It's just a different perspective and an opportunity to take different shots.

cpd wrote:
And you can't deny that there are spotter cliques.


There very well may be cliques, but one doesn't have to join a clique.

JakTrax wrote:
it's clear to me that people are vying for views and that the hit counter is important to them.


That's nothing new. I've seen it since I started uploading 7+ years ago, and I'm sure it has gone on since A.net was founded back in '99 or whenever.

JakTrax wrote:
Everyone feels good about their photos getting viewed but for some people it's an obsession greater than aviation itself!

JakTrax wrote:
I can't help but wonder with some, though, whether they are truly enjoying the hobby or just subconsciously working non-stop towards the goal of first to reach a gazillion hits - where does pleasure end and chore begin?


That's not your problem, though. Who cares why other people are here? There are plenty who love aviation, plenty who love photography, plenty who just want a halfway-decent forum environment, and plenty who want hits on photos.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:17 pm

I didn't say it was my problem - I really couldn't care less - I started this thread partially out of boredom, but also because I was wondering if others were seeing the same changes. The point is, the hobby is changing, and for many (older) people it's not for the better. There have always been cliques but they're getting silly now... to the point where I most often go on my own to my local and keep myself to myself (unless I see someone I know). You only need look at how quiet and generally unfriendly these forums are these days, as well as the number of older A.netters that have deserted the site. Views are down too, yet the site now offers more volume and 'diversity' (let's call it).

I speak as an observer more than someone who's niggled by all of this; frankly, as long as I get my shots how I want them, everyone else can do and say what the heck they like!
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:34 pm

cpd wrote:
And you can't deny that there are spotter cliques.

There very well may be cliques, but one doesn't have to join a clique.


All depends if you are invited to join! The UK scene is really cliquely, which is a shame but anet has brought people to together in different ways.
 
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cpd
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:39 am

vikkyvik wrote:
cpd wrote:
I think the helicopter spotting is a good example of that. It didn't become popular until more recently.


A good example of "look at me" attitude? Or of spotting getting more fragmented?

That doesn't make sense. If I had the money, I'd go up in a heli over LAX once a month or so. Nothing to do with "look at me" or trying to get away from other spotters. It's just a different perspective and an opportunity to take different shots.


I think both actually, at least in some cities. I wonder how many times you'd spend money to go up in a helicopter to take the same old shots in the same old places? I've done it twice, both times with one other person to give it a go, and that was enough really. Anything more for me at least is just throwing money away.

JakTrax wrote:
I speak as an observer more than someone who's niggled by all of this;


Me as well. I've not been seen at an airport with a camera in years.

JakTrax wrote:
You only need look at how quiet and generally unfriendly these forums are these days, as well as the number of older A.netters that have deserted the site.


I used to remember when a new camera or lens would come out, there would be a huge discussion about it, now the only discussion is between the crickets chirping at each other. Maybe I'll revisit taking pictures of planes in another 5 or 10 years, assuming it isn't banned by then.
 
Psych
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:14 am

Hello Karl.

Nice to bump into you yesterday.

Though I cannot comment on the general standard of images these days, as I have been away from the site for a long time, I have been hoping to get back into some more regular activity and uploading of late. Although not based on great numbers, I can say that I have had a significant proportion of recent uploads rejected - something I was previously not used to. So - very subjectively (and not based on huge numbers) - my experience is that screening is significantly harsher than it was when I was more regularly uploading a year or two ago.

As is often said, with so many screeners operating, it is a major task to try to ensure some kind of consistency. But I am interested to see where the site would like to go now, given the vast advance of social media and people choosing to share their photos through those means (or via non-screened photo sites) rather than through sites such as this. My motivation is slipping when I feel a perfectly good photo is getting thrown out, and views are not what they used to be.

Cheers.

Paul
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:00 am

So in essence, there are now more people participating in this hobby than ever, yet views and forum posts here - at supposedly the world's premier aviation photo site - are at an all-time low. That's the issue right there. Yes, it could be down to competing sites and people wanting to display their photos how they like (rather than how a screener/site likes), but could that be indicative of A.net becoming a victim of its own success?

I'm not saying what succinctly is or isn't; I'm saying that, for me and many others, the hobby is generally less friendly than it used to be. And I personally believe that this is largely down to the internet, which seems to have inadvertently generated a climate of elitism and one-upmanship.

Paul, I really don't know what to say about your rejections - if you'd seen some of the images I've been relaying to Kas lately, you'd probably feel like you'd been kicked hard in the teeth!
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:58 am

Hi Karl,

actually I cannot echo your feeling.

I've seen a few shots that obviously slipped through and one way off-level shot was particularly prominent, but on the other hand (as Paul noted, too) I usually get more rejections than I used to a few years back and know others that suddenly struggle with pretty normal shots as well. So personally I can't say that overall quality has decreased.
I am wondering as well how a few shots have made it, but that's a minority IMO.

As for the views are being low, I think there are reasons for that. There are a lot of more options these days, you can even get quite a lot of views on non-screened sites like flickr or instagram (especially for the younger ones), and most of the photographers that stopped uploading did leave over screening issues ans they felt they were unfairly treated (rightfully or not of course). Others are keen on getting their shots on FR24 which is what a competitor offers and they seem to accept anything these days.
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:31 am

Psych wrote:
Hello Karl.

Nice to bump into you yesterday.

Though I cannot comment on the general standard of images these days, as I have been away from the site for a long time, I have been hoping to get back into some more regular activity and uploading of late. Although not based on great numbers, I can say that I have had a significant proportion of recent uploads rejected - something I was previously not used to. So - very subjectively (and not based on huge numbers) - my experience is that screening is significantly harsher than it was when I was more regularly uploading a year or two ago.

As is often said, with so many screeners operating, it is a major task to try to ensure some kind of consistency. But I am interested to see where the site would like to go now, given the vast advance of social media and people choosing to share their photos through those means (or via non-screened photo sites) rather than through sites such as this. My motivation is slipping when I feel a perfectly good photo is getting thrown out, and views are not what they used to be.

Cheers.


Paul


I can only echo your thoughts on sharing photos via social media means. That's a huge danger to the traditional forms of media. It certainly kills off professional photo departments in a lot of companies.

People can share their photos immediately without waiting.

I think people want maximum exposure of their images in shortest time. And the youngsters now are so social media savvy that they can do it.
 
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airkas1
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:51 pm

I contribute the low views mostly due to the massive disaster when the site upgraded and the rise of social media (where everyone can post what they want, regardless of quality). It sucks that views are quite low, but unfortunately we also can't do much about that. We can't force people to visit the site. That said, the top 5 photos get a decent amount of views, but getting there in the first place is hard.

Lately, I find myself thinking 'we're being too harsh with screening' rather than 'we're being too lenient'. Of course there will always be photos that slip through and we do notice and try to correct that (deleting photos, asking photographers to reupload), but that's not a visible process to the public. Once you view a photo and you think it's bad, you likely won't look at it again, right? While maybe behind the scenes we've made corrective actions and now the photo is fixed. And again, we may not see every wrongfully accepted photo, so it is always appreciated when we get a heads-up of a possible candidate.

Maybe we can draw back some visitors if we add certain elements to the site (I like the achievements idea, the aircraft recognition quiz, etc.). I've listed those on our to-do list, but when basic elements still aren't fixed, I fear it will be a while before we can premium features.
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:03 pm

Kas, getting into the top 5 is something certain people manage to frequently do with ease, and I believe it's to do with promoting on social media. If people are so interested in views and getting an image into the top 5 that they feel the need to over-promote (for want of a better phrase), that's up to them - they aren't hurting anyone - but I feel that the top 5 should be dominated by either newsworthy or truly creative photos. Unfortunately it's too easy to manipulate elements of sites such as this, and I'm in agreement that there's not a lot you can do about it. I was never suggesting you tackle it; like I've said many times during this thread, I'm just offering my views and wondering if anyone else shares them.

The Photographers' Choice section is usually a better indication of what the community generally finds pleasing, and should in theory be much harder to manipulate. For all the questionable images on this site, there are an equal amount of impressive ones that perhaps wouldn't have made it in under the older rules, so I guess it's not all bad. Ultimately, the direction this site chooses is irrelevant to me as I don't upload any more, however I doubt I'll ever boycott A.net for any of the reasons I've outlined - I'll still come here to look at what's new and catch up with what folks at my locals have been up to, whatever the state of play.

I still maintain that too many people use the 'creative' option to try and pass off what are typically very average/ordinary images, however. Facebook is riddled with poor photos that are described (and accepted) as 'creative'. How many planes passing in front of rainbows do you see? Lovely shots, mostly, but are they creative, other than the photographer having pressed the shutter during the correct window of opportunity?
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:30 pm

cpd wrote:
I think both actually, at least in some cities. I wonder how many times you'd spend money to go up in a helicopter to take the same old shots in the same old places? I've done it twice, both times with one other person to give it a go, and that was enough really. Anything more for me at least is just throwing money away.


I already go to my regular spots around LAX to take the same old shots at the same old places. Heli trips would just be another added location.

I don't have that money to throw away, so it's a moot point. But I still don't see how that is contributing to the whole "look at me" phenomenon or to spotting getting more fragmented.

JakTrax wrote:
The point is, the hobby is changing, and for many (older) people it's not for the better.


So basically:

Image

:biggrin:

cpd wrote:
I used to remember when a new camera or lens would come out, there would be a huge discussion about it, now the only discussion is between the crickets chirping at each other.


I think that's less to do with unfriendliness, and more to do with people spending time elsewhere, like on Flickr or Instagram or wherever. There's probably just not as much demand for a dedicated aviation photography forum.

Then of course the site has not done anything to draw users in years. Just the opposite.

Psych wrote:
So - very subjectively (and not based on huge numbers) - my experience is that screening is significantly harsher than it was when I was more regularly uploading a year or two ago.


That was my experience when I last uploaded.

JakTrax wrote:
Yes, it could be down to competing sites and people wanting to display their photos how they like (rather than how a screener/site likes), but could that be indicative of A.net becoming a victim of its own success?


Maybe a bit more complex than that. But I think the website simply made some pretty dumb decisions over the course of 5 years or so. Forum membership was alienated, probably moreso than photographers (after all, there are tons of photographers who don't participate in the forums).

airkas1 wrote:
Lately, I find myself thinking 'we're being too harsh with screening' rather than 'we're being too lenient'.


I recall screeners saying that 5 years ago too. :biggrin:
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:54 pm

Vik, I'm not sure what an old guy yelling at a cloud has to do with it, but I remember the days when people would rock up at the airport just because it was a sunny day. No-one had a clue what was due, and while we speculated about the day's movements we would get involved in banter and it was all a rather social event. Nowadays people dash off to be the first to get their photos online (their prerogative and not hurting anyone) - and believe me, this is commonplace! It's now far less social, and fiercely competitive. Might be exclusive to my locals, but it would be reasonable to assume it's generally across the board. Surely this can't be a good thing?

Yes, social media and the internet help us to get the information we need a lot sooner than we otherwise would, however I do miss the old days of swarms of people who'd stay the whole day in anticipation, rather than just drop by for 5 minutes to shoot something specific.

There are also cases of people withholding info because they want the 'exclusive', although this malicious practice has been going on for a while. Still, it's flourished in the digital era because people believe there's something at stake by divulging info.

On a final note, aren't you from the US? In the US this hobby wasn't really that big until a decade or so ago; it started in Europe and was always much more understood here (although that's changing).
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:19 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with JakTrax's reply (#24).
 
Psych
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:31 pm

Well this feels like the old days - a discussion!

Apologies if this is slightly hijacking your thread, Karl, but here's an example of one of my recent rejections:

http://imgproc.airliners.net/photos/air ... a97a7bc484

When it was initially rejected for underexposure I appealed with some confidence, only to have it further rejected, now also for quality and blurry.

I fully accept the screeners (not least the Heads) look at far more photos than do I, but when I edited this shot I felt confident it met the site's standards (as I previously understood them). My reaction to getting the 'double rejection' was to question why I would bother any longer - with recent photos submitted getting paltry views compared to the old days. And that is what A.net offers the likes of me (not using social media) - exposure on the net for my photos (and, let's not forget, provides free material for the site's owner).

I was interested - and relieved - to read Kas's comment about harsh screening. Whilst I fully support Karl's position that obviously poor photos should not be included in a premium photography site, I also feel that if shots such as mine are deemed for the trash can then I am struggling to keep motivated to continue - and that attitude is surely not what the site wants from its contributors.

But hey - maybe it is my standars that are slipping and I don't see it with my ageing eyes.

Cheers.

Paul

P.S. Should have said - I was motivated to submit a Monarch shot in memory of the airline, which had disappeared after 49 years a couple of days beforehand.
Last edited by Psych on Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:33 pm

Nice to see some old faces back - Paul, it has been ages, hope you are doing well my friend!

While I would love to dwell on how great (or awful, it depends on each of your individual experiences) A.net was in the past, the truth is that both the aviation photography world and the site have changed dramatically over the past two years, and I would venture to say irreversibly. Hence we can only adapt as best we can to the new circumstances.

The (then) site owners probably chose the worst timing possible for the massive site screw-up, sorry, I meant site upgrade, despite all the loud voices to the contrary both internally and by the site contributors. And then the worst happened, all the supposed upgrades failed one after the other, the viewers and contributors were left alone, and the site is still not fully back now almost 2 years later and with a new owner. Coincidentally, the full effect of the new social media started to creep into A.net in 2015 and 2016, taking a lot of the photographers away from all the hassle of editing and uploading (and accepting rejections) into no-screening sites to showcase their pictures.

Unfortunately I have not seen one post or thread about how to make A.net more attractive in the future, how to win back the lost photographers and how to bring new ones, and I am afraid that Kas basically confirmed that there is still too much development work to be done in order to get back the previously available site usability for any one (internally) to really tackle these other problems. I suppose that the new owners have done the math, and probably concluded that the site's revenue does not support a big development team, and therefore the to-do-list lingers on...

I really don't know under the circumstances how to solve this, but I am pretty sure that lowering the screening standards is going in the wrong direction, since it will only dilute even more the distinctiveness of A.net and simply turn it into another Flickr, and there A.net cannot compete at all - sorry to disagree Karl.

It would be nice to hear some more comments, this should be an interesting topic for all those who care about A.net!

Cheers,
Andrés
Just sit back, relax and have a glass of Merlot...enjoy your life!
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:53 pm

JakTrax wrote:
but I remember the days when people would rock up at the airport just because it was a sunny day. No-one had a clue what was due


That still defines my trips to the airport (except substitute "rainy" for "sunny"). I never look up what's arriving in advance.

All I can say is if you go to Imperial Hill on any given Saturday afternoon during the winter, it is crowded, and quite social (if you want it to be).

JakTrax wrote:
Nowadays people dash off to be the first to get their photos online (their prerogative and not hurting anyone) - and believe me, this is commonplace! It's now far less social, and fiercely competitive. Might be exclusive to my locals, but it would be reasonable to assume it's generally across the board. Surely this can't be a good thing?


I'm not sure it's good or bad. It's just a thing.

JakTrax wrote:
On a final note, aren't you from the US? In the US this hobby wasn't really that big until a decade or so ago; it started in Europe and was always much more understood here (although that's changing).


Yes, from the US. If it started in Europe and is more understood there, shouldn't it be less competitive and unfriendly? Not sure what you're getting at.

Look, I understand that the world changes, and it can be difficult to adjust. I don't particularly like change. I wish these forums were more active, like they used to be. But if I refuse to adapt and go where the people are now, then that's really on me.

My shooting habits haven't changed, and when I go shoot, I'll still talk to whomever, or arrange to meet up with whomever. That hasn't ever seemed to be a problem. But personally, I don't have nearly as much time to go shoot as I used to. So that's something.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:34 pm

Tried to edit my post, but went past the allotted time, so:

Andres, to offer some more comments that pertain to your post:
A.net is certainly not the website it was when I joined (in 2003 I think) and when I started contributing photos (in 2010). That made me quite sad for awhile. Indeed, I wouldn't be here right now if I didn't have some glimmer of hope that the site would find its path again. But after getting some rejections that annoyed me, and after all the chaos that has happened on the site, I basically just lost interest in uploading photos here.

But I've never been one of those members who's taken it personally. It is what it is - websites come and go.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
JakTrax
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:50 pm

Vik, if you are one among the many people who don't get much time to get out to airports and shoot, you might be one of the luckier ones! My job allows me to basically go shoot whenever I want; although we don't get too much sun in the north of England, I likely spend more time than most by the sides of runways, so it stands to reason than I've become a diligent observer of people's habits and rituals. I'm also very social in the company of similar people and most I chat to are happy to divulge their intentions and motivations.

With the comment about Europe having been the birthplace of the modern hobby, I'm saying that the issues I've outlined may not apply to the same extent in the US. Perhaps things are more friendly there still, with the hobby effectively in its infancy.

This thread has now fulfilled its purpose - it's got a debate going, and it's got people talking!
 
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airkas1
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:57 pm

acontador wrote:
Unfortunately I have not seen one post or thread about how to make A.net more attractive in the future, how to win back the lost photographers and how to bring new ones, and I am afraid that Kas basically confirmed that there is still too much development work to be done in order to get back the previously available site usability for any one (internally) to really tackle these other problems. I suppose that the new owners have done the math, and probably concluded that the site's revenue does not support a big development team, and therefore the to-do-list lingers on...

Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done. Honestly, I wish I knew how to code just so I could help out in my spare time. I've been thinking on and off about the possibily of letting known contributors with those skills have access to a work-environment of the site and perhaps help out that way. I've casually brought it up a while ago, but I don't know how the owners/developer would feel about that. Let alone finding people who would want to help us out with that.

I don't want to divulge every single detail in public, but I'll try to provide some background info.
The site still misses functional issues that make our (=volunteer) work easier. Examples: we can't edit certain info on the screening pages and the editors still don't have all the tools they need. There are workarounds, but it's more time consuming. And then there's a load of other stuff that ideally still needs fixing. We keep a list (we call it the Squawk Sheet) where we write all the stuff that we think needs to be fixed/added/removed/etc, Some time ago, I wrote some things that I thought could help gain some popularity again. For example bringing back the aircraft quiz, but also other features like achievements for example.

The development team under DM/Leaf consisted of 3 people at the height (right before and a bit after the site upgrade) and later got reduced to 1 developer. Under the new owner, there is 1 developer. The good news for us is that it's the same guy we had under DM and he knows the backend of the site like no-one else does. He's also a really nice guy and I don't blame him for everything that still needs to be done. That said, I do wish that I could report good news more often (referring to this thread: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1335403. All those items listed in the main post have been on the Squawk Sheet).

So yeah, I do have some ideas about making the site more attractive. But at the current pace, I fear it will take a long time before we will see them (if at all). If anyone else has suggestions, I would of course love to hear them.


acontador wrote:
I really don't know under the circumstances how to solve this, but I am pretty sure that lowering the screening standards is going in the wrong direction

Fully agree. At the very least, trying to uphold our name is a no-brainer for me. However, I've seen many nice photos (with high-potential, which is also good for the site) get rejected for things I can't wrap my head around. Sometimes I feel we're a bit stuck in the past in terms of our way of thinking and that's hard to solve. To bring Vik into this again (sorry :biggrin: ), I still remember some of his rain shots that I thought were nice considering the circumstances, but that didn't make it in the end.

Another thing that we can do is to make this a nice place where people are welcomed. Where we can be social. Where we help people get better at photography. I don't really participate in the aviation forum, but I know some people get fed up there due to the newer generation asking 'dumb' questions. If there's a change of watch (generation), they should be welcomed, not ridiculed (trolls aside). But what we can influence is the atmosphere in the photography and feedback section. We get less threads, but that also means there is time to answer each and everyone (and on a more personalized level) and the possibility to provide everyone with feedback. I guess you could call it the service we can provide. Whether or not it would/does make people stick around, I don't actually know. But I do hope it makes a difference from other sites.
 
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airkas1
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:35 pm

Just wanted to reply to Paul's post as well, but couldn't do that at work (monitor not good enough to judge the photo).

Psych wrote:
here's an example of one of my recent rejections:
http://imgproc.airliners.net/photos/air ... a97a7bc484
When it was initially rejected for underexposure I appealed with some confidence, only to have it further rejected, now also for quality and blurry.

Unfortunately I agree with blurry, quality and underexposed. While the exposure is not THAT bad, it would benefit from a bit more brightness. I took the liberty of a quick edit to show you what I mean: https://imgur.com/a/WjbRd

The titles were the first giveaway and it does look a bit blurry/marginal at best, sorry.
I will reply to your E-mail tomorrow by the way, too tired for that now.
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:30 am

Paul, unfortunately I also have to agree that your shot looks blurry.

airkas1 wrote:
To bring Vik into this again (sorry :biggrin: ), I still remember some of his rain shots that I thought were nice considering the circumstances, but that didn't make it in the end.


No problem. :biggrin:

Yeah, I've always been stumped when it comes to uploading bad-weather shots. I can never get them to where A.net likes them. And since I love shooting in bad weather and low light, well.....It's one of those things where after I've already put some decent time into editing (often doing multiple edits to get it to where I want), the last thing I want to do is edit it again after a rejection.

It always puzzled me. Seems like tougher shots (bad weather, low light, etc.) were judged just as - if not more - harshly than regular shots. Or that there was still a very narrow band of "acceptable". I always felt that band should be much wider for tougher shots.

But hey. It is what it is, and no offense Kas, but I've never really expected any different from the screening team (I've hoped, but not expected). Nothing personal against individual screeners, it's just very difficult to get a whole team of ~20-30 people to agree on changing their methodology. And even if you manage that in the short-term, it will default back to the previous condition without long-term vigilance. That's just how people work - you see it in all sorts of working environments.

So anyway. There might still be hope for the site. I don't really know. But I doubt it will ever be the juggernaut it was 10 years ago.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:24 am

Andres asks what can be done to change things, well, I don't think there is much. I feel that the world is moving on now towards the instant nature of social media, of twitter and those things where images can be shared very quickly and very widely, for better or for worse.

That's no slight on sites like this one or its competitors, that's just the way it is now. Newspapers and the television networks love social media and Mr/Mrs Ordinary Person with a smart phone camera. They get the images/footage they want for their story immediately and don't have to have a photographer on the payroll. If you do need a real photographer, you contract one in for the time needed and when done, out the door they go.
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:21 pm

It's good to be involved in a discussion - just for old times' sake. Certainly reminds me of the old days. Great to see the likes of Andres here - a good man. We must talk!

I must also say whilst I am on how impressed I have been with Kas's involvement in the Forum - many congratulations for that.

Thanks for the feedback on my image - I will bow to those of you whose eyes are well trained.

A friend of mine, who posts photos on Instagram, pursuaded me to have a go. Though I remain something of a Luddite with these things, there is no doubt the instant feedback is a notable factor. I agree that it is very hard for sites such as A.net to compete with regards to the photos (which, together with the Av. Photography discussions, is all I was ever bothered about) - not least due to the delays between uploading and acceptance. Kas - has there been any recent (potentially inflammatory) discussions about allowing people with certain 'credentials' (say, with more than 'x' acceptances) to bypass screening, so speeding up the process? I can already hear some of the arguments against (not least that someone like me would have expected to see that Monarch shot up there), but a friend of mine participates in an aviation photography site that allows a photographer who has satisfied certain pretty strict criteria, and thus demonstrated their capability, to effectively self-screen.

I must say screening times are better at the moment, as compared to when I was more active a couple of years ago - but the time lag is a real negative when we look at the current competitive world of social media.

Paul
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:40 pm

Cool to see so many veterans of the hobby sharing thoughts here. Much thanks and appreciation to all of you.
I'll quote myself from a thread a few months ago regarding fake airliners.net Instagram pages. I shared some thoughts on what our community needs to do to survive in a social-media based world:
Kaphias wrote:
I wish there was some way for there to be an official airliners.net Instagram page- it seems like the perfect match as a image-based social media platform. Of course, the issue is that the photos are displayed in full and wouldn't necessarily link back to airliners.net itself for view counts and ad revenue.
Perhaps there could be a check box on the upload form where photographers could "approve" each photo (or all their photos) to be posted on Instagram, if they are chosen? I for one would appreciate the opportunity to have my photos shared with a larger audience, under the airliners.net banner. It's nice to be able to keep track of views but the potential exposure is more important to me personally.
I also think that for airliners.net to survive in a internet increasingly visited via social media and apps, we are missing out on many potential opportunities to bring more people into the website and the hobby as a whole. Imagine if the Instagram (or even Snapchat?) account was handed over to a trusted photographer for a day while they visit an airshow, or take a flight. The "live" or "stories" functions of both apps could be a great way to reach a new audience.
Matthew
 
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airkas1
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:06 pm

Psych wrote:
IKas - has there been any recent (potentially inflammatory) discussions about allowing people with certain 'credentials' (say, with more than 'x' acceptances) to bypass screening, so speeding up the process? I can already hear some of the arguments against (not least that someone like me would have expected to see that Monarch shot up there), but a friend of mine participates in an aviation photography site that allows a photographer who has satisfied certain pretty strict criteria, and thus demonstrated their capability, to effectively self-screen.

It hasn't been brought up as far as I know. I'm open to the idea, but I think I know what the others will say ;) However, it could work if we have a dedicated group of people who do 'quality control' and if we enforce a strict policy upon breaching the terms.


Kaphias wrote:
I wish there was some way for there to be an official airliners.net Instagram page- it seems like the perfect match as a image-based social media platform. Of course, the issue is that the photos are displayed in full and wouldn't necessarily link back to airliners.net itself for view counts and ad revenue. Perhaps there could be a check box on the upload form where photographers could "approve" each photo (or all their photos) to be posted on Instagram, if they are chosen? I for one would appreciate the opportunity to have my photos shared with a larger audience, under the airliners.net banner. It's nice to be able to keep track of views but the potential exposure is more important to me personally.

An official A.net page could be nice and popular, for sure. I don't know in what way a checkbox would result in extra work for everyone involved, but I'm sure that wouldn't be the bottleneck for the idea. I wouldn't mind my photos being shared there either. If anything, a list can be created in the forum, where everyone who is willing can sign up for it (incl. their IG handles so a photo can be credited). The latter also opens up the possibility of photographers getting more exposure on that platform (win-win for all).


Kaphias wrote:
I also think that for airliners.net to survive in a internet increasingly visited via social media and apps, we are missing out on many potential opportunities to bring more people into the website and the hobby as a whole. Imagine if the Instagram (or even Snapchat?) account was handed over to a trusted photographer for a day while they visit an airshow, or take a flight. The "live" or "stories" functions of both apps could be a great way to reach a new audience.

Under the previous management, a smartphone was taking out to LAX a few times where someone just hung out and went live on the A.net Facebook page, filming the arrivals. I do like the idea of a social media take-over and it's a relatively common thing nowadays. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to give random people access to our accounts, but the crew should be good to start with. For example if they go somewhere interesting, visit an airshow or whatever event and can livestream or post photos/video from location.
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:50 pm

To go back to Paul's MON photo, I'd agree that it looks blurry, but that doesn't necessarily mean the original image is blurry. Countless times I've edited an image (especially at smaller sizes) and found it has a blurry appearance, yet the original file is tack-sharp. I'm inclined to think it's some editing artefact that's being inadvertently introduced, however it seems so random that it could just be an effect of an aircraft's livery. The titles of MON always seem(ed) to look inherently soft.

Karl
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:54 am

airkas1 wrote:
Kaphias wrote:
I wish there was some way for there to be an official airliners.net Instagram page- it seems like the perfect match as a image-based social media platform. Of course, the issue is that the photos are displayed in full and wouldn't necessarily link back to airliners.net itself for view counts and ad revenue. Perhaps there could be a check box on the upload form where photographers could "approve" each photo (or all their photos) to be posted on Instagram, if they are chosen? I for one would appreciate the opportunity to have my photos shared with a larger audience, under the airliners.net banner. It's nice to be able to keep track of views but the potential exposure is more important to me personally.

An official A.net page could be nice and popular, for sure. I don't know in what way a checkbox would result in extra work for everyone involved, but I'm sure that wouldn't be the bottleneck for the idea. I wouldn't mind my photos being shared there either. If anything, a list can be created in the forum, where everyone who is willing can sign up for it (incl. their IG handles so a photo can be credited). The latter also opens up the possibility of photographers getting more exposure on that platform (win-win for all).

Kaphias wrote:
I also think that for airliners.net to survive in a internet increasingly visited via social media and apps, we are missing out on many potential opportunities to bring more people into the website and the hobby as a whole. Imagine if the Instagram (or even Snapchat?) account was handed over to a trusted photographer for a day while they visit an airshow, or take a flight. The "live" or "stories" functions of both apps could be a great way to reach a new audience.

Under the previous management, a smartphone was taking out to LAX a few times where someone just hung out and went live on the A.net Facebook page, filming the arrivals. I do like the idea of a social media take-over and it's a relatively common thing nowadays. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to give random people access to our accounts, but the crew should be good to start with. For example if they go somewhere interesting, visit an airshow or whatever event and can livestream or post photos/video from location.

Happy to hear a positive response on both fronts- hopefully both of these can happen, in due time.
Matthew
 
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:56 am

Psych wrote:
Well this feels like the old days - a discussion!

Apologies if this is slightly hijacking your thread, Karl, but here's an example of one of my recent rejections:

http://imgproc.airliners.net/photos/air ... a97a7bc484

When it was initially rejected for underexposure I appealed with some confidence, only to have it further rejected, now also for quality and blurry.



Hi Paul,

Taking my screener glasses out of the drawer I would have to agree here with the quality/dark/blurry rejection. Having said that, it is not a terrible image, more on the edge (unfortunately the wrong side of it ;) !), certainly the dark part can easily be corrected (as Kas demonstrated), and I wonder if the quality is really due to the original image or due to the editing (as Karl hinted)? I encountered in the past some issues when downsizing big original files into 1024 px ones, so I changed to 1200 px and it went away.

I don't think that self screening is a good idea, there is a very good reason screeners are not allowed to screen their own pictures, and you would imagine they should be the first ones to be allowed to! It is already a very difficult job to judge correctly and objectively pictures from your fellow colleagues, but it is much more difficult to do it with your own ones. However, contrary to my former believes, I actually don't think that the average viewer (the few that are left) really care that much about the perfect quality, we photographers do for sure, but how many of us are left here?

Reflecting a bit more about the current state of affairs here, I think we are seeing an identity crisis with Anet, it looks a bit lost in time not knowing were to go and a captain (owner) probably unwilling to invest much thought (and other resources) into determining the right direction to go. As in the past, I think it will be up to the crew, the many volunteers, to step up and take charge, otherwise unfortunately I think we are just waiting until someone pulls the plug...

Personally I remember the core values of the former Anet very well, and I do think that there is a place for such a site in the future, too, but there are some issues that simply need to be solved first:

1. We need a fully functional site, technically reliable, that offers also the possibility (and resources) to implement in a reasonable time further upgrades.
2. We need additional volunteer teams, one for new projects (people just thinking of ways on how to further improve, who also have the time and knowledge to participate in the implementation) and another for social media beyond Facebook.
3. We need to implement an active policy and procedures to win back lost contributors and also make it easier for new photographers to join the ranks.
4. We need to implement a procedure to encourage the upload of different/creative pictures and discourage the more usual sunny-blue sky side-on shot.

Now, all of that requires resources (time), the current team probably already has their hands absolutely full (if nothing dramatically has changed since I left the team), so the question would be if there are enough people willing to spend their time (and a lot of it) for free?

In any case, many thanks for all of the thoughts/comments/ideas, let's try to brainstorm a little here and see if we can come up with something valuable!

Cheers,
Andrés
Just sit back, relax and have a glass of Merlot...enjoy your life!
 
vikkyvik
Posts: 12113
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:29 pm

I agree with this:

acontador wrote:
4. We need to implement a procedure to encourage the upload of different/creative pictures


...but disagree with this:

acontador wrote:
discourage the more usual sunny-blue sky side-on shot.


A.net does serve as a database as well as a photography site, so I don't think we should be discouraging any specific types of (acceptable) photos.

acontador wrote:
I don't think that self screening is a good idea


Agreed. Speaking for myself, since I've stopped uploading to A.net, I'm less critical of certain aspects of my photos. If I were able to self-screen, I'd be that same way. And while I think my photos are just fine, they probably don't meet A.net's criteria anymore.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
JakTrax
Topic Author
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:43 pm

The problem with encouraging more creative photos leads me back to one of my original points: people uploading any old rubbish and claiming it's 'creative'. Now that's not to say that the screeners will accept the cr*p, but it unnecessarily clogs up the queue and wastes a lot of valuable time.

As for discouraging sunny side-ons, I don't see how this is possible since the site was built (and still relies) on such images. Perhaps the way is to get more strict with them, and thus create a climate in which it's very difficult to get them accepted unless they're technically perfect in every way. In my opinion there are way too many side-ons in the database taken in mediocre/poor light - at midday in June, for example (talking of the northern hemisphere, of course). We also see a lot from the same day (or same session) - endless photos of every Ryanair or easyJet that moved that morning. Perhaps limit the amount of photos one can upload from any given day, or limit the number of images of a particular airline.

For example:

Why accept this...
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Lufthans ... zb9gNJ2C7F

...when you already have this?
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Lufthans ... zb9gNJ2C7F

Not taking anything away from the photographer of the first one, but it's a fact that the second image is in much better light.

Karl
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:02 pm

JakTrax wrote:
The problem with encouraging more creative photos leads me back to one of my original points: people uploading any old rubbish and claiming it's 'creative'. Now that's not to say that the screeners will accept the cr*p, but it unnecessarily clogs up the queue and wastes a lot of valuable time.


I doubt it wastes as much time as you think. Easily rejectable photos take all of 5 seconds.

But the real way to encourage more creativity is just to make it clear that the screeners will accept more creativity. And to ensure, through constant quality control, that these acceptances actually happen. It'll take more than just accepting photos on appeal.

And then, promote such shots on FB and IG and wherever.

Because despite several pushes to accept more creative shots, and the new creative queue, I don't honestly see that much difference in the shots that are accepted. Could be because people aren't uploading anything creative, but maybe they just expect those shots to get rejected.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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acontador
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:21 pm

In the past it was enough for A.net to offer high quality pictures of airplanes, since the access and equipment needed to get those were rather restrictive and difficult to obtain for the average viewer. Anyone who used to spent hours surfing the web for such pictures will confirm this! Almost 20 years later (yes, that will happen in 2019) this is no longer the case, we have many examples in the database of pictures taking with cellphones by Mr. Unknown with 3 pictures in the database, which actually are quite good. Decent gear can be purchased today by a lot more people, and even putting anything you have in Auto mode and spraying at 8 fps you are bound to get at least a couple of decent shots of any aircraft in almost any condition. So, the site needs to find a new way to differentiate itself from the rest, and that is not even taking into account all the other issues that we have highlighted...

While I am guilty myself of uploading the sunny-side-ons, I really think that the site should somehow discourage people from continuing doing so, be it by limiting the number to be uploaded, making the standard even higher for these kind of shots (difficult), or simply allowing screeners to reject for double for specifically these kind of shots even if the images were taken on different days (I think that already theoretically exists but I don't think it is widely implemented).

And let's not forget how to actively encourage more creative pictures!
Just sit back, relax and have a glass of Merlot...enjoy your life!
 
vikkyvik
Posts: 12113
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

Re: Image standards slipping?

Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:24 pm

acontador wrote:
While I am guilty myself of uploading the sunny-side-ons, I really think that the site should somehow discourage people from continuing doing so, be it by limiting the number to be uploaded, making the standard even higher for these kind of shots (difficult), or simply allowing screeners to reject for double for specifically these kind of shots even if the images were taken on different days (I think that already theoretically exists but I don't think it is widely implemented).


I think you'd lose more photographers with that move than you would gain by adding more creative images.

So as long as the site is prepared for that possibility....
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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airkas1
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:41 am

acontador wrote:
I actually don't think that the average viewer (the few that are left) really care that much about the perfect quality, we photographers do for sure, but how many of us are left here?

I can agree with this, but if we lower quality standards, we get flak from the users who do care. So we would never get it right :)


acontador wrote:
Now, all of that requires resources (time), the current team probably already has their hands absolutely full (if nothing dramatically has changed since I left the team), so the question would be if there are enough people willing to spend their time (and a lot of it) for free?

To be able to implement new stuff, we would indeed have to get more volunteers to run them.


vikkyvik wrote:
I agree with this:
acontador wrote:
4. We need to implement a procedure to encourage the upload of different/creative pictures

...but disagree with this:
acontador wrote:
discourage the more usual sunny-blue sky side-on shot.

A.net does serve as a database as well as a photography site, so I don't think we should be discouraging any specific types of (acceptable) photos.

Fully agree with Vik's views on that.


JakTrax wrote:
The problem with encouraging more creative photos leads me back to one of my original points: people uploading any old rubbish and claiming it's 'creative'. Now that's not to say that the screeners will accept the cr*p, but it unnecessarily clogs up the queue and wastes a lot of valuable time.

It's not that bad actually. If a photo gets uplaod as creative but it isn't, I simply press the 'decreativize' button and the image goes into the normal queue. Indeed a matter of seconds.


JakTrax wrote:
Perhaps limit the amount of photos one can upload from any given day, or limit the number of images of a particular airline.

Not a big fan of this idea.


vikkyvik wrote:
But the real way to encourage more creativity is just to make it clear that the screeners will accept more creativity. And to ensure, through constant quality control, that these acceptances actually happen. It'll take more than just accepting photos on appeal.

Agree with this. We tried to spread the word previously (I think when the site upgrade happened, but not sure), but it died a slow death as usual. I would absolutely welcome more creative photos, but we will have to change our way of thinking then as well and not be stuck in the past, following rigid rules. Currently only the Hs screen the creative photos and we use a majority vote to decide. I'm not sure if that's the ideal way to go as well.


vikkyvik wrote:
Because despite several pushes to accept more creative shots, and the new creative queue, I don't honestly see that much difference in the shots that are accepted. Could be because people aren't uploading anything creative, but maybe they just expect those shots to get rejected.

Agree. Then on our part we need to convince uploaders that their photos are welcome and uploaders need to have some persistance if their photo doesn't make it the first time.


acontador wrote:
allowing screeners to reject for double for specifically these kind of shots even if the images were taken on different days (I think that already theoretically exists but I don't think it is widely implemented).

This is correct. But I'm not really in favor of making things more strict on that aspect.

acontador wrote:
And let's not forget how to actively encourage more creative pictures!

We can post on the site, social media and personally contact photographers that we know have nice material.


So thinking out loud, let me ask you all this: how do we feel about images that we currently deem overprocessed? And what about (good) HDR photos? The use of gradients? There are many images out there that look great, would attract viewers, that we like on a personal level, but aren't currently suitable for A.net.
 
Psych
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:12 pm

airkas1 wrote:
There are many images out there that look great, would attract viewers, that we like on a personal level, but aren't currently suitable for A.net.


Hi Kas - that's a fascinating sentence when you think about it. If a photo looks great (on whatever device it is being viewed ;) ); would get people taking a closer look and thus provide traffic to the site, and is generally regarded by those whose opinion counts as a good photo - then why is it not being accepted? Whose purpose do those A.net criteria now serve?

It seems that those of us prepared to chat about this here are all in favour of A.net retaining its previous reputation for high quality images. Clearly there are still many who want to think of it as a 'database', providing images for every registration/serial number out there if possible. But I hope I am not offending anyone when I say that the site is nothing like it was in the days when I first came here - and two key ways I define that are on the basis of numbers of views (for photos not in the Top 5) and photographer 'chat' here. Evidently people - viewers and many photographers - are elsewhere. I know there are other elements of the site (e.g. Civil Forum), but those don't really interest me. I liked to feel part of a photographer community and would love to see a resurgence of that - even if that means revisiting the underlying principles of the site that determined in the first place those stringent criteria.

I was speaking to a photographer last weekend whilst on a walk in the countryside - he was exhibiting his work in a little village. He does exclusively HDR images. To my eye some looked positively weird. But clearly people are prepared to pay money for them, and he is invited to display his work in exhibitions. So who cares what I think - it's all subjective. A bit like personal beliefs - you can believe what you want so long as your beliefs don't hurt others. If there's a photo on the site and I don't like it - then I don't have to open it up. I believe the site needs to be more inclusive - but that doesn't have to mean allowing poor compositions/editing. Why can't there be a specific element of the site dedicated to HDR images? If I want to see these creative photos I can search exclusively for them (and just doing that suggests to me the majority of those images were ticked that way because the uploader thought they don't follow the 'normal' rules as they understood them - I reckon many would always have been accepted). Why not have that for HDR? Or for images using other editing techniques not previously accepted? Could those keen on A.net as a 'database' (i.e. traditional rules) simply exclude images so labelled from their searches?

Paul
 
JakTrax
Topic Author
Posts: 4769
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:30 am

Re: Image standards slipping?

Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:18 pm

Paul, I agree with a lot of what you say above...... however I have to be pedantic and ask the question: are HDR images really photos? I think they may have a place here but there needs to be some kind of restriction so that we don't end up with images so far removed from the original photos.

Going back to my point about poor quality side-ons, is it not a good idea to impose restrictions on them too, in so far as to raise the bar for their acceptance? I think the two photos I linked earlier are good examples of what perhaps should and should not be accepted - if there are already umpteen sunny side-ons of a particular aircraft, perhaps anything that's inferior to what already exists in the database could be booted? In other words, use the 'common' rejection reason standalone, rather than concurrently with other reasons. That would limit the volume and discourage photographers from uploading anything but their very best (and thus put the onus on us to explore different types of images).

Finally, I'm all for encouraging true creativity, but what about images which are aesthetically pleasing but flawed, such as a night panning shot with a blurry nose? There was a discussion a couple of years ago in which I recall such an image being discussed, the ultimate consensus being that it should stay due to the difficulty in obtaining the shot. A can of worms........
 
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cpd
Posts: 5074
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:40 am

vikkyvik wrote:
acontador wrote:
While I am guilty myself of uploading the sunny-side-ons, I really think that the site should somehow discourage people from continuing doing so, be it by limiting the number to be uploaded, making the standard even higher for these kind of shots (difficult), or simply allowing screeners to reject for double for specifically these kind of shots even if the images were taken on different days (I think that already theoretically exists but I don't think it is widely implemented).


I think you'd lose more photographers with that move than you would gain by adding more creative images.

So as long as the site is prepared for that possibility....


I totally agree with Vik on this.

acontador wrote:
I actually don't think that the average viewer (the few that are left) really care that much about the perfect quality, we photographers do for sure, but how many of us are left here?


You are quite right. I agree on having more creative or very difficult shots being in more easily, but I don't think those should displace or exclude regular photos - not eveyone will even have the high end camera equipment to be able to do some of the very extreme photos (like those night time landing photos from Japan), though I'm aware that the average airport spotting day seems to bring out multiple people with high end cameras and pro-grade super-telephoto lenses with combined values of $100,000+... And also, newcomers need to start somewhere.

For me, it was some side on shot of a UPS MD-11F I think that had just landed, and it was a cloudy day. I can't remember any of the others. But I recall my best shots were an F111 at an airshow (not a technically difficult shot) and a Emirates A380 landing at Sydney which was probably one of the earlier shots on the database with very high ISO. So probably somewhere near the start of the super-camera wars. I would never expect newcomers to be able to rattle off those kinds of shots right off the bat, because they aren't easy to do.

acontador wrote:
Reflecting a bit more about the current state of affairs here, I think we are seeing an identity crisis with Anet, it looks a bit lost in time not knowing were to go and a captain (owner) probably unwilling to invest much thought (and other resources) into determining the right direction to go. As in the past, I think it will be up to the crew, the many volunteers, to step up and take charge, otherwise unfortunately I think we are just waiting until someone pulls the plug...


I see this site as being more valuable as a database/reference site and less of a creative photography site, but it shouldn't exclude one or the other. Historical shots or the boring side on shot is probably going to be useful to someone 8 years down the track (assuming the site is still around).

vikkyvik wrote:
But the real way to encourage more creativity is just to make it clear that the screeners will accept more creativity. And to ensure, through constant quality control, that these acceptances actually happen. It'll take more than just accepting photos on appeal.


This is absolutely spot on. People are not going to go out on a limb and upload a creative photo only for it to be rejected right away, and then need to go through an appeal process. Unless it has changed, your upload slots depended on your acceptance ratio "back in my day" and people really loved being able to upload a lot of shots at once because the screening time was quite long.
 
Gasman
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Re: Image standards slipping?

Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:56 pm

I think there's no doubt that the photography aspect of this site is "broken" for two reasons which are loosely related:

- Firstly, the site has never really defined what it wants to be. Is it an aviation photography site, where the aim is to have pictures that are simply pleasing to look at through global artistic criteria; or is it simply a photo database of aircraft? At the moment it tries to be both things, and succeeds at neither. You can have a perfectly exposed photo of an A380 touching down on a runway at sunset with the wheels belching tyre smoke; but if it's slightly soft around the tail; it's rejected. A boring photo of the same aircraft sitting at the gate 5 minutes later (without the softness around the tail) is accepted. It's nuts. I recently had what I thought was a stunning shot of a SQ 77W rejected because there were already 140 shots of that 10 year old aircraft in the database. Who cares, for crying out loud???

- Secondly - and I'm going to pull no punches here - the screening process is poor. I would say "the standards are too high" but it goes further than that - the demanded quality has reached a point where opinions between observers and screeners cannot possibly hope to be consistent. We are exceeding the limits of human perception, not to mention differences in opinion. I recently had a photo rejected on TWO criteria - sharpness & noise. I appealed it straight away without changing anything (of course) and it was accepted. Who is to say who is "right" here? Here's the photo in question

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Air-New- ... 2A/4637633

I'm not a spotting veteran by any means and completely concede I'm still on a bit of a learning curve with respect to post processing. But I've reached a point where I'm no longer disheartened by the "hey! Everyone has photos rejected from time to time" message because more often than not I see it as a screening failure rather than my own.

And PS - Any open criticism on the above photo would be graciously received

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