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On 11/22/2021 at 11:14 PM, IKLland said:

I know it’s a really cool photo, but is this really a four? It’s not crisp,y sharp when you zoom in, and the bird is half hidden. Solid three for me. 
https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/390192511

Upon further review (of the judging criteria), 

"2 Stars: Poor quality. ... Image might be good but the bird is extremely small in the frame or mostly obscured."

https://support.ebird.org/en/support/solutions/articles/48001064392-rating-media says nothing about artistic merit.

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3 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

https://support.ebird.org/en/support/solutions/articles/48001064392-rating-media says nothing about the position of the bird relative to the frame as factor to consider.  

This bird is sharp and large enough for me to easily see the details.  I would have given it a solid 4, but have no problem with others giving it a 5.

I think we should be using those as guidelines, but in my opinion, framing is very important. I hold my opinion as three. 

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11 minutes ago, IKLland said:

framing is very important

Okay, why?

I think the guidelines are so people will rate the pictures in a way that makes the ratings useful for Cornell's purposes.  When you introduce other factors, such as artistic considerations, your rating may not be in line with the intended use of the photos.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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1 hour ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Upon further review (of the judging criteria), 

"2 Stars: Poor quality. ... Image might be good but the bird is extremely small in the frame or mostly obscured."

https://support.ebird.org/en/support/solutions/articles/48001064392-rating-media says nothing about artistic merit.

The purpose of the Macaulay Library is first and foremost scientific documentation of birds in the form of photos and sounds. Their rating scale guidelines are a reflection of this purpose and the need for good scientific data in the form of photographs.

I have never disputed that this photo does not meet top rated criteria per ML. However, I find it very visually pleasing to my eyes. This is a difficult photo to take and/or compose. It’s artistic and technical. For those reasons I rated it highly.

There are tens of thousands of photographs on eBird, maybe more in fact, which show a relatively sharp bird in good light that fills the entire frame. I don’t find anything particularly special about 99% of them, including my own photos, but I also don’t have an issue with rating them highly. A photograph such as this is a rare occurrence. And for that reason I like it very much. In fact, many of the photographs that end up on the homepage of eBird are not necessarily the highest rated, but show the bird in an interesting position, engaged in  in unique behavior or are visually pleasing (see my comments above).

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2 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Okay, why?

Again, everyone rates photos by how they think a photo should look. 
there is no right or wrong answer as to whether a photo is good, it’s all what you see and believe. 
however, I believe that if framed too tightly, the bird looks very big, and there is little or no habitat showing. But, headshots, are different. I enjoy closeup headshots. 
If the right size in the frame, a bird in the center creates a normal, boring look. You usually want the birds head in the center of the frame, and depending on which way it’s looking, leave around double as much space in front of it, than behind it. 
if the bird’s back or tail is in the center, the birds head is probably very close to the end. This creates a look that makes me wonder, where is the bird looking? The same reason for flying birds, I like it to have room to fly into the frame. A good framing has the bird big, but not too big. The birds,head is in the center, and the bird is not too close to the top, bottom, or any edges. For me it’s important, but it doesn’t rule out unique images for me, or headshots. But for this, the framing is just poor, IMO, and I keep a three. Hopefully this helped. 

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3 minutes ago, DLecy said:

There are tens of thousands of photographs on eBird, maybe more in fact, which show a relatively sharp bird in good light that fills the entire frame. I don’t find anything particularly special about 99% of them, including my own photos, but I also don’t have an issue with rating them highly.

This. Photos can be amazing, technically. And yes, they will all get fives from me. But, if an image is truly incredible, it needs something extra. It needs some sort of behavior, action, a story being told behind it, rather than just an ordinary portrait, which are all very nice, and I still give them fives for that reason. But the truly incredible images still need the technical aspects applied as well, which is why that image is a three. 
but, another reason why I think a one to ten start system could’ve been better. 

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@Charlie Spencer

heres an example. It’s a four for me. Not my photo. Everything is good, which leads to a five. But because the bird is looking left, the spacing should be to the left. Hence, the bird is way too far left. Give the bird some room to look, to tell a story sometimes. this photo makes me cringe.

, due to the framing. 
https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/313404631

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24 minutes ago, DLecy said:

The purpose of the Macaulay Library is first and foremost scientific documentation of birds in the form of photos and sounds. Their rating scale guidelines are a reflection of this purpose and the need for good scientific data in the form of photographs.

I have never disputed that this photo does not meet top rated criteria per ML. However, I find it very visually pleasing to my eyes. This is a difficult photo to take and/or compose. It’s artistic and technical. For those reasons I rated it highly.

This gets to the crux of my point.  If people aren't going to rate according to the criteria, the ratings can't serve the purposes they're intended for.

18 minutes ago, IKLland said:

But, if an image is truly incredible, it needs something extra. It needs some sort of behavior, action, a story being told behind it, rather than just an ordinary portrait,

Not according to Mac.  If the guidelines made the slightest mention of artistic merit, I'd  agree with y'all.  They don't.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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24 minutes ago, IKLland said:

there is no right or wrong answer as to whether a photo is good,

Again, we disagree.  Yes, there are right and wrong answers for Macaulay's purposes.  If people want their photos judged on artistic merit (where I agree, there is no 'right' or 'wrong'), there are plenty of other sites and forums for that. 

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4 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

This gets to the crux of my point.  If people aren't going to rate according to the criteria, the ratings can't serve the purposes they're intended for.

Not according to Mac.  If the guidelines made the slightest mention of artistic merit, I'd  agree with y'all.  They don't.

Agreed, AND at the same time the bird is clear enough to ID. The habitat is also shown well, which is feature that ML incorporates/wants. I think this is  higher than 2, based on ML guidelines.

The beauty of a public rating system is that, with enough ratings, a photo will come to an average score that accurately reflects its “universal” rating. Many of the issues that arise in this forum, perhaps aside from this photo, revolve around pics that have a low number of ratings. This is issue is often rectified over time with more and more ratings. Photos in ML which have a high number of ratings are generally very accurate, IMO.

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34 minutes ago, Kevin said:

Were they?  Now they're 3, 4, and 4 respectively.  I agree with 3 for the first.  I'd give the other two at least a 4, and have no problem with a 5 for the second one.

Maybe I'm just an uncouth Philistine who ain't done got no culture.  I do enjoy Blazing Saddles...

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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Now if you want two overrated photos (and I say that as the guy who took them), here ya go.  Half the bird is obscured, the colors are off, and the angle does a lousy job of showing the bird's features.  At least they're reasonably clear.  2 each; of my 20-odd BRTH photos, I'd love to know why someone decided these two were my best.

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/363117261

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/363117251

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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1 hour ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Were they?  Now they're 3, 4, and 4 respectively.  I agree with 3 for the first.  I'd give the other two at least a 4, and have no problem with a 5 for the second one.

Yes, they were all rated as fives. As to the second one, it is out of focus pretty badly. 

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3 hours ago, Kevin said:

3,3,4. 

2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Now if you want two overrated photos (and I say that as the guy who took them), here ya go.  Half the bird is obscured, the colors are off, and the angle does a lousy job of showing the bird's features.  At least they're reasonably clear.  2 each; of my 20-odd BRTH photos, I'd love to know why someone decided these two were my best.

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/363117261

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/363117251

Both threes for me. Colors are off, as you said, and the angle is really weird. Cool, Sharp shots through! 

2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Or this piece of junk.  It's overexposed to bring the birds out of the darkness, and you can't really see mother or hatchling.  Again, this should be 2.

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/333370631

Two stars, as you said. 

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4 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Not according to Mac.  If the guidelines made the slightest mention of artistic merit, I'd  agree with y'all.  They don't.

That’s the reason why I said even the fantastic, but ordinary portraits are still fives for me. But, the really remarkable shots are those with something extra. 

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1 hour ago, IKLland said:

@Charlie Spencer

Im sorry if you feel like I’m trying to argue here. I just want to say one last thing. The link shows the guidelines, that you should use as a standard guide as to rating photos. The cool part is that you can still use your own opinion about things. Everyone is able to rate photos how they feel. 
 

 

 

I don't feel like you or @DLecyare arguing with me at all, and I apologize if I gave that impression.  We disagree but it's no big deal. 

After all, I thought you were a knucklehead long before this topic caught fire.  :classic_tongue:

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1 hour ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I don't feel like you or @DLecyare arguing with me at all, and I apologize if I gave that impression.  We disagree but it's no big deal. 

After all, I thought you were a knucklehead long before this topic caught fire.  :classic_tongue:

I want to “like” and “laugh” at this. 

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1 hour ago, AlexHenry said:

Obviously this is a 5, no question. I’m drooling… you’re review bombing because you’re jealous, it’s a perfectly good shot of a Ross’s Gull

Of course I’m jealous of the bird! Why wouldn’t I be? 
 

but, that is not the reason I gave it a four. The bird is a tad small, and there is noise in the background. Also, as @The Bird Nutssaid, there isn’t a ton of feather detail. A good picture of an awesome bird, but a solid four. 

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10 minutes ago, IKLland said:

Also, as @The Bird Nutssaid, there isn’t a ton of feather detail. 

I'm curious as to what is meant by this? I can see a ton of feather details on this bird, except for a few certain areas, which I will get to shortly.

The background is somewhat unfortunate, but the bird is still captured beautifully.

My one critique with the this photo, which is a personal pet peeve of mine, is that the whites in the photo are "clipping," aka "blown out." There is a noticeable loss of detail in the areas of pure white on this bird, particularly the base of the tail and the nape, and this is something that happens far too often on highly rated photos of birds in ML. In fact, a few recent highly rated photos on this site (I refuse to name names as I'm not trying to shame anyone) have suffered from the same issue. It's a fairly easy fix with a quick bit of post-processing and really helps the image a lot. The same thing happens with photos of really dark black feathers on birds, aka "black clipping," but in my experience the whites are more problematic with regards to bird photography. I don't want get too technical here, but I do have that particular issue with this photo. 

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