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Review Bombing


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11 hours ago, RobinHood said:

I posted a recent photo of a Green-winged Teal of mine which had received no ratings (other than mine and a friend)

The majority of my photos in Macaulay are unrated.  (I don't see value in rating my own photos.  I post the best shots I have for each species on the checklist, 'best' being a relative word.  If one's a 3, it's all I had of that bird that day.)  Do you expect a rating on every photo you upload to eBird?  Again, there's absolutely nothing statistically standardized about the rating system.  Anyone can participate, without even being required to read the ratings standards first, much less adhere to them.  People look for the photos they want to rate (species, location, contributor, etc), instead of having images served up randomly.  The only mechanism to ensure consistency is the hope that multiple reviewers will average out any 'incorrectly' rated images, so expecting consistency is a path to frustration.

In short, stop fretting over something you have NO control over.  Close the browser tab and go look for birds.

Regarding the Mallard, it looks painfully over-saturated, or whatever the correct term is for when the colors are enhanced well beyond natural.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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39 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

In short, stop fretting over something you have NO control over.

Wise words Charlie, I think I've got it out of my system and will follow your advice.

For context I am probably 50% birder, 50% photographer and the time related to a birding trip is probably similar - an equal time spent sorting and editing photos as the actual birding in the field (usually a couple of hours).

 

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3 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

While I usually carry the camera, often I take no photos at all.

I always have a fairly heavy camera/lens combo with me. I checked and yesterday I came back with 184 photos (although some of these were to back up "rare" bird posts) for three locations and about 1.5 hours of birding. This is fairly typical.

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1 hour ago, RobinHood said:

Wise words Charlie, I think I've got it out of my system and will follow your advice.

For context I am probably 50% birder, 50% photographer and the time related to a birding trip is probably similar - an equal time spent sorting and editing photos as the actual birding in the field (usually a couple of hours).

 

 

1 hour ago, RobinHood said:

I always have a fairly heavy camera/lens combo with me. I checked and yesterday I came back with 184 photos (although some of these were to back up "rare" bird posts) for three locations and about 1.5 hours of birding. This is fairly typical.

You'n me both.

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14 hours ago, RobinHood said:

Not quite "bombing" but the possible inequities/vagaries of eBird ratings. I've mentioned before the minimal interest in photos at a county level locally and I've been trying when I have the time to give a boost to quality photos by others which have fallen through the cracks.

This Mallard photo is now the top rated county one (six 5 star ratings). I appreciate that not many birders bother to take shots of Mallards so maybe the ranking is deserved, but I would be interested in feedback, especially from photographers, regarding the quality of this one, I may well be wrong.

I'm not trying to change the rating so please don't add a rating, more interested in feedback.

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/395135671

I posted a recent photo of a Green-winged Teal of mine which had received no ratings (other than mine and a friend) which thanks to Whatbird input (unfair on my part to use this strategy) moved into the top provincial weekly list, otherwise it would have disappeared.

This is another one of the same Teal (posted at the same time as the Mallard photo) with three 3 star ratings (including my 4 star rating, so must have got some 2 stars?) just for comparison (not looking for additional ratings, more interested in the topic).

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/397476661

I am constantly amazed by the number of photo ratings routinely achieved elsewhere, particularly on the west coast?, but I think I am resigned to the status quo.

The main reason for the post is that I am wondering if anyone else has experienced the same local level of disinterest in eBird photos?

I feel better already (apologies for the low key rant).

 

 

 

The mallard is way over saturated, and the quality is good, just the feather detail is a little too smooth. Decent photo, but a solid 3. 
The teal is an amazing photo! The bird is looking slightly away from the camera, and it’s not tack sharp. Great image, solid four stars, definitely not a two. 
As for the ratings, I think counties that have a lot of birders, turns into more ratings. Many people look at their County photos of others and rate those. The west coast does seem to have a lot of ebirders, which is why they MIGHT get more ratings. 

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9 hours ago, IKLland said:

I’d give it a solid 5. It’s sharp and well lit, overall a high quality image. It’s not “obscured” by branches or anything. There’s nothing in the eBird photo rating guidelines explicitly against headshots either but yeah there’s definitely a few confusing contradictory statements which I wish they’d clear up in a more obvious manner. Here’s a screenshot from a Facebook group where people were discussing it, a ML employee stated this: 

C6F6628A-EA8C-4410-9047-F013EC91A4F6.jpeg

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26 minutes ago, BlueJay said:

4 or 5?

I can see it being either, I just want to know what you guys think.

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/399091001

I’d give it a high four. There is a bit of noise, and it’s a little underexposed. 
If it was my photo, I’d edit it to this

Embedded right from whatbird, so the quality is pretty bad, but I removed the noise in the background, some of it on the bird, added contrast and brightened it. 
D28DFF18-7674-4B1C-8498-A8626A248295.thumb.jpeg.35a638056d462368cf443421418551a6.jpeg

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For headshots/not the whole bird photos, I think intent matters a bit on how to rate it. 
There’s a difference I think when you’re intending the photo to just be a head shot vs when you’re forced to. Like, photos that are obscured highly by branches/grass/etc should be rated lower. But that mockingbird was obviously intended to be a close up, and it’s clear so why should it be rated low if the intent was a head shot?

As Manny said, there’s nothing in ebird saying to rate headshots/close ups lower. Plus, headshots I think are still helpful as they show details that would otherwise be missed/overshadowed in a photo that would show the whole bird…. 

 

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1 hour ago, Aaron said:

For headshots/not the whole bird photos, I think intent matters a bit on how to rate it. 
There’s a difference I think when you’re intending the photo to just be a head shot vs when you’re forced to. Like, photos that are obscured highly by branches/grass/etc should be rated lower. But that mockingbird was obviously intended to be a close up, and it’s clear so why should it be rated low if the intent was a head shot?

As Manny said, there’s nothing in ebird saying to rate headshots/close ups lower. Plus, headshots I think are still helpful as they show details that would otherwise be missed/overshadowed in a photo that would show the whole bird…. 

 

This exactly. The mockingbird was on the ugliest perch ever, and umbrella pole, so I wanted a headshot. To make it more interesting, I wanted it calling, and a headshot would better show how cool the pose is. 

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17 hours ago, Aaron said:

For headshots/not the whole bird photos, I think intent matters a bit on how to rate it. 

16 hours ago, IKLland said:

The mockingbird was on the ugliest perch ever, and umbrella pole, so I wanted a headshot. To make it more interesting, I wanted it calling, and a headshot would better show how cool the pose is.

Imagine if driver's license or ID card photos were replaced with Cubist- or Impressionist- or Anime-style paintings.  Sure, they may be beautiful or cool, but would they do as well for the task?

Where I differ with y'all regarding rating is how I perceive the purpose of Mac, or more specifically what I perceive it as NOT being.  I don't view it as a place to show 'cool' or artistic.  There are plenty of sites explicitly designated for that.

That's why the rating criteria don't mention headshots; they don't fit the function Mac is designed for, other than maybe this comment:

17 hours ago, Aaron said:

headshots I think are still helpful as they show details that would otherwise be missed/overshadowed in a photo that would show the whole bird

but at the resolution most 'whole bird' photos are taken now, zooming in will often provide the same details.

Okay, I've dropped my cowbird egg in the bluebird nest; everyone start squawking at it.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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3 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

That's why the rating criteria don't mention headshots; they don't fit the function Mac is designed for, other than maybe this comment:

Everyone’s opinion is respected by me, and I like that.

However, birds have many beautiful characteristics that can’t be seen as well in a full body or habitat photo. To better show these incredible feathers, patterns, and colors on some birds, I believe headshots better show that. Just my final thoughts on this. But if it feels like it’s a whole body photo, but one small part is cut off, like the legs, feet, or tail, I’ll lower it. But if it’s obviously a head, shoulder neck photo that was meant to be that, and it’s nice and sharp, it’s gonna get a solid five from me. 
again, the cool part about ebird ratings is that people can show their own opinions, and everyone is free to like particular styles of images better. 

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9 hours ago, Aidan B said:

Four. Like I said above, this photo makes the bird seem cut off. If you’d cropped closer to just the head and neck, I’d like to give it a five. Also, the branch doesn’t quite fit. I find that in a closeup, branches distract from the subject as it’s not an image MEANT to show the habitat. In this case, I would either crop closer for just a head and neck photo(with the beak obviously.), or do a full body shot. Nice photo, but a solid four star. 

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3 minutes ago, IKLland said:

Everyone’s opinion is respected by me, and I like that.

However, birds have many beautiful characteristics that can’t be seen as well in a full body or habitat photo. To better show these incredible feathers, patterns, and colors on some birds, I believe headshots better show that. Just my final thoughts on this. But if it feels like it’s a whole body photo, but one small part is cut off, like the legs, feet, or tail, I’ll lower it. But if it’s obviously a head, shoulder neck photo that was meant to be that, and it’s nice and sharp, it’s gonna get a solid five from me. 
again, the cool part about ebird ratings is that people can show their own opinions, and everyone is free to like particular styles of images better. 

To add on to the characteristic part, ebird is also an identification tool to show how to ID birds. Some of these characteristics are what can separate species from one another, and ebird would like to show how to ID birds, than those characteristics should be well shown. As you’ve stated, you like to document the birds to a level to ID them, and in some cases a headshot can just make it more clearer. Even if it’s not to ID a bird specifically, it can better show the characteristics of that bird, which is likely very beautiful, as all birds. 
Well, maybe not wood storks…..😐

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9 hours ago, Aidan B said:

 

5 minutes ago, IKLland said:

Four. Like I said above, this photo makes the bird seem cut off. If you’d cropped closer to just the head and neck, I’d like to give it a five. Also, the branch doesn’t quite fit. I find that in a closeup, branches distract from the subject as it’s not an image MEANT to show the habitat. In this case, I would either crop closer for just a head and neck photo(with the beak obviously.), or do a full body shot. Nice photo, but a solid four star. 

This would be a five for me, for the reasons stated above. 2C6453C8-D904-4DB5-AABA-63717C7B7BBE.thumb.jpeg.fed08c7581efaea9cc73288fb130686a.jpeg

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3 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

That's why the rating criteria don't mention headshots; they don't fit the function Mac is designed for, other than maybe this comment:

21 hours ago, Aaron said:

headshots I think are still helpful as they show details that would otherwise be missed/overshadowed in a photo that would show the whole bird

but at the resolution most 'whole bird' photos are taken now, zooming in will often provide the same details.

Disagree! I think there are times when picking out a feature is the point of the photo. Macaulay doesn't come with little arrows like a guidebook, but a cropped photo will serve that function. Think of something like the colour of the orbital ring on a gull, or the colour of the eyebrows on a Steller's Jay that distinguishes subspecies. Not every picture in the library serves the same purpose! I think the ratings serve to distract us from this.

Compare this picture I have from yesterday. Not in my top 25 pictures of bushtits, but I think interesting in showing the feather structure in the wings and how it's propping the tail against the tree for balance.

IMG_20211227_143143_674.thumb.jpg.fcbb95ee611c51025b8f0e104768bc1c.jpg

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