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Archive 2012 · How far should you go?
  
 
ben egbert
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · How far should you go?


This post is inspired by some of the comments on my other post. The question is how far should we alter or augment an image? I suppose an auxiliary question would be how much we should disclose about the alterations.

I posted an image here last summer and after we got done with it, we had added a sky taken a few minutes later to a foreground. You may recognize the sky in the example.

When I was at Zion, I got what I thought was a very nice image of the Watchman. When I got home, I processed this and a few dozen others from the two nights I was at this scene. I wondered what it would look like with a great sky? I tried the sky from last summer and got the attached results.

I am sure some of you here could improve the processing, but I think the inclusion of the sky took the image from pretty good to very good. I also think the sky fits nicely and meets the plausible criteria.

But I personally canít show this on a forum as an original. Nor will I print it. My goal is to keep going back to Zion every November until I get a real version similar to this.

I have no special honor to maintain for I am an unknown who is neither selling nor competing. Itís more about the chase.


Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 04:22 PM · View previous versions



Dec 14, 2012 at 04:16 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · How far should you go?


Gorgeous and dramatic ...

If you want me to see through your created works that there are beautiful skies, rugged formations and cooling streams in this location ... message sent, message received. If you are wanting to raise my interest in visiting this place, message sent, message received. If you want me to assess your talent as an image maker, I'm diggin' it and want to be able to do it like that too someday. If you want me to believe it came out of the camera that way ... pack a lunch, it'll be a long day.

Of course, most people would never question the angles of the lighting or the colors of the stream reflections vs. the sky too much. And to be honest ... if I had not already known ... I'd probably be more in the mode of "hmmm, I'm not so sure" ... although the lighting on the clouds appears to be incongruous with the lighting on the formation, and the blue stream, with a multicolored sky ... if I'm on "created image" alert.

Otherwise, I can just enjoy it for what it is ... a nicely rendered image.

Interesting to note ... even after I have scrutinized it with my analytical prowess, my emotive response to it overrides the "fact" that it is a composite ... and I'm still diggin' it even if I know it is a "fake". The emotive response of an image, can be very powerful thing. I think the fact that it is skillfully executed toward a degree of plausibility takes us to a place that it "doesn't bother us" enough to have a strongly negative response. Kinda like how a blackbird addition, doesn't bother me enough to ruin a pic.

Attractors vs. detractors ... maximize the former, minimize the latter ... we are emotionally based creatures more often than not, even though this group is rather well versed in the analytical micro-nit realm at times.



Edited on Dec 14, 2012 at 07:41 PM · View previous versions



Dec 14, 2012 at 04:37 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · How far should you go?


Right Kent, I tried to include some stream reflection but got lost. I am sure if I decided to do this sort of thing I could get some lessons, probably here on how to do it. I even have a lot of other sky's to try.

But this is meant to be an illustration for the topic. You do bring up a good point however, if you really fake it, you need to make it plausible and fix all the tells. Probably even if it is advertised as a fake.

This is probably why a sky taken the same evening but later works better than one from a totally different time and place.

Edited on Dec 14, 2012 at 04:55 PM · View previous versions



Dec 14, 2012 at 04:48 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · How far should you go?


I would be proud to produce such a piece for my viewer(s). If someone asked, I'd be proud to tell them that it is a composite. Someday, I'll embark on learning how to make composites. I see them no differently than the painter with a brush ... when done judiciously ... as they are your vision and your presentation ... rather than a technical recording.

You've shown us a place for both, and dare I say ... most people would prefer the emotive response over the technical accuracy. Your vision, your message ... your call.



Dec 14, 2012 at 04:54 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · How far should you go?


A well known photo personality with a Hassy was two places away from me when I took this. I wonder what he did with his?


Dec 14, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · How far should you go?


I certainly have no problem with your faked sky. I think it looks believeable and if you look at a bigger image and see problems, I am sure they could be fixed. As Kent mentioned, there is a plausability issue. You could stand at the bridge every Fall for years and not see a sky that dramatic. I can also understand your desire to continue to visit Zion hoping to get a trophy image which was not faked.

BTW, I would not be hestitant to post this on the Landscape forum. Plenty of individuals seem to find remarkable, once in a blue moon conditions everytime they take a photo trip. I also am amused to read the "great capture" comments. The image maker must think ..yup another naive newcomer.

I have only recently started to replace skies. I don't remember if I have posted any of these. So far I have not tried to add in any dramatic skies. Rather I have taken a few images with pure boring blue skies and added a bland sky with a few whispy clouds. I have tried to use this when I have a sky that is a big negative space and just needs something to kill the blue. I have also tried dodge and burn to create some variation in the sky. That rarely looks natural.




Dec 14, 2012 at 05:13 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · How far should you go?


ben egbert wrote:
if you really fake it, you need to make it plausible and fix all the tells. Probably even if it is advertised as a fake.


+1 @ fixing tells.

ONE of mine is to try and make sure that I've got something in the scene "neutral" to anchor the plausibility. This is why my "blue snow" thing is so high on my list ... imo, it is just a giant tell that your WB is off. Its fine for your WB to be off for creative reasons, etc. ... but that "giant tell" causes a viewer to have lesser regard for your work than when you fix the tells.

This is probably why a sky taken the same evening but later works better than one from a totally different time and place.

Definitely ... and I am totally good with that.

Remember my question thread about traveling along the highway and watching the transition of the lighting as the day was ending? I wanted to try to express that to others ... a period of time that was more than 1/125 second long. Standing on a cliff watching (Pacific Ocean) the sun go down for the last hour of the day means that I get to see BOTH the whitewash of the surf breaking, well illuminated at the start of my watching, and the colors of the sky in the afterglow.

Of course, no single capture can incorporate both as the whitewash is no longer illuminated sufficiently to create any interest once the angles have progressed to a certain point ... and the colors of the afterglow haven't yet arrived while the whitewash is glistening.

If I desire to share that experience with my viewer, the experience of spending an hour watching the sun & surf ... it is going to require me to compress/combine that hour into a single image. The deftness at which I perform this task ... will determine the degree at which it looks cheap & fake, or wonderful & inviting.




Dec 14, 2012 at 05:13 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · How far should you go?


Camperjim wrote:
Plenty of individuals seem to find remarkable, once in a blue moon conditions everytime they take a photo trip.





I also am amused to read the "great capture" comments. The image maker must think ..yup another naive newcomer.


+1 @ the distinction between "great capture" and "great image" (implied) ... subtle, but distinctive.

If most viewers who thought a great image was the same thing as a great capture found out the truth of how the capture and processing work together to make the great image ... well, they just might say "He cheats" just the same as I did of AA, when their version of "the myth" @ sooc was revealed to crush their hope that they too would walk up on such a scene, push the button and ... Voila ... have magic.



Dec 14, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · How far should you go?


RustyBug wrote:
ONE of mine is to try and make sure that I've got something in the scene "neutral" to anchor the plausibility. This is why my "blue snow" thing is so high on my list ... imo, it is just a giant tell that your WB is off.


I searched but couldn't find anything. What's wrong with blue snow?



Dec 14, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · How far should you go?


I am currently struggling with another Photoshop fakery issue. My struggle does not involve the ethics of fakery but my poor abilities. I have some once in a lifetime images taken at Death Valley in the midst of a violent rain and sand storm. I also have some images taken in other locations during rainstorms that were very impressive. Unfortunately the OOC images and my attempts at processing have fallen way short of reality. I am trying to read about Photoshop techniques for faking rain and fog in the hopes that I can enhance what I have and bring it back to reality. If so, I will still feel that I earned my trophy shots.

Edited on Dec 14, 2012 at 05:35 PM · View previous versions



Dec 14, 2012 at 05:29 PM
 

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RustyBug
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · How far should you go?


Mister Bean wrote:
I searched but couldn't find anything. What's wrong with blue snow?


I've never thrown a blue snowball, but I have advised my kids to not eat yellow snow.

Blue snow for mood & ambiance ... no biggie, but it does raise a question @ your WB. I'm not saying that it is always wrong to have "blue snow" ... but it sure does present a tell. That and if you've got blue snow (blue shadows), it is an indication that you may have a cast that is stealing your clarity.


Edited on Dec 14, 2012 at 05:39 PM · View previous versions



Dec 14, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · How far should you go?


I understand. If the WB of the sky does not match the WB of the foreground, that can be hard to fix. There can also be an issue with the position of the sun. The direction of sunlight in the sky needs to match the foreground. Fixing a gross discrepancy is not likely to work well.


Dec 14, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · How far should you go?


RustyBug wrote:
I've never thrown a blue snowball, but I have advised my kids to not eat yellow snow.

Blue snow for mood & ambiance ... no biggie, but it does raise a question @ your WB. I'm not saying that it is always wrong to have "blue snow" ... but it sure does present a tell. That and if you've got blue snow (blue shadows), it is an indication that you may have a cast that is stealing your clarity.


No? I've seen it on somewhat rare occasions out in the open. I frequently see it in the shadows so I generally won't work to remove it there if I like the color in the rest of the image.



Dec 14, 2012 at 05:51 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · How far should you go?


I didn't say that I've never seen blue snow ... I said I've never seen a blue snowball.

The distinction being that while yes, blue snow is simply the skylight reflecting of the snow much the same way it does off a stream or lake, etc. ... when we look at snow up close (i.e. while making a snowball), it always looks white to use because of our eye/brain accommodation.

Since it is natural (not necessarily technically correct) for us to see snow as white when we view it in person, it follows that we might want to present it as it would be seen, rather than as it records. Kinda the reverse of showing Antelope Canyon colors as they are recorded vs. seen. In the end, it still is an aesthetic choice that you decide what you want to present to your viewer.



Dec 14, 2012 at 06:12 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · How far should you go?


This is the one I will try for next trip. But it was harder to fake.

Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 04:22 PM · View previous versions



Dec 14, 2012 at 06:20 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · How far should you go?


The principle challenge of sky replacement a believable match. Cloud illuminated from behind look jarringly false when combined with a subject illuminated fro the side, for example.


Dec 14, 2012 at 07:05 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · How far should you go?


Right, this sky was lit from slightly right of center, the scene from further right. I think the vertical works better. But the idea here is only conceptual. An idea of what could be.

This image and the possibility of getting the real version is what is keeping me from selling all my gear. It gives me a goal.



Dec 14, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · How far should you go?


ben egbert wrote:
Right, this sky was lit from slightly right of center, the scene from further right. I think the vertical works better. But the idea here is only conceptual. An idea of what could be.

This image and the possibility of getting the real version is what is keeping me from selling all my gear. It gives me a goal.


I can think of lots of other goals for my photography beyond reshooting the same iconic locations over again.



Dec 14, 2012 at 07:50 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · How far should you go?


Right Jim, for me in addition to this one would be an equally great Dead Horse Point, Zion Overlook, Monument Valley and (well you have seen my bucket list).

I can go local any time and may stumble on a few that way. But the Icons are Icons for a reason. I really want to visit those places and photography is the excuse.



Dec 14, 2012 at 08:05 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · How far should you go?


ben egbert wrote

I really want to visit those places and photography is the excuse.


"Chips & Salsa"

One is just the carrier that connects you with ... and allows you to ingest, the really tasty stuff.

And BOTH are YUM.



Dec 14, 2012 at 08:48 PM
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