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View Poll Results: Is this too much manipulation?
Yes 2 5.41%
No 35 94.59%
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:18 AM   #1
Ween
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Default Too much manipulation?

The recent thread with the HDR discussion got me thinking about one's digital workflow and what's acceptable and what's not. When does a photo cease being a photo and turn into a creation?

As an example, see the two attached images below. The dark one is straight from the camera, shot in RAW, converted to a TIF, resized, and then saved as a JPG. The other one was the result of using a mask and then using a layer to expose the sky and another layer to expose the train and the foreground (plus some dodging and burning). The exposure correction was from using a technique found here:
http://www.zuberphotographics.com/co...r-exposure.htm

So...is this too much manipulation? What about if the processed image was a truer representation to how my eyes remember the scene? To me, it doesn't look as fake as an HDR image, but it's clearly much different than the camera recorded the scene.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:22 AM   #2
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The processed image is fine and by no means "too much manipulation." The camera can't recreate the scene as YOUR eyes saw it, so processing is necessary to bring it to that point. I use masks all the time to help balance out the lighting in different parts of an image. Until cameras can capture the dynamic range of light that the human eye can see (probably never), processing will be necessary.
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Old 04-02-2008, 05:00 AM   #3
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The processed shot is great. As Jim points out, you did not change what the eye saw and what was real, you just helped with what the camera didn't put together.

Proper manipulation as far as I am concerned.
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Old 04-02-2008, 06:21 AM   #4
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Well done... I'd say it's just right...
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:18 PM   #5
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I agree with the comments above. That should be well within RP's guidelines.


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Old 04-02-2008, 04:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
To me, it doesn't look as fake as an HDR image, but it's clearly much different than the camera recorded the scene.
In my view it is very nice work, but what I want to say is that the premise in your sentence above is misguided. The camera recorded one scene, which subsequently has an infinite number of possible ways to be transformed and presented to the viewer. The unprocessed (minimally processed?) version does not have a higher standing than any other, in my view. The final version is more representative of the reality and thus, in my view, has higher standing.

Just because there is no bright line between a processed version that represents reality well and one that does not should not mean that we trash all extensively-processed versions as outside the guidelines. There is room for judgment (and for disagreement).

Nice work. I need to look at that technique, maybe I will be flooding RP with submissions soon!!!!
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:42 PM   #7
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Oh, it's Blending Multiply! I think it was Alan who just discussed this method elsewhere on RP Forums, I think within the last day!

Something else to learn, that is, if PS Elements 3 has that ability, I don't think so. Ah, just checked, something is there, hmm.

Another project!
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Old 04-02-2008, 06:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
In my view it is very nice work, but what I want to say is that the premise in your sentence above is misguided.
Perhaps, but the main point behond that statement was this:

Quote:
When does a photo cease being a photo and turn into a creation?
That's what I struggle with, but it looks like what I did in this case is considered 'okay'.

BTW, I did see Alan's post just this morning where he talked about the same things (multiply, dodge, burn) I brought up...and if he's okay with it...
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Old 04-02-2008, 06:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
When does a photo cease being a photo and turn into a creation?
All photos are creations in my opinion. When you frame a scene, in essence you are creating and capturing a moment in time separating it from the rest of the world.

As far the image example, it's completely acceptable to make contrast and saturation enhancements. It has always been done, and it shouldn't change. It's perfectly fine to make a good photo great, and a great photo exceptional.

The only problem I have is when the clone tool is used to excessively alter the enviornment, but then again it depends on what your goals and audience are. I believe the majority of visitors at RP.net still want to see a scene and train closely reproduced to what existed, and not a fanciful interpretation showing the photographer's expertise in photoshop. Being compositionally creative is one thing, but drastically changing the original is another. Photos such as those are interesting to see, but are better off displayed someplace else.
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Old 04-02-2008, 06:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
When does a photo cease being a photo and turn into a creation?
You could get ten photogs together and ask that same question and get ten different answers. Some would say it's a creation as soon as you release the shutter. Photography is an art form all unto itself. You're creating art. So since the question implies there is a difference between a photo and a creation, as you say, then I'd say the question is flawed.

When it moves from a photographic art to a peice of art, say selective coloring or putting two trains from different time periods (whether it be fifty years or thirty minutes) that's where this site, of course, draws the line. Not that there's anything wrong with selective coloring, I've been meaning to try it, or two trains from different times in the same shot. I'd love to do more of both, but haven't done any of either.


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Old 04-02-2008, 07:16 PM   #11
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Nevermind, I reread the first post, but I will say it seems odd that someone who shoots RAW is concerned about excessive manipulation. Isn't RAW the most flexible of all formats for post-processing?

Last edited by ccaranna; 04-02-2008 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccaranna

The only problem I have is when the clone tool is used to excessively alter the enviornment, but then again it depends on what your goals and audience are.
Like this?

RP version:

Image © Jim Thias
PhotoID: 215846
Photograph © Jim Thias


Printing version:



If I'm going to print an image, I'm more likely to "clean" it up a bit. I didn't want to see those ugly wires whenever I saw this photo on my wall, so I cloned 'em out.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:05 PM   #13
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Jim;

Did you clone out the signal, too? Or is that a cropping issue? Either way, the RP version looks better. I don't mind wires and poles. To me, your print version looks unnatural.

Keeping in mind, of course, all of my color issues lately.


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Old 04-02-2008, 11:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
Jim;

Did you clone out the signal, too? Or is that a cropping issue? Either way, the RP version looks better. I don't mind wires and poles. To me, your print version looks unnatural.

Keeping in mind, of course, all of my color issues lately.


Joe
No, I cropped out the signal because I went with a 4x5 ratio for printing. What looks unnatural about the print version? If you're talking about color issues, both the RP version and print version are identical, as they are from the same original processed file.

What if the wires weren't there in real life, would it still look unnatural?

If no one ever sees the RP version, they won't know that anything is missing.
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Like this?
Yes, like that. Can't say I necessarily agree with what was removed.

But you know what, it's the internet. You can't believe anything you see anyway. Edited pictures like that will make accurate researching in the future a real pleasure, let me tell you.
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccaranna
Yes, like that. Can't say I necessarily agree with what was removed.

But you know what, it's the internet. You can't believe anything you see anyway. Edited pictures like that will make accurate researching in the future a real pleasure, let me tell you.
Only if you let it.

I wish all wires and telephone poles could be banished from the world. IMO, they are the biggest eyesore that man has created. Cloning them out on pictures that I print out is my way of creating that world.

Now if they'd only take THIS damn codeline down, I'd be happy....



Evil, evil wires.

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Old 04-03-2008, 02:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias

Now if they'd only take THIS damn codeline down, I'd be happy....



Evil, evil wires.
Crouch a little lower, get both of the cross members on the near post set against the sky, have a train come along, it looks like a very nice shot!

What 'ya yammerin about?
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:32 AM   #18
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Yeah, geez Jim
I'm wondering what conservative "Couldn't do this in camera so why bother" kind of person voted yes, it's too much
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Only if you let it.

I wish all wires and telephone poles could be banished from the world. IMO, they are the biggest eyesore that man has created. Cloning them out on pictures that I print out is my way of creating that world.

Now if they'd only take THIS damn codeline down, I'd be happy....

Evil, evil wires.
Here in the UK, wires and poles are synonymous with manual signalling and there are precious few areas left with that.

Wires and poles can make great features in a backlit shot with sunlight higlighting the wires.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:57 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Crouch a little lower, get both of the cross members on the near post set against the sky, have a train come along, it looks like a very nice shot!

What 'ya yammerin about?
Well, I'm already on the edge of a drop off, and crouching lower isn't enough to clear the wires. Evil wires!


Quote:
Originally Posted by trainboysd40
Yeah, geez Jim
I'm wondering what conservative "Couldn't do this in camera so why bother" kind of person voted yes, it's too much
Whoever voted "yes," why do you think Ween's photo is too much manipulation? I think most of the people who have voted "no" have spoken, now let's hear the opposing view. Speak up if you voted "yes!"
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:45 PM   #21
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Default Poles

Well, now that this thread is totally off course...

As far as POLES...if you can't beat 'em, use 'em.

(shamelss self promotion below)

Image © C. Joseph Renella
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Old 04-03-2008, 05:22 PM   #22
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Nice shot, Joe.

I'm still curious as to who voted yes and what their reasoning is.
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:02 PM   #23
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My take...
Every digital photo has to be manipulated just for the basics. Photography is art from the camera to the work done to the photo afterwords. For rpnet use I believe you can change the photo as much as needed to make it look close to the way you saw it. I also agree with fudging some things a little is also ok as long as it still looks real and "close" to what it really was.

Do you think some of the accepted sunset shots really looked that orange or yellow and that saturated in real life (some I am sure did)? Just look at the screeners choice sunset shots, I bet a lot of them were manipulated quite a bit. Back in the day of film, guys that used a dark room manipulated there shots also with different techniques.
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:30 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz
Do you think some of the accepted sunset shots really looked that orange or yellow and that saturated in real life (some I am sure did)? J
Putting aside Joe's affliction , which is in an entirely different dimension , I think that lots of people prefer to increase saturation somewhat beyond the perfectly realistic level toward the eye-catching level. Call it a Velvia approach.

I've never been in a fan, but I am in a minority, and anyway I've not thought of it as manipulation but rather a representational preference.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:54 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Now if they'd only take THIS damn codeline down, I'd be happy....
What poles? Your camera must be broken.
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