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Gary_Yngve

Photo Contest: photoshopping images

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I think it's sad when people have to completely remove or add objects to make photos "good", you should learn to take pictures, not make them.

 

How do you feel about nature shots that required some form of staging (e.g. peeing on a rock to attract goats) or gardening (removing deadfall from a shot, pruning some plants, moving a rock, etc..)?

 

Is this in-the-field making-of-the-image bad too?

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I know this isn't addressed to me, but, I say no, that's not bad. If you can capture a mountain goat licking a rock with your pee on it, then go for it. Even though you may have created an artificial, piss soaked setting, you are still capturing the beauty and glory of pee licking. thumbs_up.gif

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Would it detract from the artistic value to state: Image stitched from two digital photos, saturation +1, or whatever else? Shit, list that info in appendix F.12 or something. [/myrediculaspersonalopinions] bigdrink.gif

 

In general, I'm not opposed to this. I like looking through the notes of a Galen Rowell book to see the settings/film used to take each shot, as well as other comments. My main issue is when there's not room to add all those details, and you need to say your image is digitally altered, putting your saturation tweak in the same category as someone who produced the geoduck. If you digitally enhance your shots, you're immediately on the defensive, even if you're doing something that's the equivalent of a standard accepted film trick.

 

In particular, being a graphics researcher, I can prove things about doing mathematical operations on images and the existence of a lens/filter that could have produced the same effect.

 

I disagree though with the notion that a photo is not allowed to capture more than an instant of time. Certainly it does for motion-blur. I view a photo as a way of capturing what the eyes saw. When people are standing together for a group shot, nearly everyone has their eyes open, and if someone blinks, their eyes will be open soon. From our perception, we think everyone has their eyes open.

But when we take a photo, we capture an instant, and very likely, someone is blinking. This photo, in my mind, is not capturing reality the way we perceived it. I think editing the eyes to all open is completely acceptable.

 

Of all the images that I posted, my opinion is that the ski before/after, the deer, and the fog shot are not photographs, but I feel that the others, which have had digital equivalents of film tools applied to them, are honest photographs.

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You are documenting the goat's inate tendency to seek out pee to satisfy its craving for salts. If you wrote an article for National geographic about "The salt-seeking mountain goats of snow creek wall and WA pass" than your photo would be full of journalistic integrity, but if you were to use these photos to portray "the goat in its natural habitat" than some might have issues with that.

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Griz wrote:

there is nothing wrong with doing any of that "in the name of art".

 

However, when you do that then ALL of your images lack any kind of credibilty. In my view, the great challenge and art to photography is capturing a great moment that actually happened. there is no real talent or skill involved by going back in and combining images to make the one you did not have the ability to capture when it counted. gross photo manipulation is a real plague and it sadly throws doubt on all photographs taken these days. A photographer's ethics is all we have left this day and age when looking at images since manipulation is so easy.

 

If you miss "the shot" then you missed it. Life's a bitch and learn from it. Having integrity in your photographs is far more important in the long run than a missed/blown shot here and there.

 

dylan_taylor wrote:

I agree with most of the things you said, and I think they are well said. But, regarding above, devils advocate: A sports photographer takes a photo of a basketball player squatting with the ball in their hand, about to leap up and make the shot. The photographer forgot to change the batteries in their D2X and the motordrive is working super slow. The next shot they get off is when the ball has already swished through the net, and the player is about to touch ground again. The photographer is frustrated. They missed the "f(t+.5)" moment when the player was airborne, legs askew, enormous hand palming the ball, look of concentration on their face. Rats. Thats ok, the photographer goes back to their laptop, opens up photoshop, and creates that image that "actually existed" by creating a composite of images they shot throughout the game. If a sports photographer ever did that, I would strongly disagree with it. I agree with griz in that, hey, if you missed the shot, tough luck. There will be plenty more possibilities. What was it Galen Rowell said? "Chance favors the prepared mind".

 

I think that if one uses photoshop as a tool, just like graduated filters, polarizer, etc, to help technology mimic what the human eye would have seen in that particular moment then that is legitimate because it is part of taking a really good photograph. We all know our cameras and our film and our lenses can't always do what our eyes can do. But the problem is when we use our technology to do more than what our eyes can do. Photographers do it all the time. In my book, thats not a photograph, thats a photo-illustration. Just as valid, but I think it ought to be listed as such in the caption. "photo-illustration by so and so". That way, the photographers that had perfect light perfect composition and, IMO most importantly, perfect moment can get from us the credit and praise they deserve.

 

Robert Capa's shot of the falling soldier from the Spanish Civil War is timeless. Why? It's certainly not due to technical excellence, it's grainy ...

 

I could go off on the 'decisive moment'; I'll leave that for someone else. However, just as the particular moment in time makes or breaks a journalistic photo so it does also for nature .. or climbing. For just an instant there's a cloud lit from other worlds and it happens to line up perfectly with the peak you've been watching. Snap your fingers and the instant's gone. Either someone was prepared and nailed it or they didn't. 3 Seconds later the saturated color has faded (but it could of course be recreated in PS right) and the cloud has moved (but that could be 'fixed' too eh).

 

Why do many photographers hold strongly to their guns in this sort of discussion? It's all too common today to hear the words, oh they doctored that. Those undisclosed 'doctored works' invalidate the work of those who follow a certain set of ethics.

 

I can prove experimentally that Velvia in flat light does not equal saturated forest greens. This does not mean I am invalidating your work Gary. In fact I love it and look forward to seeing your new stuff whenever we get together. I am saying that it is different when one starts going beyond simple filter like adjustments (changing the lighting or boosting the saturation, adding or removing ...). Gary, you have a gift for what you do, you're skilled at it and it is obviously one of your passions. I admire this.

 

I believe this has been stated here in some form already but here it goes again. There are different genres of photography. Fashion and advertising have few, if any rules, associated with them. People expect the unbelievable. But unfortunately, people are starting to expect this unbelievable in nature as well. This discredits those rare moments where things are indeed "perfect" through the lens, eyes and mind of a skilled craftsman.

 

And I think the general theme in this discussion has been, call it what it is. Follow you passion. If that happens to be shooting photos of animals in captivity then do it, but make that clear. Galen pulled his photos from a certain stock agency once when he found they were using his animal shots (in captivity) without disclosing the fact.

 

This discussion is akin to bolts in the alpine. Each camp has strong feelings and there are most definitely grey areas.

 

I think what someone "saw" or perceived at a given moment in time is a whole separate discussion. Art is art, just disclose the medium. Great works of art, whether books, paintings, or photos .. or even digital art have one thing in common. They transcend the medium and impact someone emotionally. People tend to use the word powerful to describe such works.

 

Ok, I've written my thoughts- I'm out.

 

jj

 

_________________

http://jonjantz.com

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Gary,

 

I see see moving an object before taking the picture as a completely different thing. Look at this picture:

 

3256point_081small-med.jpg

 

see those peeps in the background? I wish they weren't there. I could have asked them to move and then take the pic, that would be fine. But I think stitching it with another picture is lame. Is that a very small line? of course! and I'm sure a lot of people would stitch and call it good. imo

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Distel, an alternative would be estimating a depthmap of the image and blurring far away, as if you had taken the shot with a narrower depth of field or closer focus. Although future, cameras will allow you to change the focus/depth of field *after* capturing the image (it actually captures a 4-d lightfield). I can't put an estimate on the number of years, but a prototype was made at Stanford for about $30,000.

 

Sounds like we both agree that the image would be more aesthetic without those peeps. We have different styles, and as long as neither of us lie about it, then all is cool.

 

Jon, I totally agree with you on those moments that pass without capturing the photo. I have many such images burned in my mind's eye, and I've wanted a way to express those images so I could share them with other people as well.

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yeah, as long as people say what exactly they did in the photo, that is good. Trying to pass it off as totally real is sketch.

 

in other news I'm getting a nikon 10.5mm fisheye, woot!

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Note on the front cover of Alpinist 14:

"This photo was taken after the redpoint. A rope used to capture the image was removed from the photograph."

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