Wildlife Photography and Digital Manipulation

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by mattvardy, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. Can there be a balance between the two?<p>

    Just recently I stumbled across an image of a King Fisher in the c-o
    forum. The artist admitted to cropping the image and doing some
    minor editing here and there (mostly brightening, from what I can
    tell), and went on to essentially state that this was a form
    of "cheating" in his/her field.<p>

    It got me thinking... Personally I have nothing against any kind of
    manipulation, digital or other, because as artists I feel that
    photographers should be "allowed" to edit their work to whatever
    extent produces the desired effect or "look". <p>

    Yet it seems to me that certain forms of photography are more
    accepting of manipulation than others. Wildlife photography in
    particular, but certainly Photojournalism, Documentary, and others
    forms aswell seem to have this intrinsic bias against manipulation
    and the photographers that use it to their advantage.<p>

    In your opinion should manipulation be considered a form
    of "cheating"; where you "trick" a viewer into believing in a false
    reality, or is manipulation more about enhancing and bringing out
    the best possible attributes in a photograph using the tools
    available to today's photographic artist... <p>

    How important is authenticity, and where does one draw the line?
     
  2. I think the answer is clear for journalism (don't do it) and for art (anything goes). Nature photography seems to suffer from profound confusion over which it is, which makes the question difficult to answer.
     
  3. How important is authenticity, and where does one draw the line?
    Why, that's a personal choice, isn't it? Some people are very anal-obsessive about it, some are middle-of-the-road, some are easygoing about manipulation. There's no consensus.
     
  4. For me the central issue is not so much about authenticity as about the inferences the photographer is inviting the viewer to draw. Where an image apparently depicts a real world reality, but is actually the product of image manipulation AND the viewer is invited to believe in that apparent reality, then a deception is taking place. The photographer is seeking to create a response from the viewer not by any quality of the image, but by their ability to successfully deceive.

    Sometimes that can be amusing, or striking. But for that to be the case the viewer must finally be brought in on the trick, as, for example, when a photographer tricks the viewer as to scale or perspective but leaves some clue in the picture which the viewer eventually spots and is thus brought into a common understanding with the photographer on what the picture conveys.

    But, in my view anyway, an image ceases to be of value where the value a viewer attributes to it depends on its being the accurate portrayal of a real world reality it appears to be, but it is in fact a fabrication.

    Some areas of photography deal with things most of us have never seen. The two areas mentioned in the question: wildlife and news photography contain many examples of images which lie outside the experience of most viewers. Often those pictures stand entirely on the premise that they can be taken at face value: that if the viewer had been present they could have experienced something similar to the experience of viewing the picture. The viewer is being invited to believe that, if they can trust the photographer, they will understand something about the subject of those news or wildlife photos that they didn't before.

    A somewhat tangential example: a few years ago the BBC produced a TV series about dinosaurs which became rather controversial. Clearly the pictures were fabricated. Nobody had any difficulty with that. The problem was that some people thought the programs were presented as though they were scientific fact. The viewer was invited to believe that they were seeing exactly how a particular kind of dinosuar walked, or ran, or hunted. Whereas in fact, of course, the programs displayed an impression of how those dinosaurs might have moved and behaved.

    The problem was not with the pictures, themselves, or their 'truth' 'realism', 'authenticity' or anything like that, it was over whether or not the viewers were being deceived.

    Where a photographer seeks deliberately to mislead a viewer with an image which depends on being taken at face value, then surely they lose some credibility?

    Of course this is a very complex subject. I know one person's reality and truth don't stack up in the next person's eyes, but, at some level, there is the question of seeking to create a reaction to an image BECAUSE it actually existed, when in fact it didn't.
     
  5. A photograph is by its inevitable factors - focus, depth of field, angle of view, format, perspective, distortion, lighting, exposure, colour balance, contrast, subject movement, the way the photographer's presence affects the subject, etc, etc - hardly ever a truthful rendition of anything, but even in its most unprocessed form already a coloured interpretation.
    When it comes to adjustments of colour, brightness, bringing out shadows, dampening highlights, that is not really image manipulation the way I see it, but rather further processing of the potential image that is the initial capture or negative.
    Hakon Soreide
    Bergen, Norway
    www.hakonsoreide.com
     
  6. Well, what exactly is manipulation? It seems that many people think that anything done digitally is 'manipulation'. If was done using traditional dark room techniques would they think the same? Hmmm. Even photojournalists manipulate thier images (if you use the strictist definition), by color correcting, cropping, setting a black/white point etc. How about cleaning up a shot that is dirty? Is that manipulation? In fact I can't think of a single photographer that doesn't manipulate thier photos in some small way-they may be out there, but I don't know them. Point is as long the image isn't out-right lying (like placing a presidential candidate in a photo when he wasn't there, or removing a person from a photo because it cluttered the scene), some manipulation is expected. And as long as your not making claims to be a photojournalist, who cares what you do to an photo? It's about the photo, and not how you made it. My conclusion is: no most manipulation is not cheating.
     
  7. Making false claims about the image. Overrating one's own images. Just plain cheating to elevate an image. (all forms of cheating including manipulation of reviews of the image) That's were the line is easily drawn.
     
  8. I have a picture of a Kookaburra taken on B&W infrared film.

    They aren't really black and white, and they don't look all haloed like that in real life either.

    Was I allowed to take this picture?
     
  9. As stated, if it's "journalism" where one is faithfully representing the image as factual as possible then it matters.

    "How important is authenticity, and where does one draw the line?"

    The rest of the faithfulness of the image making process boils down to the insecurities of the image maker and the viewer.

    This has been discussed in the past and the exampe which always came to the top was Ansel and his darkroom wizardry. If it's good enough for the f/64 gang then it's good enough for everybody else.
     
  10. To me, image manipulation means the removal (or addition) of objects from (to) the photograph, and this I find generally unacceptable. Color adjustments, channel mixing, infrared, burning, dodging, these are a part of the toolkit of the print maker and these I do not consider manipulation.
     
  11. "To me, image manipulation means the removal (or addition) of objects from (to) the photograph, and this I find generally unacceptable."

    For me, living in an area where there are lots and lots of man made objects cluttering up the views, I have no trouble removing roads, utility poles, wires, cars, buildings, trash in the field or what ever if when I made the capture, I had plans on removing the junk out of the image, before I tripped the shutter. Besides, they weren't always there:)

    Not everybody lives in "Paradise." :)
     
  12. Ah. So as long as a PJ doesn't do anything with theit shot in PS, then they're OK, right? Now take a step back to when they actually tripped the shutter. You don'tthink for a minute that a good PJ would ever think about manipulating the original composition, including their use of lighting, subject matter and foreground/background considerations to make you see what they wanted you to see, would they? Reality is in the eye of the beholder.
     
  13. I don't understand why this is such a difficult idea to ponder. I can understand where some things can be very blurred, but this is a very easy subject of philosophy. At least it should be.

    I see it like this. Let me state the facts as I see them.

    1. Photography was used to capture a moment in time, to have it last, that single moment in time. Taking pictures of family, friends, your first automobile, your pet, that beautiful scene while on vacation.

    2. We as photographers take this a step further, we try to take GOOD photos.

    3. Artists create art, photographers create photos.

    4. Photography as an artistic expression is ussually seen as composition, subject matter, proper exposure, capturing certain moments in time.

    5. Art as a photographic expression is ussually seen as using a photograph as your canvas, modifying it, creating your version of what you want the viewer to see.

    6. It all depends on the photo, the type of photography sometimes does designate a certain rule of thumb, code of ethics per say.

    A couple things, I happen to live in Olympia, WA, with a great view of Mt. Rainier, however the perfect angle at which I catch the sunrise happens to allow for some rather large powerlines that span the length of the west coast of the north american continent to just protrude a little bit on the bottom left hand corner, it's barely noticable, esspecially because of the low lighting, infact I could get away with leaving it there. But it's such an easy fix I just clone it out.

    That to me, is the limit, pretty close to the line. Borders on lazy, too lazy to walk somewhere else and get a better line of sight.

    The line that I draw is when you change the colour, or hue, to get a desired affect that was not there originally. Or upping the saturation to an extent that is unreal, but could be interpreted as real to the veiwers eye. Or oversharpening a poorly taken photograph, and then blurring the background to create nice bokeh. Ok I'm ranting now lol. Bye.
     
  14. "Reality is in the eye of the beholder."

    http://rhetorica.net/bias.htm

    Are you trying to say news agencies are biased in their reporting? LOL LOL LOL! I'm shocked! :)
     
  15. IMHO, as a simple, rough answer (maybe too simple, but we've discussed this subject way too much), I would say that ARTifact is opposed to NATure.
     
  16. Well, first of all, I can't imagine how "cropping" and adjusting the lighting to perhaps be more in tune with how the subject actually looked to the naked eye would be cheating. I have taken some shots of finches at my birdfeeder, and cropped out some resulting extraneous space because I had to leave room in the original shot for unexpected flight movement. The picture still shows the event as it actually occurred, but just not everything that was in the frame. How is that cheating?

    To me, the only unacceptable manipulation is that that is done in an attempt to deceive the viewer into thinking something occurred that didn't, such as the famous example of the great-white shark jumping at the military helicopter. Saturing colors, adjusting lighting, burning and dodging, and cropping are done only to make the shot more pleasing to look at. And anyway, what camera or film records an image EXACTLY as it was seen by the photographer's eye? From what I've seen on this site, there aren't any. By the most strict definition, I suppose "black and white" would also be cheating. Not many would agree with that.
     
  17. "And anyway, what camera or film records an image EXACTLY as it was seen by the photographer's eye?"

    Crest fallen, he writes.

    What?! We don't see naturally with Velvia, Cibachrome, Extachrome, telephoto, B&W,, glossy/matte, IR, or WA eyes w/ 8"X10" contact print acuity? :)
     
  18. My standards that I have come to over time.

    Photojournalism = Photo is a truthful rendition of the scene that you shot. One that you would back in a court of law. Here appropriate manipulations would be ones that make the scene more truthful ( levels, color correction, distortion correction, cropping .. all within reason ). But with my standard even an uncorrect shot could be inappropriate if the PoV or moment of capture does not truthfully show the scene ( like the police that looks like he is striking an unarmed and supressed person, but really it's just him reaching for something ).

    Documentary = Photo is an accurate rendition. Slightly different from Photojournalism since I think there should be a little play here to "tell a story" as long as any changes are not dramatic and documented appropriatly.

    All other phtotgraphy = Fair game as long as it's not intended to deceive.
     
  19. We'll highlight the rediculousness of possibilities.

    Let's see. If I set the camera on a tripod, walk intentionally into the FOV, rearrange stuff according to my whims, that's okay, but if I did the same exact thing in PSCS, then I'm being deceptive? :)

    So if I sit in a chair and wait two weeks for a bird to fly by, I'm good to go but if I clone the same bird into the scene, I'm being deceptive?

    Will my tummy know the difference between a salmon bought at a fish market/grocery store or one caught in the ocean? My tummy asked that question:)

    In reality, when does it become a false reality? Are these words that I type (on my monitor, in memory, via the web to server, via server to web, to memory, to your screen) a form of a false reality because they exist only in cyberspace?

    Wow! Sounds like an excellent excuse for a whole series of intentionally rearranged stuff, before tripping the shutter.
     
  20. If I only crop, and then use PS to bring the light and color to where I recall it was that day and time, and my caption accurately states what it was and when and where it was, that's not cheating in any form.
     
  21. Arranging things in the scene is also a no-no in nature photography. You know this of course, you're just trying to p*** off people. Nature photography is about showing things that exist in nature, preferably with as little human interference as possible (though humans like other animals are part of nature).

    Yes, waiting for two weeks for a bird to fly by is precisely the spirit of nature photography! To observe and to document.
     
  22. Thomas,

    I think you missed my point. If your intent is to give the viewer beauty ( like the salmon analogy ) there is no intent to deceive if you stage your shot. If you stage the shot and then claim you saw bigfoot, then your intent was to deceive.
     
  23. Ilkka

    "Arranging things in the scene is also a no-no in nature photography. You know this of course, you're just trying to p*** off people."

    Not at all. I'm an artist, not a nature photographer and this is a philosophy forum so poetic license is okay. As an artist I can go into nature and hang furniture from trees if I'm so inclined and that would be artistically legal. And as an old school, West Coast, nature photographer, one has always been allowed to hang a branch into the view to spiff up the image or remove trash, debris or whatever from your FOV.

    Your rules aren't my rules:)
     
  24. Eric

    "If you stage the shot and then claim you saw bigfoot, then your intent was to deceive."

    Okay, then I'll throw the shot of bigfoot catching salmon away:) Darn! But my tummy's not gonna be happy:)
     
  25. I've said before that any photographer has just as much of a right to digitally manipulate a photo to the nth degree as any photographer has to rigidly oppose any manipulation of any kind in a hard-assed way, at least pertaining to their own work. All I ask is that they openly disclose any manipulation that they've done when they display their work in a forum where their photo is subject to scrutiny by a range of people whose views will not necessarily align with one particular group.

    That allows every type of photographer to look at a photo without having other people's ethical precedents imposed upon them.
     
  26. "All I ask is that they openly disclose any manipulation that they've done when they display their work in a forum where their photo is subject to scrutiny by a range of people whose views will not necessarily align with one particular group."

    Openly disclose? It's a stupid photograph not a piece of evidence. Some people take themselves waaaaay too seriously and don't realize it:) Lighten up a bit and have some fun with your photography.

    "That allows every type of photographer to look at a photo without having other people's ethical precedents imposed upon them."

    Aren't you imposing your ethics on others in your above? Unless the rules are stated before you view an image, there are no rules. And what's with this discrimination against "non-photographers?" They don't count or are you now protecting their sensibilities? :)

    As a child of the sixties it seems the revolt against authority has come full circle where those currently "in charge" are imposing their will in not so subtle ways. The difference? The imposition is coming from the progressive humanist or artistic side of the world as opposed to the conservative quarter. Ain't that ironic. Looks like dictitorial behavior resides in both sides of the isle's psychic.

    All one needs to know about an image is, "Does it work for them?" Everything else, in regard to how the image got to the wall or portfolio holder, unless stated or portrayed as a documentary image, doesn't matter.

    Wow! This rule thingy has become toooooo funny:)

    "Power to the people." "Down with authority." "No rules." "Make art, not law." :)
     
  27. "Everyday People" by Sly and The Family Stone

    Sometimes I'm right and I can be wrong.
    My own beliefs are in my song.
    The butcher, the banker, the drummer and then.
    Makes no difference what group I'm in.
    I am everyday people, yeah yeah.
    There is a blue one who can't accept the green one.
    For living with a fat one trying to be a skinny one.
    And different strokes for different folks.
    And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee.
    Oh sha sha - we got to live together.
    I am no better and neither are you.
    We are the same whatever we do.
    You love me you hate me you know me and then.
    You can't figure out the bag l'm in.
    I am everyday people, yeah yeah.
    There is a long hair that doesn't like the short hair.
    For bein' such a rich one that will not help the poor one.
    And different strokes for different folks.
    And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee.
    Oh sha sha-we got to live together.
    There is a yellow one that won't accept the black one.
    That won't accept the red one that won't accept the white one.
    And different strokes for different folks.

    How soon we forget.
     
  28. Thomas, you're of course entitled to your own philosophy and opinions, as long as you don't publish your pics as nature/wildlife photos without disclosing what you did.
     
  29. "Thomas, you're of course entitled to your own philosophy and opinions, as long as you don't publish your pics as nature/wildlife photos without disclosing what you did."

    There you go with your rule making again.

    I'm gonna do what I want with my "nature/wildlife" photos and I don't need your approval and on the other hand, you're welcome to follow your rules in any manner you see fit.

    You're tooooo funny with your rule demands.
     
  30. Factuality versus fantadaption perhaps - no problem as long as it is admitted that manipulation has taken place. This should not be a problem for the manipulators if they are happy with what they do.
     
  31. Thomas stop it! Behave yourself!

    You are going to be all dirty and your pants will tear! If You don't behave, I'll tell Your father tonight when he comes home!!!;-)
     
  32. "Thomas stop it! Behave yourself!"

    :)
     
  33. Surely, there's nothing wrong with manipulating a photograph whenever you like (if it's yours, that is!). The only questions remain: what will it be used for and does it's use imply it to be something that it is not?
    <p>
    For example, artistic photos do not claim to be unmanipulated, and so no-one would object if they found that they had been manipulated. However, if you use a photo in a photo-journalistic way, to say (for example) that a particular soldier has been commiting war-crimes, then you'd better not have manipulated the image! The same image used in an art gallery could be manipulated - so what? - people would interpret it in a different way, depending on how it is presented.
     
  34. As a retired Photojournalist, I have discovered that only those who want, or need, or have the desire to "manipulate" an image ever questions the "right or wrong" of doing so. <p>Not only am I of "the old school", I am first and foremost a Photojournalist, whose ethical code prohibits "manipulation".<p>This same argument raged over The *Foundview Philosophy, and the philosophy of making images of things *Seen at the scene. Sometimes anal retentive arguments ensued such as: Is it still a *Foundview if you want to shoot a gorgeous scene that would be even better if you (re)moved an offending Beer can or cut off an intruding tree limb? Does moving the Beer can or cutting the lib off make it not a *Foundview but instead, a manipulated scene?<br>Because of my craft, I adhere to both the ethics of Photojournalism and the Foundview.<bR>Your mileage may vary.
     
  35. Read a (one of many) Photo.net discussions on Foundview @<p>
    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=000F7R
     
  36. I'm not suggesting that you disclose any manipulation because you're obliged to, Thomas, I'm asking that you do it as a favour. Please don't put words in my mouth.

    "All one needs to know about an image is, 'Does it work for them?' Everything else...doesn't matter."

    There's an example of imposition and dictatorial behaviour. It matters for at least three of us.
     
  37. Thomas, you're being extremely superficial. Do you also think that everything a president says to the people is ok although it might be all lies, as long as "it works", ie. he gets the necessary votes to remain in power? I guess you do.

    Photography in certain fields is a form of documentation. It's also an art, but each field and context have their own guidelines and rules of what is considered acceptable. Only in the context of digital graphical arts are your principles commonplace and acceptable.
     
  38. ... and of course, such works have more in common with drawings and paintings than photography.
     
  39. "I guess you do." Nice to know I'm having my thinking done for me. Life is superficial, and then we die. When you come to grips with this point, you'll see how unimportant your thoughts are. Lighten up, enjoy your photography as there is no such thing as a valid critique. Make your rules to suit your game (I promise to not come and ask to play) and restrict others as you see fit cause it makes you feel better about yourself.
    00DaWK-25703084.jpg
     
  40. "... and of course, such works have more in common with drawings and paintings than photography."

    Funny how quick the history of photography get's forgotten and how some are quick to redefine it's purpose so as to serve their purpose.

    http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/

    Check out TALBOT, William Henry Fox. You might also wish to check out a dude named: STIEGLITZ, ALFRED and what his feelings are on photography and how he wished photography to be seen.

    Why? They might disagree with your above as to what photography was to them and the purpose it served:)

    You're welcome to use photography in any shape, manner or form of your choosing as photography belongs to no one.
     
  41. Thomas, none of your references apply to wildlife photography. It's really difficult to discuss anything with you because you know almost nothing about photography outside of your own genre, and you assume that all genres subscribe to your anything goes mentality.

    Why should wildlife photography be any different from news photographs in New Your Times? If you publish a wildlife photograph in a natural science or related magazine, some authenticity is expected by the readership, instead of a photoshop forgery. Same is true of photos published as news in NYT. On the other hand, nobody expects your president to speak the truth. Some fields are more accepting of lies than others. Wildlife photography is one of the more purist kind, where photomontages and such things are not taken well. I haven't seen any Stieglitz wildlife photos in National Geographic in 2005, have you? Then what possible relevance could a dead man's words 100 years ago have to do with a genre which wasn't even born then?
     
  42. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    you know almost nothing about photography outside of your own genre,
    When you have figured out what that genre is, let me know, because I can't figure it out.
    Going back to the original question, the issue of manipulation is a red herring, here and in photojournalism. Before Photoshop, without manipulation, "wildlife" photography was being shot in special animal parks for photography, and even in zoos. And photojournalists routinely set up shots. The issue isn't "manipulation", it's representation.
     
  43. Jeff, yes, how the image is used is obviously key. For example, try publishing a "photograph" of a T-rex eating a lynx as evidence that these species lived at the same time in the same place.

    I gather from Thomas's comments that he thinks that any photograph can be manipulated in any way the photographer wishes, and published anywhere the photographer wants. This is what I object to. In literature, there is some that are fiction, and others which are factual. Trying to publish fiction and claim it is fact is unethical. The same is true in photography. Not all photography is just blotches of ink on paper.
     
  44. When looking at nature/wildlife photography I like to know that what I am seeing is what was there. I want a factual/actual representation that I can relate to and which increases my knowledge of the particular subject.

    If the image has been manipulated I want to know and as I said before, if the photographer is proud of what he has done, he surely has no problem with stating the facts.

    Is integrity too strong a word ?
     
  45. "I gather from Thomas's comments that he thinks that any photograph can be manipulated in any way the photographer wishes, and published anywhere the photographer wants."

    Boy, context has no meaning on the web. Reread my words and you'll see none of my above in your above.

    Also, you'll need to reread what you've written, so you can apply my dead man comments to your comments. The quote marks are there for your benefit. If you can't even keep your own comments in context, how can you carry on a rational conversation?

    One more time, for those who are contextually challenged.

    "Make your rules to suit your game (I promise to not come and ask to play) and restrict others as you see fit cause it makes you feel better about yourself."

    I'll translate for you if it will be helpful.

    I promise not to come to any of your rule bound venues and complain about your rules so don't complain if I don't find need to come into your venue and wear your shackles. It's a stupid picture, lighten up. You're gonna die dude so find something of important or substance to get wrapped up in. In the meantime, go out, make pictures and enjoy the little life you have left.

    http://www.photo.net/photo/1915720

    http://www.photo.net/photo/2192022

    http://www.photo.net/photo/1954836

    "My kingdom for a brain."

    "Oh look daddy!" "It's a picture of a duck." "That's not a picture son cause it's a photograph and it was done au natural without manipulation."

    ---------------------------

    "In your opinion should manipulation be considered a form of "cheating"; where you "trick" a viewer into believing in a false reality, or is manipulation more about enhancing and bringing out the best possible attributes in a photograph using the tools available to today's photographic artist..."

    If it's not a documentary shot, then it don't matter. One day folks will progress emotionally, climb out of their mental security boxes and look back on these sorts of worries for the insecurities that they are.

    If the agreed upon rules say, "no manipulation", then no manipulation and if no rules have been declared then it don't matter and to try and apply "your" rules, after the fact, when no rules have been declared is flat out egocentric thinking.
     
  46. When we start seeing life though Velvia or Cibachrome eyes, your au natural rule will have some validity.

    I think the world of restricted photographic think needs to explore the amount of manipulation which has become acceptable and this acceptability of manipulation needs to be addressed before one can worry about what I do with an image.

    Paraphrasing: "Worry about the log in your eye before you worry about the splinter in mine." Why? My images represent my view and how I see an image in my mind before I trip the shutter. I pre-plan the image and what I'm going to do to it, before I make the capture. Ilkka, I don't play in your sandbox for a reason but you're always welcome to come play in the sandbox I play in as it belongs to everybody.
     
  47. Can we all take a moment to list acceptable forms of manipulation.

    I'll throw a few into the hopper.

    Long lenses. High speed shutters. Flash photography. None are normal for our eye's abilities.

    Contrast filters and paper. Circular Polarizers. ND filters. Darkroom development techniques to extend the dynamic range of the film or paper. Choice of films to enhance color saturation.

    Dodging and burning, selective processing, of an image while under the enlarger light.

    Maybe others will like to throw a few "acceptable" forms of manipulation into the hopper for discussion purposes of how manipulated these unmanipulated images, really are.
     
  48. Okay. No replies. I'll write to myself;

    Let's see, important note, the restricted gamut of today's printers and how unrealistic printed colors are. Is a print valid if it's made with a non-profiled system? Are analogue or wet prints the only true print?

    Is a print considered "au natural" if the gamut doesn't match what our eyes are capable of? How many penalty points shall we assign for using the unnatural gamut we're forced to work within?

    When was the last time any of you Wildlife folks actually evaluated the color of the clouds in your image, before tripping the shutter as you strived to shift the color balance, in PS, to an unnatural, not matching what was really there, "daylight/5500k" value of convenience cause it was too late in the day and the late afternoon sun was too warm? Does the use of Moose's filters

    http://www.moosepeterson.com/gear/moosefilter.html

    qualify as valid manipulation as it warms an image quality. (No disrespect intended in my question towards Moose's efforts.) Some people actually think all clouds are only white and gray at high noon:)

    Have you taken time to evaluate how you actually see things and how blurry things are only fifteen or twenty degrees off center. So is Ansel Adams usage of f/64 a form of acceptable "non-manipulation?"

    I'll look forward to more exploration of what constitues acceptable manipulation as folks pretend there's no manipulation going on. It's all a matter of degrees as we've already "established character", now we're just dickering over the price:)
     
  49. Jeff. Sorry about the multiple posts as I try to expand the reality of the issue.
     
  50. This horse gets flogged at least once a week around here. It's pretty much impossible to take a picture these days without "manipulating" it.

    Shoot jpegs? Well your camera's processor is doing all kinds of things to that image that the good folks at Canon/Nikon/Minolta etc. deemed appopriate. Do any of the purists in this thread (who'd *never* manipulate an image! Horrors!) enjoy Ansel Adam's nature photography? Well here's not much of a secret: Ansel would spend days in his darkroom working on one print and manipulate the hell out of it. When's the last time you saw a black sky over Yosemite in real life? Boy some of the folks here sure occupy a lofty perch. For me the bottom line is: Do I like the image? Whether the answer is yes or no, I still don't care if any of the alledgedly enlightened "experts" here think it's "manipulated" or not because that's not the point.

    I'm curious if any of these erudite purists demand the same thing in other aspects of their lives. My God - did I just hear a drum machine on that album or was it a real drummer? 'Cause if it was a drum machine well that band must suck! To hell with whether I like the tune or not - this drum machine thing's gotten way out of hand!

    Photography is a bit like quantum mechanics where the act of observing a particle changes its behavior. The act of photographing a subject manipulates it. Try to get over it please!
     
  51. Two feet away, from an eight and a half inch flower using an 85/1.8 wide open, handheld, 1/50th, ISO 200, waining evening light. No saturation, or contrast, used levels only, reduced for web posting and USM'd. Unmanipulated? Is this how our eyes see? I don't think so:)
    00DbKT-25718884.jpg
     
  52. Is this how we see? Reflected flourescent lights in the pouring rain. Sigma 100-300/4.0, 200mm, f/4.0, 1/15th, exp comp -2, ISO 200, tripod mounted. All settings on low in the 10D. Post, saturation +15, contrast +5, reduced for web, USM'd. Unmanipulated?
    00DbKg-25719184.jpg
     
  53. Knowing your equipment and how it responds to light makes up for a mutitude of sins:) Knowing how to pre-plan your shot, before you trip the shutter allows one to work in difficult venues, without need of "manipulation." One more but in this one I managed to airbrush out a distracting overhead wire. Shall I submit myself to the requited flogging of pentance ao as to become penitent? Considered manipulation for the planned act of airbrushing out a single distracting wire? 10D settings on low, 16-35/2.8L, 19mm, 1/400th, f/8, Exp Comp -2/3, ISO 100, handheld, all images shot in RAW and converted in Breeze Browser. Post consisted of Saturation +35, Contrast +5, reduced for web and USM'd.
    00DbLS-25719384.jpg
     
  54. "Shall I submit myself to the requited flogging of pentance"

    Only if you used a pentaprism SLR.
     
  55. ""Shall I submit myself to the requited flogging of pentance"

    Only if you used a pentaprism SLR."

    Oops! Ya got me:)

    Shall I submit myself to the now corrected flogging of penance?
     
  56. I thinky you are flogging a dead horse.
     
  57. "I thinky you are flogging a dead horse."

    Nope! This horse is young and has plenty of run left in it as the purists won't acknowledge their participation in the manipulation process.

    You can bet this subject will come up over and over and over again over the next many years so it's far from dead.
     
  58. Yes, the photographic process produces just images. The process changes things in some ways, e.g. colours may not be accurate in the photograph, and it is a two-dimensional projection of a 3D world. The depth of field is a physical phenominon and there is nothing that can be done about it except using smaller and smaller sensor with more pixels to compensate. A lot of people actually complained about the lack of depth of field when the first telephoto pics of birds were published in nature magazines, considering the representation unnatural. However people got used to it and accepted that photographs of birds just look that way, since nothing better could be done. I don't consider the selection of angle of view "manipulation", it is just a question of what you show in the image in terms of angle of view and aspect ratio. People understand that what is outside the confines of the picture is just not shown in the image, not that it doen't exist. Here is a key point: when people see a picture of nature, they generally expect it to be a true projection of what once was in front of the camera. Of course, it could be used in a manipulatory way by showing only a fraction of relevant events in some context. However, the key here is that we can, if we want to, show nature in a natural way (within some constraints). On photo.net you'd get the impression that 90% of the posters are pro-manipulation "anything goes" photographers, but that's just the philosophy forum on photo.net. Try the nature photography forum for this discussion and people will hold radically different opinions to yours. If you go to a meeting of nature pros (not nature photography pros) or amateurs (biologists, bird observers etc.) the overwhelming majority of them would object to manipulation (which can be defined as making an effort to change the image to make it less realistic).

    Just because you think that every photograph is in some way "manipulated" does not invalidate the ideal of trying to show nature in a natural way. Just because it may be difficult or impossible to reach perfection in this pursuit doesn't mean that it shouldn't be attempted, in the right context of course.

    I'm not trying to invalidate the value of deliberately unnatural or manipulated photos of e.g. wildlife. I'm sure there are loads of people who think they're fantastic. However, the people who know nature and study it appreciate accuracy and information value in so far as it is possible to convey in a photograph. The majority of published wildlife photography belong in this category.

    I'm not in any "sandbox" with "my rules." But different communities have different rules. Here we're talking about wildlife photography which is a field with established conventions.

    Also, just a comment to Beau's post above: the act of taking a photograph as a physical process doesn't actually change the subject in any *appreciable* way. (I have a PhD in physics, I think I should know but you never know what's going on in quantum mechanics ... ;-) The photon falling on the subject and reflecting from it might have done that, but the photography part is AFTER the photon had already done what it would have done anyway to the subject. Surely photography may change the subject especially if the subject is a sensitive human being but ... quantum mechanics isn't really the proper way to look at that - human psychology would be more appropriate. :)

    As to your flower shot, no, it doesn't look natural, with an artificial color of the sky and all, but that isn't really an intrinsic limitation of the photographic process ... it is the skill or willingness of the photographer to aim for a natural result that is missing here. I never said that a photograph made without photoshop manipulation is automatically natural or looks genuine, but one can _strive_ to reach that kind of images with existing photographic tools. And in a nature photography context, this is generally the way to go.

    As to the removal of a wire, well, that's basically fine as long as you don't deceive viewers by claiming that there was no wire in the scene. Just as with with writing or saying things, if you want to lie by utilizing pictures in the process, I'm sure it can be done but the question of ethics is then SHOULD it be done. If you have an exhibition, you can show whatever images you make, I have no objection to it. But if you publish your image as representing this place at that time, then most viewers after finding out what you did with the wire would consider having been deceived.

    I'm not a wildlife photographer by the way but I do some nature photography. And I would never feel good about myself having published an image with a wire taken out of the scene. I've done it just to see how it looks without the wire, but I never felt good about doing it so I got rid of the print. And as far as Velvia etc. are concerned, it just happens that no film renders colours accurately and Velvia (the original) was considered to be an acceptable compromise for a variety of reasons. There are plenty of nature photographers who don't like it, myself included. I happen to think my D70 gives a more natural and better rendition of color in nature. That doesn't mean I always strive deliberately for natural color. For me, landscape photography is art. But removing objects from the frame is ... well, it just shows that you were not able to find a scene which was free of that wire and take the picture there. It shows a kind of lack of interest in being truthful in your pictures. Just because you were too lazy or unable to find a real scene which looked the way you wanted, you had to change things in Photoshop. To me, photography is a kind of sport, where the goal is to search for interesting things, make decisions of things that you see and produce interesting images. You can of course make your own rules or have no rules, that's fine. But here comes a key point: wildlife photography already has an established acceptable practice. It's not something I make up. Go to a meeting of nature photographers and see what they discuss and how they feel about your images.

    The thing is that it is a lot easier to remove a wire in photoshop than find a natural scene which photographs well. So why should an image which is created in 3 minutes of photoshopping be considered as good as one where the photographer walked in the wilderness for 3 months to find a scene without wires?

    But this wire stuff is about non-wildlife subjects, so it's off topic. Generally wildlife photographs are published in a documentary context and you wouldn't believe the kind of a public outrage that occurs every time someone publishes a set-up shot of an event which could not naturally occur. It's unbelievable, but these people show a sense of integrity by not accepting it.

    I'm not saying that shooting a bear in a feeding place just outside of the photograph is any better than a photoshopped shot of a bear shot in a zoo and moved into a natural context. Both are a form of cheating and they just don't touch me at all. Yuck. Photoshop or not, lying in pictures.

    A lot of people on the internet seem to assume that when people complain about manipulation, that it is specifically digital manipulation which is objected to. Nope. Setting up unnatural events is just as bad.
     
  59. I would like to stress my point that this problem doesn't really exist in real life. Every nature photographer knows what the conventions are. Some might make attempts to make money of Photoshopped images, and that is fine as long as the act is documented. This is because in general a photograph can be made to look realistic enough that it has the power to deceive, unlike an oil painting where everyone understands that it is a representation altered by the painter to be more aesthetic. However, a painting doesn't have such a resemblance to reality as a photograph can have, so no one is deceived. The majority of photographs published about nature in magazines are not deliberately manipulated (according to the definition that the photographer altered the captured image in order to make it less realistic than the original). This is reflected in what viewers expect. So in a context of showing a lynx in a magazine of Finnish nature, the note under the picture generally would have to say if the photograph was actually taken in Korkeasaari zoo or in North America, although the rest of the story concerns lynxes in Finland. This is just established practice.

    Nature photography as an art where you combine objects from different photos into one should be made in such a way that people are not deceived into believing that what is shown in the picture is a projection of real events. Over time people may start accepting that a photo of natural subject matter may just be a photoshop montage to illustrate the story but at the present time if the image is published in a credible nature magazine, it would have to be indicated in the text what was done to the image.
     
  60. I also happen to love Ansel Adams's landscape images in his books. I have nothing against what he did. But because the images are in black and white, no one is deceived to think that the places actually looked like that when he photographed them. So no deception, no problem.
     
  61. Well - that covers a heck of a lot of the ground. I previously raised the spectre of integrity and looking back at the original post I see that authenticity came into the equation as well. Factor in those two elements and it is a pretty powerful case.
     
  62. " As to your flower shot, no, it doesn't look natural, with an artificial color of the sky and all, but that isn't really an intrinsic limitation of the photographic process ... it is the skill or willingness of the photographer to aim for a natural result that is missing here." There's no sky in the shot if you're referencing the flower shot I posted. Absolutely nothing was done to the image other then levels and USM'g the image after reduction for web posting. The shot is as natural as natural can get. " I'm not a wildlife photographer by the way but I do some nature photography. And I would never feel good about myself having published an image with a wire taken out of the scene." There's the crux of the matter, you have issues and you're trying to make your issues other people's issues; it's called projection. " But removing objects from the frame is ... well, it just shows that you were not able to find a scene which was free of that wire and take the picture there. It shows a kind of lack of interest in being truthful in your pictures." " Just because you were too lazy or unable to find a real scene which looked the way you wanted, you had to change things in Photoshop." That must be it, I'm a lazy dog:) More projection on your part. What it shows is that I was in tune with my image and thought the image through before I tripped the shutter. Look Ma! No wires:) (No wires were harmed in the making of the below two images) http://www.photo.net/photo/2435004 http://www.photo.net/photo/1903901 " To me, photography is a kind of sport, where the goal is to search for interesting things, make decisions of things that you see and produce interesting images." To me, getting the image one has in the mind to paper is what's important but you're welcome to finalize the image making process in anyway of your choosing. The difference in thinking, I'm good to go with your way of thinking but you make your rope around the neck thinking very clear. A clue, I'd mentally die in a camera club so why bother as death will reach me soon enough, why hasten the process:) As we explore your aesthetics, we find out more of why you are the way you are but this need to project these restriction on others needs to cause one pause. " The thing is that it is a lot easier to remove a wire in Photoshop than find a natural scene which photographs well." Then again, why should one, when they have the ability to remove the obstruction, have to move on? Because "you" say so? "So why should an image which is created in 3 minutes of photoshopping be considered as good as one where the photographer walked in the wilderness for 3 months to find a scene without wires?" And why should the converse be considered true? Because some dope has the ability to hang for three months? Sorry if I'm not impressed by the dedication to expending one's life forces which are limited. You'll also have to forgive me as I live in the burbs, not a wilderness:) Sometimes I even seek out wires:) Thanks for the extended thoughts.
    00Dd1q-25752384.jpg
     
  63. " To me, getting the image one HAS IN MIND " - seems to sum it up fairly clearly.
     
  64. "There's no sky in the shot if you're referencing the flower shot I posted. Absolutely nothing was done to the image other then levels and USM'g the image after reduction for web posting. The shot is as natural as natural can get."

    Ok, if it's not sky what is the background then? A colored surface?

    "There's the crux of the matter, you have issues and you're trying to make your issues other people's issues; it's called projection."

    I don't want to deceive people, it's called honestly and integrity.

    "That must be it, I'm a lazy dog:) More projection on your part. What it shows is that I was in tune with my image and thought the image through before I tripped the shutter. Look Ma! No wires:) (No wires were harmed in the making of the below two images)"

    You have a different goal and different principles.

    "To me, getting the image one has in the mind to paper is what's important but you're welcome to finalize the image making process in anyway of your choosing. The difference in thinking, I'm good to go with your way of thinking but you make your rope around the neck thinking very clear. A clue, I'd mentally die in a camera club so why bother as death will reach me soon enough, why hasten the process:)"

    I don't go to camera clubs because things in my experience are a bit slow-moving in them. But photo.net is a kind of camera club. I don't worry about death ... actually spending time in the outdoors is likely to extend your life if you are able to do it.

    "As we explore your aesthetics, we find out more of why you are the way you are but this need to project these restriction on others needs to cause one pause."

    I'm just trying to explain the mindset of typical nature photographers. Maybe I don't speak for all of them, some of them feed bears and wolves to get access to them, and others combine elements in photoshop to get the image to match their ideas. A photoshopped montage of birds isn't necessarily a deception if the photographer actually saw many birds in the scene but couldn't capture them for some reason. But it's a good idea to at least document what was done. A lot of nature photographers are kind of purists where they think the experience of being in the wilderness and finding and documenting aspects of it are the important part. Photography is their tool for that, and often they are much better in understanding nature than photography.

    "Then again, why should one, when they have the ability to remove the obstruction, have to move on? Because "you" say so?"

    No, not because "I" say so. You're free to remove your wire. What is important to me is the spirit of adventure, seaching and finding something which was not recorded before and stands beautiful as it is, without "fixing". I get great satisfaction in finding a good scene and leave the wires if present where they are. To me, photographing nature and deliberately excluding signs of human presence if they actually are there at the site of the photograph is also deceiving. The message to people would be "pristine, untouched nature exists in abundance as shown by these pictures of mine, the locations were easy to find and there is no need to conserve nature as there is so much untouched nature left." I dont' want to leave a message like that. So, when in Norway, I am a bit bothered aesthetically by all those power lines but I accept that they're a part of the modern landscape. So if I find a landscape which is beautiful without signs of human presence, it's great, but I don't want it to appear that way in my photographs if it is not that way in the real world.

    "And why should the converse be considered true? Because some dope has the ability to hang for three months? Sorry if I'm not impressed by the dedication to expending one's life forces which are limited."

    It's not a waste. You get to look at landscapes and spend time in nature. That's what many people would call heaven. Trekking in the wild is good for humans physically and mentally. I understand that city people are in a hurry to do things, but a lot of people actually crave to get out of the city, to spend time in nature. It's always funny for me to hear stories of people spending two weeks in a hide, photographing an owl in the neighborhood. Two weeks in a small tent-like structure concealed to look like it was a rock. And they love it, and say it is so hard, but I guess they're having a time of their lives. I don't have the patience for it, but if I didn't have a real job and instead had the opportunity to spend my life in the wilderness photographing landscapes and wildlife, I'd be a much happier person. Photoshopping a wire out does not improve your physical health nor does it bring the experiences of extended stay outside of what some call civilization.

    "You'll also have to forgive me as I live in the burbs, not a wilderness:) Sometimes I even seek out wires:)"

    I also live too far from the wilderness to my liking. Maybe I should have photoshopped some wires out and become a nature photographer instead of being a tightwad and getting a research job in Boston, this area is much too crowded (with people, not just wires) for my taste.

    I'd post a photograph of pipes in the harbor if I had it scanned. A bit later.

    Ilkka
     
  65. "There's no sky in the shot if you're referencing the flower shot I posted. Absolutely nothing was done to the image other then levels and USM'g the image after reduction for web posting. The shot is as natural as natural can get." "Ok, if it's not sky what is the background then? A colored surface?" In a sense of the word yes as it's the tarmac of the street behind the flower. The bokeh of a Canon 85/1.8 is incredible as the DOF is so narrow. "There's the crux of the matter, you have issues and you're trying to make your issues other people's issues; it's called projection." "You have a different goal and different principles." As do you but the point that I'm trying to make is, all principals, in the case of photography are valid and all genres, to one extent or another, are manipulated whether for deception, laziness or purity so the manipulation is still there and trying to break it up into "A matter of degrees.", is to parse words for convenience sake. I'm just trying to explain the mindset of typical nature photographers. And I appreciate your thoughtful efforts. Me thinks they live in a self-serving form of denial:) "I get great satisfaction in finding a good scene and leave the wires if present where they are." Yuuuuuuuck! :) Does a live recording have to include the car alarm? "To me, photographing nature and deliberately excluding signs of human presence if they actually are there at the site of the photograph is also deceiving." You get over it when your goal is to pluck the natural right out of the grips of the hand-of-man." My challenge is to get the best possible shot, despite man's attempts to ruin the view:) I want you to think your in the wilderness, when in fact you're right next to a quarry with trucks rumbling by. "The message to people would be "pristine, untouched nature exists in abundance as shown by these pictures of mine, the locations were easy to find and there is no need to conserve nature as there is so much untouched nature left." I dont' want to leave a message like that." It's easy going to the Sierra's (Yosemite), Mono Lake, Big Sur or Death Valley. It's a challenge plucking images away from the hand-of-man, even while there's a death grip on the scenery. "So, when in Norway, I am a bit bothered aesthetically by all those power lines but I accept that they're a part of the modern landscape." No waaaay! I ain't gonna accept it:) "So if I find a landscape which is beautiful without signs of human presence, it's great, but I don't want it to appear that way in my photographs if it is not that way in the real world." Wow! Talking about a lock on the mind. If I want shots of the real world, all I gotta do is step outside. "I understand that city people are in a hurry to do things, but a lot of people actually crave to get out of the city, to spend time in nature." Now you're steering foul. Nobody's in a hurry. I tried posting a few shots to show how little the images are "manipulated", if at all but you're going on like I'm taking a chain saw to the trees. Maybe I'm wrong in this point. "I also live too far from the wilderness to my liking. Maybe I should have photoshopped some wires out and become a nature photographer instead of being a tightwad and getting a research job in Boston, this area is much too crowded (with people, not just wires) for my taste." I'll toast ya with my next Sam Adams as I'm not a city person, the burbs is the best I can handle. I'm not country either and you only have to ask my country bride to verify that point:) "I'd post a photograph of pipes in the harbor if I had it scanned. A bit later." I'll look forward to your next posted scanning of "pipes in the harbor."
    00DdC6-25757684.jpg
     
  66. Behind me were bottom dump trucks coming and going to the quarry by Stevens Creek Dam. The road is dusty and ugly. Nothing pretty about the view behind me as I'm out on the water, sitting on a boat launch dock, with dirty/dusty winter weed growth around me, shipping containers on the ramp for the local sculling club, being very careful to not kick up any vibration waves.

    My purpose is to pluck the beauty out of the landscape, despite man's unintentional efforts to ruin it. The quarry suppies needed road building material and concrete goods and the truckers are helping move this much needed material to where it is beneficial. Unless one can provide an answer where the human cord wood should be stacked, here we are:)
     
  67. Thomas

    The quarry shot is nice, but the fact that you removed the telephone poles and floating trash cheapens the shot for me. Sorry, it's just not as good as someone's shot who didn't do those things.
     
  68. "My purpose is to pluck the beauty out of the landscape, despite man's unintentional efforts to ruin it."

    Nothing was removed. That was the point.
     
  69. The pic was a response to the below.

    ---------------------------

    Ilkka wrote:

    "The message to people would be "pristine, untouched nature exists in abundance as shown by these pictures of mine, the locations were easy to find and there is no need to conserve nature as there is so much untouched nature left." I dont' want to leave a message like that."

    I (Thomas) wrote:

    "It's easy going to the Sierra's (Yosemite), Mono Lake, Big Sur or Death Valley. It's a challenge plucking images away from the hand-of-man, even while there's a death grip on the scenery."

    -----------------------------

    My contention, it's harder to pluck the beauty out of the ugly as opposed to taking a vacation in a wilderness area somewhere. Because I work at this, I'm able to do it without the need to remove wires, trash or otherwise but it's lame to think that somehow it's wrong if one, including myself, does. We can't turn back the hands of time nor can we all hop in the car and drive to exotic places just to satisfy some sort of "ideal."

    To allow one to become hamstrung over this sort of thought is just plain nutty, egocentric, restrictive, "you've got ta be kidding," thinking that this conservative child of the 60's ain't gonna submit to. Nor will I respect this purist thought by giving it the tact approval of being considered reasonably in the rhelm of rational thought, cause it's not. Life works best when it's two way. "Ya know what I mean Vern." Jim Varney

    If you want to do it, cool, but don't jump on my parade cause I don't agree. As I've posted, you don't have to worry about me coming to play in your sandbox, so where's the worry? Is it because I don't want to come play in your sandbox? Is the worry because I don't agree with your form of thinking and I have the temerity to challenge the validity of this sort of thought? Where's the room for "different strokes" if you don't allow for differences of thought?

    Funny how my images (the flower and the reservoir) that have not been "manipulated" have been challenged as being "manipulated." I guess that's a backhanded compliment and exposes the shallowness of the critiques and the invalidity of the folks making comment.

    "Remember, there is no such thing as a valid critique." (Me) :)
     
  70. Thomas


    I am going to assume it was manipulated, since you have professed to see no difference in photographs that have had such items removed digitally and those that haven't. Just like I make the assumption that such things have not been done to James Nachtwey's photographs. I assume your photographs are manipulated and his aren't. That is just my own personal concept and it may change over time. Lots of my personal concepts do. No one else is bound by it.


    And I know such an assumption won't bother you, because you have, quite effectively, argued that you do not make value judgements about manipulation. So why should it bother you if I think it is manipulated or not? One is as good as the other, right?


    I actually like the reservoir shot just fine.
     
  71. "So why should it bother you if I think it is manipulated or not?"

    It doesn't bother me but it does show your prejudices and that you can't tell the difference and that you allow your bias's to cloud your thinking.

    That point should bother you considerably:)

    Happy the shot works for you.
     
  72. I just read an intriguing article in the september/october issue of Digital Photo Pro magazine that I'd like to share:
    Misinformation: Technology and Reality.
    By Rob Sheppard.
    Myth: Composite images can't be accurate, true renderings of reality.
    Editors, photo buyers and even the general public have this belief that if a photography is made of two separate exposures and has been composited in Photoshop, it's no longer "true". We're not talking about the stylized fictions of advertising photography, but about photos used regularly for editorial use, whether that's a travel photo, a grand scenic, a war image or any news photo. This os one of those gross generalities that hurts truth and can hurt the honest photographer. It's based on a misplaced fear of digital technologies.
    So how can a composited photo be more real and even more truthful than a straight photo? Let's go back in photographic history. In 1857, Gustav Le Gray photographed a scene called "Seascape with Ship Leaving Port," which is in the collection of a number of major museums, including the Getty Museum of Los Angeles. This image was made from a combination of exposures, one for the sky and one for the sea and ship - an amazing technological achievement as film of the day couldn't handle that tonal range. Le Gray went beyond the limitations of 1857-era photography and created an image that was actually true to the scene and that couldn't have been captured in any other way.
    Flash forward. As photographers, we can do the same thing, making two exposures of a scene, then combining them in Photoshop to show that scene in a far more accurate manner than a single exposure could ever do. This can be very important. Imagine a sad funeral scene that's complemented by a dark and brooding sky, yet one exposure makes the sky look bright and uncomplimentary - no truth there. Two exposures let the reality of the scene be expressed.
    Some in the newspaper business say the latter should be labeled a "photo illustration." I say the single-shot representation should have that label because it's further from the truth.
    Why shouldn't we be able to use technology to capture the world more accurately? High-speed flash shows us things impossible to see without it. Long exposures reveal flow patterns of movement, whether crowds or water, that can't be seen without them. Both are technology in service of the image.
    And now the folks at Adobe have come up with an amazing technology in Photoshop CS2 to radically increase the tonal range of a scene. Called the HDR tool, you have to take multiple exposures of a scene (dark to light) to use it. CS2 then combines, or "composites," those images together to create an image with huge tonal range, far greater than anything standard photo technology can capture and much more closer to the reality we see.
    Is this new technology to be considered off-limits to photographers because the final image wasn't captured in a single shot? We all know a single shot can be untruthful - just think of all the oddities in images that came by accident in a single shot. It seems that a lot of folks making the "rules" on reality are in actuality making rules on photography, especially old technology they understand, rather than adapting to new technology for the good of all.
    Rules that guide photographers in ethical shooting when that's a critical issue can be important, but they should be rules based on reporting the true reality of the world and on new technologies that let us do that better. To arbitrarily restrict photographers from doing their job because of fears of lies, or worse, because you don't understand the technology is wrong.
    Any technology, including traditional film technology, can be used for truth or deceit. It isn't the use of technology, but the decision of the photographer, that determines the honesty of an image.
    - Page 162 | Digital Photo Pro Sept/Oct 2005 issue.
     
  73. The orginal controversy with Le Gray started a year earlier in 1856 with a shot he named "Brig on the Water".

    http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/gray/ho_1976.645.1.htm

    http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/history/le_gray.htm

    Gustav said that it was a straight image and his contemporaries said that it was a composit and that he was a phony because it was not possible, at that time, to get this sort of range with current technology.

    http://www.getty.edu/art/collections/objects/o68537.html

    It's a shame that thousands of years have gone by since we first figured out planting seed was a good thing and "modern" society is still a bunch of scared little bunnies who worries about these sorts of things.

    I guess there were folks around at the time who thought that if you planted seed the the food wasn't real food cause it didn't come up "naturally." I can just see them all sitting around the campfire discusssing whether or not planted food was good to eat.

    History is a terrible thing to repeat. Siiiiigh!

    http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/content/2005/aug/stretching_landscape.html

    Some people are so small in their minds that they can't see the difference between deception and the realistic rendering of what the eye can see.

    Randy Newman, where forth art thou.

    http://www.randynewman.com/
     
  74. Reading this entire thread (and I must admit that the majority of it has been increasingly loud repetitions of the same tired points and without much 'listening' to the other side) you can clearly see people taking their places on one side or the other. Since everyone is emotionally locked into their own positions, they have no intention of allowing the other side to get a fair heaing. Instead they have tried their best to drown out the other side. "What we have here..is failure...to communicate!"

    What is interesting is that both sides are concerned with preserving their 'creativity' and see the other side as a threat to that...so, there is an emotional response rather than any attempt at reasoned argument.

    The 'pro-manipulation' people see the other side as anal-retentive fascists out to impose their personal 'rules' on everybody else.

    The 'non-manipulation' people see the other side as shallow, egotists who need this 'crutch' to compensate for their lack of skill with a camera.

    The 'pro-manipulation' side sees ANY rules as a barrier to THEIR creativity.

    The 'non-manupulation' side sees that throwing out all guidelines makes creativity impossible.

    The two sides are represented by Thomas for the 'pro-manipulation postition and Ilkka for the 'non-manipulation' position. Both have their list of the standard arguments for their side and they repeat them over and over. Reading their exchanges, I can see that neither one is going to move much in their opinions.

    If I may change focus for a second, I think the issue lies in where the 'point of control' exists for the artist. This is essential in understanding the roots of the argument.

    The 'pro-manipulation' position sees the point of their creative control AFTER the image has been captured. The creativity happens at the computer (or 'in' the darkroom) and the skills that are most important are all in 'post-production'.

    The 'non-manipulative' side sees the point of creative control BEFORE the image has been captured. The creativity occurs because of the photographer's mastery of the camera and the skills that are considered most important are in knowing how to make the camera capture the image that you want.

    The 'pro-manipulation' side can't admit that, perhaps, their post production work could be unnecessary and so they argue that "all images are manipulated'. The 'non-manipulation' side doesn't want to see their 'craftsmanship' undermined by what they see as 'faked' images.

    In short, everybody has an emotional investment in their particular position and, as such, they will NEVER accept the other side as valid and will aggressivley defend their particular rationalizations.
     
  75. "The 'pro-manipulation' side can't admit that, perhaps, their post production work could be unnecessary and so they argue that "all images are manipulated'. The 'non-manipulation' side doesn't want to see their 'craftsmanship' undermined by what they see as 'faked' images."

    I was trained by those who learned from those who learned from the masters of manipulation, Edward and Ansel. The instructor was Shirly Fisher and she worked directly with Cole and Brett and the f/64 gang.

    I forget, which one was the tall thin one with the beard. Was that Brett or Cole?

    I was taught to visualize the image before the capture was made and brought to fruition in a wet darkroom. Back in the 60's & 70's, before digital photography was even thought of, everything which came after the pre-visualization was a legitimate part of the whole photographic process/experience. Digital today and Photoshop, is just an extension of my darkroom training from decades ago as I'm not doing anything that wasn't being done in a darkroom thirty or forty years ago.

    There's no admission of anything as the part some are still missing, both are legitimate forms and no one method is senior to another. If someone can kindly point out the difference between removing trash from a scene with their hand, personally, before the capture is made or doing the same in Photoshop, that would be very kind. Irrespective of how, the trash, a part of the scene before the photographer came upon it, was still removed from the scene and before or after the fact, the only difference, is how it was done.
     
  76. Just an aside......

    I remember one image I worked on for about a month in particular. Each time I returned to the computer, after getting the capture, I had to remove a nusance branch in Photoshop which had noticeably fallen across the stream bed. I had to redue the shot so many times because of lighting problems that I got very tired of the game which revolved around removing the same undesirable branch in Photoshop over and over and over again. The next time I returned to the creek bed, after tiring of the Photoshop game, to get the next set of exposures, I pulled a tree saw out and cut the stupid dead branch out of the way.LOL

    I suppose I now need to hang myself, or at least, hang my head in photographic shame cause I cut a dead branch out of a creek bed that was in my photographic way? I don't think so:)
     
  77. Are Mapplethorpe's images manipulated images?:)

    http://www.mapplethorpe.org/flowers.html

    Why do I ask? They didn't grow in that bottle now, did they:)

    Did Edward manipulate his images? Pepper No. 30, 1930 sure didn't grow on that table.

    http://www.masters-of-photography.com/W/weston/weston_pepper_number30_full.html

    What are his thoughts on manipulation.

    http://www.masters-of-photography.com/W/weston/weston_articles3.html

    So then according to these thoughts of his, Stieglitz (Impressionism is skepticism; it puts what one casually notices above what one positively knows.) and Mapplethorpe (They could not do so with such an honest, direct, uncompromising medium without resorting to tricks,-diffusion of focus, manipulation of prints, or worse, recording of calculated expressions and postures.) were invalid all the while he finished his staged images in a darkroom with impunity:) How Ironic.

    One day folks will emotionally mature to the point that they'll understand how the visceral reaction to the image is all that matters cause in the final, the naivete viewer is the final arbiter of the image capture process.
     
  78. "If someone can kindly point out the difference between removing trash from a scene with their hand, personally, before the capture is made or doing the same in Photoshop, that would be very kind."

    That is a simple one. If I take 5 minutes to remove distracting elements from the foreground of my shot and then take a series of 36 shots...none of them would have the trash in them that I cleaned up ahead of time. But, if I left the garbage in the scene and then took a series of shots...every one would have the garbage in them and would have to be 'removed' digitally.
     
  79. You seem to have missed the point. Either which way, you've artificially removed the trash which was part of the scene which you've happened upon. How it was removed is irrelevant. There is no difference as the impact upon the final image is the same; trash removed.

    Some see it and others don't.

    "...every one would have the garbage in them and would have to be 'removed' digitally."

    But yes, I do agree, if this is your point, in that it's easier to remove the trash from the scene, prior to making the capture:)
     
  80. I think you're missing a point here. First, I don't consider that the art is in the photographer's "skill with the camera". Camera use is trivial. It is with the photographer's ability to find the subject and photograph it in an interesting moment, with good light etc. And could we return to the original topic of wildlife photography and manipulation? Many of the posts in this discussion have no relevance to it.

    If you remove a branch in Photoshop, what do you replace the affected area of the image with? How do you know what was behind the branch, and that it is correctly rendered in the manipulated image?

    I have never had an objection to merging two images to one to increase dynamic range, as long as there is no wind and the images match each other correctly. Unfortunately 99.9% of the people who do this don't have a clue about what they're doing and the results are of poor quality.

    I value post-processing skills and practice them. The only thing I object about manipulation in wildlife photography is that manipualted images are represented as photographs in a context where the viewers expect actual reproductions of actual photographs without branches removed or birds added to the image to make it look more lively.
     
  81. "I think you're missing a point here. First, I don't consider that the art is in the photographer's "skill with the camera". Camera use is trivial. It is with the photographer's ability to find the subject and photograph it in an interesting moment, with good light etc." Okay. I think there's a bit more of a mix with technicals and artistic renderings but overall, we're on the same page with your above. "And could we return to the original topic of wildlife photography and manipulation? Many of the posts in this discussion have no relevance to it." Okay. Working with you:) "Wildlife Photography." "Got it." "If you remove a branch in Photoshop, what do you replace the affected area of the image with? How do you know what was behind the branch, and that it is correctly rendered in the manipulated image?" Aaaaaah, you're running with the ball on the above. Why? It's not rocket science to figure these things out. If it blends, isn't noticeable, then it doesn't matter what's on the other side unless one is anal and wants to make a fight out of it because this sort of behavior makes them feel good about themselves. "I have never had an objection to merging two images to one to increase dynamic range, as long as there is no wind and the images match each other correctly. Unfortunately 99.9% of the people who do this don't have a clue about what they're doing and the results are of poor quality." Well, that's back to the technicals or "skill with the camera" and the mix that I was speaking of. My assumption, for the purpose of the thread is that the person who I'm holding conversation with is reasonably skilled in these matters and isn't a neophyte. "I value post-processing skills and practice them. The only thing I object about manipulation in wildlife photography is that manipulated images are represented as photographs in a context where the viewers expect actual reproductions of actual photographs without branches removed or birds added to the image to make it look more lively." Since removing branches isn't a crime, even in a wilderness area, then it's an invalid contention. If you can remove trash, why not a dead branch or scene stealing twig? I could care less if someone wants to get the shot and take the time to remove a tree trunk in Photoshop. Removing distracting reflections, white signs, man installed utility poles and lines are, to me, fair game for Photoshop removal, chainsaws not allowed. I was trained to use touch up dyes and brushes on both negs and finished prints. Now adding birds, to me, that's a crime. I'd have to laugh at a person if they admitted to "adding" birds. That's like going to the fish store, buying a salmon and saying that you caught it on hook out at sea but a salmon jumping in the boat, now that counts:) I think we're more on the same page then you realize. Part of the problem, if you want to call it that, is that I was taught to manipulate the image from the gate by those who were taught by Ansel and Edward's sons, so I was taught that it's okay to do these things as it's about the previsualization of the image and getting this image sucessfully to the dinner table for consumption. I was taught that it was a total process from the beginning to end. One who you might find interesting in this genre; Jerry Uelsmann. http://www.uelsmann.net/flash.html If it helps, I come from a different world, not one which lacks skill knowledge or awareness. As I wrote earlier, I come from a different time and place as this thread seems to be all about concerns in rules and the following of those rules and I don't see why this is so hard of a concept to grasp. As it is, I don't follow the foot steps of those who I learned from as I walk a path least traveled by others, my own:) I hope and expect you and the others here to do the same. "How important is authenticity, and where does one draw the line?" I think authenticity, with the exception of history, is nothing more then an anchor to keep one anchored in the material here and now but I do draw the line at putting stuff into the image that wasn't there; you can subtract it but you can't add it as adding it is the realm of the painter or graphic artist:) I'll leave you with yesterday's unmanipulated image.
    00DsjR-26103684.jpg
     
  82. Just an aside, I will be digitally manipulating the above image for purpose of the final print. Many of the distracting background lights and other minor distractions will be removed.

    To what extent I don't know as I find if too many background lights are removed, the 3-D quality of the image, because of psuedo purity of thought, goes flat.

    In the meantime, because of this digital manipulation (air brushing), the image will become "closer" to the image I envisioned prior to act of tripping the shutter.

    I think for me the original photographic vision is what's important not some inhibitive psycho restriction cause someone likes wearing handcuffs in their efforts to create an image.

    To each their own. Adding? Bad. Subtracting distractions? Good.

    You can see historically that this battle is not new as it goes back to the beginning of photographic time. The reason for the invention of the photographic process and the art world's reaction to Camera Obscura/Lucinda. Gustav Le Gray and "Brig on the Water." Matthew Brady rearranging Civil War battle dead. Steiglitz and his promotion of Impressionistic images and Edward Weston's contempt for these sorts of images. To some, it's about the process, to other's it's about the image. One needs to come to grips that neither is right or wrong as in the end it's all photography and you, the viewer, get to be the final arbiter.
     
  83. Chained thinking.

    What seems to be so difficult of a concept to grasp is, there's no correct answer as it's a matter of what are "your" aesthetics and who are the participants in the audience. Are your aesthetics that of the ruling junta or otherwise? Is Bach more valid then Punk? Is a cello more valid then a synthesizer? Are gymnastics more valid then cricket?

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=aesthetic

    Have I become the last Hippie?
     
  84. Sometimes you just have to stop agonizing, pontificating and proselytizing and actually have an opinion.
     
  85. "Chained thinking."

    That was an opinion:)
     
  86. Is murder any worse than stealing or driving against red lights? Is it just a question of personal preference?
     
  87. "Is murder any worse than stealing or driving against red lights?"

    I love the revealing nature of these sorts of rhetorical questions.
     
  88. Thomas, my point in the above comment is that you make value judgments, but not all choices of values are equally acceptable. It's not just up to the photographer, in all contexts.
     
  89. "It's not just up to the photographer, in all contexts."

    If you would be so kind as to expand on your above as "all contexts" is a might broad field to play in:) Commissioned efforts not counting only because the effort might represent the values of the commissioner as opposed to that of the commissionee.
     
  90. As I sleep on these all consuming, most worldly of important questions, a thought came to mind as to how phony, in reality are people and in the simple are most of life's answers.

    We dress for success when we don't have a dime in hopes of fooling those who control the dimes. Women get boob jobs and lipo today and nobody blinks as psuedo, manufactured beauty is all the rage. We manipulate the landscaping around our homes and in parks with paths and plantings so as to create any affect we find desirable and give people awards for this sort of behavior. Guys changes themselves into gals and gals dress like they're a guy and nobody is suppose to blink their eyes in notice. We tear down mountains to build the next skyscraper and in the end, some get twisted because some, not of their flock, chooses to clone some trash or wires out of a scene. Go figure.

    Me thinks there's an excessive compulsive disorder in the wings waiting to be discovered. The point, me thinks this purist, you're not allowed to mess with the captured image, behavior is masking over deeper emotional problems.

    "In your opinion should manipulation be considered a form of "cheating"; where you "trick" a viewer into believing in a false reality, or is manipulation more about enhancing and bringing out the best possible attributes in a photograph using the tools available to today's photographic artist..."

    I'll go for door number two Matt.
     

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