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    • Maybe some of you remember a video of the Fall colors in Utah last year that went viral...?

      I actually rode my XR through that area at the same time he was flying his drone, and the colors were not like that in real life at all.

      Is this Art?

      I find it a bit offensive somehow that this guy amped up the colors - thereby insinuating that nature herself is not colorful enough...

      Maybe that’s my problem. Maybe it’s just my personal preference that footage/photos of nature should be more “honest.” (I know that some of the most iconic nature photos were manipulated too, and I don’t find them offensive. I get lost in this argument all the time.)

      Because this video went viral, the videographer was tracked down and interviewed. In the interview that I saw, he did say he had done some “color work” on the footage, but that Utah is a beautiful place and he is just happy people can enjoy it like he does...


      At the same time we were discussing this video last year, I seem to recall that @Chris was also talking about wildlife photographers who stage photos, and how that is considered a sin—and even disqualifies photos from peer-reviewed competitions.

    • I think it can be art, as long as the person publishing their content makes sure everyone knows it is supposed to be art. ;)

      When taking photos, I often have the opposite problem: I see the most beautiful colors, or spookiest lighting situations, or anything - but when I look at the straight-out-of-camera image, none of the magic is still there.

      In a way, that's perfectly understandable, simply because our eyes are not high-resolution cameras set to manual mode and a neutral color temperature, and our brain is not just a photo viewer. Our eyes continue to adapt to any lighting situation or focus, while our brain merges a ton of individual low-res "snapshots" into one "view", filtering out some details while emphasizing others. In the end, what we perceive has more in common with a good HDR edit than with the original RAW images.

      With that in mind, editing an image for me often means not to add something that originally wasn't there - but to show what I really perceived in that situation. Sometimes, that means enhancing colors a bit - at other times, it may mean that I should take away most color and add some vignetting on top of that.

    • I don't think it's your problem - I don't like it either.

      I do edit my photos, to attempt to get them to match what I (think I) saw in reality. Some folks insert their own reality or an interpretation of what they saw that doesn't match what my eyes can accept. I tend to stay away from their photos whenever I can.

      @Pathfinder mentioned HDR in this post. I agree with him that HDR can be done well but that most that I see and recognize as HDR has been overdone and does not match my view of the world.

    • OK a bit late to this one, I mainly edit on the Large iMac, if traveling I'll edit on a laptop, but then final or re-edits on the iMac again. Two of my cameras have the ability to Wi-Fi connect to my phone and if doing event photography and they want some quick images for social media, then I'll edit on the phone. When I'll down load to the phone and then use Lightroom CC which allows me to sync back to my main catalogue. I also have photoshop Mix and Photoshop Fix on the phone if I need to do a bit of image manipulation while in the field. But again only basic quick down and dirty edits to get something out for the clients social media feeds. Lightroom I use for colour correction, tonal adjustments and cropping.  Reality is I’ve probably done these twice over a few years so not something I usually use. Then again most of my images are for person use as a hobby for me. With editing and playing with images on a week night and weekends for shooting. 

    • I'm very much in your camp there Denise, Mainly using Cameras, Editing in Lightoom Classic, occasionaly into Photoshop (Always into photoshop for Mushrooms to focus stack), and then into Topaz and or Nik, the round triping back. I ony edit on the phone when I need something out on the spot then conect the cameras to the phone via Wi-Fi and edit in the phone and then emial the images out, then later re-edit the images properly on the big screen. I use the lightroom CC app. when using the phone.

    • Factotum and Lidja raised the issue of editing and if and when to edit. To some this can be a touchy subject. I understand if your documenting something then edits should be to a minimum. The issue is where is the limits, and even the choices you make in Camera are edits to an extent. Setting the camera white balance is a form of edit, You can set it to cool down an image or warm up an image which can create an effect and emotion to steer the viewer. Even the composition is a form of edit by taking a certain angle you can create a different scene I often get down low to cut out a road or path using a slight undulation in the ground to hide something, I’d rather hide in camera using composition rather than edits in photoshop later (My photoshop skills really aren’t that good compared to a lot out there, they get me by, but much easier in camera)  Choosing the depth of field or shutter speed is another choice we make while editing in camera as we take a shot. So is the answer to only shot in jpeg, Auto mode with auto ISO and Auto White balance. I’m not saying that’s what anyone here is suggesting, just laying out some ideas that have been used in the past in various podcasts, forums etc.  My take on it is Sports and photo journalist shots should probably be jpegs with no edits in software but white balance and depth of field etc is OK. For my shots I see them as digital art and for my use and I put it out there for anyone to view if they are interested. Depending on the image I’ll play with them pretty much every image is edited in some way. I shoot raw so all the images are a little flat compared to jpeg and need a little sharpening.  I’ve got some import pre-sets set up in Lightroom that automatically give me a starting point from there depending on the image where I’ll go, That’s part of the fun for me playing with images and seeing what I can create with them, I enjoy the time out in the field taking the images, but also enjoy the nights editing and re-editing an image printing the image tweaking it a little more and re-printing it, striving for continual improvement. I’m happy to take some of my images into the fantasy world usually the back grounds more than the whole image but at times that to. 

    • Interesting comment from today’s panel (interview) with Amanda Pierce that relates to the concept of editing before you take the photo.

      I think Ashley and I can both agree that we like for our work to be photographed in the most natural lighting and not be over filtered or edited in anyway because flowers have so much beauty even in their imperfections. (Source)

      FYI, some great flower photos shared in that panel, in case you were looking for another dose of eye candy on Cake @Denise @Vilen @Glenn_Smith @Ravi

    • I am pushing my luck with this workshop already. Ha! Not only have I goofed around with the native iOS app, but I also signed up for SmugMug so that I could post multiple images in a single post using links. I need more time to figure my way around SmugMug, though, so here is my original morning Stop sign:

    • ...and here is my app tweak (cropped, saturated the colors, and brought the cast way down). Still not anything I would share publicly. Ha.

    • We have an audience question from @Chris .

      "Isn't lens choice a form of editing reality? If you choose a 85mm f/1.2, a photograph unaltered by editing will have a very out-of-focus background to draw attention to the subject of your portrait. That may not be true to what your eye sees." (Source)

      I think an out of focus background is an obvious distortion to anyone looking at the resulting photo. It’s a technique used often in films to the point where we find it acceptable and commonplace.

      I think the clear line is when you provide a false reality that will hurt someone if they find out the truth: crime scene photos, historical events, interspecies bonding moments ⬇️

      Beyond that, if it inspires, if it warms my soul, if it puts a smile on my face, then I’m fine with edits.

    • I think Chris and all those who mentioned "editing" per se being an intrinsic process to photographing (whether perceived as justified manipulation or not), are hundred percent right. And the answer should be "it depends".

      Personally I see that as they say "devil is in details". To my mind, a poor taste editing such as the youtube example lidja posted above definitely triggers my thumbs down dislike - imho, in that case nature has much better colors than we ever manage to artificially clone. The person should have chosen a different time of year and perhaps another location if he wanted vivid colors. But there is also the old adage, "de gustibus non disputandum est" and who can argue that?? With music, I just change the station. LOL.

      Along the same line, I have come across scenes where I really wanted to try and capture on a photograph a beautiful, very transient rainbow that didn't wait for me to play with my camera (or perhaps I lacked the skill?). And when looking at the picture from the camera - the rainbow was barely if at all visible! I also recall several other scenarios where the dynamic range of subject's lighting was so radical that it would have required special photography techniques to simply convey the real landscape and subjects as seen by human eye. In all these cases I believe it would be justified to try and "correct" the camera's shortcomings. I am but a dilettante photographer, so please take my words with a grain of salt, as I am here to learn more, and so far could only contribute thoughts and impressions, rather than to share knowledge.

    • Beyond that, if it inspires, if it warms my soul, if it puts a smile on my face, then I’m fine with edits.

      I can't disagree with that ^^^^ 👌

    • And here it is edited with the iOS Camera app:

      I cropped it to put the stop sign as the focal point: I removed the car and some of the foreground.

      I used the Brilliance Slider that @Vilen talked about: Vivid seems to provide the right amount of warmness.

      I then opened the advanced sliders and moved the light slider half a click: it seemed sunnier outside than what the camera originally captured.

    • I went ahead and paid the $9.99 for the full-version of Darkroom so that I could see what I could do further with their advanced sliders. @Vilen @JeffersonGrahamPhoto

      There are A LOT of sliders to play with: Brightness, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Saturation, Vibrance, Temperature, Tint, Fade, Grain, Vignette, Sharpness.

      What I like most about the controls is that adjustments are expressed numerically, not half a click to the right:

      Shadows: -70% (darkened the hedge)

      Saturation: 28

      Vibrance: 22

      Temperature: 98

      Vignette: 20

      No changes were made to the rest of the sliders.

      I was attempting to create visual art of an intense sunset, rather than of the reality I experienced. Whether the result is art or too much manipulation, it should gives a sense of the additional fine tuning possible compared to the iOS Camera app.



      I miss mixing chemicals. I miss agitating a tray with a floating sheet of thick paper. I miss shutting the door and shutting out the whole world. I miss the sound of running water in the background. I miss contemplating an image as it emerges and seeing some little surprises. I miss hearing the click signaling the end of a timed exposure.

      Working the numeric values on a slider is just nothing like the magic of a darkroom at all...

    • Going in the dark with a ton of music blasting was a good time but I don't miss the actual process too much.

      My darkroom experience also was pretty methodical with a whole 8x10 as my "test strip" where I would have a ton of different exposures and contrast settings across it so I could get to a good exposure usually right away with maybe 1-2 more for fine tuning well as long as no major burning or dodging was needed. If it was then that would take awhile and I have a notebook buried somewhere with print instructions.

      Move over to digital and B&W which is my primary medium and those sliders, and especially the curves tool can get me where I want many times in seconds. For harder to process shots the sheer amount of tools and methods to get to exactly where I want makes it so a few minutes is the most I need to spend on a print at least for that aspect. And if I want to use burning to cut someone out of a messy background I can at a pixel level detail. And best of all once it's done, it's done! Plus I have a PSD file with the original layer, than the new one in case I missed something.

      I have a pretty old example that I'll attach at the end so apologies for the small size.

      Beyond that I think this also comes down to where people put the emphasis of their work. Even if the final image is different looking from what I capture I know pretty well what I plan to do and most of my work to get there is happening on the capture side. Editing has always been the means to an end. And with my personal workflow I love to get inspired, go out, and have a set of final or near final images ASAP and when I had to wait to get to the dark room and then set aside the time to develop/dry/print it would be a hurdle since once I get out of that "zone" of inspiration things come a bit harder and even can look a bit more labored.

    • For the main topic my main work is almost all from larger cameras and processed through Lightroom, so mobile is more the second tier stuff either for a quick share or my personal instagram.

      That also ties into how I shoot with my phone. It's an S8 so the camera can take a solid image but while I use fully manual controls on my main cameras here it's usually auto with at most some exposure compensation if things are really off. This leads to images that can be flat, the colors are off, or large parts of the histogram are missing.

      To fix these minor issues I use Snapseed. The curves function really is my #1 tool and then the main sliders can do the rest 95% of the time. It's just so easy to use and has everything I need for this use case.

    • One of the most overlooked yet powerful tools in the Darkroom app is RGB curves. Red, green and blue channels can be individually tweaked with their respective curves. That allows for making the highlights of the sky bluer, increasing the deeper greens in the leaves, while making the ladybug in the picture below pop out.

    • That RGB separation is probably worth the cost of admission alone, huh @Vilen? The saturation slider in the iOS app just makes a mess—drawing attention to the yellow patch in the sidewalk and making the grass close up and across the street look fake. Ugh. 🥴

    • Wow, who shoots stop signs anyway?? Actually, I do have a couiple dozen in my LR catalog, captured, not with a phone, but a real camera of some sort. But they could easily have been caught with an iPhone or a Droid phone, since they are pretty much straight on. I caught them because I thought they were noteworthy in some manner. And then I edited them to increase that noteworthiness to my eye.

      I will post the image as captured, RAW or jpg, and then a step or two of their modification in LR or PS or other software. All of this could be done with phone apps, but not as well in my hands with my thick fingers.

      Somewhere on old US 66 in Arizona - caught because it did not look like most stops signs I see usually and had almost no red color, just an octagonal shape.

      Interesting, but maybe stronger in B&W with a red flter to darken the sky? Easily done with any one of several phone apps

      Maybe a bit too much darkness, maybe a blend with a color image might be better - done with PS, but could be done with some phone apps too

      Now we're cooking!!

      Here's another one - along HW 163 in southern Utah with a Canon G3X

      A bit of cropping and color enhancement yields this

      Not there yet!! Take it to B&W, but the Class Warfare text disappears

      Maybe another image blend to bring back the Majic Marker writing and high light it better

      I will finish with a stop sign from the sign forest on the Alcan Highway, that gets lost despite its red color, so I swapped it to monochrome with a red filter. A little local exposure adjustment to the stop sign to make it more apparent, like a spotlight in a theatre production.

      I do have a straight shot of a stop sign, shot with an iPhone, near my house, but it is just too boring!

      The PhotoPills App is an to aid in the planning of shooting an image sunrise, sunset, moon rise, moon set, Milky Way location, etc, and of no use in image editing.

    • I just wanted to share a photo an online friend took. I think he has an eye for artistic deformations as I call it.. so in this case I really cherish the inventivity and twisted reality. I must be twisted too. Hahahaa