Modified Landscape Pictures are no longer Natural !

DPT_StudioDPT_Studio IllinoisPosts: 17Registered Users Big grins
Hello all I am new to this. Sadly I see people add lot of colors to pictures to make them look dramatic. They no longer look natural. like GMO sort of.
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  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 11,524Administrators moderator

    Hello DPT_Studio, welcome to the landscapes forum!

    Picture processing is all about finding that line between realism and artist expression for all of us. In this forum we post pictures and discuss them. Feel free to comment on other's photos and/or post your own work and let the discussions begin!

  • jan1prsjan1prs Big grins Posts: 50Registered Users Big grins

    A photograph is an interpretation of what we see! Since a camera can not capture what our eyes actually see. Ansel Adams would develop, burn, dodge, over/under expose as many as 80 times until he got what he saw in his mind.

  • DPT_StudioDPT_Studio IllinoisPosts: 17Registered Users Big grins
    I understand. Just when u use the word Nature it should be just that no more no less. Same like with my TV I set the color to bare minimum to make it look natural and realistic.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,282Super Moderators moderator

    Look at it this way; some of the world's best landscape/nature images are gray-scale/B&W. How realistic is that?

    It's not a simple or straightforward problem.

    I subscribe to the notion that there should be different classes of images relating to natural image capture:

    1. Photo-Realistic, where there is minimal manipulation, either in-camera (including use of polarizing filters, etc.) or in post-processing.
    2. Enhanced Photo-Realistic, where an image is manipulated with the intent of making it appear more appealing visually, but could be mistaken for simple Photo-Realistic.
    3. Rendered, where pretty much anything goes, including advanced and exaggerated processing, either in-camera or in post-processing.

    For judging purposes, it would be tremendously useful if a true RAW format could be developed, with a better encryption of a small captured "original and standard-processed image", which could only be extracted via a forensic "kit", and unavailable to the general public. The "original and standard-processed image" could be compared to any image submitted for judging, especially if a substantial prize is offered, before publishing in a major publication, or before adding an image to a collected library of any sort.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • toragstorags Major grins Posts: 4,349Registered Users Major grins

    A good discussion...

    I have believed for some time that the high resolution sensors are bringing a little artificiality to the images (like large screen TVs)

    Canon used to be condemned for this

    That said viewers seem to like it better than realistic rendering

    I had someone say to me once, that the photo was great but the background was fuzzy (it was intentional bokeh)

    ... times are changing ... especially with smart phone cams

    Rags
  • DPT_StudioDPT_Studio IllinoisPosts: 17Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 20, 2017

    Totally agree ! That kind of modification is ok because you use f stop to open or close aperture depends how you want to increase field of sharpeness I love pictures like that. Also it is your intention to do that before you took the pictures when you use shutter speed and aperture manually instead Auto. Also I used to modify picture s in darkroom that was more fun than Photoshop. Having said that I Love Photoshop cs5 best ever program to make your beutifull picture even more beutifull. (If not overdone )
    I still think the best pictures are the ones that are not staged.
    I actually stopped using polarizing filter becuse I noticed the difference yes sky is more blue but how many blue shades we neeed. Then you have Photographer skils, Lens, and camera between all the 3 I think most important is Lens you could have good photographer and camera but if what goes thru the lens is not right then all is lost.

    This is why you see in High end cameras like Sony they use Carl Zeiss lens instead Sony also scientist use Carl zeiss in microscopes for a reason.

    There are so many factors in this didital age .

    One more thing I like to mention is when we used film with 12/24/36 shots you think twice before you took a picture. Now people take pictures of everything. Ussualy out of 100 pitures may have 2 3 pictures that are decent.

    I would like to apologize probably made lots of typos.

  • CornflakeCornflake Major grins ArizonaPosts: 2,532Registered Users Major grins

    DPT, welcome. I understand your view. It's shared by the editors of Smithsonian and Arizona Highways. And I process more conservatively than many here. In the end, though, I disagree. I wrote a blog piece about this six years ago that explains why. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/content/myth-unmanipulated-image

    (I'm now embarrassed by the photos in my old blog posts but that means I've made progress.)

  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 18,988Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited November 20, 2017

    @Cornflake said:
    I wrote a blog piece about this six years ago that explains why. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/content/myth-unmanipulated-image

    I think Don's blog post is well worth reading. I think I can summarize his point by saying that manipulation may be required to make an image look natural. This isn't only because of the limitations in the gear we use, but also due to the nature of human vision. We process what we see over time, adjusting the focal point and reacting to light intensity, detecting edges, depth, texture, mentally adjusting white balance and accessing memories of similar patterns. What we perceive as a static image is more like an HDR, focus-stacked, panorama shot vignetted to highlight what is of current interest, all in a matter of milliseconds. Small wonder we struggle to make our two-dimensional, color gamut and dynamic range limited images look real.

    That said, I think Ziggy's classification scheme is useful to distinguish common approaches to photography. The right approach will depend on the photographer's purpose--photojournalism and forensic photography have different standards than advertising or fine art, so what's appropriate for one may be unacceptable for another. In the absence of external constraints (including making money), it comes down to a matter of taste. If you don't like unnatural looking images, don't make them.

  • CornflakeCornflake Major grins ArizonaPosts: 2,532Registered Users Major grins

    "I think Ziggy's classification scheme is useful to distinguish common approaches to photography. The right approach will depend on the photographer's purpose--photojournalism and forensic photography have different standards than advertising or fine art, so what's appropriate for one may be unacceptable for another. In the absence of external constraints, it comes down to a matter of taste. If you don't like unnatural looking images, don't make them."

    I agree and forgot to say so. And I agree with your comments.

    A couple of years back our local art museum had a photography exhibit that included both prints and negatives by "old masters," such as Adams. I was struck by the way Brett Weston burned out shadow detail that was quite visible in the negative because he liked very deep shadows. There's nothing new about manipulation.

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,458Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 20, 2017

    I read your blog you linked just above Don, and I couldn't agree more. 1's and 0's in three different channels - what do they really mean...

    If one is shooting for a catalog, say. then color accuracy of the images must be accurate and similar to seeing the article in person. Use a Color Checker and a grey card. Likewise for documentary images for a catalog of fine art in museum, again, one wants the images to be consistent with and representative of, the original art work. Or in a scientific laboratory, the scientist wants the image to represent reality as accurately as possible. Very careful adjustment of light direction and color is a big part of this kind of work.

    However..... out in the real world - as opposed to a studio, where one can control the light direction, light intensity, color temperature, and softness or hardness, plane of polarization, and the size of the light source relative to the subject - in the real world, outside, the lighting is not under our control ( unless we take lots of flash with us to kind of help), and many times the existing lighting is less than thrilling, or even downright lousy. It may even be pouring rain or snow. Or both!!

    If I only photographed subjects lit by optimum lighting, I would rarely ever press a shutter. Almost never.

    So, what are we to do with those images shot under less than ideal conditions? Many of them may contain real gems of Gesture ( as Jay Maisel calls it ) or the Decisive Moment so loved by Henri Cartier Bresson. Lots of very interesting things do happen under poor lighting or almost no lighting even. Are we to ignore these images? Of course not, they are some of the most interesting images captured today.

    Modern DSLRs now let us capture colored images ( or monochrome one in three channels ) in light that precludes color vision to the human eye. Does that mean we are not to enjoy or manipulate these images? They can also capture time with exposures spread over 30 seconds to several minutes that are truly invisible to the human eye. Does that mean they are "normal" or "abnormal" even if the color tones and contrast are "normal"?? Modern shutters can stop bullets in flight - which the naked eye cannot hope to do. The human eye used to have a much better contrast range but modern camera are closing the gap and if not, HDR is still available to the artist . Is HDR "normal" - it certainly can seem so at times.

    Does that mean highly processed images like those by Trey Ratcliff on Stuck in Customs ( https://www.stuckincustoms.com ) are not worthy of viewing or enjoying?

    I do agree that bright over saturated images are not always better, or to my liking, but I am not convinced, categorically, that they are always worse. Either. I like lots of Trey's and other's brightly colored artwork. even though or because they are not a truly accurate color rendition.

    I think each image deserves to be evaluated on its own merit AND on the intent of its creator. I certainly do not always try to make me images "normal" Sometimes I even make them monochrome or trichrome, or whatever I think most represents what my mind's eye saw when I hit the shutter. Occasionally, I do, absolutely, know when I press the shutter that i will need to wring the RAW file dry to create the image that I feel most accurately represents what I "saw" when I pressed the shutter. But there are many times when I captured an image and only later at my workstation realized that there was a very nice image potential there if only I do ........something - adjust the exposure, the contrast, add a texture, change the color balance, convert to black and white, blur the background, blur the foreground - maybe I shot the image with a non-adjustable camera at it was the only camera i had with me at the time. I find many landscape images - as caught by my camera - to be technically correct, but rather drab and very uninteresting.....

    I do agree that many landscape images don't need extreme contrast and color saturation. But RAW files ARE Flat to capture a broad range of contrast in the file accurately - but not accurately the way the human eye sees the same scene.

    I think modern computer screens and software contribute a lot to this too, since a well calibrated screen looks flatter and less contrasty than most current monitors in their naive state. Marc Muench used to.say that calibrated screens are dumbed down to look more like paper... Modern prints on paper do not have the range of contrast of a modern HDR TV screen, so does that mean we want to dumb down our TV screens contrast levels to match paper?? I doubt it. And sales strongly suggest neither do most consumers.

    Ultimately it all comes down to each of our human eyes, and the brain behind them.

    I have often said that rather than wanting a "newer, better" camera" I wanted a better, more capable artist's eye. One can easily buy a new camera, but developing a better eye (visual judgement, wisdom, insight, artistic visualization ) takes much more time and more dedication. I am still working on it. I have gotten better cameras, and they do allow me to try things I might otherwise not have attempted, but they still need the thoughtful human eye behind them, or they take really lousy uninteresting images. DAMHIK

    Like Jay Maisel says - ALWAYS carry a camera with you, and I try to do exactly that, even if it is only my iPhone these days.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • DPT_StudioDPT_Studio IllinoisPosts: 17Registered Users Big grins

    Thank you everyone for their input. It is really healthy conversation. I did not meant to steer the pot. I apologies for that if I did.
    At the end It really depends on the photographer intention how they wants to present their shots to audience.
    All I was saying was the word nature is misunderstood everywhere no offense to anyone. Look at the food for example food "all natural" but IS IT REALLY ? Nope. It's just that consumer are likely to buy buy food if it's labeled All Natural beaus only few people bother to look at the nutrition facts.

    Here is a link to one of my picture that was not modified in any way shape or form.
    http://www.dpt-studio.com/Master-Collection/i-Lpxh3KL/A

    Thank you

  • CornflakeCornflake Major grins ArizonaPosts: 2,532Registered Users Major grins

    DPT, no hard feelings here. Pathfinder, very interesting thoughts.

  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,565Registered Users Major grins

    very cool discussion

    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
    fineartprints.shop
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,458Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 22, 2017

    I see a I wrote a long text box above, without any images. On a photo forum, no less!

    Perhaps we should be posting images in various modes of color editing and trying to see which versions the readers here prefer. Just a thought.

    Are we all looking at images on a calibrated monitor even?? I suspect not. Alas. Even the uncalibrated monitors will have lots of inter-monitor variation for the viewers. Ah well...

    Who wants to go first?

    I grew up shooting with Kodachrome ( and a bit of Tri X ) , and I still like the colors of Kodachrome better than those of Ektachrome or other positive transparencies. I will admit that Kodachrome isn't necessarily a close copy of natural colors, but it is a very nice vibrant jolt of color on a sunny day. It looks "nice," warm and friendly, like a puppy kind of way. Kodak sold tons of Kodachrome to folks who apparently felt the same way from the mid-1940's through the turn of the century - maybe 2000-2004

    Kodachrome was better for people pictures, but not as loved by landscape shooters, it didn't fare as well with green tones.

    I give you two images of mine of Delicate Arch shot 8 or 9 years ago, from the approximately the same point. Nine years ago my editing software and my image files were not up to current standards, but they do display different degrees of color saturation and I am curious which most viewers will prefer. I like Kodachrome, so my preference should be obvious. Even if the non-Kodachrome look is more "accurate" I picked these two images because I realized they are rather similar, but do differ significantly in color saturation and contrast, which I think are items the OP was referring to in his/her initial post

    It will be interesting to see which image is preferred by whom, and why. Let the comments begin.

    re exif data
    The first, paler image was shot at 1/640 f5.6 and the second was shot at 1/500th f3.2 about 50 minutes later in the day - both with a 1Ds Mk II

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MAPosts: 12,474Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 21, 2017

    @pathfinder said:
    It will be interesting to see which image is preferred by whom, and why. Let the comments begin.

    Interesting. I prefer the first photo. The rocks seem too saturated for me in the second photo - they are missing the striations and subtle color changes that are visible in the first photo.

  • CornflakeCornflake Major grins ArizonaPosts: 2,532Registered Users Major grins

    ^^^ I agree.

  • DPT_StudioDPT_Studio IllinoisPosts: 17Registered Users Big grins

    I prefer the first one more detail and color balance is perfect.

  • DPT_StudioDPT_Studio IllinoisPosts: 17Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 22, 2017



    Here are my pictures to compare 1 st one is original and I prefer that one.

  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,621Registered Users Major grins

    @pathfinder said:

    I have often said that rather than wanting a "newer, better" camera" I wanted a better, more capable artist's eye. One can easily buy a new camera, but developing a better eye (visual judgement, wisdom, insight, artistic visualization ) takes much more time and more dedication. I am still working on it. I have gotten better cameras, and they do allow me to try things I might otherwise not have attempted, but they still need the thoughtful human eye behind them, or they take really lousy uninteresting images.

    My thoughts too.
    Whether the pic's colour corrected (or not), natural looking (or not) ... is all a bit academic imo if the bottom line is to get a pic that's half decent, appeals to the 'tog ... and ... hopefully somewhat different from the masses of other stuff that's out there.(forensic etc pix aside where such technicalities matter)

    pp

  • sarasphotossarasphotos Major grins Augsburg, GermanyPosts: 2,289Registered Users Major grins

    @pathfinder said:

    I too greatly prefer the first photo, but it seems that they were taken at different times of day. In the second shot it looks to me like the sun is coming from a lower angle to the right of the picture, from over the right shoulder of the photographer, and casts a totally different light color, which adds to the saturation of the rocks. To me the sky is not at all overworked in the second pic - it's just the extreme red of the rocks that I find off-putting. This of course raises the question: how much is due to processing and how much is from mother nature?

    @DPT_Studio yes, I also like the original shot better. That blue in the second is too unnatural for me.

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,458Super Moderators moderator

    You are correct Sara, the second image of Delicate Arch was shot significantly closer to sunset than the first, which is partially why the rock is so much redder. Some is my post precessing. From inspection of the image ( rather than the exif data ) I would guess the shutter speed was much longer in the second image as well, due to more apparent cloud movement. I will check the exif data and report that later. I just note that there were two similar images in my LR files, not a single image processed twice differently which would be a better set of choices perhaps.

    I find the comments about the color and saturation interesting, because I strongly favor the second image - like I said, I grew shooting Kodachrome. I do find that my images with strong complementary colors do get more good comments, or at least I think they do. Maybe just me.

    Of the two images of the used tire, I tend to favor the second one although the sky in the first may be more accurate. I think I would crop more sky out of either of them, maybe just above the tree line, as I don't think the sky really offers much to the image. I am trying to understand the interest in the used tire, I can think of journalistic reasons for this image, but I don't find a great deal of difference in their color handling except in the sky. I would have suggested cropping the tire but I think it was the photographer's intent to make it so central.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • DPT_StudioDPT_Studio IllinoisPosts: 17Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 22, 2017

    Dear Pathfinder,

    Yes you are correct. The tire is the only reason I took this picture. I was driving my car and saw this interesting view, so I stopped the car and took the picture. If you are suggesting that this tire was staged the answer is NO ! The tire will stay and is not going anywhere

  • GOLDENORFEGOLDENORFE Super Moderator Posts: 4,706Super Moderators moderator

    I agree also, but since you are not in the location at the time of the photographer, and the light/colours in different countries is different . also different colour spaces/ monitor profiles also vary to some extent , unless a photo is extremely un natural looking it is always in the photographers mind what the finished image should or will look like
    no right or wrong mostly :)

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,458Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 22, 2017

    Sorry, I wasn't suggesting anything - I stated that I believed the tire was the central subject of your image, David. I might have gotten even closer with a wide angle lens if the tire was to be my main subject, making the tire relatively larger than the background and leaving the viewer with no doubt whatsoever was my primary point of interest. Here is it harder for me as a viewer to be certain whether the tire or the lake and trees are the subject is all.

    But then we are talking about composition, and not color saturation and contrast which are what you started this thread about I believe.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • JonaBeth RussellJonaBeth Russell Major grins MauiPosts: 929Registered Users Major grins

    @pathfinder said:
    I see a I wrote a long text box above, without any images. On a photo forum, no less!

    Perhaps we should be posting images in various modes of color editing and trying to see which versions the readers here prefer. Just a thought.

    Are we all looking at images on a calibrated monitor even?? I suspect not. Alas. Even the uncalibrated monitors will have lots of inter-monitor variation for the viewers. Ah well...

    Who wants to go first?

    I grew up shooting with Kodachrome ( and a bit of Tri X ) , and I still like the colors of Kodachrome better than those of Ektachrome or other positive transparencies. I will admit that Kodachrome isn't necessarily a close copy of natural colors, but it is a very nice vibrant jolt of color on a sunny day. It looks "nice," warm and friendly, like a puppy kind of way. Kodak sold tons of Kodachrome to folks who apparently felt the same way from the mid-1940's through the turn of the century - maybe 2000-2004

    Kodachrome was better for people pictures, but not as loved by landscape shooters, it didn't fare as well with green tones.

    I give you two images of mine of Delicate Arch shot 8 or 9 years ago, from the approximately the same point. Nine years ago my editing software and my image files were not up to current standards, but they do display different degrees of color saturation and I am curious which most viewers will prefer. I like Kodachrome, so my preference should be obvious. Even if the non-Kodachrome look is more "accurate" I picked these two images because I realized they are rather similar, but do differ significantly in color saturation and contrast, which I think are items the OP was referring to in his/her initial post

    It will be interesting to see which image is preferred by whom, and why. Let the comments begin.

    re exif data
    The first, paler image was shot at 1/640 f5.6 and the second was shot at 1/500th f3.2 about 50 minutes later in the day - both with a 1Ds Mk II

    Having been to this area and witnessing first hand how the light can change the rock from a pale red to a vibrant orange in a matter of minutes, I appreciate both images. Personally, my preference is the 2nd image, although I'd love to see the shadow tones brought up a touch.

    I've been reading through this thread for a while now, and I have to say, I'm fascinated by the different viewpoints and information that's been shared thus far. I'd love to offer my own perspective, from a commercial point of view.

    Our company specializes in commercial imaging, primarily for real estate in a fairly high-dollar market. The average mortgage on Maui is over $600k, and often times that buys you a condo, not a house. We shoot properties anywhere from $200k to $20M. Imaging for the listings on homes here absolutely MUST showcase the home and the environment. An interior shot with blown out windows might as well be a Polaroid. Everything here is about the view, be it ocean, mountain, jungle, whatever. With that in mind, HDR and proper flash lighting are an absolute must. And when you factor in multiple light sources, such as a ceiling fan light, bedside lamp, exterior sunlight, low voltage warm bathroom lighting...it all makes for quite a crazy mixture of colors in the end. Sometimes, the amount of flash needed to properly expose for both interior and exterior just cannot be properly colored, gel or no gel. Without post process image manipulation, things would look quite crazy in the photos, nothing like what our eyes see at the time when on location. And forget lugging around big lights and such. There's no time for that, we shoot as many as 4 properties per day from time to time.

    Additionally, our standard is such that we absolutely will NOT sensationalize a product, making it unlike the actual scene / property. Therefore, HDR imaging is required at times, but most definitely is made to look more akin to how we would naturally view it. I've posted a couple before & after shots below, y'all tell me you prefer the original and I'll pretty much kiss yer arses.


  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,621Registered Users Major grins

    I've posted a couple before & after shots below, y'all tell me you prefer the original and I'll pretty much kiss yer arses.

    I'm tempted to say the first, as I've never been to your neck o' the woods - but you'd have to buy the tickets - and we don't fly these days either ... so, it's a non-starter :)

    For my money, the answer would be something in between these two shots, as the first is too dark, second too light.
    If I - as a potential buyer - was presented with the second shot, I'd wonder why the agency had tweaked it to this extent ... ie what are they trying to hide / cover up etc .

    (Note to self, stop trespassing in the LS forum - they rarely have any decent pics of ducks there ... )

    pp

  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 18,988Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited December 4, 2017

    @puzzledpaul said:
    For my money, the answer would be something in between these two shots, as the first is too dark, second too light.
    If I - as a potential buyer - was presented with the second shot, I'd wonder why the agency had tweaked it to this extent ... ie what are they trying to hide / cover up etc .

    I think this goes back to a couple of points I made earlier in this thread. 1) What is appropriate depends entirely on the photographer's purpose. The client is trying to sell houses, not win photography competitions, so it makes sense to do whatever is necessary to make them look attractive. That doesn't necessarily mean being deceptive. And 2) human vision is a process, not a static capture. The second image is almost certainly closer to our memory of the scene than the first, even if it took several seconds to scan and make perceptual adjustments for "exposure" and focus. We are not aware of combining the inside and outside "settings" in our brains but it happens nevertheless. If anything, it's the first image that looks "wrong," as a room with so many large windows would not be so dark unless an alien spacecraft was hovering right over the house. Maybe the ceiling should be darkened a bit in the second, but photographers like me can't afford that house anyway, so it's a moot point.

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