09.08.15 Reed Reflections

Sometimes you just have to make things happen.  Much of the time I am an observer of nature and try to share the sights and my emotions as I interpret them through use of my camera and lens…occasionally with a polarizer or neutral density filter to manage time or balance the exposure.  Yesterday morning I went looking for our recently ever present fog and found…none.  All the valleys were either clear or quite thin with it.  So I switched intention.

I’ve visited Harvard Pond and noticed these reeds a few times.  I wanted an image that was simple and clean, but there were a few other plants, mostly lily pads, floating around them which I didn’t like.  I will never physically remove plants from a scene, but digital allows that so I did.  This isn’t something I do very often, mostly if there is litter in a scene that I can’t reach to pick up, but I decided to make this image with some cloning.  There is a lot of debate whether this is an acceptable action and most of the time I am not a fan.  But an artist of the brush can add or not include whatever he or she wishes and it can be considered great art.  So I decided to do that here.

Reed-Reflection-090715-700WebMany people feel that photography is required to be an exact representation of reality.  Yet we alter that reality through choice of lens, length of exposure, control of focus through aperture, the use of filters and so on.  The image is a two dimensional representation of three.   As I said, this isn’t something I plan on doing often and I would not add things to a scene.  If I do it again, I’ll say so.

So I am interested in your opinion.  Does it bother you that you are seeing a scene that has been digitally altered?  Do you still enjoy the image knowing it is not exactly as it was in reality?


About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Abstract, Black and White, Intimate Landscape, Nature Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to 09.08.15 Reed Reflections

  1. No, it doesn’t bother me that you’ve altered the scene. As you say, a photograph (at least one that’s not in stereo) is already a distortion of three dimensions into two, and painters have always had the freedom to put in or leave out whatever they like—in addition to which the real world isn’t made out of paint. As you also said: “Sometimes you just have to make things happen.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Truth! I have looked at these twice previously and just couldn’t leave again without making an image…actually about 4. I loved the gesture they each displayed and the relationship with each other. I wasn’t to be denied. LOL


  2. Jim in IA says:

    What you do is fine with me. I do it when the photo needs it. What I won’t do is change the photo into something meant to deceive. We adjust to enhance the important elements. We don’t add things that were never there. Caveat…I did add a giant dinosaur into the trees behind my house. I’ve added persons to group shots with explanations.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I like this image quite a lot, Steve. I don’t think any explanations are necessary. You are an artist. period. Photography is your medium. I think an artist’s job is to express what is within wanting to be expressed, and it is quite correct to use the language that comes naturally for the individual artist. For you it is drawing on the natural world. Better to make an image sing than to confine oneself to strict reporting of the facts.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m with Melissa. You’re an interpreter, not a reporter. There is no need to explain, expand, or apologize. Even journalistic photographers are capturing a portion of “reality” simply by where they choose to aim, or how they crop. The image is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What you say is true, Melanie. However, with photography it is considered ethical to state whether an image has been altered and that is why I chose to present the post as I did. If I were better known for doing digital creation I’d not need to but as the majority of what I share is fairly straight capture in the camera alteration is not expected of me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jackson says:

    I like my photography to be very grounded in the real world, so I try to maintain a high standard and really think about the ethics anytime I remove something from the image (I never add anything). The fundamental question I ask myself is whether a viewer seeking to experience the scene for himself would consider my photo in any way a dishonest account of the landscape once he had personally witnessed it. For instance, I have a shot of awesome rock formations in Arizona where I’d really like to clone out some power lines, but I feel doing so would blatantly misrepresent the reality. On the other hand, I don’t have any issues with cloning out, say, a stray branch, a piece of trash I couldn’t physically remove, contrails, and other such minor elements that aren’t really fundamental to the scene. It would be better to do this by framing in camera, of course, but that’s not always an option.

    Obviously, this is much more of a concern with grand landscapes than with intimate detail scenes. For images like the one you posted, I feel there’s a great deal of room for interpretation. Indeed, it’s sort of an interesting question what it would even mean to misrepresent a scene like this. All that’s to say, in this case I think it’s totally fine and it’s a beautiful photo!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am of the same mind, Jackson. I’ve visited locations many times to get the scene or specimen I wanted in the conditions desired. This wasn’t going to happen here unless I waded out there and removed things which is against my ethics. I guess my desire to leave things as i found them trumps my desire to have my images as I found them. In this case it was a statement I wanted to make about the peaceful vision these reeds presented without the clutter of the other floating plants.
      Thanks for the kind words regarding the image.


  6. Andrew says:

    I think the consensus is that you are in the clear, Steve. I’m still trying to get my blackberry to work 😉


    • That is good news, Andrew. As I mentioned above, I would still like the image were the tides to go against me, but support is always appreciated.
      I wouldn’t worry about the Blackberry. The new ones should arrive in about two weeks. Can I interest you in some Ps? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the moody thoughtful quality the filter gives your image.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. shoreacres says:

    Deciding what to include and what to omit is part of every art. If I decide to shoot “here” rather than “there,” I’ve already made a decision about the final image. When I look at a photo, I suppose I subconsciously assume that the photographer has made some adjustments: cropping, sharpening, whatever. Removing a stray lily pad or a no parking sign in the middle of an otherwise pristine scene doesn’t bother me in the least. Even adding things from time to time isn’t a mortal sin. Even klutzy old me was able to photoshop a set of antlers onto my cat’s head for my “Grinch Who Stole Christmas” parody. Sometimes we do what we have to do!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely, Linda. Every decision we make..framing, exposure, aperture, lens, filter, angle of view, stand tall or crouch over…all those thing change the image. I think removal of an element or two may not quite fit into that group, but it is still part of the creative process. As I mentioned, I prefer to leave all as I found it. But there can be times when what I want people to see and feel can be impacted by extraneous bits here and there and not including them makes all the difference.


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