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Cheetah or Cheater?

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peterpiper
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Cheetah or Cheater?

Unread postby peterpiper » Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:04 am

I’d be curious to get some feed back on the issue of post trip editing of images and what people regard as acceptable or not.

Over the past few months I couldn’t help noticing that many excellent pics of amazing sightings have been posted but many of them have not had much editing done to them. I wondered what everyone feels about this.

To illustrate my point I have borrowed an image from sharks excellent recent trip report and edited it minimally to give it a different look. A bit difficult I know as I was not there when the photograph was taken, however, nothing foreign or anything that was not there has been added and nothing really taken away either. Usually, the whole point of this edit is to match as closely as possible the original experience. Or at least our own perception of that original experience. I have increased the contrast, saturation and brightness overall. A bit of sharpening in general as well although I softened the edge of the tree above the Cheetahs head. I then cropped the image to put the main focus- in this case the eyes, away from centre frame.
Oh and I’m only using this image because I liked the title for this thread and don’t have a cheetah shot. Once again thanks Sharks for letting me use your pic.

Image

Image

Total time taken to edit this image? - less than 2 minutes.

Total time taken to find the cheetah and get the shot? Years maybe!

Belonging to the forum? - Priceless!
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DuQues
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Re: Cheetah or Cheater?

Unread postby DuQues » Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:14 am

peterpiper wrote:I softened the edge of the tree above the Cheetahs head.

Why? That is a dead giveaway you've "doctored" the photo, and to be honest it detracts from the photo as it is to obvious.
Added a bit of color to your version. (Excluding transferring the photo between systems about 10 seconds in all.)
Image
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christo
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Unread postby christo » Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:12 pm

I suppose the purpose/use of the photo determines if "doctoring" is ok or not.

I prefer the photo's as they come, as to me (still biased towards film) photography is an artform.

Should you however want to illustrate something, "enhancing" a feature to better illustrate what you want to convey, is ok by me as it serves a purpose other than "making you look like a better photographer than you are".

But then again, although fairly young, my feeling towards this is extremely "old school".
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bert
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Unread postby bert » Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:50 pm

Agree with PP
Why pay big bucks for the equipment and dont try the get the most out of a picture.
The expensive software is a normal tool to be used nowadays.
But dont overdo it imo
Bit of sharpening
Play around with the shadows/light
( As demostrated by PP)
Bit of saturation
Check the colours (RYB)

Nothing new about this
In the "old" day the prints were also "fixed" by the processing lab.
Only we didnt notice.
Did a lot of pitures for exhibitions and believe me...
Pictures were send back and forth to the lab till the correct colour and sharpness was created.

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Unread postby HoepHoep » Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:56 pm

I do agree that a modest form of enhancement is OK. Don't we all take a pill for a head ache. If the technology is there use it, as long as the result is still "honest". Can you experts be a bit more precise as to your opinion of the limits. For example how must saturation is "permissible"? How much would you change any of the RGB channels? Do you adjust intensity and by how much? I know it is like asking how long is a piece of rope, but there are always acceptable limits. How much of that you use depends on the individual photo in question.
Lets keep it simple for us dummies :D
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arks
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Unread postby arks » Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:59 pm

I agree with christo — I want to get it right from the start, which is one of many reasons why I shoot JPEG fine, not RAW. If I choose less than correct settings for some shots, so be it. Ditto if the conditions — early morning/late evening low light, overcast, backlit, whatever — aren't ideal. So what, that's what I saw and experienced.

As for Bert's assertion that prints were "doctored" by print labs, that may well be — I'm not into exhibitions. When I've had prints made, just to hang on my own walls, I've only sent prints back to request that the lab better match the colour in the original slide.

Finally, I'm not much of a gearhead or a technie, so I made the choice when I recently went digital that I would always shoot JPEG fine, both for greater storage capacity on my cards and hard drive, and because I really have no interest in the manipulation of my images. Even tho my current computer runs Windows XP Pro, I "salvaged" the old the old MS Photo Editor from an older version of Windows because it's such a simple tool for viewing images and doing the very little "manipulating" that I do occassionally do — mainly cropping and resizing.

Guess I'm a dinosaur!?! :wink:
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bert
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Unread postby bert » Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:02 pm

arks wrote:

Guess I'm a dinosaur!?! :wink:


Dont worry, i am just coming out of the dark age.
Still stuggle to get the hang of digital :wink:
Still kinda of miss the old Velvia slide :cry:

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bert
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Unread postby bert » Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:33 pm

Try to explain with two images
1st one is directly from the camera RAW
2nd changed
8% saturation
little bit of sharpening
12% shadow added

No RGB alterations.
Image
Image

I work with Photoshop elements 2.0 and photoshop 9.0

I am no expert but the discussion about using computer editing for digital pictures is a hot item.

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bwana
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Unread postby bwana » Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:30 pm

Film photographers have been using dark room techniques for ages. The whole argument is a personal one. As long as something is not added to make a photo vastly different to the original I dont see a problem with it.

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Unread postby madach » Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:36 pm

Even when you shoot JPEG the camera uses certain settings for sharpening, contast, saturation and white balance. Whether this is done by your camera or by yourself when converting RAW to JPEG is irrelevant. As long as you don't make major changes to the picture (like removing or adding stuff) it's not cheating but post-processing.

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richardharris
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Unread postby richardharris » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:46 pm

What a grand and contentious topic. :) First thing to say is - don't look back to film days as being 'perfect'. Any good photographer could make all sorts of changes to the final photograph using different techinques in the darkroom. And many were not above adding and removing bits. There are plenty of examples where this was used for fraudulent purposes, let alone fo artistic.

Madach is absolutely right. If you save in jpg format, you are manipulating the final image - you just may not realise it. The computer in the camera does the manipulation, using various parameters, some of which you, the user, can alter to your taste.

With RAW you do this at home - using a computer and programs very much more powerful and accurate than that built into the camera. The only 'negative' thing is that this takes a bit more time.

All digital cameras produce images that need some manipulation. But this is certainly no worse than developing film based images.

At what point it becomes 'cheating' is surely dependant on what you are trying to do. If you are producing an image to accurately depict an animal in its environment then very little should be done - though whether the clever removal of a twig which obscures a feature is wrong, I am not sure. I don't - though mainly because it takes a great deal of time to do well.

However anything goes if you are deliberately trying to get some artistic effect, or make a specific point.

Richard

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Unread postby DuQues » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:26 am

We could post links to RAW files and see what people make of it? Even with 1 photo I'm sure we'd get 10 different versions of it, all due to looking at it with slightly different eyes.
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Unread postby madach » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:30 am

DuQues wrote:We could post links to RAW files and see what people make of it? Even with 1 photo I'm sure we'd get 10 different versions of it, all due to looking at it with slightly different eyes.

And due to different software used for converting the RAW files. I've tested a number of RAW converter and in the end I settled for RawShooter because it gave me the best results.

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bert
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Unread postby bert » Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:53 am

DuQues wrote:We could post links to RAW files and see what people make of it? Even with 1 photo I'm sure we'd get 10 different versions of it, all due to looking at it with slightly different eyes.


And dont forget the different settings on the computerscreens :shock:

The same picture can be seen in different shades

Here calibration is a very important factor

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Unread postby bucky » Tue Aug 22, 2006 10:11 am

It can even go back to the argument if using filters is cheating or not .

I think if you don't manipulate the pics overly lots , that there is no cheat .
At the end of the day , going digital , was so that you could work with photos on the pc .


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