Cheltonian Skies Aflame

A few days ago, the clouds were quite dramatic all day. At one point we had rain and even a little hail. Although the rain stopped by evening, the crazy clouds continued to roll by, making sunset all the more spectacular.

Now that you’ve seen the pictures, I’d like your opinion on something. What if I told you that the sunset was breathtaking, but that the colors in these photos were saturated just a bit? Would you rather see “reality” or something more dramatic? Would you consider photo manipulation cheating or just part of the art of photography? And is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? I’ve thought about this quite a bit. I am curious to hear your thoughts.


About satnavandcider

An American expat living in England, exploring the United Kingdom and Europe through five senses and a camera lens.
This entry was posted in All Posts, Buildings, Cotswolds, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scenic, United Kingdom and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Cheltonian Skies Aflame

  1. denise says:

    honestly, I think that photo manipulation is fine as long as it is stated so…otherwise how would we know if we were seeing what you saw? I always looked at photography as capturing the moment…as it was, not as what one thinks it should be. Have to say, we do get some amazing sunsets don’t we?

  2. Being Julz says:

    Hmm… Great pics. Sometimes the camera doesn’t quite capture a scene as brilliantly as it is in reality and yet sometimes reality does come through more wonderfully than we could ever make it. I know I’m rambling a bit but my brain is still trying to fully kick into gear this morning. 🙂

    I think for me, I just want to know that a photo has been “adjusted”. I can still appreciate it and think it’s awesome but that way it doesn’t detract from the pictures a person captures that are so unbelievably awesome they don’t need tweaking. I hope that makes sense.

  3. leiah says:

    Fun question…I think the editing these days is included in photography skills. Sometimes editing just makes a photo *pop*. If you told me the clouds were saturated, I would still think they were pretty. What I DON’T like about all the editing going on out there, is it makes for some tough competition…

    • Too true! When I saw an HDR photo for the first time I was blown away. HDR photos are like pictures on steroids, but the results sure are amazing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Amy says:

    hhhhmmmmm….interesting question. I agree that editing is also a learned art. One can take a great picture and make it look horrendous just by messing with it too much. And the end product, whatever it is, (after re-touching or not re-touched at all) makes it ‘yours.’

    These are breathtaking! Good job! ~ Amy

  5. A photograph is only an approximation of what the eye sees, anyway. It often works the other way, too; you take a photo of a spectacular sunset or a beautiful valley, only to realise that it looks pretty boring because the camera hasn’t picked up on the range of colour or depth of field that your eyes did.

    So, it depends. The Guardian has a “darkroom techniques only” rule for photography – essentially meaning it’s on thing to tweak colour and contrast, but something else entirely to fabricate scenes and paste things in that weren’t there. Strikes me as a sensible middle ground!

    Then again, what might be a disgraceful practice when committed by a photojournalist might be the highlight of an art photographer’s career – so perhaps it depends on the purpose of the shot.

    • I see what you’re saying. My two digital cameras each may internally process an “auto” shot differently and both may not reflect what I actually saw. So would manual alteration (post-processing) using the eye be an extention or fine-tuning of the algorithm-dictated, automatic processing that already took place? I can see how it would be if I were trying to get a photo to represent reality as I saw it, but I wonder about pushing the bounds or crossing a line, if there is one. Perhaps it’s an issue of a photograph’s credibility with the viewer?

      Thanks for your comment and for the reference. I’m going to have to go check it out.

  6. Gunta says:

    Lovely, lovely sunset….

    I agree with most of the above comments. I’ve played with old photos that I’ve scanned and tweaking was a necessity because film has a nasty tendency to deteriorate. If one considers photos as art, then I’d say it’s pretty much up to the artist to interpret what he/she wants. Much of it (I think) is personal preference anyway. A lot of folks seem to really like the screaming sunsets with the reds and oranges and dark purples. My preference leans more toward the more subtle misty pinks and lilac tones. More like the last two in your series rather than the first. I know there will be many who disagree with me.

    There is something that feels “wrong” to me about much of the HDR stuff. I haven’t dabbled yet, but I don’t like most shots that obviously scream HDR… they’re too jangling somehow. I suspect it’s probably similar to other types of tweaking. Not so good if overdone. But, hey… it’s YOUR pictures to do what you want with them.

    • I understand what you are saying about some HDR photos. HDR is actually what got me thinking about this whole issue of post-processing in the first place. I can appreciate both sides but vascillate as to what I am comfortable with regarding significant editing or manipulation (and lack of disclosure), or “reality” vs. wow factor. It’s been great to read all the comments. I’m reading about different perspectives that I hadn’t thought about before. Thank you for contributing to this discussion.

      • Gunta says:

        I’m not sure I understand your concern here (note the last statement in my previous comment). I imagine that you’re feeling that you are misrepresenting in some fashion by not disclosing any editing or manipulation. But I don’t get this purist attitude that all must be disclosed if you adjusted the exposure or some other element after snapping the shutter rather than before. Any more radical adjustments surely become obvious without any comment…. such that I think I can spot most (though maybe not all) HDR manipulations without being told.

        Maybe if you were publishing for some magazine such disclosure might be required, but seriously, what purpose does it serve in most ordinary situations?

        • You make some good points. I think misrepresentation is my concern. I’ve only been blogging for a short time. Before that very few people saw my photos and I never changed a thing. Now, I’m posting my photos for the public to see. At first I thought not to change a thing, but as I learn more I can see how many post-processing tools are available and what they can do. My attitude keeps changing as I learn more, but it’s not my attitude that matters. I wondered how others view this question. If people would prefer a more dramatic photo, then no worries, but if people expect a photo to represent “reality” and it doesn’t because of editing beyond minor tweaking, would they feel deceived? I just don’t know where most people stand on this issue, I guess. That’s why I was curious to hear people’s thoughts. Thank you for sharing yours. I really appreciate your input.

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