I have been reading a number of blogs recently that have addressed the issue of manipulation in photography. I am a believer that photography is an art form, and that utilizing post processing to increase "enjoyment" of an image is perfectly acceptable. Ansell Adams spent a lot of time in the darkroom adjusting his images. When I photograph would black and white film, after I developed the film in the darkroom and made a contact sheet I would pick out the pictures that I felt I wanted to print and then adjust the image with dodging and burning during the printing process. Now that we are in the digital phase, we have many more tools to help us adjust our images.
Here is a photograph of a portion of the harbor with a NOAA Stellwagon Boat tied up, that I took at Plymouth Harbor just as the picture came out of the camera. The picture is very flat, without much contrast and in the upper right corner there is an extremely bright area that detracts from the picture.
Here is the same picture that I adjusted in light room, utilizing NIK software, first VIVEZA and then detail extractor in Color Efex Pro. The picture still had the bright spot in the right upper quadrant, so I opened the picture in Photoshop CS 5 and utilizing a Cloning and Contents Aware preset removed the offending (in my eyes) bright area. Here is the final finished picture.
So which picture do you like? Just out of the camera or adjusted? Leave a comment, thanks.