Photo Manipulation - Yay or Nay?

As photographers we are living in an exciting time.  We are no longer limited by what our cameras can capture on film.  With all of the digital imaging software available you can take your images to a whole new level.  Photo manipulation has been around since the beginning of photography, double exposure and dodging and burning were essentially manipulating images.  Of course today we can take it so much further.  There are whole courses designed to teach you just that.  Photo Artistry has become an accepted art form and you are only limited by your imagination.

I still think you have to begin with a good composition and image.  No amount of manipulation can mask a bad image so don’t even waste your time there.

I am curating an exhibit for the New Jersey Photography Forum Exhibition Committee and I have chosen the theme of Impressionistic Photography.  This covers a wide range of techniques.  I wanted to give our committee a chance to shake off convention and play around with their photography.  We have such a diverse and talented group and I am excited to see what everyone comes up with.

So, with that in mind, I have been playing around with my own images.  It has been a very long wet summer here in the Northeast and as a result we are having less than remarkable fall colors.  During a recent outing designed to find some fall images I was very disappointed.  The only color that was prominent was yellow.  So, when mother nature gives you lemons, you make lemonade right?  

Following is an image I took during my quest for a fall landscape.  The road is in one of our many parks in the Delaware Water Gap area.  I did take some artistic license on this image to make it what I saw in my mind’s eye, if not in my camera’s viewfinder.  I cropped it, warmed it up a bit, removed  the telephone pole, wires and some bare branches, copied and pasted some color that was there to add more and then I added a color pencil sketch from Topaz Impressions filter.  On top of that I added two different textures to give it some more interest.

For comparison I am adding the original shot along with the finished manipulated image.

As you can see from the original the color was pretty unremarkable on its own, but with a little imagination and some processing software magic I ended up with an image that reflected what I wanted to see, warmer color, more color and the feeling of a beautiful autumnal road.  If I were a plein air painter this is how I would have painted the scene.  So, artistic license in photography is a great big yay for me.  How about you?  Go on and play a little - you know you want to……

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