Rooster: Universal Edits Only

There’s the continuous debate in photography today about what photography actually is. Where does the camera end and the post-processing begin? What’s right to edit, and what’s “cheating?” Everyone’s opinion is different. I don’t have a strict code or anything that I go by, but sometimes I wonder if that’s just out of ignorance. I’m not that great with Photoshop. I recently upgraded by Photoshop CS to Photoshop Elements 9. (Purists may disagree with “upgrade” there, but trust me. PS9 is ten times easier to use thans CS, and very likely has better code backing it up.)

Generally speaking, I do all of my editing with LR3, 99% of my editing is all in Lightroom 3, which I’m pretty good with. I send out to PSE9 for special features, like Panoramas or for combining two pictures into one larger one.

Back when this pic was taken, I was still on CS, though, and Lightroom 2. I don’t think much of the processing would change with the updated software, though. . .

So let’s take a look at this picture:

Before any processing...

It was taken at about 11:00 a.m., with a cloudy sky still bringing an awful lot of light. The sun was coming in and out. Looks to me like the sun was washing this picture out, perhaps even striking against the front element of my lens and killing some color and contrast.

I was also shooting through a fence that meant I had to stick my lens right up against it to shoot through it without showing the metal lines in the extreme foreground.

So I had to do some post-processing. I don’t think I did anything “wrong” here. I’ve cleaned up the picture, adding contrast and a heavier weight of blacks. I’ve tweaked the vibrancy of the colors up just a tad. But there are no elements added to the picture or hidden with a spot removal brush or anything.

Here’s the final pic:

After some light Lightroom3 work. . .

If I were a real Photoshop junky, I’d desaturate the background a bit. The browns on the ground and in the background are competing for your attention with the rooster. But I’m not sure I like that idea on principle. Feels like I’m starting to create digital art then, and not a picture. That feels like cheating to me. Nor did I sharpen only specific parts of the picture. Everything here is classic Lightroom — universal edits only.

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