It’s a rainy day in Minneapolis today – waves of heavy rain broken up by humid sunshine. It’s a great day for ducks, not such a great day for photographers. Subconsciously, I kept thinking of a day last month where I spent virtually the entire day avoiding rain while trying to do some landscape photography. I was in Zion National Park – and it was a great day for ducks.
Today’s photo was taken on that day in Zion. About a minute after this image was made, it started to hail and I bolted for the car. The radar showed some very heavy weather coming in, so I decided to call it a day. Since it was already midday and the driving rain, hail, and 50+ mph gusts weren’t going to allow me to shoot, I started my 40-minute trek back to my hotel. Of course, the weather broke right as the sun was going down and I watched a magnificent sunset from my hotel. Note to self: ride out the weather.
I’m going to sidetrack for a second to discuss my personal photography ethics. Everyone has a different take on this, and all are fine.. but these are mine. I’m a photographic artist.. not a documentarian or journalist. This gives me a lot of latitude in post-processing to make the image how I want it to look. I can summarize it in one short statement coined by Fredrick Van Johnson (from This Week in Photography) – the pixels are there to be abused. This means that I’ll change cropping, color, composition, use HDR, selectively color, and so forth. I’m totally okay with removing something from a picture – but I don’t add things in.
My giveback is that I am very open about sharing what I did to an image. If I say I used HDR.. I used HDR. If I say it’s straight from the camera unedited – it’s unedited. It’s only fair and somebody may learn something from it.
Why the diatribe about editing ethics? There’s a good reason. Today’s image has some abused pixels. I wanted a guinea pig image to test Photoshop CS5’s brand new Content-Aware Fill. It allows you to select an intrusive object, and it makes the object go away. Full disclosure – I used content-aware fill to remove three twigs and a rock. From my initial tests – there are images where it works great and others where it doesn’t work at all. This was nearly a perfect test case – all edits were done in seconds. I’ve also used it to remove people in the background of a wedding shot – and that worked great as well. It’s pretty cool – and I can’t wait to use it more.
Vital Stats: Canon 5D Mark II w/Canon 24-105 f/4L @60mm ISO 50, f/22, 4 sec.