Goin’ With The Flow

Going With The Flow

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.

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One Response to “Goin’ With The Flow”

  1. Erik April 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    I’d love to see before/after of this and the other you used to test out the context aware fill…

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