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  #1  
Old 10-28-2011, 08:49 AM
willperrett willperrett is offline
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Default A worry

Hi all
As I trawl through the images on Trek Earth, I am in awe of the quality of so much of the work that is submitted: clearly that's why I joined. However, am I alone in noticing a tendency towards the more popular images being increasingly "dramatic"? I don't mean in subject matter particularly, but in contrast and colour saturation. I see a lot of images which seem to have been through the Photoshop mill, to increase saturation, sometimes to very obvious and unrealistic levels, in the belief, apparently, that they will look better, more impressive, score more points.... And it seems to work: the critiques usually praise the photograph, when to my (jaundiced? cynical?) eye they would be better if they were more "natural". I know the word natural is fraught with difficulty in this context (is a black and white image "natural"?), but the world is seen by our eyes in colour, and I would prefer images to tell the truth! The problem is made more acute by the easy availability of imaging software; the sadness is that the photographs really shot in breathtaking conditions of light and drama are tending to get lost, and I never know these days if the image has been tweaked and pushed or whether the scene was really like that. Maybe it doesn't matter: good post-production editing has always happened and why not make a good photo better? But Photoshop and its like (which I use all the time) needs to be used with knowledge and finesse if it is to be a tool which really enhances a picture. I feel that Trek Earth exists to promote the grand tradition of Documentary Photography, and the point is to "document" the world, not change it to make it look "better" or worse, unrealistic.
Any thoughts?
Will

Last edited by willperrett; 10-28-2011 at 11:06 AM. Reason: To add a further thought
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2011, 07:20 PM
Silvio1953 Silvio1953 is offline
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Default Sure

You are right my friend, I'm an old film photographer, no photoshop, but only camera settings and eye, my beloved photo are old scan, sure digital is more easy, but we can create an other world of nantasy, don't document rality, excuse for my bad english, I hope you understand what I try to say
Friendly, Silvio
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:54 PM
willperrett willperrett is offline
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Hi Silvio
Your English is 100% better than my Italian! Like you, I've spent most of my life using film, and I still have my Canon T90 which I take out for a spin every now and then. On the other hand, I have embraced digital also, and have spent many years teaching Photography at a Further Education College, where we still use the darkroom, but where most of the students are into digital, so I've taught Photoshop for about 15 years. On that basis of knowledge, I think I can fairly say that digital manipulation is easy to do badly, but hard to do well! Computers have certainly democratised a whole range of activities and made them available to all, but everyone doesn't have the skills: another example is businesses doing their own publicity and advertising, because they've got the software and it's cheaper. But too often they have no graphic design knowledge or awareness, and often therefore produce bad copy.
OK: sorry. Rant over. Enjoy your photography. Can't wait to go back to Toscana again: we've just had a great couple of weeks there, not far from you I believe!
Cheers
Will
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:36 PM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Hi Will,

Excessive PP is against the Terms of Service (TOS) of Trekearth. As moderators we have to tread a fine line between those who intentionally use the likes of extreme contrast & saturation and those who are not very experienced in using PP and over do things accidentally. If you see images which you feel go too far in the use of PP feel free to the 'Report Problem' link which can be found beneath every image. This isn't 'snitching on other people' or 'doing the moderators' job' as some might complain of. Each report is viewed on it's merits and acted on accordingly.
The mod team is small in number and we inevitably miss some images which are in breach of the TOS. Only with that assistance of members can we hope to apply the rules consistently and fairly to all images.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:51 AM
willperrett willperrett is offline
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Thanks for your response! I've not been able to locate the Terms of Service, but I did understand that undue manipulation was not considered appropriate: I suppose it depends, as you say, on what constitutes "undue" or "excessive"! By the way, my feeling, as a very experienced Photoshopist, is that excessive manipulation is not the result of "inexperience", but poor taste: once you've found the Hue/Saturation dialogue box, or whatever, it's easy enough to use, it's the user's eye which dictates how to use it!
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:17 AM
Grumps Grumps is offline
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Default Worry some more.

Hi Will,
I actually read your post yesterday 30/10/11 and started to reply but abandoned my attempt till I thought more, not on what you said, which is very valid and which I am in agreement, but on the implications it may have.
First off black and white is a medium in a class of its own and "is what it is".
I think to criticise or question it validity is probably a hanging offence in some quarters and it would pay to leave well enough alone (the Ansel Adam's disciples are everywhere).
The issue of photo software manipulation however is another matter, by the very fact that we submit our offerings to this site is evidence enough that we indulge in some degree of manipulation. I seldom submit anything without running it through levels and unsharp mask, and on very rare occassions I may tweek saturation.
But as you rightly say there are members who's images are very obviously digitally enhanced, and are applauded on their skill with imaging software, without which their photograph may be fairly mundane.
To be fair there are imaging software practitioners submiting who's skills are mind boggling good as well as a fair amount of wannabe's who are really kidding no one.
Its fair to say that the digital age of photography has openned up a new way of creative thinking and working that was not available, or was beyond the means of us old school snappers who beavered away for hours in darkrooms squeezing every ounce of saturation out of a Cibachrome print or drove us a bit crazy pursuing the blackest blacks and whitest whites from multigrade.
I seem to remember letters in practical photography and the like, bemoaning the the technical wizardry of Ilford over traditional print making.

Perhaps the answer lies in a new category being introduced into the site which allows the digital photographer/artists among us to demonstrate and hone their skills while still celebrating the wonders of our still beautiful natural world within the ethos of Trekearth, and be judged within that category.
I can almost hear the site moderators groaning in dismay at the very thought of yet another level of policing, but given that we already submit information on the camera, lens, filtration, flash, tripod etc used, would it really be such a hardship to submit details on the level of manipulation applied which would dictate whether the submission belonged in a purely photographic category or in digital artistry.
I would really hate it if discussions like this escalated into divisions between old style purists and new age digital imagers when there is clearly room for both.
It would be very naive to expect that the site could be divided as easily as I am suggesting, but I would much rather that if feelings within the site community were ever to run strong on this issue that it be carried forward with proposed solutions and not attempts to stifle creativity or uphold some purist doctrine.
God and you thought you were having a rant, I really must lay of the red wine when I reply to issues like this, lol.
Have a good week Will.
Best regards
Iain
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  #7  
Old 11-01-2011, 08:58 AM
willperrett willperrett is offline
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Hi Iain
Thanks for your very considered, if red wine-fuelled, comments! I agree that we don't want to split the community: my revolutionary days are well behind me! Like you, my images have all visited Photoshop. I always shoot RAW these days, so it's inevitable; like you I restrict the activity to the minimum (and am unlikely to admit the odd occasions when I've gone further, which I hope are undetectable!). By the way, I'm in love and always have been with black and white and didn't mean to imply disapproval of it: Ansel Adams, Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, etc. are my heroes.
Have a good one.
Cheers
Will
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  #8  
Old 11-01-2011, 05:49 PM
Keitht Keitht is offline
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Hi Will,

The Terms of Service can be found via the About link at the bottom of each page. The link is also highlighted on the screen you visit when posting images.

The fact that somebody who obviously wants to stick by the rules had difficulty finding those rules is not good news.
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  #9  
Old 11-02-2011, 09:20 AM
willperrett willperrett is offline
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Default Terms of Service

Thanks for that. Actually I found them after I had posted and before you replied, so perhaps it's not that bad. By the way, a couple of weeks ago, I posted a scanned infra-red image (naughty chap), not realising at the time that they were not allowed (having read the Terms yesterday). I can't for the life of me understand why they are banned, and have left it up for the time being. You may want to take it down, but I'd like to know the rationale for not allowing IR images.
Regards
Will
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  #10  
Old 11-23-2011, 01:39 PM
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CLODO CLODO is offline
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Hi Will

100% in accordance with your first thread, but the mood is changing and some persons like to follow it. I personnaly use PHOTOSHOP to get the good light (levels) and sometimes "color modification" to insist on one hue. This is my taste, other can have a different approach, but I don't like, so I do not comment their pictures or send them a grey smiley (mainly for the newcomers).
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