“Madison Indiana Sunset”

Here is another shot of the bridge, but this time I was looking west into the sunset from Milton Kentucky towards Madison. The sky had been pretty dull all evening but about the time the sun dropped below the western horizon, the sky took on these beautiful colors, there weren’t many clouds in the sky to hold the color so I had to shoot pretty quickly to get these before darkness set in.

And now for the real story !!

And as you can also tell I actually enhanced the saturation in this a bit to get the desired effect, how much wiggle room and leeway do you give yourself artistictly to get the desired effect of the image you are after ?

Do you feel it is a betrayal to photography to manipulate the color to create an image ?

I actually added about 25% saturation boost and a surface blur to get the water to smooth out like this, other than that I don’t add much to an image, I know the effect really added a different look to the scene as I viewed it.

I guess to photographers this can be viewed as overkill, but to the average buyer, sometimes with me it seems they like it a little more on the saturated side.  If you sell many prints do you find this to be the case with your clients ?

I am starting to find that the things I like are definitely not what the general public like, so hopefully I will be able to adapt to their taste and fill the niche, that at least around here needs to be filled.


22 thoughts on ““Madison Indiana Sunset”

  1. Ron in L.A.

    Beautiful Bernie. As for your questions, IMO, if this were for documentary or journalistic use the answer would be don’t manipulate, but since it’s not, what your presenting is your artistic vision and that license is solely in your hands. 😉

    R(etc… )

  2. Jim

    If I were going to hang something on my wall, I think I’d prefer the saturated to the unsaturated just because it would command more attention. But this rank amateur photographer is a purist with his own photos and does nothing more than correct his errors with his photo-processing software.

  3. ankush

    awesome colors Bernie. i dont think post processing is ‘cheating’ as many may put it. i view it as an extension of the picture taking process – especially when one shoots raw.
    that is some cool post processing you have done. i will have to try the surface blur sometime. yes, i have also found that the common public finds extra saturated images more pleasing, while the photography savvy folks condemn it…

  4. namaki

    This is my first visit to your blog and those two pictures of sunrise and sunset are beautiful although very different !

  5. Adam R. Paul

    I agree with Ron – unless you are presenting a photo as documentation of a scene as you found it, you should feel free to manipulate the photo however you see fit to bring it in line with your artistic vision.

    To my eye, the blue saturation is a bit too high, but you’re absolutely right that what people want to buy, and what we feel is optimal are not always the same. Although I rarely sell my photos, I get much more positive feedback on the photos where I’ve kicked the saturation & contrast up a bit vs. those with which I do not.

    I don’t subscribe to the purist argument – phtographers since time immemorial have manipulated their images via darkroom techniques and film/paper selection. It’s just much easier to do those types of manipulations with the advent of the digital age. One thing that has not changed at all is that without a good conception and artistic vision, it doesn’t matter what you do to the photo – it’ll still be “meh.”

    Lastly, that’s a lovely photo! You have gotten some great images of that river and bridge combination!

  6. HeyJules

    How much is too much? That’s such a personal issue, isn’t it? I think if you’re trying to make a living and this is what the client wants then that’s what you give him. I do think, as the artist, that you still have to have your say in it and not just do whatever they want if it means you’ll be embarassed or upset to have your name on the image.

    That said…this is a beautiful example of fine photography with a consumer edge to it. The colors are more intense then you probably felt was needed and the scene is not a totally realistic view of how you remember it but – it still looks plausible and believable and you should be proud to have your name on it so I say, give ’em what they want!

  7. Lana Gramlich

    To answer your questions;

    How much wiggle room and leeway do you give yourself artistictly to get the desired effect of the image you are after? A little.

    Do you feel it is a betrayal to photography to manipulate the color to create an image? Not always, but I’m no pro. I’m not great with my digital camera yet, so sometimes my skies get overexposed. I don’t feel it’s “cheating” to help restore the sky to at least a slightly better (& more realistic,) condition.

    I’ve never sold prints, but I believe you’re right about the general optical appreciation humans can have for increased saturation.

    Besides, you could technically refer to such pieces as “digital art,” if that makes things better. 😉

  8. Bo

    Photographs as art need to express what the artist feels. It gets to be different for everyone – otherwise we would see the same over and over. (well, we do see that too! :-)) I still choose what I want to do with my photos, though, making them the best as I see fit. Not everyone agrees. Not everyone has to.

    I love the bridge and the colors. My hometown has two bridges across the Mississippi – they make an attractive and popular photograph.

  9. Richard Wong

    I think the more saturated stuff gets more attention from the general public so thats probably a good thing. I think what seems more manipulated to me is the high amount of contrast.

  10. davidlind

    Interesting thoughts and ideas. It’s nice to see you exploring new avenues. If there is a demand for it that you can fill and it still involves photography and editing then I say “Go for it”.
    What percentage of great artists do this?
    Probably a very large percentage.

  11. kml

    I tweak the saturation a bit on my images – it really gives the colors a boost – sometimes really making the image “pop”. I find it goes over well. It worked really well with this image – great colors!

  12. Cindy

    while I do agree with ‘photographic license’ re: saturation/colors, etc, I find it a bit distressing when photographers oversaturate say a bird image (this is done often in critique forums so the thumbnails ‘pop’ more). As a naturalist I prefer to see birds/insects/wildlife as they appear naturally- if overdone, manipulations look unreal and then become ‘photo art’ in my eyes. Scenics are another ballgame. I like your processing here, the colors really sing coach 🙂

  13. forestrat

    In spite of what many people believe, a photograph can never exactly document a scene. Just the act of compressing three dimensions (four if you count time) down to two distorts reality pretty badly. Then you have to consider that each type of film and each digital sensor has its own unique color profile. Add to that the changes that take place during each step of processing, film or digital, until the final print is reached and it is a wonder that photos ever even remotely resemble the original scene.

    Each photographer has his/her own style and method and as other commenters have mentioned, the subject often dictates the amount of artistic leeway available. There can’t be one hard and fast rule for what can and can’t be done.

    Personally I do very little to my images in the way of computer processing after the fact – a little white balance, some contrast tweaking, clone out dust and water spots on the lens, and sharpen – done. On the other hand I play around a lot with the light “in camera” – sometimes cranking through dozens of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed combinations (I love the flexibility of digital).


  14. Calevphoto

    I agree with the others. If your goal is to create art, then you’re free to manipulate the image as much as you want. I generally don’t like the shots where the end result is of something that did not exist in the original shot, but you didn’t do that here.

    In terms of a critique of the shot itself, I like the effect. However, I think the image is a bit dark on the right side. The dark lower right corner and the vignetting on the top right detract from the scene. With these corrected I think the shot would be a lot better.

  15. Pingback: Driving Around DC | Photo LinkLove

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